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SWITCHING THINGS UP

Owen Mcpaul

The blade lure is by far one of the most versatile and underestimated tools one can include in their tackle tray. It is a common misconception that the blade is something that is used when targeting deep fish, but for those willing to think outside the box and tweak the retrieve, the areas these violent pulsating lures can be worked is endless. With such a large range of colours and sizes in the range from TT Lures, there doesn't seem to be a species that hasn't been thought about or that is outside the limits of this simple but effective lure. Everything from trout in the skinny mountain streams to pelagic and deep water species on our outside reefs is catered for, with blades ranging from the 1/12oz polycarbonate Ghostblade, to the comprehensive weight and colour range of the Switchblade and right up to the monster 2oz Switchblade HD.

I like to set myself goals in my fishing and often spend weeks at a time trying one specific lure and putting it through its paces, in a variety of situations, until I feel I have it worked out completely and can take it to different locations and use it effectively. For the past few weeks, although I have used blades for a number of years, I have thoroughly trialled and tested them in some of the most unforgiving places. This includes places that I usually wouldn't have thought to in the past, from oyster racks and tight up against mangroves, to bouncing them through timber, weed flats and secondary drop-offs. To put it honestly, the results have been overwhelming and with every outing I find myself developing more tricks and skills in relation to the retrieve. In the process I haven't found a species in the my local tributaries that haven't taken a liking to them

The mangroves have been one of the most impressive areas that I have targeted. There have been two retrieves that I have been using with success, as mangroves can have shallow banks before descending drops or drop into deep water straight off the edge. When fishing mangroves with shallower areas of water in front of them, I have found you have to work as quickly as possible from when your lure initially hits the water or you take the chance of fouling up on the bottom. I have been casting as hard up towards the bank as possible and the second my lure lands the bail arm is clicked over. With one quick flick of the rod I then get the blade to quickly pulsate out, before letting it drop for a second or two and following with a steady retrieve, similar to one used when slow rolling a hard bodied lure, with a pause and drop before continuing the slow roll back to the boat. One thing to remember is that as long as you can feel the pulsation of the lure through the tip of your rod you can speed or slow the roll, varying the depth at which the lure is situated.

For the areas where the deeper drop is straight in front of the bank, I once again cast as tight as I can to the bank. The beautiful thing with the deeper water is you often get a take or a nudge on the drop, so you either have the fish before you begin to work the lure, or you can impart a few small movements of the rod to torment the fish into a bite, before the lure settles to the bottom. Once on the bottom I have not been doing any long slow lifts or double hops, rather a small quick lift of the rod, lifting the tip no more than 10cm. I'm then following this with small quick lifts every few seconds while retrieving the lure. If the fish is there you will feel it tap the lure, often on 3 or 4 of those quick lifts, before they finally take the plunge, hitting the lure as hard as possible. It's a simple retrieve, but a very effective one.

In the oyster racks you really want to muscle up with the gear for some white knuckle action, as bream don't like to mess around in this unforgiving structure and have the ability to make a fool out of the best of us. This is a very exciting form of fishing, as it is usually very visual. The hardest part of fishing the racks is the precision of your cast. Cast 1cm either side of your target and you could be snagged up, usually spooking fish in the area while trying to retrieve your lure. Secondly you need to account for tidal flow, as the lure will be pushed slightly sideways with the flow. What I have been trying to do is get a long cast up between the racks with the aim being to land as close to them as possible. If it happens to be the shady side you have doubled your chance in my opinion. The trick here is rather than lifting the rod to create action, quickly flick the tip of your rod towards the water, commonly known as ripping and continue the rips while continually winding. For those who don't know oyster racks, the bite is usually an opportunistic, frantic bite and the bream hit hard, while on the turn, so if you get hit wind like crazy... if you give the fish any chance they will be swimming off with your lure!

For those looking at different approaches for this deadly little lure, I would recommend giving them a try around the mangroves and the racks. It's a great deal of fun, very rewarding and if it works for me I'm confident in saying it will work for anyone. Until next time, good luck and tight lines

Owen Mcpaul 

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017