Fishing news, catch reports and how-to guides, Sea Fishing Tackle

Starting Lure Fishing- A beginners guide

At a glance, lure fishing could be seen as quite a bewildering style of fishing, but the truth is that it’s actually one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to catch fish. Jansen Teakle offers some advice to those who are looking to tackle the lighter side of things for the first time.

At the essence of lure fishing, is a rod, a reel, some line and a lure. The simple fact is that the fish don’t know what kind of rod, reel and line you’re using, and are only really interested in your choice of lure.

From the angler’s perspective, the rod has to be capable of casting the lure of choice and handling a hooked fish, and the reel needs to be able to assist with the cast, retrieve the lure and also deal with that fish.

Choosing a rod

Lure fishing rods don’t need to be overly stiff or incredibly strong. They are also not very long, with the majority of models coming in at somewhere between seven and ten feet in length. As a first rod, a model with a broader casting range will allow you to fish with a wide selection of different lures and as there is little point in getting too specialist at this stage of the game, again, I’d pick something in the middle.

A rod of nine feet in length with a cast rating of somewhere in the region of 15-50gm is perfect. The action of the rod is of little consequence at this stage and for as little as £30, you should be able to find a model that is more than adequate.

If your budget is a little higher and perhaps you’d happily spend in the region of a hundred pounds on that first weapon of choice, you will find that it is probably lighter, faster and crisper in action, and also adorned with better quality guides. As I mentioned previously, the fish don’t care about this, so don’t worry if your wallet only allows for something more middle-of-the-road for now.

The reel

A small fixed spool reel that balances well on your rod of choice is the way to go. The weight of it should not be overly noticeable, but perhaps not so small and light that the rod might feel tip-heavy. A 3000-size model reel is regarded as pretty much perfect by most anglers, with brands such as Shimano, Daiwa and Penn all very popular. Each of those brands and many more offer options from as little as £20, but I would be more inclined to spend a little more on the reel at this stage than I would the rod.

A lure fishing reel is constantly being put to work so the gearing will have to be sufficient to cope with prolonged use. The quality of the line levelling is also important as the neater the line is wound onto the reel, the greater the potential for easier, longer casting. Cheaper models can suffer with poor line lay, so I would recommend spending anywhere between sixty and a hundred pounds on a reel that is up to the task. Again, the fish won’t know what you’re using, but in practical terms, the efficiency of the reel is more important than that of the rod.

Loading the reel

There really is only one contender when it comes to loading your reel. Braid. The mono argument simply does not apply here, as the benefits of using braid for lure fishing far outweigh any negatives. The initial outlay may be more, but braid will last twenty times longer than mono, at least, but more importantly, it will work far more effectively. Choose a 20lb breaking strain braid, whether that be a 4-strand or 8-strand version. 4 strand braids are slightly more durable and probably a better option for the first-time lure angler. Add some monofilament backing to the spool, around thirty yards will be fine, as this will prevent the braid from slipping on the spool.

Braid does not stretch, so tied directly to the spool it would just get tighter and tighter, eventually causing the entire load of braid to revolve on the spool. Tie the braid to your monofilament backing with an Albright knot or FG knot. Load the reel under tension with the braid spool in a bowl of water, this will allow it to settle easier on the reel. Don’t overfill the reel. This will cause wind knots, whereby your cast lure will be moving at a slower rate than the braid leaving the reel, causing an excess of braid to leave the reel and bunch up in the guides- a nasty tangle known as a wind knot.
Slightly underfill the reel by a couple of millimetres to avoid this. Next, tie a 12” section of 25lb fluorocarbon to the end of the braid with an Albright or FG knot, then to this, a quick connection clip that will be used to facilitate the speedy change of your lures.

And that is your set-up done!


Lures come in all shapes and sizes, but for the time being, keep it simple. Shallow diving lures are one of the most popular, falling under the hard plastics category, these are fish imitators that feature a plastic vane in the nose which causes the lure to swim down beneath the surface on the retrieve.

Choose colours that resemble bait fish, sprats, mackerel, herring or sand eels – remember the aim is to impersonate what might be present in nature. Bright yellow lures or other exotic colours certainly have their place, but for now, stick with the tried and tested mainstream colours.

Soft plastic lures should also be part of your initial approach. Choose a pattern that features a weedless hook, so that it can be worked near the sea bed with little chance of it finding a snag. Again, the idea is to replicate a prey fish such as a blenny, goby, rockling or some other bottom dweller, so choose your colours wisely.

The third and final option is metal lures. These cast extremely well and although they are less of an actual fish imitation than hard and soft lures, metals often flash and wobble on the retrieve and can make for a devastatingly effective lure. Metals are also more likely to catch species such as mackerel and garfish.

To begin with, remember the key is to keep it simple. But do experiment, this is what makes lure fishing so much fun! Over time you will notice the patterns and begin to build on your lure collection too. Fish will feed at different times, depending on the tide, time of day and weather. They will favour different styles of lures and different colours, whether they’re bland hard plastics that might resemble a sand eel, or huge fluorescent soft plastic lures that are steadily bumped across the sea bed, there is a lure for all occasions.

Leave a Reply