Types of Lures
GT surface lures can be divided into three basic groups, the first being the floating, popping type lures. These generally have a cup-head and are referred to as poppers, pushers or chuggers. The second group are sub-surface lures and are often referred to as stick baits, sliders, sub-walks, etc. The third group are nylon or wooden weighted plugs that are made primarily for casting, will sink if not retrieved and can be fished at long range both on the surface and sub-surface.
Colour is a hotly debated subject when it comes to these sorts of lures. The vast majority of the time it is the action that gets the results rather than the colour. Having said this, colour can definitely be a factor. The general lure colours do apply - bright day, bright lure, dull day, dull lure. One aspect that is not often discussed and has normally proved to be relevant wherever I have fished is that the calmer, cleaner and glassier the conditions, the better it is to fish with more natural translucent colours. Rather have the fish be presented with something quite subtle in these conditions. The rougher and choppier the water and also the more turbulent the current is, definitely demands brighter and bolder colours that are easier for the fish to pick up in the turmoil.
What to fish, when
The greater the volume of fish in the area, the less of an issue lure selection becomes. When fish are fairly scarce however, it becomes very important to use the right lure in the right place.
In very calm, glassy conditions, a quieter less noisy and more subtle presentation will often do the trick. Fish will sometimes shy away from very bold noisy presentations. My preferred lure choice in these conditions is the GT Ice Cream Needle Nose type surface lure, which creates a very definite path to follow and quieter flittering type action on the surface. It also covers far greater ground as the casting distances are incredibly good. Surface popping type lures such as the Williamson Jethead, Halco Rooster Popper and Sebile Splasher will also work in these conditions, but you must try to fish these with a little more consistency in the retrieve and slightly less of the loud popping action.
Once the wind gets up or the current starts going a bit, if the sea is still fairly calm, but with a definite chop on the surface, one can start fishing these cup-heads with a much louder popping action and longer pauses in between, so that rather than trying to follow a trail when the fish focuses on the noisy area, there is a good chance he will see what it was that created it. The quieter stick baits and sliders start to work in these conditions too. Try to fish them at the lowest level of the trough in between the chops, in other words it will be sub-surface in between wave troughs and therefore a lot more visible most of the time. If fishing a GT Ice Cream Needle Nose in these conditions, a lower rod and a more jerky, sub-surface action produces better results. The other option of course is the GT Ice Cream Chisel Nose Cone, which creates a lot more splash and noise in these noisier conditions.
Rough, really choppy water, starts to create quite a bit of white water and fairly deep troughs in between the choppy waves. This is where the stick baits and sliders really come into their own. One can start fishing them a good foot or so below the wave troughs with a really hard jerk or twitchy action creating big sideways flashes. Bigger pauses in between these slashing actions also help fish locate the lure. In these rough conditions the bold bright colours definitely work better than the translucent or pearl or silver type colours which blend with the surface. One can also fish a cup-head popper in these conditions. The bloops need to be really loud and vigorous with substantial pauses or very very slow movements in between. When fishing like this, you are limited to fairly short range as you need to be able to see your lure to ensure that each pop is possible as the head needs to be able to pull air with it as it dives. If it is already under the water there is hardly any affect.
Effective Rigging of your lure
Whenever one is fishing with these surface and sub-surface lures it is very important to ensure that every strike results in a hook-up and that there can be as little damage done to the fish as possible. Most surface lures come rigged with treble hooks and barbs on. Not only does this make releasing a fish much more difficult but also results in a lot of missed strikes when fishing very buoyant floating lures.
GT’s use a very strong sucking action, almost inhaling the lure by creating a vacuum with their gills before biting down onto the lure. Very buoyant lures such as Halco Rooster Popper and Sebile Splasher are far better rigged with singles on a stinger type setup. A really big strong hook such as the Owner Jabu, rigged onto at least 250 kilo Dyneema braid looped onto the hook attachment. Normally one hook will be mounted in the middle of the lure and one on the tail end. I have had a lot of success rigging one on the swivel that attaches to the front of the lure and the other on the tail end of the lure. Just make sure that the two hooks cannot hook each other during the cast. The GT Ice Cream Needle Nose and Cone comes standard rigged with a stinger and a VMC 9260PS hook, which is more than adequate. If the fish are really big I often replace this with a Daiichi 3111 10/0 hook or Daiichi Meat hook in 10/0 or 12/0, or Owner Jabu in 12/0. I haven’t come across another lure yet that hooks GT’s more effectively than the Needle Nose. As soon as it is in his mouth and he turns, the lure gets pulled out the corner of the mouth and the hook on the stinger, which is rigged circle-hook style, finds him in the corner of the mouth every time.
When it comes to stick baits and sliders the lure is generally slightly sub-surface so there is no problem when the GT sucks at the lure as it does move towards its mouth unlike the very buoyant surface lures. Generally with the stick baits one would stay with the trebles that are on it but make sure that the barbs are squashed and that they are really sharp. On slightly lighter popping and spinning outfits like the Rapala series of Gliding Raps, Sub-Walks and X-Walks work very well, particularly where there are other types of fish feeding on the surface.
Remember, Remember - GT’s, pretty much like Garrick, tend to suck and grab their prey off the surface before turning away. One has to allow this to happen otherwise there is a very good chance you will miss the strike. When fishing with braid make sure that you have got the rod held either sideways or vertically straight up. When the fish eats the lure just continue winding at the normal speed or allow the line to go tight before setting the hook. Never strike immediately you see the fish attack the lure.
Happy popping and plugging!