Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bait Finesse technique: Sumoraba スモラバ

It is always tempting to stay in your comfort zone and employ what is familiar. Ask any angler what is the best way to land a certain fish and you'd likely get a variety of response based on what worked for each of them. 

For local peacock bass fishing many would probably tell you a form of weighted fly, a brightly colored minnow or some fast moving jerkbaits are tried and tested techniques. Walking by most anglers at the reservoir, chances are these are likely to be lures spotted being rigged onto the end of their lines.

To me, what separates a good angler from an average one, is the ability to find and land fishes even when the conditions were less then perfect. Especially so, when everyone else is on the verge of giving up and prepared to leave empty handed.

One thing i learnt through fishing, is that one can never finish learning all that there is to fishing. I too, like to stick to the tested and proven, especially when these time tested techniques are working on that day itself, however it is necessary to experiment, in order to learn. With that, i do, at times seek to employ different techniques and lure presentation that may seem out of the norm for learning and experimentation sake. 

Tackle for the day: Jackson Super Trickster STC-60L-AS
Daiwa SS Air

In Japanese Bait finesse fishing, there are many techniques being employed in nabbing that next large/small mouth bass. Today i have decided to explore how i can adapt the usage of "Sumoraba (スモラバ)" into local peacock bass fishing context. 

Peacock bass are not actual bass, they belong to the cichlid family. However, they bare resemblance in terms of physical shape as well as being prized targets of lure fishing fans worldwide. In Singapore, we do not have any large/small mouths and peacock bass forms the primary luring target for many. Through fishing both these species i have taken to note that techniques employed on the two species may vary and in certain situations, become polar opposites. 

When i have the privilege to do sight fishing in clear waters i often make the most out of it and observe fishes' behavior towards our lures whenever i can. It is through several such occasions that i noticed natural soft presentations such as Wacky rigs,  Dropshots, Sumoraba and such finesse techniques doesn't interest peacock bass as much and may only trigger a lackluster nip at times. But, as soon as you stop using those technique and give that rubber a quick hard jerk, the peacock's behavior changes completely and is likely to take an aggressive hard swipe at the lure.

So we can safely say that when the peacocks are biting, most fast moving lure is likely to fall prey to them. Thus, i'm looking into exploring slower presentations that may be required when the bite becomes slow, the fishes wary and hugging the bottom closely. 

A Brightly colored Sumoraba: OSP Synchro rigged with a Jackall Cover Craw

A more natural colored one: OSP Synchro rigged with a Keitech Swing Impact

Sumoraba are basically weighted jigheads with frilly rubber skirts rigged with a soft plastic lure such as a crawfish pattern, a shad or even a worm. These lures work the best being bounced on the bottom and over structures. Another way of using the Sumoraba commonly favored by the Japanese anglers are finesse "shakes" which are tiny and light tip "shaking" of the rod which works and using your wrist to impart a minimalistic but realistic tight wiggling movement for the lure through the pulling and release of the tautness in the line. This technique can be used incorporated to the pauses during bottom hops; creativity in luring is boundless. I've found that this technique works really well on largemouths in Taiwan but the local peacock basses hardly bat a metaphorical eyelid at it. 

Some of the techniques i use for the Sumoraba includes:

1) Casting it out, letting it sink to the bottom, crank in the slack, lifting the rod tip about 45 degrees towards myself and cranking in the slack while lowering the rod, repeat the lift and lower. These allows the Sumoraba to hop on the bottom and is really effective with crawfish patterns as their rearwards darting is being mimicked. The lifts creates a narrow but tall arc with emphasis on the natural drop. Lifting the rod tip and twitching the rod tip inwards created a different presentation and can be employed according to the situation.

2) As with technique #1, you can jerk/lift the rods side ways to create a low and long hop, hugging closely to the bottom. This is more useful when least emphasis on the drop/fall is desired and you are trying to create a baitfish escape behavior mimic. This technique works well for me with pauses between several moderately fast side jerk/lifts.

3) Jerk and retrieve like a minnow. The pause in between the jerk creates the falling depth in which is most often the triggering point for bites. 

 A Juvenile Snakehead taken on a bottom hopping スモラバ

A Green Chromide on the Sumoraba, these usually shy omnivorous fishes may turn really aggressive when protecting their nest during brooding.

These are some of the techniques i have used, which yielded success and i'm happy to know that it is indeed rewarding at times to employ slower techniques on our local peacock bass, presenting a different experience compared to the usual jerkbaits/minnow blazing. I also know that when the time calls for it i would at least have a few more tricks up my sleeves to try before i have go home empty handed.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

New Megabass Honeycomb spool for Zonda/IP platform!

For all you megabass fans and daiwa reel users out there! Here's the latest Megabass Honeycomb spool tune up option! Ever since the release of reels like the Steez/SS SV and even the Zillion J-Dream, the newer trend out of japan are spool designed with ease of casting in mind, together with the bonus of handling lighter finesse styled rigs.

The new Duralumin Honeycomb Spool for Zonda/Alphas as well as IP/Zillion Platform

The concept behind such spools for example, the Daiwa SV ("Stress-free Versatile") spool, was the creation of a spool that did not required extreme control in order to obtain the highest casting performance; think earlier TDZ Type Rs. But rather, a user friendly spool that allows you to cast all day effortlessly while obtaining optimal performance as you'd expect out of a tuning spool. Plus, with today's modern use of baitcasting gears for finesse rigs previously only thought possible on spinning gears, expectation of finesse capability has only become the industry standard.

With Baitcasting finesse tuning, many a times, anglers are faced with limited line capacity due to the super shallow spools. Thus to plug the hole in this market gap, deeper spools machined to ultralight specifications slowly emerged.

Previous generation MB Honeycomb Spool only suitable for Steez/IS platform

For non Steez/IS users, the second generation of Megabass Honey Comb Spool is coming!

The tuning spool boast a weight reduction of about 4-5g

Zonda/Alphas and IP/Zillion examples

This new spools looks trick as hell and will be released at the end of this month! So, everyone can drool till then!

*All images belongs to Megabass Japan and further information on these beautiful work of arts can be found on the Megabass website at the following URL:

Friday, 5 September 2014

Quick Recap!

There has been a lack of update on Lure × Style of late, however, fret not! Fishing has definitely been done! The crew has made a few quick trips here and there whenever schedule permits; Let's have a quick look!
Beautiful peacocks were landed

sweet tackles were used

Nice Temensis were found

Even at some long thought to be dead spots

The fly tackle was brought out of hiding

And some fishing was done at my favorite fishing ground in Taipei!

Whew! That wasn't too bad! Apologies to all the beautiful fishes still swimming out there, whose mugshots didn't make it to the blog! And for the rest of the anglers out there all over the globe, we hope the Baitfinesse bugs continues to bite you guys hard!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Short trip

Managed to squeeze out an hour plus right before dusk for a short session.

Outfit Of The Day:
Bag: L.S.D One Shot Side Tuned 
Rod: Jackson Super Trickster STC-60L-AS
Reel: Daiwa SS Air

After the first half an hour or so, i noticed that the peacocks were not in the mood for hard bodied lures as there was little to no interest. The moment i swapped the lures out to soft plastics ,the bite rate increased noticeably. I spent the next hour switching between hard bodies and soft plastics just for experimental sake. 

This one was landed on a Garagecraft Mylar Minnow soft plastic, prior to that i dropped another peacock which was also on soft plastic as well right before landing! The hard bodies continued to score a big fat zero until the end of the day.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Baitfinesse trout 進撃の巨人

Some days while hunting for rabbits, you may just stumble upon the lion's den. That's how it felt today when a big fat Haruan decided to make my day. I had a few hours to spare before going to work in the evening so what better way to spend it than to go for a short fishing trip.

Just 2 days back, i had about 10mins on the water before a thunderstorm came in and had me scrambling back to the car. But lucky for me i somehow managed 1 fish before the rain fell.

Today started out slow, the sun was hiding behind the clouds but the hight humidity level left the air feeling stale and sticky. Off we went though, rigged up with a 2" Jackall Peke Peke mebaru rubber on a 1g Daiwa jighead. I bounced the jig on the bottom slowly and was soon rewarded with several nice cichilids.

After arriving at an area where peacocks were more prone to lurk i decided to go with a lure swap. I made several casts and on a particular retrieve i decided to slow the lure down about 4 feets away from me and made short hard jerks. As the lure came within no more than 50cm from my feet, a dark shadow appeared from nowhere, snatched the lure, and went on it's first run taking over 20m of line out of the spool. The fish wasn't shy to show itself and leaped into the air fully clearing it's entire body while giving me a good look at the behemoth. "Owh fuck here we go.." i muttered under my breath.

I had a tiny lure with tiny and thin stock hooks, 5lb fluoro line at 0.185mm thick (or thin) and a noodly soft rod. A recipe for disaster i guess. But 10mins or so later with  countless runs, many heart stopping moments and several close shaves, i somehow managed to land the bugger. And behold...


The lure that did the trick

After a few mugshots, shakey hands and a sigh of relief, the beauty was slid gently back into the water and off it went. What a great day.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

BFS troutin?

With the recent craze of trout fishing in Japanese rivers with BFS gears, a world of soft noodly rods have opened itself up to. While there isn't any trouts to be caught locally, there sure is a lot fun that can be had with these ultalight tackles.

Locally there are plenty of fishes that can be targeted with ultralight luring, some of these fishes could be too small to be caught on conventional setups and only few, such as, ultralight anglers and fly fishermen actually bothered to give it a go, while the other part of the angling community are more likely to see these fishes as baits.

Abu Garcia Diplomat Boron DBC-602ULS MGS
6 Foot
Line: 3-8lb 
Lure: 2-7g
The rod is way softer than the specs suggest. Behaves like a 3wt Fly rod

Ultra light, Pun intended.

 The chosen partner due to sheer weight, or rather the lack of it. My 138g Aldebaran BFS XG Tuned

The combination

And so, the main objective of coming up with this setup was ultimately to maximize the enjoyment that sometimes small fishes can actually give, but not on your usual tackles. And whilst there is no trouts here, there are plenty of small feisty fishes that could put a nice bend on this noodly rod.

Superb FC line of choice

Outfit for the day, sticking to the lightweight theme.

Off we went...

First fish of the day!

Than, a nice Haruan decided to show up and put up a spectacular fight with some aerial displays

A fish i've not seen in a long time, a Jaguar Cichilid. What a beauty.

I've dialed down the drag on my reel to nearly non-existent, with just enough to retrieve line and relied on using my thumb to feather the pressure when a fish was on. Boy was it fun! These little fishes were able to bend the blank into a beautiful and deep bow and coupled with the low drag they were more than able to make many surprisingly entertaining runs. 

By using ultralight setups, any fish hooked up feels like a good fish. You become less conscious about what hits the lure and lose the pressure of constantly needing a big fish to keep you entertained. The simple appeal of such is often lost in the modern angling world where everyone is striving to outdo one another with the biggest catch. 

For me this form of fishing is a great way to relax and take a slower pace in fishing. Appreciating the beauty of everything this wonderful sport has got to offer, the sights and sounds of nature, and of course, the sheer beauty of our favorite finned friends, even if it's the little ones. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Daiwa SS Air × Jackson Super Trickster on the water

After some considerations, the SS air was loaded with a spool of 7lbs Daiwa Bass Finesse Fluorocarbon line.

As with the T3 air, the SS air spool being extremely thin, requires more care and attention during usage as compared to standard spools. Some of the guidelines by Daiwa regarding the usage of the spool includes:
- Nylon and Fluorocarbon lines only. No braided lines.
Line thickness, from 0.205mm (approx.6lb) to 0.330mm(approx.16lb) only
For lines with diameter lesser than 0.235mm(approx.8lb-test) lines, do not spool in more than 50m
Never spool lines with more than 500g (about 1lb force) of tension
- Never lock the spool and pull when lure is snagged
- Never cast lures over 15g

As these are all precautionary measures from Daiwa to prevent any forms of mechanical failure, users should try to adhere to it. 

Woke up nice and early today to catch the break of dawn for some field test on the new BFS setup. 

The setup was rigged up and i tied on an O.S.P I-waver 74sss. Off to the water we went.

I took a few test-casts and played around with the brake settings for a short while, with a stroke of luck a friendly peacock bass came knocking on the lure. The fight was short due to the short range where the fish took the lure thus even though i've had my first glimpse of the rod's performance, it was not fully tested to it's capabilities as yet. 

Initial impression of the SS Air was that it casted really smoothly with little effort. And similarly to my Alphas on the MB Zonda finesse spool, the reel didn't liked hard punching casts. Smooth casting strokes with gentle thumb pressure gotten the best casting results. This seemed to apply from the 4.5g I-Waver down to the 1/32oz (0.8g) Yozuri Snap (Optimal result with lower poundage lines approx. 2-5lb). The reel handle 2-3g class lures such as weightless rubbers and small minnows with ease. However for the lower limits ( <2g), lighter line class would have brought out it's full potential. 

A lure i like to use for BFS testing.

The peacock basses landed today were not huge by any measures, thus the drag was not tested to its higher capabilities, however the initial impression of the Daiwa Tournament Drag System was a feel of smoothness with no jerky burst encountered.

Overall the SS Air is a high performance Bait Finesse reel right out of the box. It is light but solid, has a silky smooth drag as well as retrieval and overall operation, lastly and most importantly bangs out finesse lures like a champ. Technical features aside, based on casting distance and ease of casts, the SS air easily performs as well as or better than most of the Bait Finesse reels out of the box in the market right now. In terms of out of the box Bait Finesse casting performance, build, features and specs aside, i feel that the Abu Garcia Revo AE74 LTZ is one of the best casters and i'm glad to report that the SS Air definitely matches its casting prowess, however whether either reel outperforms the other would require a more detailed test.

As with any performance reels, i personally believe in a bedding-in period, whereby items such as the drive gears, spool shafts and bearings etc will smoothen out after some usage, thus i foresee a little more potential performance increase for the reel for the coming months. Having said that, it is likely that a bearing swap and some cosmetic changes will be in the works for this unit.

UPDATE: Hedgehog Studios Air Beaings added to sideplate:
Freespool timing improved from 12sec > 37sec