SIDEWINDER LURES SEA ANGLER REVIEW 1
How to fish your lure
All anglers have their own way of fishing a lure but this is how Kevin does it.
“Wait until the boat is stationary in the water”, he said “then drop the lure over the side, initially keeping hold of the sinker. Allow the hook length to fully straighten out in the tide then drop the sinker and allow the rig to fall to the bottom slowly.”
“If you let it plummet down too quickly then almost always this will result in a tangles mess. It is important to use a bomb or spherical shaped sinker; leads with a flat bottom will not fall smoothly and will roll, causing tangles. On most days we use 8, 10 or 12oz sinkers, changing them as the speed of drift dictates.”
“When you feel the sinker tap bottom start to retrieve, being sure to count each turn of the handle. Some days the fish will be concentrated close to the bottom, others they will be much higher in the water, and by making a note of the number of turns of the reel handle it will help you locate fish quicker on subsequent drifts.”
“The ideal speed of retrieve will vary from day to day and even throughout the same day. Sometimes fish will respond best to a lure fished very slowly, but at other times you need to work the lure faster in order to trigger a fish to strike.”
“Be a sneaky angler and watch how fast other anglers who are catching fish are working their lures. Keep an eye on the length of their traces and colour of the lures they are using.
Lure design has moved on apace, but how we actually present them has not.
We fish with long booms, today’s angler favouring the tubi-type booms to carry the sinker and present their lure, although others, and that includes Kevin, stick with that traditional favourite, the simple, the simple yet highly effective French wire boom.
Whether you use a plastic or wired boom, the principle remains the same, and that is to minimize the risk of the long trace, used to present the lure, from getting wrapped around the mainline. This can very easily happen if you drop the rig too quickly through the water.
“I use a French boom because I think it’s absolutely perfect for this style of fishing,” said Kevin, ” I always tie the boom securely to the end of my leader, rather than simply thread the line and wrap it around the end of the boom a few times like many anglers do.”
“The reason for this is that I have seen some very big fish lost as a result of the line parting, due to friction created during the fight when the wire boom is forced to slide down the leader under extreme pressure.”
“I then attach the sinker to the bottom of the boom using a 6 inch length of mono that is weaker then the leader. This breaks first when the lead snags and all you lose is the lead.”
Keep your nerve
“Takes from fish even big fish are often surprisingly gentle affairs,” said Keven, “with the first indication that your lures has worked its magic being a delicate plucking on the end of your line, as the fish mouths the tail of the lure.”
Do not strike, stop winding, speed up or slow down the rate of retrieve, but continue winding at exactly the same speed. Often the fish will follow and play with a lure for a surprisingly long time, but in the end the temptation will be too great and it will attack.”
“Still don’t strike. Keep winding until the rod tip is almost into the water and you can feel the weight of the fish come on to the rod. Only then set the hook by firmly lifting lifting into the fish; and then enjoy the fight,” said Kevin.”
Mostly we caught beautifully conditioned golden-flanked summer pollack averaging around 8 – 12lb, but the wreck also held reasonable numbers of tasty cod, which made a welcome change. Many of the fish came aboard coughing up fresh sprats, and by laying them alongside a lure we could see why 6 inch Sidewinders were so effective, in fact the similarity of a sprat to a Ghost White Sidewinder in terms of colour, profile and size is quite striking.
“Many anglers use a line that is far too light to attach the lure to, and I recommend using a good quality clear line of about 25lb. Always avoid excessively long hook lengths, which I feel are unnecessary and are obviously far more prone to tangling.”
“I find a hook length of around 10 – 12ft is perfect, and I use a single length of line, not two pieces joined in the middle by a swivel. Simple is best, but at the end of the day it’s down to the individual’s preference.”
“Some of my top wrecking anglers always use a swivel with the section of line that the lure is tied to being of a slightly lower breaking strain than the other section of line.”
“For example they might use 30lb breaking strain from the boom to a small high quality swivel, to which they attach a slightly lighter line of, say 25lb. The thinking is that if the lure gets snagged in the wreck, then this should break off and you only have to re-tie a short section of line and a new lure to get fishing again quickly.”
The day’s hot colour?
Rhubarb and Custard appeared to be a tasty combination for both cod and pollack, and while white Sidewinders accounted for plenty of Pollock, the day’s top rod Lenny Barnes used Bubblegum Pink Lures. It just goes to show you should always have a range of colours ready to go for a swim!