10 inspiring hard body lure fishing tips from Steve Starlo

By: Steve Starlo


When it comes to fishing with hard bodied lures we can increase our chances of success by at least vaguely imitating certain aspects of the shape, size, colour and movement of real food.

Fly fishers have a useful term for this process. They call it "matching the hatch" and it’s a reference to the insect swarms or hatches that are so important to trout anglers. The concept is equally valid to a tropical lure caster chasing barramundi, a soft plastic fanatic trying to tempt bream or a deep-sea gamefisher trolling for marlin.

When fish feed heavily on one food type they can become incredibly single-minded and will sometimes refuse to eat much else. Perhaps their brains are so simple they can’t actually see (or comprehend) much else apart from the items they’re eating. Who knows?

Whatever the process involved, if you suspect that fish are keyed into a particular food source you’d be crazy not to imitate it! But you can take imitation too far: if you perfectly match the look and movement of a little whitebait, then place your lure within a school of 10,000 other whitebait, there’s a one-in-10,000 chance that yours will be the next one eaten! Not good odds.

By contrast, if you imitate a wounded whitebait and place your copy just outside the school, your chances of success increase. Conversely, you can take certain aspects of a whitebait and exaggerate them to tell a more colourful lie.

The bottom line is simple: the more creative the lie you tell, the more fish you’ll catch. Here are 10 tips to help you catch more fish with hard body lures.

 

How to catch more fish with hard bodied lures

Don’t fixate on lure colour

Hardbodied lure in fish mouth

On some days the colour of your lure can certainly be important – even critical – but more often than not colour rates well down the list behind size, action, speed and running depth when it comes to determining the effectiveness of a particular lure in a specific situation.

 

Choose the optimum speed

Spanish mackerel caught on hardbodied lure

Every hard-bodied lure has an optimum speed band in which it swims at its very best. Too slow and it will have no action. Too fast and the lure spins or jumps from the water. Test swim all lures first to determine their best operating speed.

 

Tune your hard lures

Hard bodied lures

On some days the colour of your lure can certainly be important – even critical – but more often than not colour rates well down the list behind size, action, speed and running depth when it comes to determining the effectiveness of a particular lure in a specific situation.

Some bibbed hard-bodies don’t swim straight, even when new, while others can be knocked out of alignment by fishy encounters. Use long-nosed pliers to very gently tweak the eyelet or tow point in one direction or the other until the lure swims correctly.

 

Check those hook points

Hookpoint on hardbodied lure

Dull hooks are one of the most common causes of missed strikes when lure fishing. Check your hook points often by touching them lightly against the ball of your thumb or dragging them across a fingernail. They should dig in easily. Replace or sharpen as necessary because hard body lure hooks need to be sticky sharp!

 

Rinse the salt off

Kingfish caught on hardbodied lure

After fishing in salt or brackish water, always give your hard-bodied lures a quick rinse in freshwater and allow them to dry thoroughly before returning them to the tackle box. Hooks and rings can easily rust, ruining your lures.

 

Don’t mix them up

Murray cod caught on hardbodied lure

Hard and soft lures don’t play well together, and soft plastics will often react badly with the paint and clear coatings on hard-bodies, melting into them and destroying the finish. Always store different lure styles in separate trays or compartments in your tackle box.

 

Rattling or silent?

Fish caught with rattling lure

Many hard-bodied lures have inbuilt rattles or other noise-making devices. These can be very effective in attracting and exciting aggressive fish but may actually have the opposite effect in hard-fished waterways or on shy species. Carry a mix of noisy and quiet lures and try each to find out which works best on the day.

 

Downsize for success

Hardbodied blade lures

When fishing is tough and the fish seem shy or shut down, it can pay dividends to tie on a smaller, more subtle lure. Downsizing can be a great way to turn a quiet day around, especially on trout, perch, bream and other fickle customers.

 

Try lighter line

Fish caught on light line

Changing to a finer main line and a longer, lighter leader is another good way of potentially increasing strikes and catching more fish on those quiet, tough days we all experience. A little more finesse almost always pays off!

 

Beware the collecting bug

Collection of hard bodied lures

Be warned, building up a selection of modern, sophisticated hard-bodied lures can become quite addictive. You may easily find yourself becoming a collector rather than an angler! Remember: they are meant to be fish-catching tools. Be prepared to use (and lose) them, so don’t grow too attached to your favourite hard bodied lures.

 

Originally published in August 2015. Why not subscribe to Trade-a-Boat today?

 


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