Artificial Revolution Part 2 - 02 July 2011

 2015-09-02 04:05 PM by
RECENT EXPERIENCES WITH PLASTICS AND LEAD-HEADS
There is no doubt that there is a strong progression towards bigger plastics and bigger fish, especially in the surf and estuaries. Four to six inches is now becoming the norm in Jerk Shad and Paddle-Tails and some amazing fish arebeing caught. It is seldom that one gets the opportunity to do some seriousexperimenting “in the field” so to speak, purely due to the scarcity of “guineapigs”.

Recently on the beach adjacent to the Kunene River in Southern Angola, the“guinea pigs” ,in the form of Kob, were wild. On two separate two-day stunts,each angler in our group averaged somewhere in excess of 150 Kob perperson per day ranging in size from 1 to 19 kilograms. By day two, havingbeen through most of the lures in my arsenal, I found myself stuck on theSpace Guppy Jerk Shad with a ½ ounce 3/0 Nitro Jig Head. The opportunityto experiment could not be resisted. I had some plastics (same Space Guppy, Jerk Shad) with absolutely no smell, so before I scented them I tried them as they were. I had been fishing extremely slowly just twitching the baitand letting it ride on the bottom head first into the current. Without hittingwhen I detected a bite, the first thing that I noticed was that you had about one second to set the hook because that is how long it took for the Kob to reject the bait.

As soon as I fished with a bait that had smell, the bite rate went up and I am sure that this had to do with the current as from time to time one would seethe Kob move upstream onto the bait even though it was well out of hi visibility. This did not happen when the bait had no smell. The other thingthat the smell did was cause the fish to hold onto the bait substantially longer.I timed it at approximately 3 seconds which is triple the time. My favourite smell was a mix of Anchovy and Aniseed, but plain Anchovy and plain Aniseed both worked well. The 5” Gulp Jerk Shad solicited exactly the sameresponse from a holding on point of view. In the limited visibility, the brighterand solid colours definitely performed better. What worked best for me were Space Guppy, then Chartreuse and Pearl.

Paddle-Tails were next in the experiment. In a no-smell situation, if you hadthe right Paddle-Tail it had an advantage over a Fluke or Jerk Shad,particularly in the calmer water. Sound or vibration was a factor. WithPaddle-Tails, it was critical to use the Nitro Jig so that the lure rested rightway up on the sand facing the current, with the tail sending out a pulse. Thetime that the fish held on to the bait was the same as in the Jerk Shadexperiment. Four and five inch Riptide Mullet worked particularly well and again it was with the solid colours.

The next revelation for me was when I pulled out some seriously old Storm Paddle-Tails. I quickly realised that in the shallower water, fished sideways tothe current, they kept lying on their sides and didn’t work that well, but assoon as I fished them in the deeper water on a straight back retrieve, withsmell, the result was amazing. If you did not strike, the fish swallowed the bait. I am sure this is due to the internal weight of the Storm Paddle-Tail asopposed to the external jig weight. I also noticed that my Nitro heads were fullof holes from the Kob teeth. Normally when one is fishing for Kob you would be striking at the slightest hint of a bite and hooking the fish in the jaw, which is obviously more desirable, but the difference in how the fish reacted to the feel of hard lead as opposed to a soft lure is very interesting to note.

Something else that was very interesting was that if you threw the Paddle-Tail into the strike zone, which invariably is the drop-off on the inside of a bank,the bait was quite often eaten before it even hit the ground. The fact that the bait swims down on the drop proves irresistible to Kob lying in ambush, shoal ways be ready for a take on the drop particularly with Paddle-Tails.

I experimented with a lot of different Paddle-Tails and there are a couple of important factors that one needs to pay attention to when selecting Paddle-Tails. If the material/plastic is too soft, particularly the paddle itself, it does not perform, because the soft paddle folds up and does not paddle when there is increased water flow. These very soft paddles only really work with very slowretrieves in still water. If the material is very rigid, then the tail will only start paddling at high speed or with big current. I found that a very thin or flexiblebase to the tail was important as well as a firm paddle and a fairly firm bodythat is not destroyed by the retainers on the jig head. I found that the Berkley retainers definitely worked best. If one finds that the Paddle-Tail you are faced with is very hard then a couple of V’s snipped into the base of the tail will help to free it up some and get that tail going.

There was no doubt that the bigger fish preferred bigger baits and although the pulls got a little scarcer, they definitely got bigger as the size of the bait was increased. My limited supply of six inch Swim Shad had been flattened by the big Shad up at Flamingo, otherwise they would have been the perfect bait for the “biggies” at Kunene.

The one area that I fished a lot was a fairly shallow channel on the inside of a bank, that got really shallow down to the left and progressively deeper to the right, opening up into a bit of a hole and the Kob were almost everywhere. What was really interesting was that up in the shallower areas where the water was coming over the bank and flowing down to the deep from left to right, every single Kob was hooked on  the left hand side of the jaw. Obviously these fish were all pointing up-stream and as soon as they took the bait and you tightened, the hook found the left hand side of the jaw.

Jig Head shapes are important. I found that the ball Jig Head is not a badgeneral purpose Jig Head, but as soon as you are fishing across a current onthe bottom, it is not the best option. The reason is that it tends to allow thebait to lie on its side and this has an adverse affect on its action. The Nitro JigHead definitely worked better in these conditions. I found the ball worked wellin the holes where there was no distinct direction to the current, but rather aback and forth movement in the water. A fish imitation on a ball head jigfished in this environment works pretty much like the “can’t knock me over”toy that you find in the bottom of a budgie cage. It looks like a bait fish feeding off the bottom being buffeted to and fro by the wave action.

Bucktail jigs started out being a serious challenge as we struggled to get the fish to eat them. That was until Andrew Pautz put a curly tail grub onto the jigand the result was amazing. On hindsight and after careful underwaterobservation, one can see why the “spro” system of buck tail jig head and grubworks. The grub-tail clearly puts life into the lure, causing the buck tail toalmost pulsate over the movement that the grub-tail creates.The experience was amazing and certainly taught me a lot about this excitingform of fishing. It works wonders for confidence levels and helps you to be able to walk away from a place saying “there is definitely no Kob here”, if you didn’t get a bite!!

RECENT EXPERIENCES WITH PLASTICS AND LEAD-HEADS

There is no doubt that there is a strong progression towards bigger plastics and bigger fish, especially in the surf and estuaries. Four to six inches is nowbecoming the norm in Jerk Shad and Paddle-Tails and some amazing fish arebeing caught. It is seldom that one gets the opportunity to do some serious experimenting “in the field” so to speak, purely due to the scarcity of “guinea pigs”.

Recently on the beach adjacent to the Kunene River in Southern Angola, the“guinea pigs” ,in the form of Kob, were wild. On two separate two-day stunts,each angler in our group averaged somewhere in excess of 150 Kob per person per day ranging in size from 1 to 19 kilograms. By day two, having been through most of the lures in my arsenal, I found myself stuck on the Space Guppy Jerk Shad with a ½ ounce 3/0 Nitro Jig Head. The opportunityto experiment could not be resisted. I had some plastics (same Space Guppy, Jerk Shad) with absolutely no smell, so before I scented them I tried them as they were. I had been fishing extremely slowly just twitching the bait and letting it ride on the bottom head first into the current. Without hitting when I detected a bite, the first thing that I noticed was that you had about one second to set the hook because that is how long it took for the Kob to reject the bait.

As soon as I fished with a bait that had smell, the bite rate went up and I am sure that this had to do with the current as from time to time one would seethe Kob move upstream onto the bait even though it was well out of hi visibility. This did not happen when the bait had no smell. The other thing that the smell did was cause the fish to hold onto the bait substantially longer. I timed it at approximately 3 seconds which is triple the time. My favouritesmell was a mix of Anchovy and Aniseed, but plain Anchovy and plainAniseed both worked well. The 5” Gulp Jerk Shad solicited exactly the sameresponse from a holding on point of view. In the limited visibility, the brighterand solid colours definitely performed better. What worked best for me were Space Guppy, then Chartreuse and Pearl.

Paddle-Tails were next in the experiment. In a no-smell situation, if you had the right Paddle-Tail it had an advantage over a Fluke or Jerk Shad,particularly in the calmer water. Sound or vibration was a factor. With Paddle-Tails, it was critical to use the Nitro Jig so that the lure rested right way up on the sand facing the current, with the tail sending out a pulse. The time that the fish held on to the bait was the same as in the Jerk Shad experiment. Four and five inch Riptide Mullet worked particularly well and again it was with the solid colours.

The next revelation for me was when I pulled out some seriously old Storm Paddle-Tails. I quickly realised that in the shallower water, fished sideways tothe current, they kept lying on their sides and didn’t work that well, but assoon as I fished them in the deeper water on a straight back retrieve, withsmell, the result was amazing. If you did not strike, the fish swallowed thebait. I am sure this is due to the internal weight of the Storm Paddle-Tail asopposed to the external jig weight. I also noticed that my Nitro heads were full of holes from the Kob teeth.

Normally when one is fishing for Kob you would be striking at the slightest hint of a bite and hooking the fish in the jaw, which is obviously more desirable, but the difference in how the fish reacted to the feel of hard lead as opposed to a soft lure is very interesting to note.Something else that was very interesting was that if you threw the Paddle-Tailinto the strike zone, which invariably is the drop-off on the inside of a bank,the bait was quite often eaten before it even hit the ground. The fact that the bait swims down on the drop proves irresistible to Kob lying in ambush, soal ways be ready for a take on the drop particularly with Paddle-Tails.

I experimented with a lot of different Paddle-Tails and there are a couple of important factors that one needs to pay attention to when selecting Paddle-Tails. If the material/plastic is too soft, particularly the paddle itself, it does notperform, because the soft paddle folds up and does not paddle when there isincreased water flow. These very soft paddles only really work with very slowretrieves in still water. If the material is very rigid, then the tail will only startpaddling at high speed or with big current. I found that a very thin or flexiblebase to the tail was important as well as a firm paddle and a fairly firm bodythat is not destroyed by the retainers on the jig head. I found that the Berkleyretainers definitely worked best. If one finds that the Paddle-Tail you are faced with is very hard then a couple of V’s snipped into the base of the tail will help to free it up some and get that tail going.

There was no doubt that the bigger fish preferred bigger baits and although the pulls got a little scarcer, they definitely got bigger as the size of the bait was increased. My limited supply of six inch Swim Shad had been flattenedby the big Shad up at Flamingo, otherwise they would have been the perfectbait for the “biggies” at Kunene.The one area that I fished a lot was a fairly shallow channel on the inside of abank, that got really shallow down to the left and progressively deeper to theright, opening up into a bit of a hole and the Kob were almost everywhere.What was really interesting was that up in the shallower areas where thewater was coming over the bank and flowing down to the deep from left toright, every single Kob was hooked on the left hand side of the jaw. Obviouslythese fish were all pointing up-stream and as soon as they took the bait andyou tightened, the hook found the left hand side of the jaw.Jig Head shapes are important.

I found that the ball Jig Head is not a bad general purpose Jig Head, but as soon as you are fishing across a current on the bottom, it is not the best option. The reason is that it tends to allow thebait to lie on its side and this has an adverse affect on its action. The Nitro JigHead definitely worked better in these conditions. I found the ball worked wellin the holes where there was no distinct direction to the current, but rather aback and forth movement in the water. A fish imitation on a ball head jigfished in this environment works pretty much like the “can’t knock me over”toy that you find in the bottom of a budgie cage. It looks like a bait fish feeding off the bottom being buffeted to and fro by the wave action. Bucktail jigs started out being a serious challenge as we struggled to get the fish to eat them.

That was until Andrew Pautz put a curly tail grub onto the jig and the result was amazing. On hindsight and after careful underwaterobservation, one can see why the “spro” system of buck tail jig head and grubworks. The grub-tail clearly puts life into the lure, causing the buck tail toalmost pulsate over the movement that the grub-tail creates.The experience was amazing and certainly taught me a lot about this excitingform of fishing. It works wonders for confidence levels and helps you to beable to walk away from a place saying “there is definitely no Kob here”, if youdidn’t get a bite!!