by Angling Times |

With predator season upon us it’s time to dust off your lure box and get back out there. To help you choose the right lures for you next pike fishing session we have gone to our weekly columnist Paul Garner to get his opinion on what lures you should be taking out on your next session.

MAIN Soft plastics account for a lot of my big pike each autumn and winter

Lure fishing is exploding in the UK right now, as many anglers discover the joys of casting artificial baits for a wide range of predatory fish.

On my local canal you are now likely to find just as many anglers drop shotting for perch with small lures as you are fishing the pole.

Head to the coast, and piers and jetties are frequented by anglers targeting a myriad of different marine species with their LRF (Light Rock Fishing) gear, armed to the teeth with soft plastics.

All fish are predatory to some degree and I have seen bream, barbel and even dace caught fair and square on small lures, so there really is something for everyone.

For me, though, nothing beats fishing for big pike with lures and that electric feeling that signals a ‘hit’ from a big predator just can’t be beaten.


I am an avid collector of lures, but increasingly I find soft plastics dominating my tackle box.

These deceptively simple rubber fish-shaped baits come in a wide range of different outlines and sizes, but they all work in much the same way.

You can buy soft plastics either pre-rigged, or as bare lures that enable you to rig them just the way you like. Best of all, they are among the cheapest lures you can buy, making this a great way to get into lure fishing for pike.

Pre-rigged lures are the ideal place to start, as these will be rigged for optimal performance.

Once you have learnt how to use these, swap over to rigging your own so you are able to fine-tune your presentation. Go for lures in the 6ins/16cm range, as these will be the easiest to cast and will catch pike of all sizes.

MAIN Some of my favourite colours.jpg


There is absolutely no need for any complicated retrieves with soft plastics. You simply let them sink to the desired depth and reel them in! The odd pause to let the lure sink back down will also often bring a bite, as the change in speed triggers a pike that is following the lure to take it – but ‘slow and steady’ is my mantra.

To keep the lure working in the right depth zone use one gram of weight per foot of depth.

So, on rivers and canals I use 5g lures, on lakes around 10g, and on deep reservoirs anything up to 30g.

A really useful skill to practise is counting the lure down until it hits the bottom, which you can feel as a distinct bump.

Once you know how long it takes for the lure to reach the deck, you can count it down to any depth you want very easily.

Try to mix up the depths that you are fishing at. Some days the pike will prefer a lure presented just beneath the surface, while on others they want it right on the bottom.

These simple soft plastics really are very effective, and will catch plenty of zander and big perch as well as pike if you scale down the size a little.

Why not give these popular lures a go this autumn?

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