Fooling fish with lures: How artificial fishing lures work


Photos By ARNOLD LOH

The short and narrow lip is perfect for moving the crankbait swiftly in the water to mimic fleeing baitfish.

Artificial fishing lures might puzzle those unfamiliar with angling, especially novices accustomed to simply fixing bait to hooks and waiting for bites.

Do fish really respond to artificial lures like they do to bait?

Not quite.

Fishing lures imitate the movements of natural prey through hydrodynamics, a branch of physics dealing with fluid motion and submerged objects.

When you cast out a lure and begin retrieving it at a particular speed, its motions – wiggling, wobbling, pivoting, and twitching – mimic the behaviour of a swimming fish.

Crankbaits, designed to resemble fish, exemplify this behaviour.

Thousands of crankbaits have been created worldwide with dazzling colours and swimming depths.Thousands of crankbaits have been created worldwide with dazzling colours and swimming depths.

Here’s a basic guide to recognising how a crankbait behaves in water.

Most crankbaits feature an appendage called a lip, bill or tongue positioned in front of the lure’s head. The length of this appendage determines how deep the lure will dive during retrieval.

This topwater lure with a bowl-shaped mouth causes a popping sound when jerked along the water surface.This topwater lure with a bowl-shaped mouth causes a popping sound when jerked along the water surface.

As you reel in, water pushes against the long lip, causing the lure to submerge, sometimes as deep as four to six metres, before resurfacing as the line between your reel and the lure shortens.

The shape of the lip influences the lure’s movement. A wide lip induces an exaggerated wobble, transmitting vibrations through the rod and water.

Soft plastic lures for threading a hook through with tinsel bits in their bodies that glitter like real fish scales.Soft plastic lures for threading a hook through with tinsel bits in their bodies that glitter like real fish scales.

These crankbaits are best retrieved slowly to avoid startling fish with overly aggressive movements.

Conversely, shallow-diving crankbaits, featuring short lips, barely submerge, making them ideal for fast retrieves that mimic fleeing baitfish, triggering predatory instincts.

The hooks are hidden on this lure so it will not snag on weeds, but this frog lookalike has a soft, collapsible body that will flatten when a predatory fish bites it, exposing the hooks.The hooks are hidden on this lure so it will not snag on weeds, but this frog lookalike has a soft, collapsible body that will flatten when a predatory fish bites it, exposing the hooks.

Lipless lures, known as topwater lures, lack this appendage. A bowl-shaped head allows for a popping sound when jerked, which can attract predatory fish from considerable distances due to water’s efficient sound transmission.

Since their invention, crankbaits and topwater lures have undergone countless variations in shape and colour, some approaching the status of art.

The flat sinking lure design creates strong vibrations when retrieved.The flat sinking lure design creates strong vibrations when retrieved.

The Great Outdoor Expo 2024, organised by Star Media Group Berhad at Setia City Convention Centre in Selangor from May 31 to June 2, offers a chance to marvel at and purchase these intricate creations, with TCE Tackles Sdn Bhd among the prominent exhibitors.

Hundreds of lures to choose from at a TCE Tackle outlet.Hundreds of lures to choose from at a TCE Tackle outlet.

TCE Tackles, established in 1992, boasts retail outlets across Malaysia and stocks over 15,000 fishing accessories.

Deep-diving crankbait with long lip.Deep-diving crankbait with long lip.

Marketing coordinator Johnny Tiew emphasises the importance of selecting lures based on water conditions, fish activity and other factors.

Shallow-diving crankbait with short lip.Shallow-diving crankbait with short lip.

“That’s why serious sports anglers who are skilled at using lures bring tackle boxes filled with 10s of lures with varying swimming depths, colours and shapes,” he said, adding that visitors can expect attractive promotions at the TCE Tackle booths at The Great Outdoor Expo.

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StarExtra , Outdoors , fishing

   

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