Walking into a tackle store to be faced with wall to wall lures is often a confusing and daunting experience for most anglers and for good reason. There are literally hundreds of different colours, varieties and style of lures available on today’s market and working out which ones are for you can often prove to be not only a costly experience but also a frustrating one. However if a few simple guide lines are followed selecting the correct lures for you will not only become a more pleasurable experience but also a very productive one.
1 – Target species – Knowing your intended target species feeding habits is an enormous advantage when it comes to selecting any lure as it is no use throwing the wrong lure at the right fish. Study your intended target species and their feeding habits closely and try to purchase a selection of lures that will imitate these prey items best. This should include size, shape, colour and action! Some species will prefer slow moving, soft plastic lures of various shapes, colours and sizes as opposed to others liking fast moving metals etc. Finding a successful selection of lures for you should be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences fishing has to offer.
2 – Lure quality – Purchasing lures of cheap, inferior quality more often than not results in nothing but angler frustration and failure! Always try to purchase lures that are of premium quality as this generally ensures top performance. Proven lure brands and styles that have been around for years are the top choice for most successful anglers with most of the top lure manufacturers leading the way by designing more modern and highly effective models each season. Try to purchase lures that are going to look good to the fish and not you as the angler, sometimes it’s a case of the simpler the better! The terminal tackle attachments (hooks and split rings) a lure is rigged with are generally a good indication of the lures quality and capability. If a lure is found to be successful and does not posses good quality hooks and rings it should be upgraded immediately!
3 – Lure efficiency – There are a few other aspects of a lure that need to be taken into consideration before purchase such as the weight of the lure. It is no use buying a lure that looks the goods but is too light to cast out to where the fish are! As is buying one that is too heavy to cast or will simply sink too fast and become snagged on the sea floor or river bed. Most rods come with a recommended cast weight written somewhere on them, pay attention to this and never exceed these weights when casting. The strength of the lure also should be taken into consideration as it is no use throwing a soft plastic lure and light nylon leader at a twenty kilo Spanish mackerel as it is most likely to slice it in half and swim away, costing you not only a lure but also a very nice fish! A hard bodied bibbed lure or surface/sub surface stick bait or popper attached with a short, single strand wire leader would be a much better lure choice.
Lure varieties –
1 – Skirted – Skirted lures are generally 3 – 12 inches in length and consist of a soft plastic, resin or metal head attached to a plastic skirt. They are designed to be trolled behind a vessel at various speeds to target a wide variety of pelagic species from small tuna to large billfish.
2 – Hard bodied – Hard bodied lures are generally 30mm – 200mm in length and are made from hard plastic or timber materials. They are designed to target a wide variety of fish species from bottom dwelling coral trout to surface feeding mackerel and can be either cast and retrieved or trolled. Small hard bodied lures are a real favourite amongst most successful bream anglers!
3 – Surface/sub surface stick baits and poppers – Surface and sub surface lures such as stick baits and poppers are generally 40mm – 200mm in length and are made from hard plastic or timber materials. They are designed to target a wide variety of aggressive surface and sub surface feeding predators such as Mahi and giant trevally. Small surface and sub surface lures around 40mm – 50mm in length are an ideal and fun method of targeting estuary species such as bream, whiting and flathead!
4 – Metals – Metal lures as their name suggests are made from metal and are the most resilient of lures available. They are capable of being either cast or trolled to target an enormous variety of both demersal and pelagic fish species. The one all round lure all anglers should carry!
5 – Jigs – Jigs can be made from many materials including metal and lead and generally come in two shapes or styles. The lead head jig has been gracing the tackle boxes of northern anglers for many years and consists of a 30 – 80 gram, bullet shaped, lead head with a large, single hook protruding. White fire tail fibres or feathers form the tail or skirt of the lure. Very versatile and resilient northern Australian lure!
The other style is what is referred to as a knife jig or metal jig, these fantastic lures have been around for years and were originally designed to target seriola species such as yellow tail kings, samson fish and amberjack. They are generally manufactured in sizes of 60 – 600 grams in various shapes designed to induce many different actions. Today metal jigs are used to target a large variety of both demersal and pelagic fish species and are fast growing in popularity over bait!
6 – Soft plastics – Soft plastic lures as their name suggests are made from a soft plastic material which is designed in the shape of preferred fish prey items such as crabs, prawns and bait fish. These soft plastic bodies or tails are then inserted with a lead head and hook system referred to as a jig head. Some soft plastics do come pre rigged so to speak and these are referred to as poggies! Rigging the correct jig head to the correct soft plastic does take time and experience with the major rule of thumb being to always fish as light as possible! Soft plastic lures are generally 30mm – 200mm and are designed to target an enormous variety of fish species from trout to tuna.