What’s The Best Type Of Lure For Perch?
To tackle shallow water venues a small spinner is ideal. There are many makes on the market, such as the Mepps patterns and the Rapala Blue Fox Vibrax lures, that can be fished up to depths of four feet.
Perch are inquisitive creatures and will react to the splash made as the lure lands although they may not attack it.
Once you start to work the lure don’t just draw it back in a straight line. Keep the rod tip low, move it from side to side every so often and change the rate of retrieve. But don’t stop as this will cause the fish to abandon the chase.
Our experts recommend that you try a spinner that omits a buzz-type sound as it travels through the water. Spinners with a bell-shaped body that surrounds a knurled brass barrel are very popular as the lure will rattle as the bell rubs against it.
Perch also seem to go for spinners with red wool or something similar attached to the shank of its hook. This gives the lure added realism as the wool looks like the tail of a small roach or rudd as it moves through the water.

Deep Water Perch Lures
For tackling deeper venues our experts suggest you have a look at some of the modern soft, plastic lures that are now readily available from tackle shops.
Unlike the shallow water lures these need to be fished in an aggressive manner where the lure is first drawn slowly through the water before it’s jerked to give the impression that it’s a sick or injured fish.
According to our experts the best patterns for this style are the so-called kick-tail type of lure, which has a soft, rubber, curly tail that wiggles brilliantly when retrieved. A popular choice is the Storm Wildeye Curltail Minnow, a lure that comes in a variety of wacky colours.

Can You Target Chub With Lures?
Yes, and although chub will take a small, shallow-diving, plug-type lure, the best and most exciting way to fire the predatory instincts of the fish is to use a surface lure under overhanging trees and tight to rafts of weeds.
Chub that live close to these features will investigate anything that drops into the water to see if it’s edible, so a small, floating, insect-like lure that can be made to act like a grasshopper or caterpillar struggling in the surface tension of the water can be deadly, especially in the warmer months.
Lure fishing for chub is not that popular in the UK, but if you fancy a change from the usual float or feeder fishing tactics our experts have identified lures, such as Crazy Crawlers and Creek Hoppers, as those which get the best results.

What Are The Best Zander Patterns?
Fast-sinking lures are the best choice for targeting zander as you want them to crash hard into the bottom of the river.
Sinking lures similar to those used for perch can be used, but you can also use the floating, deep-diving types that have a distinctive tight, rapid wobble as they move down through the water. These are fished using the sink and draw method, but you need to wind down quickly so that the lures hit the deck before allowing them to drift upwards and repeating the action. Our experts suggest you use a pattern like the Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk, a slim-shaped lure that has a large, shallow-set vein and dives sharply as you crank the line.

What Are The Best Surface Pike Lures?
On shallow venues there’s nothing more exciting that watching a pike leaping out of the water as it takes a large popper, imitation frog or similar pattern that you have been fishing over weed beds or close to reed-lined margins.
Popper lures are best fished by jerking them across the surface where the concave-shaped head creates a disturbance and a ‘plopping’ sound that attracts the fish.
You cannot miss the take as the surrounding water will explode when the fish hits the surface. It’s much the same when you fish a floating imitation, like a frog or mouse, but these are best fished in short jerks to mimic the natural swimming movements of frogs and such like.

What Are Effective Shallow Divers?
Moving away from the marginal features and into the open water where the near shelf drops away, we find possibly the best location to target patrolling fish that can also hold station for a long period.
Buoyant, shallow-diving plugs and imitations, each of which has a dumpy, downward-pointing vein that imparts loads of disturbance as it travels through the water, are the best for covering the area.
These are designed to swim down to around nine feet, depending on the speed at which they are retrieved, and can be fished by continually winding in or using sink and draw tactics, letting the lure come to the top and then cranking the handle to get it to dive down again. Indeed, these types of lure are called ‘crankbaits’ in the USA.
Our experts have had great success with Rapala’s Shad Rap, both the Shallow and the Super patterns that come in loads of colours.

Deep Divers
Large gravel pits, reservoirs and massive waters, like those in the Lake District, require deep-diving lures that allow the angler to fish in depths of up to 25 feet or even deeper. To be honest, if you are looking to fish lures this deep it’s more than likely that these will be fished from a boat; they can be trolled using a number of rods with deep-water lures that work at different levels.
If working the lure yourself heavy spoons fare well in these circumstances. Let them sink to the bottom and then draw them off the bottom before letting them sink again.
If you aren’t permitted to troll from a boat, but still have a depth of water that normal lures could not cover, it’s also well worth trying a pirk or large spoon like those from Kuusamo.
These are heavy, solid metal lures that you fish vertically under a boat or a short cast away from it. Once the required fishing depth is reached you then lift and drop the rod to impart a rise and fall action that fools a predator into believing it’s a weak or dying fish. For those familiar with cod fishing it’s a similar style.

Does Size Matter?
Yes, if you want to fish at depths of over, say, 10 feet. Small lures are fine for fishing shallow venues but you will find that they have a maximum limit before they level out above what would be considered as the ‘action zone’ in deeper venues. Big lures get down fast and deep, so you are able to cover a predator’s patrol area.
Don’t be afraid to fish big, even in shallow water, as a small pike will readily take a plug or soft, plastic lure that’s as big as a 1lb roach.
The most important factor is how you fish it, so that it gains the attention of the predator. A foot off the deck if fishing deeper water will bring the best results say our experts.

Is Rod And Reel Choice Important?
Absolutely! If you use a short rod of up to six feet long then a baitcasting, multiplier-type reel is perfect for casting and working lures that don’t have to travel too far. Once you move on to longer rods then a standard fixed spool reel will allow you to cover greater distances on larger venues.
If you are trying a method known as ‘jerkbaiting’, in which you have to impart the movement into a large wooden lure, then a very stiff rod is critical.

Mono Or Braid?
Our experts all agree that it has to be braid every time. As it has minimal or no stretch you can feel every vibration as the lure moves through the water. You can also feel it as it bounces on the bottom, and experience the vicious takes from a predator, if you are fishing a plastic, leaded model. Once a fish is on the angler is in direct contact, so you are able to feel every powerful lunge, twist and turn the predator makes as it battles to escape.

What Are The Best Colour Patterns?
There are hundreds of lures of every conceivable shape and size available, including many in the United States, which are successfully used for targeting bass. Many of them are highlighted on these pages.
However, our experts have put their heads together and come up with some styles that they say should be in every predator angler’s box.
Any fish-patterned lure is well worth having, as modern ones look extremely natural and lifelike with the most successful patterns being the perch and pike.
Again on a modern theme, there are a lot of holographic styles that glint in clear water venues and resemble a silver fish catching the light as it swims.
Two of the most popular patterns in the UK are the Red Head, a pearl or white lure with a large red patch on its head, and the Fire Tiger, a lure that has a green and yellow body with black stripes. Our experts also highlight the fact that blue and black lures, although not a popular choice, are also deadly colours, especially in coloured water and at night. Remember that a predator is usually looking up at your lure, so the stronger the silhouette it creates against the skyline the better.

Why Do Some Lures Only Have A Single Hook?
These lures are for fishing directly on the bottom and they act like a small fish that is grubbing around for food. If a treble hook was located on its belly it would catch all the weed and detritus that congregates on the deck; therefore, a single hook located on its back remains clean so you can get a positive hook hold when a fish is snared.
These lures need to be fished very slowly so that you create a cloud that attracts predators and fool them into thinking it’s a small fish that’s feeding.
These lures are great for fishing commercial fisheries where there are shoals of small silver fish and big perch, which are largely ignored by the carp bagging visitors and silver fish anglers. They can also be very good for zander in the cooler months.


Ludicrous Lures

They come in crazy colours and shapes, and possess even crazier names, but the tcf team is here to guide your through the lure fishing minefield and help you put bigger predators on the bank.

Surface Sizzlers
Seven styles of top-water lure to help you enjoy some explosive predator action.

Crawler
Pictured is the Heddon Crazy Crawler, an all-time American classic, with a red head and flexible front fins that create havoc, throwing water all over the place as the lure effectively swims (or crawls) across the surface. One of the easiest lures to use and brilliant fun! Also very effective at night.
Jitterbug
Another classic from across the Pond that weaves and ‘splurts’ across the surface layers on a slow retrieve, making a ‘glub, glub’ sound, and which triggers a predator’s naturally aggressive behaviour. It’s actually a type of crawler but is worth a mention in its own right and is regarded in the States as a superb night-time lure as well as being effective in daylight.
Frog
These are very realistic, usually made from soft rubber and often include a weed guard to allow them to be fished through lilies and weeds. The Berkley Frenzy Power Pop (pictured) has a wooden body and unique curly legs, which kick out and retract just like those of a real frog! It comes in several patterns, including ‘leopard frog’ (also pictured). The other pictured frog is the all-rubber Rubberneck Froggie which comes with a weed guard.
Popper
These wooden or plastic lures have a concave head which creates a ‘popping’ sound when you jerk the rod. They come in endless sizes and colours, and are good for fishing alongside surface weed and reed beds or above sub-surface weed. Pictured are the Rapala Firetiger Skitter Pop, which includes feathers on the rear treble, and a big-eyed silver Bullet Popper from the Double MM lure range.
Prop Bait
These feature one or two propellers and create a massive disturbance when drawn across the surface layers. They can be continually retrieved or worked through the water by jerking and leaving them for a few seconds. Some have great names, too, like the Cripple Killer, Devil’s Horse, Tiny Torpedo and the Cisco Kid Topper (pictured).
Do-Nothing Lure
As you would imagine, these don’t do a lot until the angler puts some action into them by jerking the rod from side to side and twitching them across the top – so they are best fished with a stiffish rod. However, they also catch fish on a steady, slow retrieve. The lure pictured is The Ghost and is a rattling, hollow, soft, plastic lure with a double hook designed for fishing around heavy vegetative mats, and is very good on overcast days.
Buzzbait
A top-water category that takes a bit more work as the lure does not float. As the lure is pulled through the water the blades chop the water’s surface and create quite a commotion. Buzzbaits are similar in physical appearance to spinnerbaits. They are built with a blade that resembles a butterfly with its wings outstretched and is cupped on the tips. Two-bladed aluminium buzz blades are the most popular, with silver or chrome the most common colour.


Spoons And Spinners

Here’s tcf’s guide to the various pieces of metalwork on the market designed to catch more fish.

Blade Spinners
These have a metal blade that revolves around a central shaft, creating a flash of colour and a fish-attracting vibration that can be felt right through the rod as it is retrieved. The shaft holds a barrel which acts as casting weight. The shape of the blade governs how far from the shaft the blade spins – a 30-degree blade spinner will fish deeper than a 60-degree one. There are more of these than you can shake a stick at, some carrying feathers on the treble.

Mepps Aglia (top): Made American magazine Field and Stream’s list of the top 50 lures of all time. There are several patterns, some including rubber tails or fish and others holding feathers.

Tasmanian Devil (second from top): A bit different, these have a double plastic blade that spins around a long central shaft. Has a good casting weight and can be retrieved, trolled or jigged.

Cora Z Vamp (third from top): Has a bright blade and decent casting weight. One good feature is easily interchangeable blades.

Vibrax Shallow (bottom): A wide, 60-degree blade means this one fishes shallow. Vibrax blade spinners are designed to create extra underwater vibrations due to a knurling of the barrel.

Spoons
Metal lures with a rear treble designed to be fished deep on a slow retrieve with the spoon wobbling like an injured fish. Spoons, as the name suggests, derived from actual kitchen spoons when an angler would cut the spoon from the handle, drill a hole at either end, attach a split ring at one end and a hook at the other. Obviously they have got more sophisticated these days.

Kuusamo Professor (top): Large double-hooked spoon which has been used to great effect on trout reservoirs when fished close to the bottom.

Abu Atom (left centre): Very popular single treble pattern for many predatory fish. Comes in a mass of colours.

Blue Fox Esox (right centre): Classic spoon pattern with a red flag on the rear VMC treble, it has a wide swimming action designed for a slow retrieve. Comes in six patterns.

Toby (bottom): Non-symmetrical body form makes the lure flutter on retrieve, while a life-like fish design and 3D eyes give added attraction.

Spinnerbait
Classic single hook lures carrying a weighed head with the hook covered by a multi-coloured plastic skirt, and an offset wire carrying one or more fish-attracting blades. A single hook means it can be retrieved slowly along the bottom without snagging, which makes it ideal when predators are deep and sluggish.

Pirk
A heavy metal lure, usually chrome-plated, with a swivel at one end and a strong treble at the other. A specialised lure in freshwater, although commonly used at sea, it’s worked in a jigging fashion in deep water close to the bottom and is something you might use on trout reservoirs that allow pike fishing, loughs or lochs.


Shallow And Deep Divers

A look at some of the bright and beautiful plugs you can buy, and what they will do to catch you more fish.

Shakespeare CFR Lure
This deep-bodied plastic plug actually lights up when in contact with water and rattles when retrieved. It’s a floating plug but has a wide, shallow vein which means it dives deep when ‘cranked’ by the angler, and the lighting-up effect makes it extra effective.
Rapala Super Countdown Shad Rap
Perhaps the classic plug pattern of all time, the Shad Rap works brilliantly in fresh- and saltwater. Available as a floating lure in a multitude of patterns, the Countdown is a sinking version with the vein at a sharp angle, allowing you to count the lure down to the required depth and keep it at that depth on the retrieve.
Abu Hi-Lo
Famous floating wooden predator lure, the thing anglers love about these is that the angle of the vein can be altered from almost horizontal to nearly 90 degrees, so the depth at which this classic plug is fished can be varied.
Rapala Magnum Divebait
The long, straight vein tells you that this is a lure that dives deep when cranked in – up to 30 feet in this case. This particular lure floats, but is ideal for trolling behind a boat on large stillwaters at depths from 15-25 feet. Comes in 10 patterns.
Cora Z Rivalo
Pike will happily eat their own kind and pike-patterned lures have become all the rage in recent years. This realistic floating plug from the Cormoran stable has a vein at about 30 degrees to the horizontal and will work at about 10 feet deep. It comes in four patterns, all resembling pike with large eyes.
Rapala X-Rap Jointed Shad
Once again the classic shad pattern, this lure has a near-neutral buoyancy and as it’s jointed has an exaggerated action even on a slow retrieve, which can trigger finicky fish into an aggressive take. A short, downward pointing vein sees this lure working at three to six feet. Comes in nine patterns.

tcf Top Tip
A floating plug with a long, straight vein is a deep divers when retrieved, whereas a plug with a downward pointing vein will be a shallow diver.


Plastics And Jellies

It’s a modern world, so we’d better look at a selection of new-world lures, including lead-loaded rubber imitations and soft plastic grubs.

Storm Thundercore Squirter
This little beauty has been described as “brilliant” by tcf editor Gareth Purnell. Its downward pointing vein tells you immediately that it’s for shallow water work. It has a thin rubber tail that wobbles as you retrieve, and to add to its predator pulling power it rattles as it moves.
Storm Wildeye Freshwater
These mini freshwater species imitations are designed to be fished using a sink and draw-style retrieve. They are armed with a large treble that sits below the internal lead weight and a big single hook that sits well above the top. The shape of the tail adds to the lifelike action as the lure travels through the water.
Daiwa Sonic Shad
This classic shad design has a single, large hook protruding from its back. This allows the angler to slowly work the lure along the bottom of a venue without it snagging on weeds or detritus, making it resemble a small fish feeding.
Storm Kicking Segmented Minnow
One for shallower water, this has a downward-pointing vein that draws it upward on the retrieve. The lightly weighted lure has a very thin body with a segmented rear section that imitates the actions of a swimming fish while the holographic internal mesh adds a silver, fish-like glint as it moves.
Interex Maxi-Flex Sand Eel
Jig fishing is far more popular in the United States than in the UK, but the eel-like action of these lures when fished using either a sink and draw method or jerking tactic can result in explosive takes from pike, zander and perch.
Mann’s Hard Nose Jelly
Loaded with salt that helps in fish attraction, these small jelly grubs with curled tails require a large hook to allow the angler to fish it shallow using a simple retrieve. To sink the lure deeper, add a split shot on the line above the hook eye. This allows the jelly to be fished using the sink and draw method – the tail will wiggle like mad!
Berkley Gulp Shaky Shad (smelt)
These soft plastic lures are impregnated with scents and flavours. They have been a great success in the United States and are now available in the UK. Unweighted, they need a big, heavy, wide-gape hook to make them sink, but as you draw the fish-like lure through the water, not only does it look like the real thing but it gives off a flavour trail to entice predators to strike.


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