Catching fish on lures

Catching fish on lures is great fun and in many situations is more effective at catching big fish than some bait techniques. Traditional lure styles have been around longer than anyone reading this column but the modern variations include those fashioned from metals, timbers, hard plastics and soft plastics.

Soft plastic lures are generating the most interest of late and are accounting for some remarkable captures. So much so that some anglers who are new to lure fishing have only every used the soft variety.

There is a lot of debate about which style is the ‘best’ lure. A more productive discussion would be which style works best in a given situation, because all lure styles have advantages and disadvantages across a range of species, locations and conditions.

The trick to catching more fish on any lure is to know firstly, what natural food source you need to imitate, and secondly, what style of swimming action each lure has. If you match the two as closely as possible, cast in the right area at the right time, you’ll catch fish.

Tsunami Lures Pro Tips and lure suggestions for popular fish

The ‘best’ lure is always determined by the environment and the conditions, because all lure styles have advantages and disadvantages depending on species, locations and times.

Soft plastic lures are generating the most interest of late and are accounting for some remarkable captures. So much so that some anglers who are new to lure fishing have only every used the soft variety.
  1. 1. Know what natural food source you need to imitate. You can learn this by catching baitfish in your local area to see what local fish feed on.
  2. 2. Choose lures that suit the depth of water in which you find baitfish.
  3. 3. Match the size, shape and colour of your lures as closely as possible to the natural prey you’re imitating.
  4. 4. A popular rule of thumb for lure colour choice is to use natural colours in clean water, and loud or very dark colours in dirty water.
  5. 5. Time your trip so you’re casting coincides with a tide change. Be ready and fishing an hour before the tide change and don’t finish until an hour after the change.
  6. 6. Try the areas where you found baitfish while doing your homework for Tip 1 (above). Hungry fish know where baitfish live!
  7. 7. If you have several bait-holding areas to choose from, cast at those that offer predatory fish the best hiding spots and protection from the current.
  8. 8. Use the lightest leader that is practical, considering the size of fish and how much abrasion resistance you’ll need for the area. Lighter leaders equal more strikes.
  9. 9. Double-check all your knots!
  10. 10. When you find a likely spot, approach it quietly and be persistent with your casting. Take enough time to cover the entire area/structure with your casts.

To make all of the above even easier, try Tsunami Lure’s lure recommendations for these common targets:

Fish speciesRecommended lure
Bream/bass Tsunami Super Softie Split Tail 3”
Barramundi Tsunami Super Softie Paddle Tail 5”
Coral trout Tsunami Super Softie Rattling Stick Bait 5”
Flathead Tsunami Super Softie Paddle Tail 4”
Kingfish/salmon Tsunami Super Softie Sand Eel 6”
Mulloway Tsunami Super Softie Paddle Tail 6”
Snapper Tsunami Super Softie Split Tail 5”
Catching more with soft plastics

Soft plastic lures are popular because they catch fish and are easy to use. The supple materials used to make these lures are perfect for a natural looking imitation of baitfish, and that’s what makes them so effective. It is therefore critical that you don’t dampen the natural swimming action of your soft plastic lures with too much weight in the jig head.

Jig head choice will influence what you catch. A good rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight jig head that is practical for the situation — bearing in mind the depth of water you’re fishing and the strength of any current or tidal movement. And that may be no weight at all, just a hook.

You should also consider the line you use. Fine lines and thin leaders will help your lure sink faster, allowing you to use a slightly lighter jig head. The shape and size of your soft plastics will also influence the rate at which it sinks when lightly weighted. There is a huge variety of brands and models to choose from, so put some thought into what swimming action you will need to trick a fish into biting it — that will tell you what shape is best.

Also think about where you want your lure to be swimming. Sometimes it’s best that it doesn’t reach the bottom; a slow, wafting action just below the surface or in mid-water can often be more effective than bouncing along the bottom. Swimming your soft plastics across the surface is also worth a try.

Using sinking lures

Casting lures in estuaries is a fun option when the weather prevents you heading outside. It’s also an exciting and productive means of catching fish in its own right. Floating diving minnows and soft plastics have long been favourites with creek casters but the variety of techniques and lure styles is growing along with the range now available to Aussie anglers. Sinking lures are now turning heads and catching quality fish.

Sinking lures are best used with thin lines. This reduces any belly in the line, gives you more chance of detecting strikes and also facilitates a faster sink rate. It’s important that you concentrate on your line whenever the lure is in the water, watching and feeling for any signs of unusual line movement. Strike at anything that makes the line move or feels unusual.

Using your line as a bite indicator is just one of the many subtle tricks to catching more with this style of lure.