Lure fishing it’s a minefield. Well it is for me anyway, these days I only have to type a few words into Google and I’m presented with a huge selection of mind boggling, mind blowing choices that apparently will have pike practically leaping out of the water to devour my lures. A trip to a tackle shop, magazines or god forbid I click on a link to a website, or eBay and Amazon and again the choice once again has my head spinning. Add social media to the mix with its built in adverts that companies target me with, a host of sponsored anglers, pages, groups, videos and the list goes on ad infinitum which begs the question perfectly worded by one of my favourite song writers Roger Waters “is it any wonder that the monkey is confused?” Admittedly it doesn’t take much to confuse me!
This of course perhaps raises another question which I think I should answer immediately and get it out of the way.
The question being “so who the hell am I anyway” to which I would reply well no one in particular really. Just a pretty run of the mill guy who works long hours, has a family and dabbles a bit in fishing. Well perhaps I’ve understated the “dabbling” as I do in fact do a fair bit, well actually quite a bit… OK I’ll be honest and pray my wife isn’t reading this. I love fishing especially lure fishing, I fish hard and I absolutely love it and live it. I try and go at least two or three times a week, every week and whilst these are normally short sessions it’s practically impossible to fish that much and not learn a thing or two.
That said I’ve never claimed to be an expert and looking at some of threads of comments I see on forums and social media regarding the finer points of fishing equipment I praise the Lord that I’m not when I see the depth of knowledge attributed to say for example a fishing reel colour or the design of a landing net handle. I’m more of the type of angler that if I can use something for a month or two and not break it, then it’s good, end of. Now please don’t get me wrong if people want to discuss at length the delicate and finer points of tackle and dare I say more than even using it well that’s fine with me after all I’m a great believer in live and let live and if it wasn’t for those people then we wouldn’t have such a fine and fantastic range of tackle to choose from. I do refuse however to accept that as the norm and to conform to a set standard of the way things are done because that’s not me. So you will not get that from me as I’m probably not qualified enough to even scratch the surface of the subject because I’m usually far too concerned with actually being out on the bank, catching fish, breaking and testing tackle to its maximum and having fun which is for me what fishing is all about and why I do it. So when it comes to product reviews all I can really tell you is about my own experience and in my own words and you can do with that what you will.
Of course all this fun does lead to learning a thing or two and that’s what I really want to talk about here. Being an avid lure fisherman I very quickly find what works and what doesn’t and as I’ve already said I certainly put most products to an extremely harsh test. One of the soft lures that have been producing good numbers of pike for me recently are the Fladen Conrad Maxximus Softy lures.
Soft lures have been around for years and there have been hundreds of varieties and makes produced during that time. I was genuinely pleased when I got on board with Fladen and discovered that they had a huge range of lures and their own brand of Soft Baits. The softy Conrad’s are fantastic ready rigged lures for hungry predators. Without any extra weight they are perfect for shallower waters and are mounted with wire through the body to the belly hook. The 24cm model comes with a stinger attachment and both hooks are super sharp quality. Finally both sizes have an extremely large paddle tail which not only is a very attractive feature but creates great water displacement and is a real magnet for predators to home in on, and they do.
I’ve found there are mainly two types of very effective methods when using these lures. The first is a standard simple cast and retrieve and during this the 24cm can spin around depending on speed of retrieve. This can create an irresistible action to predators however you can finally tune the lure by moving the stinger to alter the balance. The second method is a type of “sink and draw” technique which is very like the classic method of wobbling dead baits. You just draw the lure towards you and then allow it sink but note; be ready! As most takes seem to come on the sink and you may have loose line out from the draw so pick up that line quickly so you can strike.
The Fladen Softy has quickly climbed up my go to lure ladder and I would honestly say is firmly entrenched firmly in my top five lures. Obviously being a consultant for Fladen I’m going to say that but it’s true and anyone who has fished with me can bear testimony to this. Of course whilst they are rated highly by myself there are also a couple of slightly negative things to point out as well, after all fairs fair and “to thine own self be true” as Master Shakespeare said. Firstly the eyes come off very easily but this isn’t new to me and over the years this has been a recurring theme of lots of brands of differing lures. I suppose when you are getting nailed by an angry pike then this is probably going to happen so a tip I would suggest is when you get any new lures just add some super glue on the eyes and the problem is solved. Secondly in my experience they might not last too long as after all they are soft baits which means they will take damage and deteriorate. I’ve had some last for over ten fish and are still going strong and others have done seven fish and in my worst case scenario one lure died after doing four fish although in its defence one was a wild river twenty pound pike. I would like to point out though that is exactly what lures are for to be chewed up by fish. It’s not unusual to see people slate lures for not lasting but if I went dead bait fishing I would easily spend £10 on bait and use it up in one day session. Lures are for taking risks with dodgy casts near structures and for snagging on the bottom. They are for being nailed and if you’re too scared to use them or lose them then whilst you might have a great collection you probably won’t catch many fish. On the plus side because they are so soft when you get a missed take then you often get another chance as the pike will try again and you avoid the once bitten twice shy scenario. So in my opinion the Fladen softy is a great lure which is well worthy of a place in any lure box and rest assured they are firmly planted in mine but hey don’t take my word for it why not try them yourself as after all the pike is the best judge.
Fladen fishing UK