How to

Understanding Lures: Blades & Vibes

THIS month’s Fishing School is a little more contemporary than previous ones in that we’re going to look at vibes and blades. Now, I say “contemporary” because vibes and blades are in the current spotlight but what I really mean is “topical”.

Like many of the lure groups we’ve been discussing over the past few months, vibes and blades have both been around for much longer than current literature might suggest. These two lure types are, in some ways, quite different although they do a similar job. Both lures are designed for sub-surface, often deep water, presentations. Both lures also sink, making them quite versatile in that you can allow them to sink to specific depths before starting to work them. If you want to work them in the shallows,  commencing a fairly rapid retrieve as soon as the lure hits the water will achieve this. You can also allow them to sink right to the bottom to target bottom dwellers or deep sounding fish. Both lures can also be trolled. In fact, some models are specifically designed for this purpose.Vibes are usually made from a plastic or timber body although some modern vibes are almost a morph between vibes and soft plastics as the body is made
of rubbery material. They come in a variety of body shapes although are almost universally narrow and flat sided. The upper leading face of the lure where the line attaches is usually angled and flat. The reason for this is that the leading face acts as a quasi bib. As the lure moves through the water it creates pressure on the leading face, forcing it to try and get to a vertical plane, much the same way as a lure bib works. This, in turn, causes the lure to track in a certain manner. The narrow profile of the leading face in turn provides the action to the lure. This narrow surface area means the action of most vibes is usually quite tight and feels like a vibration through the rod when you retrieve it.

Many vibes are also equipped with internal rattles or other audible extras designed to maximise the lure’s fish attracting abilities. In fact, in years gone by (and still today in some cases), these lures were known as “rattlers” rather than vibes. The issue of noisy lures is an interesting one. In case you weren’t aware, noise travels considerably more efficiently through water than it does through air. This means that noises are more easily and clearly detected underwater than above. Whether or not this translates to more bites will depend on many factors; however, it can’t be positively argued that a fish coming to investigate your lure because it heard it, before it saw it, meant you’d been given an opportunity that you otherwise might not have got. Personally, I believe “noisy” lures should always have a place in my tackle box and fishing situations. It’s just a matter of time, place and personal preference.

Vibe type lures come in a range of sizes from micro for trout, redfin, bream etc, right up to 20cm or even 30cm models for huge fresh or saltwater game fish. These really large models are probably not real vibes and are often referred to as “bibless minnows”. They are essentially trolling lures and can be devastating on species like tuna, wahoo and mackerel. Because of their slender shape they offer much less resistance in the water than their bibbed counterparts. Lesser resistance combined with a heavy body weight allows bibbed minnows to be trolled at speeds in excess of 10 or even 15 knots, which allows you to troll them in conjunction with a spread of skirted lures. These features often make them the “go to” lure when sea conditions are sloppy. This can be a very versatile and deadly bluewater trolling spread.

Blades work on similar principles but are a different design. They are constructed via a sheet of metal that has been cut into a specific shape (often that of a fish). Some modern blades have bodies made from durable plastics such as polycarbonate. On the forward underside is a shaped chin weight.  This weight creates the action of the blade. Like vibes, the narrow blade creates a very tight vibrating action. On the top of the body are usually a series of holes to which you attach your line or clip. The rule of thumb here is the further back you attach your line, the deeper the running depth. Even though the lure sinks it will still have an optimal tracking depth. These holes allow you that versatility.  These lures are very dense and therefore sink quickly, making them less suitable (but not excluded from) shallow water presentations but great for deep water or vertical presentations.

Most blades are quite small and suited to the ultra light to medium range of sportfishing opportunities. There are, however, some big blades that are used in bluewater tropical trolling applications. They are quite popular in the tropics because they are virtually indestructible.

Using blades and vibes is becoming very popular due to their simplicity in use.  While there is a little more to them than chuck them out and crank them in, they can be used to great effect without having  to be a highly skilled angler to do so. There are lots of different vibes and blades out there and without question the better quality ones have one defining feature;  that is they have an action whilst sinking. All of them will impart action on the retrieve but those that “vibe” while they sink will get more bites.

You can cast them out and just do a straight retrieve back (using a variety of speeds) and this will get plenty of strikes. My preferred retrieve in most circumstances is the “draw and drop” retrieve. All this involves is casting the lure out and allowing it to sink to your desired depth. Then lift the rod tip up and you’ll feel the lure working. Then, lower the rod tip to allow it to sink back down while retrieving about half of the line you gained by lifting. Repeat this process and you will have a very effective retrieve, especially if your blade is working both while it is rising and falling. What you should avoid though, is the erratic soft plastic styles retrieves. This will cause the lure to spin and get tangles. Keep your actions smooth.

You can let your lure bounce off the bottom using this retrieve and this will work also. In fact, what amazes many anglers is just how often blades get taken while sitting dead still on the bottom. Don’t be afraid to leave it sitting for a few seconds, especially if you’ve just had an unsuccessful strike.

We’re getting near the end of our understanding lures session. Next month we’ll look at some specific lures for gamefishing and wrap up the following month with some odds and ends that are out there waiting to get into your tackle box!

What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.