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Knowing what lure to use
  |  First Published: April 2017



Catching fish is one thing, catching them on lures is a total other ball game. Lure fishing for those same species you have spent most of your fishing life targeting with bait keeps the fishing spark alive in your blood and adds another challenge.

As much fun as lure fishing is, the question “which lure do I use?” often arises and with an extraordinary range of types, colours, sizes and styles available, choosing the right lure can be a daunting task.

Knowing which lure to use on a particular species comes with listening to those who have previously caught your intended target species, but you can also do your own experience and research. In times gone by, experimentation is what ultimately gets the job done and by fishing specific waterways, you can quickly get a grasp on what lure will work in that particular location by the challenges you might face. For instance, if trout fishing a small mountain stream, a deep diving lure might not be the best option due to the shallowness of the river, then again the river might have deep pools in which a deep diving lure might be more beneficial.

In the salt, snapper might be swimming about your berley trail and you begin casting a deep diving hardbody. The lure might dive to 4m, but you’re anchored in 30m and there is no way the fish will come to up to eat it. In this case, thebetter option is to flick a soft plastic with the appropriate jighead weight, a soft vibe or even a micro-jig so that it gets down to where the fish are holding.

With every species, lure choice is not just a matter of grabbing what looks appealing to you, but dictated by the location being fished and the fish being targeted.

LURE CHOICE

Lure choice doesn’t need to get too technical, however it is good to know a little about the species you’re going to target before heading out and buying a bunch of lures you may not even use.

When choosing a lure, think about the location you’re going to fish, prior knowledge of the location will help in this selection process, but if it is a new location, the lure selection will be based on the target species. Let’s take snapper in Port Phillip Bay for example. The first thing to notice is their teeth, followed by the size of their mouth. Their mouth is quite small in comparison to other species, so smaller sized lures are a good choice. As for their teeth, these are mainly used for crunching food, and when it comes to lure selection, something hardy that will last is a sure bet.

Then you have the location, snapper swim on the bottom, so a weighted lure such as a soft plastic, soft vibe or jig will get to their realm. If you’re fishing over shallow reefs from a kayak, a deep diving hardbodied lure may reach the required depth and can be trolled around the area.

Then you have the time of year to contend with too. Different species will feed differently throughout the year and respond differently to lures. Trout are a good example of this through the summer months. During this time of the year they are mainly focused on insects landing on the water’s surface and a tossed hardbody or spinner probably won’t get a look in. On the other hand, in the lead up to spawning season, they become much more aggressive and will respond to a small shallow diving hardbody lure worked in exit of a rapid or along the submerged logs in the slower runs.

No matter how you look at it, lure choice is critical, but the more you know about the species you’re targeting, the easier the selection will be.

The colour of the lure can also have a huge influence on whether or not the fish strikes at it and this can also have varying factors involved. Often, the more natural looking colours get most of the attention but first it pays to look at the type of food the targeted species eats. A trout during spawning season is constantly fending off smaller trout that are attempting to mate with females and it is not uncommon for a big buck to devour a 3 or 4” fry. Trout patterns on shallow or deep diving hardbodied lures are extremely effective. However, if you were going in search of a kingfish in deeper water, metal jigs in chrome, blue, gold or bright pink might get the results.

WHEN TO USE A LURE

Lures can be used most of the time depending on the species being targeted. Just like with bait fishing, a presented lure, if worked in the right manner, will be just as effective as using bait. Choosing when to use a lure on a particular fish is all up to the angler, and while there is no right and wrong time to use one, catching a fish on a lure is arguably more rewarding.

On occasions, sitting waiting for a fish to take a bait makes for a very slow day’s fishing, but toss out a soft plastic into a berley trail and the whole day’s fishing can change rapidly.

Take surf fishing for salmon for instance. Tossing out a single bait along a 10km stretch of beach really isn’t going to attract a school of fish. However, if you were to grab a 9ft spin rod and matching reel, a handful of 25-40g metal slugs, you’ll be able to walk the beach making cast after cast until you find the gutter the fish are holding in.

Lure fishing is not about just tossing one out when the fishing is tough either, it can be likened to hunting or fly fishing, where your presenting a fish with bait that looks almost natural to its environment.

Depending on the time of year, you’ll find that some fish won’t take a bait, but because of their seasonal characteristics will take a lure, such as trout just before spawning season.

TOP LURES FOR POPULAR SPECIES

Although the saying ‘lures catch fishers, not fish’ may be partly true, every lure on a tackle shop’s wall will catch a fish if it is presented at the right time. While there are millions of lures to choose, making sure you have the right ones is crucial to being successful. In my years of fishing, collecting lures has become almost an obsession and amongst my thousands of styles, colours, weights and sizes, I still have a small selection of go-to lures that have proven to yield results over the years.

Every angler that falls in love with lure fishing will be much the same and it only takes one fish caught on a particular lure to get you hooked and wanting more. From my lure fishing exploits throughout Victoria, most of our popular species are willing lure takers and while I’ve listed my favourite to use on each given species, they might offer you a good indication as to which lure to use then next time you’re thinking about grabbing a selection for a lure fishing trip.

SNAPPER

SOFT PLASTICS: Squidgy 100mm Whip Bait (pilly), Gulp 6” Jerk Bait (electric chicken), Zerek Wriggly live minnow (#01 and #07).

JIGHEADS: Mustad 3/0 1/4oz, Mustad 3/0 3/8oz

SOFT VIBES: Yakamito Viber S 95mm (night fury)

KINGFISH

JIGS: Yakamito 210g and 300g Slither

STICKBAITS: Duel Adajio 125mm, AWSB SS90’s

SOFT PLASTICS: Lunker City 7.5” Sluggo (white)

SALMON

METAL SLUGS: Live Bait Slugs 25g, Yakamito Sedge 40g

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Sub Minnow 125

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito SXY Shad, Zerek Surger

SOFT PLASTICS: Zerek Live Flash Minnow/Mustad jighead

SILVER TREVALLY

METAL SLUGS: Live Bait Slugs 25g, Yakamito Sedge 40g

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Intruder S

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito X-Crank 30D & S, Zerek Tango Shad

SOFT PLASTICS: Zerek Live Flash Minnow/Mustad jighead

TROUT

METAL SLUGS: Gillies Crocodile, Nories Metal Wasaby

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Intruder S

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito Slim Minnow 60 & 100, Yakamito SXY Shad.

SOFT PLASTICS: Berkley 3” T-Tail Minnow, Zerek Live Flash Minnow/Mustad jighead

MURRAY COD

SPINNERBAITS: Icon Carnage, Mud Guts, Bassman, Icon Carnage Scrambler

HARDBODY LURES: JJ’s Stumpjumper Size 1, Yakamito Rabid Vibe 60, Yakamito 95 Viper S

SOFT PLASTICS: Lunker City Fin-S Fish

YELLOWBELLY

SPINNERBAITS: Icon Carnage, Mud Guts, Bassman, Icon Carnage Scrambler

HARDBODY LURES: JJ’s Stumpjumper Size 2 and 3, Yakamito Rabid Vibe 60, Yakamito 95 Viper S

SOFT PLASTICS: Lunker City Fin-S Fish, Berkley 2” Black Jigging Grub

BARRAMUNDI

POPPERS: Bills Bugs, Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper

VIBES: Yakamito Viper S 95, Jackall Doozer

HARDBODY LURES: Barra Classic 120+ 10, Yakamito BK125X, Yakamito Siren SD, YO-Zuri Crystal Minnow 110

SOFT PLASTICS: Squidgy 100 and 130mm Slick Rig, Zerek Flash Shad 5”

BREAM

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Intruder S

POPPERS: Yakamito Poppa Q

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito SXY Shad, Zerek Tango Shad, Imakatsu Baby Killer Bill

SOFT PLASTICS: Zerek Live Minnow, OSP Bent Minnow

BASS

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Intruder S

SPINNERBAITS: Icon Carnage 7g Bass Bait.

POPPERS: Yakamito Poppa Q

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito SXY Shad, Zerek Tango Shad, Imakatsu Baby Killer Bill

SOFT PLASTICS: Zerek Live Minnow, OSP Bent Minnow

ESTUARY PERCH

STICKBAITS: Yakamito Intruder S

POPPERS: Yakamito Poppa Q

HARDBODY LURES: Yakamito SXY Shad, Zerek Tango Shad, Imakatsu Baby Killer Bill

SOFT PLASTICS: Zerek Live Minnow, OSP Bent Minnow

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