The Japanese Wind method (rhymes with ‘find’ by the way) is one of my favourite, all-time lure fishing techniques in any size category, for targeting active fish. It can also be called Darting or Dart Game. For LRF, the sub-category is defined as Micro-Wind. So what is it?
Micro-Wind is an active technique with a fast, aggressive action that can lead to equally aggressive takes from active fish.It works particularly well for fish like Bass, Mackerel and Scad, but also many other predators if you target the right areas. It is fairly dependant on clear water. Micro-Wind has become my absolute favourite method when fishing around the Med, where all manner of species lock-on to the crazy, panicked action of the lure. More on that in a moment.
You have probably seen darting / wind lures before without knowing it. This is a lure category that looks zero on the shelf, and hero in the water! They are the soft-plastic lures that have a triangular profile, and are normally pretty rigid. That’s for good reason as the lure has a sheering action on the rip and a glide on the fall. This action is accentuated by the rigid, flat sides of the lure. Thinking about lures that you may have seen in the UK that fit into this category, you have the AquaWave Spark 40, the Reins Aji Zag, the Xesta Dart Star 1.6. Also the HTO Mini Stick and Midi Stick for a slightly larger offering.
These soft plastics are mated to specific darting jig heads. Of those, we have plenty of choice. I prefer matching the triangular lure profile to a similarly, triangular head, but bullet shaped darting heads work just fine. When choosing the correct weight jig head for Micro-Wind, I have a big tip – go heavier than you think you need. If you’ve read other pages on this blog, you may have established that I’m a total advocate of fishing as light as possible for the prevailing conditions. This is all about maximising hang-time and slowing the fall rate, which generally speaking is deadly. But with Micro-Wind, the up-stroke is equally important. And a positive up-stroke (snap) is easier to maintain if the lure is pulling back a bit.
So what is the action. The desired action is a zig-zag up-stroke, alternating left and right, with a progressively downward, arcing glide on the down-stroke (pause). It imitates a fleeing baitfish perfectly. If there are active predators nearby, it is sure to provoke a reaction bite. The process of the technique is as follows. Cast out and let the lure sink to the target depth. Bail-arm over. Reel in any slack until you feel the weight of the lure. Now with your rod at about 45-degrees up, make a quick, upward snap of the wrist, and accelerate the lure upwards. The lure will sheer left or right. At the end of the ‘snap’, try to stop your rod tip dead. Stopping the rod tip from rising further allows the upward momentum of the lure to carry further than the rod movement and that introduces slack. Like so many successful methods, this small amount of slack makes the lure move naturally as it glides away and then arcs downward as the line tension loads back in. As the line tightens, take your rod tip back to its original position. If that introduces too much slack, use the reel. It won’t always. Then repeat the snap. The snaps are made easier by using the heavier jig head I recommended above. Its downward momentum will load the rod tip slightly. If it doesn’t, either your rod is too heavy, or lure is too light. If you get your timing right, the lure will sheer off in the opposite direction to before. And so on, and so on. You don’t need to worry too much about slack line and missing bites as they’re likely to be savage. If you don’t get the technique immediately, for the sake of confidence, try practising with a short, shallow cast within view. Before you start belting it out. This technique is a whole lot easier if you can see the lure!
I should add, this method does work vertically too, and makes a nice alternative to jigging metals.
Other things to consider. This method won’t hold a specific depth. Because of the positive upstrokes the lure will want to travel up the water column. But with practice you can keep the lure working in the desired zone by using the correct weight head and perfecting your timing in the pause (to let the lure glide back down).
Rod wise, as ever, having a balanced outfit will generate more feel and feedback, so you’ll know what the lure is doing. In my mind, this is very much a technique requiring a tubular rod. Anything requiring a ‘snap’ usually is.
For line, I use my usual light braid outfits – 0.2 to 0.4PE. There is a definite case for using FC straight through with Micro-Wind. The buoyancy of braid isn’t useful for this technique. But I get away with my normal set-up if I use a decent fluorocarbon leader. I don’t like lure clips with Jighead methods, but that is my personal preference. If you opt for one here, make it a small one.
There you go. My run-down on the Micro-Wind Dart Game technique. Something to try this summer perhaps? Enjoy!