Fishing With Suspending Lures
Vicki Lear shares her tips and tricks for unlocking fish via suspending lures.
The choice of hard body lures for bream can be somewhat bewildering. They take on many forms and range from surface, deep diving, shallow diving, floating, sinking and suspending lures.
Depending on what you want to chase and how you want to fish, you can begin to make your lure choice.
In this article I am going to talk about suspending lures, which are staples in any bream angler's tackle box. A suspending lure refers to a lure that remains in the same position in the water column once you stop winding (the pause). And it won't rise or fall for the duration of the pause.
Wayne Friebe, while fishing a bream tournament at Mallacoota in Victoria, first introduced me to suspending lures. Mallacoota is famous for big bream, so I was keen to learn this technique. We were searching the edges for dirty patches where the sand had been dug up - a telltale sign that bream have been foraging for food.
The method involves casting over the hole, bringing your lure over it and then pausing. Then, you want to twitch your wrist to move the lure ever so slightly. Basically, this means that the lure sits in the bream's face the whole time with only minimum movement - enough to entice a bite.
I was amazed and ended up catching a 1.41kg bream, with Wayne Freebie knocking me off with a big fish weighing just .01kg more!
From this experience I have been able to apply suspended lures in many other waterways up and down the coast and both fresh and salt water applications. I hope some of my tips help you with your experience in using suspended lures.
You can buy a number of suspending lures - shallow, mid or deep water. They will have information on the packets to explain what depth they reach. The only choice for you is to decide on where you are fishing. If you were fishing shallow sand and weed flats up to, say, just over a metre, a shallow lure would do the job. Obviously, you will move to a mid or deep running lure in deeper water or when fishing rock walls or snags.
But don't get caught up in the square box, so to speak. Some people like to use a deeper lure in shallow water as they want to keep it on the bottom, but bear in mind, with it not being a floating lure, you can end up with a lot of snags. You might also be fishing deep water where weed beds come up to within a metre of the surface, which makes for the perfect scenario for a suspending lure to excel.
There are many brands available to choose from and they can also come in a variety of lengths and profiles. Again, this is a personal preference and depends on how active the fish bite is on the day. It's also dependent on whether you want a slimmer profile and tight action or a wider action.
Colour is optional and really the angler's choice. Each estuary system can produce better on different colours. Also, you might want to experiment when fishing clear water or if it has been raining and the water is dirty.
How to work suspending lures
It's best to mix it up on the day. Bream can be tough to nut out. Some days they will eat a lure the moment it hits the water, and on other days you need to sit it in their face for what seems like an eternity to entice them to eat it.
There are a couple of ways you can work a suspending lure. Most commonly, once you cast and let the lure hit the water, you want to wind it down to the desired depth. Once there, you can slow roll it all the way back to your feet.
Alternatively, you can twitch and pause, which is to stop winding the lure, let it sit there idly and then, with your wrist, flick the lure either softly or aggressively, depending on how you would like the lure to react, and then let it sit again. Next, give the handle a small wind and keep repeating it. You can also wind the lure down and then give it small lifts before winding it back down again, working it up and down through the water column.
It is also important to keep your rod tip low to the water, in fact, I like to point it directly at the water's surface. This keeps you in direct contact with your lure at all times.
I prefer to use a 2-4kg spinning rod that is lightweight and about 7ft long. This is great for casting distance, but yet still soft enough in the tip to avoid pulling hooks. It also provides enough power to put the hurt on if the fish wants to play nasty. A 2000 sized reel would balance this outfit out nicely.
Sometimes this is not a good thing, as you think the fish has the lure and you load up and pull the hooks or miss the hook up entirely. This is because the braid has no stretch, so if they lightly take the hooks and feel pressure, the bream can let go before you get the chance to make the hook up. However, it is a great way to learn and feel what your lure is doing.
The other alternative would be to use 4-6lb straight-through fluorocarbon. You won't get the same direct feel as you do with braid, but because fluorocarbon has stretch if a fish grabs it, it's likely not to feel the resistance, which will result in a hook up. You also don't have any joining knots like you do with braid and leader, so you are likely to be able cast further.
Once hooked up with fluorocarbon, you need to keep the pressure on the fish the whole fight because one ounce of slack line will see the fish win its freedom. It is a little difficult to get used to, but once you have had a go, you will start seeing the benefits.
Modifying suspending lures
If you have a box full of floating hard bodies in your tackle box, this doesn't mean you have to cull them out to make room for suspending lures. You can modify them yourself to make them suspending.
Depending on the weight you put on them, they will still float up slightly, but sometimes this can be a benefit. It will normally hold them just under the surface.
You can change the depths by adding or subtracting the weight. You can use lead suspend dots, tungsten putty or lead wire to adjust weight easily. If you place them between the bib and the first set of trebles on the underside, it shouldn't affect the swimming action of your lure.
So, there you have it. Quite obviously, suspending lures provide a great alternative for the dedicated bream angler. Give them a try.