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Making up drop-shot rigs while you’re out fishing can be a pain. It takes time to get everything set up and it’s hard to do sometimes in the wind are rain. Carrying made up Drop-shot rigs can be equally tricky though, up till now I’ve had a few ready made rigs stored in my trace wallet, but they are fiddly to get in there are fiddly to get out and you can’t really store them with the weight attached.

The little yellow Rigrap 8512 is just 8cm long and less than 2cm thick, so very easy to pop in your pocket or store in a waist bag or rucksack pocket

The little yellow Rigrap 8512 is just 8cm long and less than 2cm thick, so very easy to pop in your pocket or store in a waist bag or rucksack pocket

Well this week we got sent a product that we think will change the way we store ready made lure fishing rigs forever ! Fishing Matters are the distributors for a number of very well known brands in the UK such as Partridge hooks, American Fishing Wire products and Cox & Rawle. They have just started distributing the Rigrap range of anglers storage solutions and they were good enough to send us a sample of one of their little Rigrap 8512 yellow cases and it’s absolutely perfect for storing a made up drop shot rig.

Here is the little RigRap 8512 case with one of my dropshot rigs inside. If you wanted to you could even leave the lure on the hook when you put it away as there is plenty of room in the middle.

Here is the little RigRap 8512 case with one of my dropshot rigs inside. If you wanted to you could even leave the lure on the hook when you put it away as there is plenty of room in the middle.

The cases just snap open and shut and have a very neat layout which makes it easy to load them with a drop-shot rig, or indeed any rig you like. There is plenty of room on the middle to include the weight and you could even leave the lure on the hook if you want to put the rig back in the box ! One of the other nice things about the boxes is that they are transparent, which means it’s easy to spot which one you want if you carry a few with you.

Here's the box closed, as you can see it's still easy to identify the contents.

Here’s the box closed, as you can see it’s still easy to identify the contents.

Another nice feature is the number of drainage/air holes the cases have. This means saltwater anglers can rinse their rigs off after fishing without even having to open the case…just run them under the tap and leave them to air dry.

The above is a nice graphic which shows exactly how the Rigrap cases work.

The above is a nice graphic which shows exactly how the Rigrap cases work.

The 8512 size cases come in packs of four and we believe they will sell at around £6.99 for four, which we think is pretty good value. No doubt there will be plenty of stockists popping up over the next couple of months and stock has only just arrived in the country, but we believe they will be on sale at Glasgow Angling very soon

RIGRAP_Yellow_8512_Packaged_4_to_a_blister_pack

There’s lots of other products in the range too, so it’s well worth taking a look at the Rigrap website at www.rigrap.com

 

there are lots of sizes of Rigrap available and individual Rigrap cases can be 'snapped' in to purpose made holders and cases

there are lots of sizes of Rigrap available and individual Rigrap cases can be ‘snapped’ in to purpose made holders and cases

 

 

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Monarch-Dok Jerkbait review

Lure Name TNT
Manufacturer Monarch-Dok
Lure Type Jerkbait
Length 10cm
Weight 30g
Price £11.99

I’m a big fan of small light jerkbaits for a number of reasons. They cast well, they are fun to use, they catch fish and they can be cast and worked effectively on a number of set ups. Even when I’m out with a medium weight spinning set up I will often take a small jerk or two in case their are some nice pike in the area that I spot and want to target. You have to be careful that your rod is capable of dealing with a decent fish, but as long as the water is pretty open and your rod is not too light, it doesn’t usually cause too many issues. My favourite lures for this sort of work are the 7cm  Salmo slider and Mark Berrisfords Leons. So when I popped on to the Jerkbaitmania website and spotted the TNT I thought it might be a useful edition to my armoury.

The TNT is a little bigger than the 7cm Slider and MB Leon at 10cm, but at just 30g it’s a very manageable weight on a Medium weight spinning set up, but still heavy enough to cast and work properly on a light Jerkbait set up.

The Firetiger Pattern is nice and bright and works very well in water tainted with Algal bloom.

The Firetiger Pattern is nice and bright and works very well in water tainted with Algal bloom.

I didn’t know much about the company, so I thought I’d check out their website. Turns out Monarch-Dok are a Croatian company, and each lure is hand crafted from Abachi wood. Amazingly the lures are all hand tested prior to shipping not in tank but in the actual River Danube ! The site also has some interesting info about the quality of the components used in the construction of their baits and their certainly seems to be an emphasis on quality. The lures are all fitted with either VMC or Gamakatsu hooks and are all wired through using dental quality stainless wire. The finishes are all hand painted too and Monarch-Dok even manufacture their own split rings. It’s also worth pointing out that Monarch-Dok offer a guarantee that they will replace your lure if it get’s damaged beyond use, which gives an indication of their confidence in their product.

TESTING TIME

First time out I used a light baitcasting set up comprized of a St Croix Avid rod and Revo STX reel. The first thing I noticed about the lure is how well it casts. Like the Salmo slider, it’s compact shape and round lines mean that it cuts through the air like a bullet and it really is very easy to cast it a long way. It also casts very true with no inclination to spin or turn in the air, which makes it a joy to cast with a baitcaster and ensures that backlash issue shouldn’t be a problem even casting straight into the wind. On the retrieve the lure has a nice compact side to side glide with just a little bit of flanking action to make sure the lure sends out plenty of flashes of it’s sides as you work it. In fact it glides so easily there is really no need for a particularly stiff rod to impart the action and it’s more than possible to work the lure using the reel, which is particularly beneficial in tight areas between trees or if you are trying to keep a low profile on the bank as you can actually work the lure from a crouching position. The rate of fall is medium slow, which makes it more than possible to get the lure to work fairly deep if you let it drop then work it slowly, but also means that you can easily keep the lure in the top two or three feet of water by starting the retrieve immediately and keeping up a nice steady pace.

There is also a floating version of the TNT available and just in case you have trouble identifying which is which in your lure box, Monarch-Dok have marked each lure with a handy S or F on the underside.

There is also a floating version of the TNT available and just in case you have trouble identifying which is which in your lure box, Monarch-Dok have marked each lure with a handy S or F on the underside.

The TNT is in no way revolutionary, but it does what it does, very well. It just feels like a very nicely put together lure. As you will see from the pictures, the hooks and split rings are Stainless perma-steel which means that the lure is saltwater proof. Monarch-Dok is a popular brand in Sweden when many anglers use them to fish in the salty water of the Baltic, so the extra protection is necessary. The finishes are nice too with a very good multiple laquer layers protecting the hand painted finish.

Fish wise I can confirm that Pike are more than happy to chomp the TNT. After a succession of jacks on the St Croix outfit, I took the lure with me whilst zander fishing on a favourite canal and couldn’t resist giving it a go as the water was much clearer than I had expected. The lure was easy enough to work with my Spro Godfather jigging rod and third cast it was smashed by a decent pike, which only just squeezed into my small net (the drop to the water was too far to chin the fish). A nice fat low double to finish the review off with !

The perils of leaving your unhooking mat in the car ! if you are going to lay a pike on the bank, only ever do it on soft wet grass. I would have unhooked her in the water, but the drop at the canal edge meant I couldn't get at the hooks without netting her.

The perils of leaving your unhooking mat in the car ! if you are going to lay a pike on the bank, only ever do it on soft wet grass. I would have unhooked her in the water, but the drop at the canal edge meant I couldn’t get at the hooks without netting her.

CONCLUSIONS

The TNT is a very well made lure, that casts beautifully and is very easy to work. So easy in fact that it’s a pretty good fish catcher on a straight retrieve . Sometimes the fast slaloming action you get really get’s the pike chasing. It comes in a number of nice colour schemes and the life guarantee means that you can have total confidence in the build quality.

Sexy Redhead

subtle silver Perch

 

Build Quality Very good, Abachi wood, quality wired through construction, VMC/Gamakatsu hooks and they even make their own split rings ! (9/10)
Quality of finish Nice hand painted colour schemes and a good layer of lacquer, maybe not the most exciting and vivid finishes in the world, but certainly fish catchers. (8/10)
Performance A nice medium sink rate and an easy side to side action mean this lure performs very well without being amazingly innovative. (8/10)
Value For Money Not the cheapest of lures and works out at about 1/3 more than the equivalent Salmo Slider, but then you do get a hand made lure and a lifetime guarantee. (7/10)
Variety of Options Available Floating version available and a decent selection of colour schemes (7/10)
TackleTart Factor It’s always nice to fish with a hand made wooden lure and little jerkbaits are just such fun to use. (7/10)
Overall A nice alternative to more mainstream mini jerks and a very adaptable lure than can be worked with a wide variety of set ups. (7.6/10)

 

The TNT is awarded a Silver Medal by LureTour

In the UK the lures are available from Jerkbaitmania

Manufacturers website available here Monarch-Dok

IMG_1481

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AGM Micro-Crayfish Review by John Cheyne

Lure Name Micro-Crayfish
Manufacturer AGM Products
Lure Type Soft Bait Creature
Length 3.8cm (1.5″)
Weight 0.5g
Price £1.35 for 10

Judging by the posts I see on Facebook and the LAS Forum, it would seem that more and more people are fishing with Ultra Lite lures these days and many of them are targeting non predatory fish too. Personally I tend to use lures that are just a bit bigger than what more would consider ultra-lite, however while fishing for perch a few weeks ago I had a nice 2lb fish spit out a tiny, perfectly formed crayfish in the net. The little cray wan’t more than an inch long and it set me to thinking about how I might go about catching these fish more readily in gin clear water and bright light conditions. Subtlety was obviously the order of the day and so I ordered some of these little Crays from Allan at AGM and gave them a go.

First Impressions

I have to admit my very first impression of these little lures was “How Much !!” but for once I wasn’t shocked by how expensive a lure was, I was shocked by how cheap they were. These lovely little critters sell for just  £1.35 for a pack of 10 which is amazing value. My next thought was…hey these are cute ! in fact these are one of the few lures my 17 year old daughter actually liked, although her cry of “oooohh Mini Lobsters, they’re sweet !” didn’t help me feel like a macho angler.

The lures themselves are very nicely  made with lovely details for such small lures. The legs, claws and feelers are all individually moulded and despite their size there was very little in the way of “flash or extra plastic that needed to be cleaned up. The Green Pummpkin/red colour scheme is a real winner as it’s very close to the actual colour of the mini cray the perch spat out and the material is lovely and soft, but firm enough to take a hook solidly. They are advertised as being Aniseed scented, although they just smell vaguely of soft plastic to me.

Rigging the Lures

having had a good look at them I decided the best way to rig them was with a small jig head. Crays spend the vast majority of their time on the bottom, so although I’m sure they would take fish if drop shotted, it would look a bit unnatural to me to have them suspended 6 inches of the bottom and jigging about. Luckily I had a pack of AGM Size 8, 2g Finesse jig heads, which seem just about perfect size wise and take the whole lure up to a whacking 2.5g in weight. In case you’ve never seen a crayfish swim, they flick their tails and actually swim backwards, so unless you are only going to move your lure an inch at a time as though the cray was walking along the bottom, then it’s best to rig your lure backwards, so that it moves naturally when he tweak it off the bottom.

The 2g Finesse Jighead from AGM

The tiny crafish all rigged and ready to go.

The tiny crafish all rigged and ready to go.

One thing I quickly decided was that I wasn’t going to use a wire trace with this lure. To be honest at 1.5 inches, it’s absolutely tiny, so not very attractive to pike and there was no way I was going to get the presentation right with a big piece of 20lb wire leader attached. So instead I used 6lb FC. If you have qualms about using little lures like this without wire, then you can always de-barb the hook and I doubt any tiny jack that hits it would have any trouble shaking it free.

The Micro-Crays ready for Battle !!

The Micro-Crays ready for Battle !!

Testing Time

These little lures need a delicate rod to work them properly, so I fished them with my Majorcraft Volkey VKS 66L which is rated to cast 1.8g – 7g. . Fishing with lures this light is only really possible effectively in shallow water. So I headed for a stretch of clear canal that is only 3-4 foot deep in most places. Despite it’s size the little lure casts reasonably well as long as you’re using the right tackle and I had no problems flicking it into the central channel and them slowly skipping and bumping it up the slop and onto the marginal shelf. If you tie the lure on with a tiny little Rapala knot it gives an articulated connection and allows the lure to move much more freely than one tied hard to the FC leader.

The Rapala Knot is a great way of making sure a tied on leader doesn’t restrict the movement of the lure.

It didn’t take too long for the fish to get interested, although the first follow I got was from a small shoal of 4 inch roach ! After that I soon found some small perch and pretty soon I had a nice little stripey on the bank

The Micro-Cray tricks it's first victim !

The Micro-Cray tricks it’s first victim !

I managed about another six of these little perch before I switched to different lures on the first day, but I couldn’t attract any better fish. The next time out it was a good deal colder and the water if anything was even clearer. Once again I flicked out the little Crayfish and this time I had found some slightly better Perch. First I hooked and lost a decent fish, then I netted a Stripey of about a pound. Being so small there isn’t a lot of movement from these lures, so don’t expect any sexy action from the legs or claws as you retrieve. They may look a little boring in the water, but the fish don’t seem to mind !

Still not massive, but on a cold, clear day, a good result.

Still not massive, but on a cold, clear day, a good result.

Conclusions

These tiny lures are beautifully made and an absolute bargain. I’m really looking forward to fishing them in warmer weather when I’m sure I will be able to tempt all sorts of interesting coarse fish into having a go. You do need to have the right rod to use them, but as long as you have a tool capable of handling very small lures, you are going to have a lot of fun with these little guys.

Build Quality Nicely made, good soft but hard wearing plastic. (8/10)
Quality of finish Nice colour and good detail considering how small they are. (8/10)
Performance You need the right rod and a very light leader to get the best out of them, but in tough clear conditions they will get you the odd bonus fish. (7/10)
Value For Money Brilliant value. Where else can you get 10 lures for less than £2 (10/10)
Variety of Options Available AGM also do these lures in a muddy brown colour called Pumpkinseed, but we much prefer the Watermelon/red ones. (5/10)
TackleTart Factor Cheap and cheerful, yet kinda cool ! (7/10)
Overall great little lures that will help you tempt fish in clear water when an Ultra subtle approach is needed. (7.5/10)

 

The Micro-Crays are awarded a Silver Medal by LureTour

For full details of lures are available here AGM FISHING

The Pumkinseed coloured version

 

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Majorcraft Basspara Casting Rod Review – John Cheyne

 

Rod Name Basspara BPC-632MH
Manufacturer Majorcraft
Rod Type baitcaster
Length 6’3″
Casting Weight 1/4 – 1oz (7g – 28g)
Action Fast

crossed rods

First Impressions

Cosmetically this is a great rod. Majorcraft show an attention to detail that a lot of other rod manufacturers could take note of. For starters the rod bag that is supplied is really nice quality. It’s only a small thing and it won’t make the rod a better fishing tool, but it certainly helps make you feel like you’ve bought a quality product.

rodbag_wm

It won’t catch you any more fish, but a high quality rod bag is a very nice touch.

The finish of the blank is a deep lustrous blue colour that I really like and the rod graphics are modern and attractive. The blank itself is pretty slim without being pencil like and a quick waggle gives the impression that this a a fairly fast action rod with plenty of power.

The blank is a lovely deep blue colour and I really like the graphics.

The blank is a lovely deep blue colour and I really like the graphics.

I particularly like the handle and reel fitting on the Basspara. The combination of both cork and EVA look great and is very comfortable and Majorcraft have not skimped on nice little finishing touches as every transition area between cork/foam/blank has nice little chromed rings or carbon spacers. The reel seat itself is Fuji made and it very solid and comfortable. I love the way the seat is cut away underneath to allow direct contact between your fingers and the blank. I have a number of far more expensive rods that don’t have as nice a reel seat/handle combo.

The Fuji reel seat has a nice cutaway section underneath the trigger grip, so your finger is in direct contact with the blank.

The Fuji reel seat has a nice cutaway section underneath the trigger grip, so your finger is in direct contact with the blank. I love the little carbon spacer too.

 

A nice combination of cork and EVA go together to make one of the nicest looking handles on the market.

A nice combination of cork and EVA go together to make one of the nicest looking handles on the market.

The rod rings and whipping sit very nicely against the deep blue of the blank and once again the rings are Fuji made, which pretty much guarantees quality. These aren’t the top of the range rings you will find on the Volkey range of rods from Majorcraft, but none the less they are well sited and not overly heavy. So all in all this is a great looking rod that feels fantastic in your hand.

 

The Fuji Butt ring is lightweight but solid and the whippings are nicely understated.

The Fuji Butt ring is lightweight but solid and the whippings are nicely understated.

The rest of the rings are single leg Fuji's to keep the weight down and to have less of a stiffening effect on the blank.

The rest of the rings are single leg Fuji’s to keep the weight down and to have less of a stiffening effect on the blank.

Casting

I paired the rod with my Daiwa 453HSTL, this was originally my sons reel, but as he’s more interested in fly fishing than lure fishing these days, I’ve “borrowed” it, as it’s a lovely bit of kit. Traditionally I’ve always been a big fan of Abu and Shimano reels, but I have to say this Daiwa is really very nice to use. I also usually have all my bait casters loaded with Sunline Superbraid, but as this is my lad’s reel it still has 20lb Red Power Pro on it and actually the red looks great next to the blue blank of the Basspara. The rod itself is rated 1/4 – 1oz (7g – 28g) which is quite a big range and so I started off by giving it a go with some lures at the lower end of the spectrum. Luckily the Daiwa handles light lures pretty well and needs little help in getting it’s spool running as all the lures I tried in the 7-10g bracket felt like they were struggling to get the blank loaded very much at all. Yet having said that I actually managed to cast them decent distances. I asked a friend to cast with them so I could watch the action of the rod and it actually looked quite tippy with these lures and all the bend was in the top 6-8inches of the blank. I was actually quite happy with the distances I could achieve with these little lures and the sensitivity where retrieving was reasonable. Little cranks were fun, but I struggled to really feel small soft plastics as they bumped the bottom.

At 20g little cranks or jerkbaits like this Mark Houghton Slide N’ Shad are great fun to cast on the Basspara.

 

Not surprising on a rod that is rated up to 28 grams, but worth noting none the less. From there I ran through a list of lures that increased in weight till I hit the official top level of 28g and I have to say, the heavier I went, the more fun I had. Once you get over 20g this rod really starts to load on the cast and the feel of the lure in the water is greatly enhanced too. Crankbaits were particularly fun, but I also enjoyed the feedback I got from Storm suspending shads and small sliders. This is a rod that really wants to throw pike lures or bigger Zander lures rather than messing about with stuff between 7-10g. With these heavier lures on the cast the blank loads right down the blank and uses the power of the butt section and I couldn’t resist chucking some larger lures with it. I clipped on a 6″ BBZ swim bait and the Basspara handled it no problem at all. Now the BBZ weighs in at 59g which is more than double the recommended casting weight, so that gives this rod a huge range.

It should be way out of the rods casting range, but I had no problems chucking the 6″ BBZ around.

 

Fishing

As a fishing tool the Basspara is a pleasure to use and has become a firm favourite of mine in the  9 months I have been using it. It’s light, it casts well. it feels comfortable in the hand and it has plenty of power in reserve for bigger fish, whilst still getting a lovely bend with the more frequent 4-9lbers that most of us come across more frequently. In fact it got a nice workout this week when I took it to Keith Edmunds Charity Event at Suffolk Water Park. The fish were in the mood for decent sized Firetiger lures so I clipped on a nice Big Fork Pulsator crankbait. The rod was giving me some lovely feedback from the lure when a good sized fish thumped it hard half way back. The Basspara coped beautifully as the fish tried to head straight back to the weed bed it had come from and after a couple of hard runs I was able to chin it out. 15lb 8oz  nice !

Just the sort of fish the Basspara loves, a nice big feisty Pike.

Just the sort of fish the Basspara loves, a nice big feisty Pike.

 

Conclusion

The Basspara looks good, has an amazing casting range, is a delight to use and costs surprisingly little for a Japanese rod company. It will cast small sub 10g lurers if called upon to do so, but excels as you give it more meaty lures to play with. For me this is close to being the perfect, light pike rod on a budget and I’ll be amazed if we don’t see a lot more of these fantastic rods on the bank soon.

The Basspara along with the  Big Fork Pulsator

The Basspara along with the Big Fork Pulsator

You can see full details of the Basspara range of rods on the Majorcraft Site Here

You can buy Basspara Rods at Official Majorcraft Retailer The Pike Shop Here

Even the butt-cap is cool !!

Even the butt-cap is cool !!

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The Lure Anglers Society will be holding it’s AGM at it’s very own fishery this year thanks to a deal that’s been struck with the Canal & Rivers Trust. The Society has formed a Lure Anglers Canal Club that has leased a twelve Mile stretch of the Grand Union Canal in Warwickshire that offers terrific sport fishing for Zander, Pike and Perch. Membership of the club is only open to LAS members and local anglers who live within five miles of the canal stretch, however day tickets are available to everyone and can bought online via the Canal Club’s own website.

The AGM itself will be held at the Blue Lias Inn and all members attending will be eligible to enter the new Secretary’s Cup event which will be held on the canal on the same day.

The Society has also recently given a makeover to it’s quarterly magazine ‘Lure Angler’ thanks to it’s new Art Director John Greenwood and it’s new Editor Keith Edmunds and for a society magazine it really is an amazingly high quality magazine. The 48 page magazine is full colour throughout and packed with features and  how to articles. In our opinion it puts a number of the commercial fishing magazines on the newsstands to shame !

The LAS magazine ‘Lure Angler’ is absolutely fantastic and worth the price of membership alone.

As well as the Canal Club and ‘Lure Angler’ magazine, membership of the LAS also allows you to fish in all the many events that they organise up and down the country. There are literally too many events to list, but highlights include exclusive access to fish big pike lake Esthwaite Water in June which is sponsored by Fox, exclusive access to predator fish on one of the Thames Water reservoirs in London, perch fishing events on the Thames and the ever popular event that is held at Newport Pagnell and is this year sponsored by Majorcraft and Sunline.

Adult membership of the Society is just £20 per year, everyone here at Luretour is a member so what are you waiting for ??

Want to get an update every time we run a new story on Luretour ?

Just sign up for our free subscription service HERE

 

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For years the majority of lure anglers have been using floating braid as their go to mainline for almost every situation. But as a lure angler have you ever asked yourself if you would be better off using a sinking mainline for some techniques ?

Why for instance do you use floating braid when you are vertical jigging for zander ? Why use floating braid when you are trying to work lure deep and slow ?

Well now Sufix are calling on you to think again, with their new Gravity2 sinking braid for lure anglers.

sufix_gravityGravity2 has the same sink rate as Fluorocarbon and comes in diameters of 0.08 – 0.18mm (9.3lb – 20.7lb)

Right now it is only available in neon orange.

We haven’t seen any Gravity2 for sale in the UK yet, but European stores already have stocks, so it’s only a matter of time till we get our hands on some !

Want to get an email every time we run a new story on Luretour ?

Just sign up for our free subscription service HERE

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