Every so often, a product comes along that genuinely is a little bit different from the norm. A product that makes fishing easier and simplifies our tackle choices.
In the shop over the past 12 months, the one thing that everybody has been asking for more and more is weedless jigheads. Getting hold of anything but a few sizes has always been really tricky though, and most manufacturers don’t make them in a lot of the sizes that anglers really want. The hook sizes or weights are always too big or too small.
Now though, Spro have come up with the perfect solution! And it’s more than just a weedless jighead…
They basically consist of a round ball lead with a slit running through the middle. In to this is inserted a very tight “paper clip” type bit or wire. The fit is very tight so it doesn’t move. On to this you can mount any hook that you choose – whether it’s a size 6 weedless hook, or a 6/0 straight shanked Aberdeen. Or anywhere in between! They’ll be most popular with weedless (worm) hooks, but the point is that you can use any hook you like! The wire that runs through the centre is fine enough to accept all normal hook types with ease.
Here’s how they work:
The other thing about this style of link is that unlike standard weedless jigheads where you try to push the soft plastic up against the lead itself, the fact that there is an articulated gap is a good thing when flexibility/movement of the lure in concerned. Just one type of retrieve that this benefits is an idea that I first came across a idea few years back when I started playing with the Fish Arrow lures. One of their videos showed a lure being nose hooked on a wacky style jighead, and then fished with a constant wiggle of the rod tip (I’d always done this a lot with LRF to be honest, but this jighead style adds another dimension). With the lead sat away from the nose of the lure and this twitching motion, it really gets the lure rolling and moving in a way that you can’t achieve with a standard jighead. Check it out below (jump to about 50 seconds):
Inexperienced anglers may look at it and think to themselves, “that looks weird” (with the gap between head and plastic). If you think about it through, as soon as you turn it even just a few degrees off side-on, the gap disappears. From a fishes point of view a) they don’t seem to care anyway (certainly the excellent TT Snake Head jigs prove that point), and b) they’re not going to be sat looking at it side on, even if they did care. They’ll be underneath it or behind it.
That said, that is just the “bonus” feature… Of course, the Bottom jigs will be ideal for all of your standard types of retrieve as well! With sizes going down to just 1.5g, they will suit you, whether you’re a bass angler who fishes shallow, rocky ground, or a perch angle
r on the canal! And stepping up eventually (through 3g, 5g, 7g, 10g, 14g) to 18g weights, they will cover most of what we do – especially from the shore!
I’ll certainly be using these a lot these year, even for Wrasse fishing. The only time I would choose a standard jighead through preference to one of these would be when I’m swimming a lure back with more aggressive, darting twitches (where the fixed nature of the head will get the lure darting more effectively). Or when I need to use more than 18g.
Lures are another critical factor for every company these days. Much of Spro’s older ranges are based around what I would call more “traditional”, freshwater aspects of the sport. A lot of the lures look simple. And big. Proper pike lures in a lot of cases, I think. They have some lovely bits within the range though. Like the rods and reels, we’ve not sold a lot of Spro lures previously in the shop. Partly because of the fact that they felt so pike orientated to me. When you look through past catalogues though, they just weren’t as good looking as they are now. I suppose this isn’t necessarily just a Spro trend these days. All of the main manufacturers are starting to realise that lures need to look better (to us – anglers) than they ever did before. It doesn’t matter whether they work any better or not; when one manufacturer launches something that looks real (and works), everybody else has to follow. They don’t get a choice.
I must admit, seeing all of the Spro lures in the wall in Holland it’s hard not to like them really. Just the way they’re displayed even. That’s how I want my shop to look! In a weird kind of way it would be a shame to mess it up with other colours and brand names. Ideally I’d like to own a supermarket with an aisle for every brand. They just look so rubbish when you start having to mix them up due to lack of space! Like the rods and reels though, there are various lures in the range that I personally have no interest in. As excellent as I’m sure the lures are, I’m not a big lure, pike angler, so (sorry to those folks) I’m not going in to detail about those kinds of lures here. Spro are renowned for the likes of their bigger BBZ and crankbait models though. They speak for themselves a bit. On the smaller end of the scale though there are some real beauties!
Being used to dealing in high end Japanese equipment my standards and expectations are high. However, I appreciate now more than ever that there is a time and a place for long casting, expensive (some would say) lures, and in some situations there is just no point in splashing top dollar. That’s actually where brands like Spro come in to their own. I’m talking hardbaits here, of course. On narrow canals for example, or on any freshwater venues surrounded by tree roots and branches you don’t need supreme casting distance, and you’re constantly aware that you’re going to snag a lure from time to time. It’s a bit different to when you’re out on the north coast of Cornwall with a gale howling in your face and waves crashing around (you’ll appreciate the casting and stability benefits of a Â£20 lure then!).
Anyway, I digress. What Spro do (like most mainstream European manufacturers) is provide a range of quality lures that fit perfectly in to the middle price range (as I see it). Small hard lures all under a tenner, and packs of soft plastics for anything up to about six or seven quid. Freshwater anglers are fishing lighter and smaller right now than they ever have done, particularly for Perch. Being based in the Netherlands, they are surrounded by Pike, Perch and Zander, and as a result the lure ranges are biased in this direction. They have (sea) bass over there too, and the lure range is starting to include a couple of good value options for these too. I’ve caught bass on their various soft plastic lures before anyway, so we obviously know they work. The simplest thing is for me to get straight on talking about various standout lures that I liked and will be stocking, rather than babbling for ages.
SOFT LURES (Hard Lures in Part V)
Spro Bony Shaker 80, 95, 140
I’ve always loved this type of lure. I catch stacks of bass every yea
r (there’s a 140mm version available that I’d use for that), but it’s the two smaller sizes that I loved the most! The 80mm version especially. As a dropshotting lure this will be superb. Amazingly soft, you can see a video below to give you some idea.
While the two smaller size will make great dropshot lures in particular, the 140 has potential for bass. Rigged weightless and weedless, it will cast far enough, and action through the water should be absolutely superb.
Spro Arrow Tail 80
I can’t deny, this lure is almost exactly the same as the epic Ecogear Grass Minnow L. I must admit though, I prefer the colours available from the Spro range. Check them out on the Spro website: Spro Arrow Tail 80. Being designed in Europe, the colours are more natural on the whole, but also include some great traditional perch colours – or versions of them. I love the one below especially. I’ve caught loads of bass on the Ecogear version (very often copied these days), so I know these will catch almost anything.
Spro Komodo Shad
This isn’t a new lure for Spro, but one I’d completely ignored before the trip. I look at them and see just a nice ‘normal’ USA moulded soft plastic. Perhaps not one I’d have initially been drawn to though. They don’t look all that fancy. The benefit of seeing there (and any product) in the flesh though, and perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about working in fishing, is when you surprise yourself. Many anglers out there will already have fished with and appreciated these. However, they’re newer to me, and I just love the softness and feel to them. They’re a lot nicer than I thought they’d be. I especially love the 60mm size! These will catch perch all day every day, but will also suit LRF anglers. As you run through the different sizes there is something there to catch nearly any fish to be honest.
Spro Super Natural Baitfish 80/100
I’d never seen these in the flesh before either. Wow! How impressive they are though! Soft, and a lovely size too. I’m looking forward to fishing with them as I’ve not done so yet, but certainly they feel lovely and soft and like they will fish superbly well.
Spro Fat Papa 70
Again, from looking at the catalogue, this wasn’t one that initially grabbed me. It just looks too simple and cheap. Grab one out of the pack though and they’re really sort and the profile of them is very, very slim. I imagined them being fat and bulky, but they’re far from it. They’ll make a great big perch lure for this year!
Spro Shy Goby 100
The Shy Goby looks great! Anything Goby related is always going to go down well with wrasse anglers in particular, but they also have various similarities with freshwater mini-species too. In all honest, I wish that they were 3″ long rather than 4″, but certainly this size will be popular with some. With the outward sticking fins, they may not cast as well as some lures, but due to the nature of what you’ll likely be fishing for when using them, that probably doesn’t matter too much. Under the water they should make up for it with a huge presence – sending out lots of vibration as they pass through the water.
I think that gets to the end of my main favourites. There are lots in the range that we’ll be stocking in the shop this year now that I’ve seen them. Some are in already, so if you have any questions or requirements, give me a call, email or check the website and I’ll try and help you out.
Part 5 is going to be a bit of a beast of a report because the range or hard lures this year is brilliant.