Decoy Angling | Ultimate Swimbait & Crankbait Guide

Ultimate Swimbait & Crankbait Guide

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1. Introduction:

Thank you for taking the time to read the Decoy Angling Ultimate Swimbait & Crankbait Guide. Inside this guide, we hope to be able to outline the basic equipment, skills and techniques you will require to establish yourself as a successful lure angler using Decoy Angling’s popular range of swimbaits & crankbaits.

2. Why Lure Fishing:

From a purely angling perspective, there is no denying that lure fishing is one of the most successful ways to land an array of species. Whilst lure fishing is most commonly associated with pike and perch in the UK, swimbaits and crankbaits from Decoy Angling have had widespread success with a range of predators including zander, chub and even trout!

However, as we try to encourage anglers to be more aware of nature and the environment, we would note that lure fishing adds a variety of other benefits. Importantly, lures help increase the survival rate of specimens in catch and release fishing (as is the case in most UK fisheries) due to the reduction in cases of deep hooking opposed to when live bait is used.

In addition to adding to the safety of your target specimens, lures also reduce the over-harvesting of bait species for live bait.

3. When Can You Lure Fish?

In the UK it is important to follow the Environment Agency’s rules on “close” and “open” seasons. As a basic rule of thumb, you can’t fish for coarse fish on any river in England or Wales from 15 March to 15 June (close season).

However, during the close season, you can normally still fish on “enclosed stillwater” - ie, reservoirs, lakes, canals and ponds.

Depending on your local byelaws, there can be variations on the above rules so it is important that you check the local guidance with the Environment Agency or your local angling club and byelaws before heading to the bank.

4. Choosing The Perfect Lure:

It’s likely you’ve already made your lure purchase (hence why you’re reading this guide) but lure anglers are often hoarders, so we thought we would mention a few important features to look for when choosing lures either now or in the future.

Remember, lures can only be successful if they catch the attention of your target species. This is why it is important to use a selection of lures. We at Decoy Angling recommend having both lures of bold colours (such as Decoy Angling’s Hot Cray, Goldfish or Koi scale patterns) and natural scale patterns too (such as Decoy Angling’s Perch or Rudd).

Alongside this, we strongly recommend that any lures you choose feature the infamous “rattle” which can be so successful with pike in particular. Decoy Angling’s Dual Ball Bearing Technology (DBBT) is a standard feature with all our lures & this ensures your lure will catch the attention of the predators in your waters.

Finally, remember that predator species eat prey - not plastic. That’s why it is important that your chosen lure features a realistic scale pattern and lifelike features. All lures from Decoy Angling include vivid 3D eyes alongside 3D printed bodies.

5. Equipment List:

The below list is intended to help you put together items which will increase your chances of a successful campaign. However, not all items and products are essential so if you’re a beginner and don’t have everything listed, don’t worry!

1. Lure rod (ideally of a casting weight to match the lure you’re using and the location)*

2. Reel - fixed spool or baitcaster (lure weight dependant) *

3. Adequate diameter braid *

4. Predator net (of adequate size) *

5. Unhooking mat (of adequate size)*

6. Wire trace (if pike are present) *

7. Decoy Angling Lure Box

8. Decoy Angling Khaki Shoulder Sling Bag

9. Decoy Angling Long Nose Split Ring Pliers

10. Forceps (12") *

11. Side cutters (in the event it is essential to cut a hook) *

  1. 1. Lure rod (ideally of a casting weight to match the lure you’re using and the location)*

  2. 2. Reel - fixed spool or baitcaster (lure weight dependant) *

  3. 3. Adequate diameter braid *

  4. 4. Predator net (of adequate size) *

  5. 5. Unhooking mat (of adequate size)*

6. Wire trace (if pike are present) *

7. Decoy Angling Lure Box

8. Decoy Angling Khaki Shoulder Sling Bag

9. Decoy Angling Long Nose Split Ring Pliers

10. Forceps (12") *

11. Side cutters (in the event it is essential to cut a hook) *

Note: If you’re unsure of what’s essential and what’s not; “*” = essential item

6. Venue Selection:

Choosing a venue which matches your patience and ability is key to the excitement of this discipline. If you’re new to lure fishing, we recommend heading to a venue which holds a healthy number of smaller fish instead of a location which perhaps only has a few larger specimens.

7. Movement & Swim Selection:

It’s not all about the movement of the lure, but more the movement of the angler! Essentially, it is critical that you travel light and cover as much ground as possible throughout your session to locate fish holding swims as this will be vital in delivering success.

If you’re new to angling, a “swim” is a position from which you base yourself to fish. In managed fisheries these are often clearly indicated, but in more natural settings, a swim may be considered to be just a break in a hedgerow or small beach on the riverbank.

To locate a fish holding swim, use your rod, reel, line and lure to cover each swim in a methodical manner. It’s important to not just cast straight out into the swim at the twelve o’clock position. Instead start by casting at the 9 o’clock position and methodically re-cast at every interval until you reach the 3 o’clock position. This systematic approach will ensure you cover all areas of the swim including the margins which are often where predator species can be found lurking.

Once you’ve cast all the intervals in the swim, if you’ve not had any success make sure you quickly move-on to the next swim to get the most out of your session.

8. Mixing It Up:

Alongside changing your swim, remember that changing your lure can add to your chances of getting a bite. Switching between scale patterns is one option, and changing size of lure can give you the opportunity to get bites from different species. Remember, if the pike aren’t biting, Decoy Angling’s Micro & X Small lures are especially effective with chubb and even trout.

9. Getting The Retrieve Right:

Like humans, fish don’t enjoy cold weather. As a result, in the winter when the water is colder, you must remember that the fish will be slower in reacting to your retrieve. If you’re new to angling, the “retrieve” is the motion of reeling your line and lure back from the initial cast.

It’s important to take this behavioral characteristic into account and to operate a slower retrieve in winter months and a faster retrieve in the warmer summer months when the fish are happy to move quicker.

If you’re using Decoy Angling’s crankbaits, remember that these feature a “tongue” at the front of the body. As a result of this tongue, the lure will dive down when being retrieved. As a rule of thumb, crankbaits generally perform better on a quicker retrieve or when the rod is moved in a way to send the lure down before stopping and allowing it to flutter back to the surface. An alternate method is a slow and continuous retrieve will bring the lure along the bottom of the venue and entice interest in the lure when it digs up the bottom.

An alternative crankbait strategy is to retrieve the lure (either erratically or slowly) across the surface of the water - this can be very effective with perch, chub and pike and can be quite a spectacle if successful!

Unlike Decoy Angling’s crankbaits which float, our range of swimbaits sink. This sinking characteristic can be effective in covering different depths. To do this, count how many seconds it takes for the swimbait lure to hit the bottom. Once you’ve confirmed this, re-cast and retrieve at different points of the sinking motion (ie, retrieve after 2 seconds then 3 seconds etc). It’s important to remember that swimbaits are generally most effective when retrieved at a constant speed.

10. Get Out There & Have Fun!

As the famous saying goes, “there’s no time like the present to get started” and that’s so true when it comes to lure fishing. Aside from the tips in this guide, you’ll find your way through trial and error, and hopefully have fun and create some great memories along the way. If you have any questions not covered in this guide, feel free to get in touch with Decoy Angling for any help and advice and in the meantime, good luck & tight lines....

Remember to tag @decoyangling on Instagram if you catch anything - we always love to hear how our customers get on!

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