When Lure Fishing with artificials can, in the right circumstances, be an excellent method to catch a variety of species from a river. The main criterion is that the water must have a good degree of clarity as predatory species hunt mainly by sight, although they also pick up vibrations through their lateral lines. Constructed from a variety of materials, from metal to plastic, artificial lures come in a great range of weights, colors, shapes, and sizes. In addition to the obvious pike and perch, chub will also take lures enthusiastically. However, while perch and pike can be caught at any time of the year by spinning, summer and autumn are by far the most productive times for chub. As the species widen its distribution, zander becomes increasingly more likely to fall to a lure. Over the years dace, grayling, bream and roach have all been caught on small artificial, so you never know what might turn up!
While some artificial lures are aimed specifically at certain species, others are made to fish at certain depths. During the summer, surface plugs can prove highly effective for chub and pike. Often pike will take the plug just as it is being lifted from the water for another cast. The lure has obviously been followed for some distance and it is probably the increased speed of its retrieve as it nears the rod tip that causes the pike to take. Be prepared for some heart-stopping savage strikes!
It is advisable to slacken off the clutch or use the reel without engaging the anti-reverse to avoid the line being broken. Chub really come to surface lures and sometimes take them incredibly gently, just sipping them down as though they were a piece of floating crust. Perch are much more likely to fall to brightly flashing spinners than plugs. Even with spinners, though, perch will sometimes only bump the lure rather than take it properly. When this happens — or when a number of fish have been caught and the rest of the shoal are becoming suspicious try tipping the treble hook on the spinner with a lobworm.
During the winter months, when weed growth has died back, it becomes possible to explore the river when lure fishing from top to bottom as well as from bank to bank. In cold weather slow down the retrieve as all fish, both predators and prey, become more lethargic. Adopt a roving approach throughout the year, fishing as many different swims as possible. Although pike are not shoal fish, like perch, several will often be caught from a swim due to their holding up close to a shoal of food fish such as roach, chub or bream. Every so often the shoal will be ambushed for a meal. The bigger the shoal, the more pike there may be in attendance.
To fish deeper water, heavier spoons or deeper-lipped plugs should be used. A simple way to get a sinking lure well down in a faster-flowing stream or river is to cast upstream rather than down or straight across. Cast as close as possible to features where predators may be lying up.
Such places will include weed-beds of various kinds, overhanging trees (especially those where rafts have formed), snaggy areas, including places where tree roots extend out into the water or where trees have fallen in Areas of slacker water are also worth prospecting, as pike and shoals Of perch will often inhabit them, frequently lying quietly and using the minimum of effort just off the main flow from where they can launch attacks at any unsuspecting fish that passes.
Many shop-bought lures (especially plugs) are produced with horrible, over- large treble hooks. Replace them with smaller (size 8) bronzed trebles from a reputable supplier. When after chub, which have soft mouths, it is kinder to crush the barbs to ease unhooking. And always use a wire trace between the lure and main-line, even when after chub and perch — for you never know when a toothy mouthed pike will appear.
Lure Fishing is sure an exciting way to fish for Perch.