How to make a logical selection of lures? by Andy LushDepth
The most important thing is to know the waters you are going to fish, and select a variety of baits that will cover different depths up to the maximum depth available.
There are two factors to consider when choosing colour. First the visibility in the water i.e. in clear water choose subtle natural colours such as Roach or Perch, conversely in dirty water, brighter and more visible colours like Fire Tiger should be chosen. Second the light conditions, even in dirty water bright sunlight can help fish see your bait more easily so natural colours near the surface will be visible. On the other hand as the light fades towards dusk don't be afraid to use bright coloured lures in clear water! When selecting surface baits remember that most of the time they will be seen purely in silhouette against the bright overhead light, so dark contrasting colours are strongly recommended.
This advise is based on years of pike fishing experience and in most cases will be the right way to select lure colours but on hard days when you've thrown everything "by the book" its always worth trying something different for at least half an hour, where's the harm? you never know you might stumble upon a hot colour combination that other anglers are not using, because they're fishing "by the book", to be successful keep an open mind and adapt.
This is linked very much with colour. Pick lures with subtle actions such as minnow baits in natural colours or metallic spoons for clear water, especially when light conditions are good.
In dirty water choose baits with strong aggressive actions these could also have "built in rattles" as the fish must first feel your lures "presence" before it’s seen! I would combine fluorescent colour patterns such as Fire Tiger or Bandit patterns with these baits.
Yes size does matter! It's important to match your lure size with that of the prey fish available. "Don't be afraid of large lures, pike are not", if you fish with bait I expect you regularly pick deadbaits in the 5" - 7" range, and use these knowing that they help select the bigger pike, I'm also sure you'd agree that if you chose 3" baits you'd be pestered by jack pike. If you agree with this statement then it's logical to use 5" - 7" lures when targeting pike above a few pounds.
If you intend tackling trout reservoirs for the monster pike that inhabit them you must choose lures that reflect the size of the stockie trout, all reservoirs stock trout of at least 12" - 14", to avoid predation from cormorants, pike grow large in these waters eating these trout, there are very few lures as big as this, as they're poor hookers only suitable for trolling, but experienced anglers now regularly use big lures to catch specimen fish.
Plug, Jerkbait, Soft Plastic, Spoon or Spinner?
These are an extremely versatile family of lures there are baits available covering all depths from the surface through to 20' when casting and up to 30' by trolling, the swimming action and depth capability being provided by their diving lip, by varying the speed of your retrieve different deeps can be covered effectively.
Most plugs are buoyant, this allows them to be fished near or over, weeds or shallow water, searching these fish holding features. A technique known as "Grinding" also utilises the buoyancy, by trolling deep diving plugs along the bottom, glancing off rocks and other structures to trigger deep dwelling pike. Finally choose sinking plugs, known as "count downs", to search deeper layers of water by using the count down method.
Devastatingly effective in the warmer months of the year when pike are triggered by their erratic action. Jerkbaits are similar to plugs in shape but have no in-built action, that all comes from the jerk on the end of the rod! I'm kidding, by making downward jerks with the rod imparts action into the bait.
There are two styles of jerkbaits, Glide baits and Pull baits, Gliders zigzag through the water, whereas Pull baits dive and rise while moving in a straight line, both styles are available in floating and sinking models, and some custom baits can be made to suspend!
Soft plastic lures are available in a huge variety of shapes and sizes they are most commonly available as shads or grubs, 'Bull Dawg's' have caught large numbers of huge pike everywhere they've been used, a great bait anytime of year. Soft plastics have two main advantages, one their soft supple bodies and tails allow them to be fished slowly in a variety of retrieve styles, from sink and draw through to jigging, secondly they sink so yet again by using the count down method, one bait that can be fished at different depths depending on how long you let it sink.
These have two advantages over plugs. First they cast much further giving you access to fish out of range of plugs, so when distance is important, spoons are a must. Secondly spoons sink, so using the count down method they can search slowly, different depths. Spoons are effective as the flutter and fall through the water, use a sink and draw retrieve to keep your spoon close to the bottom when fishing water more than 10 feet deep.
These are very easy baits to use, they give off vibrations which draw fish from a distance and are very effective in dirty water. They are most often retrieved in a straight line, while varying the speed. The Offset Spinnerbait has the advantage of being virtually weedless and snag proof, ideal for beginners, due to the unique up-side down single hook arrangement, this lure can be fished at any speed, at any depth and at any time of year! I strongly recommend everyone to have a selection of these baits in their lure box.
It has often been said in the past, that lure fishing is "a great method for catching small pike", but this is no longer true, in fact the last two British Record Pike were lure caught! The great thing about lure fishing is the lures themselves, they are "big boy’s toys", and I should know I've got a very big toy box!