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I've Been Trolled! (Diving Lure Content)

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Over the years I have become increasingly keen on trolling lures as a way to catch fish.  I have caught many tailor, more bonito, some kingfish and one amberjack in Sydney Harbour and around the Heads, venturing as far north as Long Reef.  Even on doughnut days, I tell myself it’s nice to be out on the water.  I mostly believe it to be true.  But nothing sets the pulse racing like the sound of a rod’s ratchet buzzing into life as a lure is taken.


Before a lure can catch a fish, it has to catch a fisherman.  I have always chosen lures that look like prey species to me, thinking that if I think it looks like a snack for a hungry bitey fish, the hungry bitey fish will think so too.  So I have favoured blue/white/silvery coloured trolling lures, with the occasional Qantas model thrown in.  But mostly it’s been pilchard style lures that I have found success with.  And I have found that trolling at 5 knots is very productive.  So that is what I have done…trolled fishy looking diving lures at a steady 5 knots.


Recently I went fishing with one of my brothers.  Reverently he revealed his lure of choice.  A Halco redhead, but instead of a white or silver body, this one had a gold body.  And not a chrome gold, but a metal flake, sparkly gold.  It looked like it had been designed by a five year old off his chops on unlimited red lollies.  “Bro, this lure is DEADLY!” he informed me, “I have seen fish swimming across the wake, ignoring other lures in their eagerness to get at this lure!”.  I wasn’t convinced, and even though I am not very polite by nature, it was his boat we were on, and I didn’t fancy walking home so I kept my counsel.  And tried not to look too smug as I deployed my tried and tested pilchard lure.


For the rest of the morning, one fish after another ignored my realistic looking lure with holographic this, true-to-life that, translucent next and smashed my brothers hallucinogenic representation of a fish’s fever dream. 


That lure is a Halco diver in H78 Redneck.  It’s no longer available.  There were 2 (two) still available on the ‘Bay, and I bought them both.  The closest currently available colour is H70 King Brown.  Think sunburnt pilchard covered in gold glitter.  I am pretty sure it was designed by the same red lolly addict.  This weekend I gave it a try.  In a short troll around the cliffs between North Head and Manly (in the middle of the day) it caught two rat kings and for a while, something else took the lure but was able to escape.


And here’s the other weird bit.  One of the rat kings was caught while the boat was just idling forward while I despatched a bonito.  The other was caught within seconds of the lure being thrown into the water.  My takeaway from all of this is that fish don’t always think the way that we think they do.  Maybe a flashy, bright lure will get a reflex bite even more effectively than a lure that physically resembles prey.  And trolling slower may be something to try from time to time, especially if the sounder is showing fish but they aren’t taking a lure.


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15 minutes ago, Little_Flatty said:

Interesting @JustJames. Was your pilchard lure a Halco Laser Pro as well?

No.  I have had Halco's that have swum skew, so my preference is Rapala X Rap Magnum in various sizes/depths.  I have found the 15cm-ish ones work really well.


8 minutes ago, frankS said:

You should try downrigging them at walking pace for even better results


Great idea, which I will definitely try, thanks Frank.

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Hi Just James. This topic gets a fair bit of posts, which is good because it shows that we may have a preference but often have success with something vastly different.

You probably know that I use lures a lot chasing Cod and Yellowbelly. Have used other lures for bread and butter marine creatures too. I have preference for certain colours but really I think this just allows me to have confidence in what I'm doing and therefore the results are generally better. However, I firmly believe that colour has only a small impact on catching fish. The correct action of the lure is what gets their interest. In deep water colours fade to grey as per the light spectrum. The first to go is red, at about 5 metres (it becomes grey).

Good anglers are always prepared to try different things, in my opinion. I also think that fish can become alert to excessive exposure to fishing practices, so always a good idea to change things up every so often. Good topic mate. bn

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