Some productive lures to catch fish on the west coast of India & Goa
“To catch a fish you must think like a fish” haven’t we heard that before? A potent piece of advice, but how many times have we really practice that? The truth is that – often times we fish with the one lure that we really like – a lure that appeals to us. Although this choice may not be the best for that time & place, we still use it incessantly, which increases the probability of that lure catching fish. Given the circumstance, others may have performed better than our favourite lure, but we would never know, or would we? :With that disclaimer to ponder upon I shall dive into the subject of my 5 personal and all time favourite, fishing lures.
Rapala Fire-Tiger Husky Jerk
I am going to start with my old time favourites. The name Fire-tiger Husky Jerk is derived its name from its colour – a flaming green and yellow, with black tiger-like stripes. The Rapala Fire-Tiger comes from the “Original Floater” series. It is extremely versatile, you can use it as a shallow runner or weighted down with a split shot for medium depths. Twitched it on the top or reel it in calm and gentle, its wounded baitfish action is irresistible to all game fish especially Mangrove Jacks and Barracudas.
It works best in medium clear water, at depths of 2 to 3 meters. It does best over rocky reefs, where the waters are both shallow and deep, I have fished entire sessions only with this one lure, nailing a range of fish – from red snappers, barracudas to GT’s. With the advent of new favourites, alas the Fire-tiger is now retired. Although I always tend to carry one in my tackle box as a last resort or maybe just for nostalgia.
If there is ever a hardy lure designed for trawling, it’s the legendary Rapala Sliver. Looks like a sort of mix between a needle fish and a sardine. When trawled at 6 knots its metal lip gives out strong intermittent flashes attracting any lurking predators. I found it to be lethal against Barracudas. This lure can be rigged up to any heavy terminal tackle to swim perfectly, and its broken-back does a perfect rendition of a baitfish in distress. I started out my trawling career with this lure and there was no looking back, it always delivered even on days when the fish weren’t quite in the swim.
I remember back to a fishing trip that started off rather poorly, and we hadn’t caught anything all morning. We are out fishing a reef 10km off the coast and at 1 o’clock in afternoon, we still sported an empty bag. The sun was at its ferocious best and the tide so low that I could see the tips of the large reef rocks peeping out over the water. With such futile conditions, it was unanimously decided to call it a day. In last ditch attempt, I put in the Sliver and let it run deep. Within minutes of it going out, we got our first strike and wrestled-in a 7.5foot Barracuda. Immediately after we caught about 15 fish in a span of 30 minutes, all on the Slivers.
The Rapala Sliver comes with strong VMC Steel Hooks and swims at depth of about 10 meters. As far as colours go – the mullet silver or blue works the best.
Rapala Skitter Popper & Halco Roosta Poppers
In fishing, there is nothing more rewarding than to take fish when you can actually see it, especially if they are Giant Trevallies (GT’s) on the feed. The thing about GT’s is that their feeding frenzy lasts for only a short while, and you need something that you can cast out far enough, which will then makes enough of a splash to incite them into a strike. A popper does just that! The thrill of popping the lure on the water surface, creating those erratic splashes that mimic the desperate attempts of escaping baitfish and then the anticipation of a strike is unmatched.
On a recent fishing trip, just a month ago, the two of us took 17 fish in less than an hour all on poppers, the GT’s wouldn’t touch anything else but poppers. There is something unique about the noise and splash that a popper makes, which excites a fish into a strike. A couple of times I had a fish hit a popper from below, and clean out of the water. I have also seen fish that are in hot pursuit of the popper and then run away scared if the popper is stopped abruptly. Hence a rhythm to your popping is essential, find one and maintain it, let not the excitement get the better of you.
Poppers work best when the fish are in sight and feeding, but I have had experiences when there was nothing in sight and the water was calm as a lake, but as soon as we started popping the water exploded with GT’s. I have also had some strange experiences with Threadfin Salmons and poppers but that’s another story I will relate later.
Both the Rapala Skitter Popper & Halco Roosta Poppers work well, although I have found the Roosta Poppers to be more productive. As far as size and colour – I prefer using smaller palm size poppers, that are really shiny and bright. They seem to work better in our waters on the west coast of India, where the average size of fish is in the 15-pound range.
Strike Pro – Magic Minnow
The Strike Pro, Magic Minnow is on the top of my list of favourite lures. It has consistently delivered over various test conditions and fish species. It’s erratic swimming action makes it lethal against snappers and Trevallies. Besides being productive the Magic Minnow has a great build quality, with a superb finish and attention to detail. The new upgraded lures have small metal balls that are programmed to weight the rear of the lure for tangle-free casting, then move to the front rattle chamber to create a nose down attitude to dive to 1.5m when retrieved. I have found the Magic Minnow effective in water where the visibility has ranged from medium clarity to clear.
There was an occasion when I was fishing a rather rocky spot and needed a lure that did not dive too deep but yet gets as close to the bottom as possible. The Magic Minnow with a swimming depth of 1meter along with its big plastic lip to tap the bottom was perfect a choice. The snappers found it irresistible and I also caught a grouper that was lurking at the bottom.
The only downside is that I found the quality of hooks to be wanting, you may want to change the hooks to something stronger, without affecting the action. Also after some regular usage and a couple of hard strikes, I found the lure action a little off. As far as size and colour go I prefer the 8-10 cm lures, red and white, or Sardine colour blue/grey.
The Shad is the wildcard in your arsenal. Its ability to swim at any depth and life-like realism makes a silent killer that has no boundaries. There are several merits in using a Shad, here are a few of them.
I use a Shad for recon, because of its ability to swim at various depth, sending it down to check where the fish are hanging out at, especially when they are not biting and lethargic.
Rocky bottoms and shallows can snag your lures which result in heavy losses. A Shad sporting a single hook on top works well in such situations, giving you the advantage to work your Shad even through some very rocky shallows where most predators tend to hang out.
Because of its soft-plastic body, the Shad feels much like the real thing. Once a fish bites this bait, it generally tends hangs on or swallow, allowing you a little more time to set the hook.
I use a shad to jig from a boat and while jigging a lot of fish will take the Shad while it flutters its way back down.
There are many more benefits you will realise once you start using a shad. As for brands – I like to use Storm, and as for colour – white works best for me.
Before we end, here another important point to contemplate on lure colour – All fish may not see in colour, in fact, many fish can see colours that we do not, including ultraviolet. So fish may work with light spectrum that we do see. In short what is green to us may not be green to a fish. However, most gamefish detect their prey by seeing the contrast of the forage against various coloured backgrounds. Also fish have an adequate sense of vision, but this is usually not so impressive as their sense of smell and ability to detect vibrations through their lateral lines. Fish have evolved a remarkable sense of smell that is thought to be about one million times better than that of humans. I suggest you read this link for more info” http://midcurrent.com/science/fish-eyesight-does-color-matter/
So if I had to summarise the above – scientists really do not know exactly what fish see and anglers tend to think they know better. But it seems the only ones to get it right are the lure manufacturers. Their colours certainly tend to hook more people than fish for sure!