How to

The micro lure game

DOWNSIZING lures is not a new phenomenon, however the finesse and micro fishing scene in hard fished South East Asian waters far more advanced than what we see domestically. I was introduced to Bait Finesse Style (BFS), light shore game and Ajing fishing in Singapore where local anglers would use heavily customised and pretty fancy ultralight fishing gear to cast tiny soft plastic lures, jigs and hardbodies. In a densely populated nation with immense pressure on saltwater fish stocks from industrial and shipping activity, finesse fishing was often the key to success.

The rationale behind micro fishing

Downsizing your offerings to showing fickle fish a smaller profile they might not have seen before can yield exceptional results. Ultra light soft plastics and jigs sink slower so can present for longer in the strike zone. It is also worth noting that during shut down periods where fish are conserving energy, a smaller morsel may elicit a bite more readily because it is typically worked slower so the fish have time to amble over and react. When fish strike a lure they flare their gills, thereby creating suction which draws pray into their mouth. A half-hearted strike from a lethargic fish will still generate suction however a heavier lure will hardly move from a timid bite whereas a soft plastic weighing a gram will be drawn into the fishes’ mouth. Fishing ultra-light lures requires significantly downsized tackle which promotes a more natural presentation by default and will often entice a predator into biting. Another interesting consideration is that miro lures offer a safer and more attractive meal than something larger. If a predator gags or otherwise struggles to consume its prey then the risk of death increases dramatically. Smaller morsels are a low-risk proposition and can be consumed with gusto!

Ajing and micro lures

Ajing style fishing related to the Japanese craft of catching small saltwater horse mackerel, similar to yellowtail or yakkas we catch here, on exceptionally small and lightly weighted soft plastics. These micro plastics are typically an inch or 2.5cm in length and fished on fine wire jig heads that can weigh as little as 0.5 grams. The main technique to employ when using smaller plastics is to slow things down considerably. The rationale behind using such small lures has origins with the diminutive size of the Aji originally targeted in Japan. The concept behind using such delicate has merit beyond targeting tiddlers with the appeal of small, lightly weighted plastics wafting through the water column enticingly attractive to many species. Bream and whiting are the two that come readily to mind however I have caught plenty of large silver trevally over the years fishing softs cut down to an inch or so and they can be dynamite on fickle Australian salmon that are feeding on tiny baitfish! In the fresh water, trout are quite receptive to micro plastics as are Australian bass and many smaller species that feed on small fish and insects. Similarly, miniature hardbody lures and bladed spinners can often produce results when the fish are shut down or have been under pressure during busy holiday periods and weekends.

Micro jigs

The term micro jigging has been broadly used to describe jigs smaller than 80 or 100 grams however finesse fishing with micro jigs sees the scale drop significantly with jig weights ranging from a few grams in weight up to about 15grams. These jigs are essentially downsized versions of larger models with either a treble hook or tiny assist. Where the smaller micro jigs come to the fore is fishing enclosed or shallow waters and whilst many people associate pelagic fish and fast retrieves with jigging, slow retrieves and targeting the lower sections of the water column can be dynamite. Estuary and inshore species like bream, flathead, trevally, mulloway and snapper in the salt with Australian bass and redfin to name a few exceptionally receptive to micro jigs in the fresh. The technique is to cast out the jig as far as possible if flats fishing or adjacent to any structure. Give the line plenty of slack and allow the jig to free fall, keeping an eye on the line for any indication of a strike on the drop. Once on or near the bottom, retrieve the jig with a series of short sharp hops interspersed with longer lifts and to all the jig to seductively flutter. Most strikes will occur at the commencement of a hop or on the fall of a long flutter.

Tackle for micro finesse fishing

As the jigs and lures are very light, everything is scaled down with exceptionally light rods and braided lines a must; think an ultralight fresh or estuary lure fishing outfit and you will be close to the mark. Main lines are typically 4-8lb braid, whilst leaders vary from 2lb through to 15lb. When it comes to rods, I prefer specialist micro jigging rods with a longer butt section. You can use a traditional single handed spin stick however if you happen to find some larger fish, fight times can become quite long so an extended butt section is far more comfortable if fishing and fighting fish all day long. Reels are typically in the 1000 to 2000 size or slightly larger 2500 and 3000 shallow spool models. Terminal tackle follows suit with fine wire hooks and split rings and solid rings used to match the lure with an emphasis on slimmer profiles and sizes to reduce drag and not impede the lure.

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