Light tackle spinning with artificial lures is by far one
of my most favourite ways of fishing. Here in South Africa we have an abundance
of fish species from fresh water to saltwater that can be targeted using this
method of fishing, the list of lures is endless...
Spinning is known in Japan as the Lure Casting Game, and
these guys are the true masters due to them fishing heavily targeted areas
where the fish are “educated” and so nothing but the best will do. I have had
the privilege of fishing with some of these guys over the past few years, and
my eyes were really opened to this kind of fishing.
Rods, reels and lines do make a difference, and these
will depend on what lures one is casting, the lure weight and species one would
target because different rods have different actions, and can cast different
weights, are rated for different line strengths and this subject alone could
fill several pages in a book.
One of the characteristics of a good spinning set up for
lure casting is that the set needs to be low weight, as using a heavy set up
will impede on a person’s ability to impart proper action onto the lure and
will also cause fatigue and even muscle and joint damage to the angler. This
fact alone already puts a reasonably decent spinning rod on the higher price
tag, and really if you want results you need to start with the proper rod that
has strong light eyes, I also prefer using smaller reels for this kind of
fishing due to the control the lighter set allows a person.
Longer rods will allow a person better casting distance,
whilst shorter rods will allow for better casting accuracy and more importantly
shorter rods allow better control on your lures and the action one imparts onto
them. Looking at my set ups I can see that all my favourites vary from 6’2” to
Typically I like a spinning rod that has a light
sensitive tip action, whilst having a strong butt section.
Form and movement
Form being the shape and size of your lure, movement
being the speed and action of the lure, and whilst other factors like colour,
contrast, hot spots and noise play a part, I believe that the form and movement
of the lure is key to successful spinning, and I proved this time and time
again fishing next to someone who keeps on changing lures whilst not paying
attention to the movement and I have pulled fish after fish and they have
With my style of spinning I like my rod tip pointing down
towards the water and lower than the reel as I find that in this way I can impart
the best action on the lure, whilst having full control, this also increases
sensitivity as you line is not affected by the wind and so you have more direct
contact to your lure. This type of spinning is not really possible with a long
rod and so perhaps the reason that I prefer shorter rods.
Retrieves will vary according to the lure used, and the
speed required, but for certain one needs to learn how to synchronise the
action on imparts to the rod and the turns one is doing on the reel. Particular
attention needs to be paid to the rod tip, as with this type of direct spinning
the movement that the rod tip does is directly proportionate to the lure
Basically what I am saying is that simply casting out and
retrieving a lure is not sufficient and will end with a session that has poor
results. One really needs to focus and pay attention to what is happening,
where the lures is, what it’s doing, how to make it do what you want and what
reaction it will have to what you do to the rod.
When buying a new lure, I strongly recommend a fishing
session in the swimming pool where you can learn how that particular lure works
and how it responds at various speeds and with various actions that you impart
to your rod, then and only then should you take that lure out fishing with a
full knowledge of how it works.
Pausing, jerking, dropping, lifting, skipping, twitching
and many other actions are critical to success and so one really needs to learn
how to get the lures to work and vary your retrieves and actions on a constant
basis and watch to see what happens and if you get chases or bumps. Generally
cheap lures do not produce the results because they are unbalanced and cannot
swim properly and cannot be tuned.
It is true that certain colours will work better than
others, and this will vary from area to species targeted. As an example when
spinning in Durban harbour brighter lures with chartreuse or hot pink produce the best results, whereas at Kosi
Lakes subtle colours with grey’s, silver and black produce better results, and
I think that water clarity plays an important role. Blue lures produce very
little in Durban harbour, whilst just outside the harbour blue is a king
Lures with hot spots like oversize eyes, red on the gill
area, an orange chin, black dot on the tail area often will produce results
when other lures will not, or sometimes lures with high contrast two tone
colours do the trick.
This is probably one of the most important retrieves to
learn for estuary and inshore lure fishing and is usually done best with
shallow running minnow type lipped lures like the Rapala X-Rap splash bait, and
then there is a host of specialist Japanese lures for this from Tackle House,
Mega Bass etc.
With this retrieve you keep your rod tip down, and then
as you reel you synchronise the medium up and down movements of the rod tip
(+/- 300-400mm) with a full turn on the reel making the whole action a singular
movement. If your rod tip splashes against the water surface it is OK.
If using a suspending lure with this type of retrieve, it
is good after every few casts to take advantage of this property and in the
middle of a retrieve to just pause for a few seconds and the continue
This is an all round good retrieve, and is not a very
fast retrieve. It is a good retrieve to use with jig head lures (drop shot) and
buck tail jigs; it is also good for top water stick baits.
Again with the rod tip down you make short jerks with the
rod tip (100-150mm) and synchronise this with half turns of the reel.
This retrieve will allow the weighted lures to rise and
sink and will give stick bait’s a left to right (walk the dog) action.
There are many more ways one can manipulate a lure, some
lures have inherent movements whilst others require complete manipulation by
the rod in order to perform..