Lure fishing in the UK is firmly associated with Bass and even though my fascination with using lures stems from HRF/LRF it was inevitable that I would be drawn to targeting Bass from the boat. Over the years I have fished for Bass with live baits and although it can produce terrific results, fishing a live sandeel on a 12ft plus trace with 6-8oz of lead on a 12-20lb class rod always seemed a bit clumsy. I wanted to catch Bass from a boat on similar tackle to which I catch them from the shore, a 6-7ft 10-30 gram rod teamed with a 3000 fixed spool and 6lb braid,the trouble we have in the boat is tide, and lots of it. Combine a couple of knots of tide with 20 metres of water and what is needed is a lure that will cut down through the water very quickly and still have the qualities to attract fish, this is where jigs come into their own. I’m constantly surprised just how quick a sub 10gram lure jig hits the bottom compared to an equivalent weighted soft plastic, this is crucial when a shoal of fish are fixed in one position and the boat can have drifted across them in a couple of minutes. Looking at a jig its easy to think its as easy as lifting the rod up and down waiting for a fish to bite but as with any fishing a small change in action can make a big difference. Sometimes the Bass will take the lure on the drop and this can mean a lot of missed takes, other times a very quick retrieve is needed to induce a take but however a Bass hits a jig it its always aggressive. My absolute favourite jigs of last year were the Quantum mahi jigs, these tiny 3-5gram lures are best fished on LRF or ultra-light tackle and a 2lb Bass on this set-up pulls like a train, these little lures also accounted for Mackerel, Wrasse, Pollack and Scorpion Fish and more. While I always like to fish as light as possible its important not to get stuck in an LRF mind-set, I took a sound beating on the boat when I stuck to my mini jigs only to watch my mate hook a dozen fish in a row on a jig just 10grams heavier, no better example of matching the hatch. Scaling up the 30gr Illex Kenbu V jigs are great lures as are Sakura mirror jigs, different in shape and action the Illex is a very streamlined lure whereas the Sakura’s flatter profile makes it flutter enticingly on the drop. As with all lure fishing the lure will only fish as well as the rod and line allow it to so correctly matched rods and line will increase hook ups, for most of my jigs up to 20grams (other than LRF lures) I use a Hearty Rise Top Gun 7-15gram rod teamed with a 2500 Daiwa Certate and 6lb YGK braid. I have a brand new Hearty Rise set-up for this year which will allow me to fish heavier jigs up to 30grams so I can try for some of the bigger Bass in deeper water.
As the lure fishing revolution continues in the UK the wider the variety of jigs available will improve although I have had to travel to France to pick up some different lures, our French friends are way ahead when it comes to lure fishing for Bass from boats but every week it seems the UK lure fishing specialist tackle shops are introducing more and more jigs suitable for targeting Bass from a boat.
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