If you read our Skippyfish soft plastic marker pen review earlier this month then you will no doubt have caught sight of the Skippyfish lure that we showed being coloured. Well we have been using these interesting little lures for a few months now and this is our report.
|Lure Type||soft plastic Jerkbait|
|Price||around £4.99 for 8|
Skippyfish are loosely termed “soft plastic jerkbaits” by their US based manufacturers, and certainly they are not the usual paddletail type shad we are more accustomed to here in the UK. In fact the tail is the key to the Skippyfish as it’s long thin and very flexible. They comes in three sizes 2″, 4″ and 6″ but it’s the mid size 4″ lures we will concentrate on for this review.
They four inch version retails at around £4.99 for a pack of eight lures which is pretty good value..or at least it’s pretty good value if you catch some fish on them. So let’s see how we got on when we put them to the test!
The first thing that strikes you about the Skippy’s is that there are lots of different ways you can rig them. You can stick a jig-head on them and fish them vertically, you can texas-rig them with a worm hook and fish them weedless, you can stick them on a drop shot rig and you can even try one on a Carolina rig. In fact it soon became obvious that this was a review that would take quite a long time if I was going to try all the variations, so to make it a bit easier to follow I’ve split the review up by rig. We’ll start with the simplest method of all…a standard jig-head.
The 4inch Skippy takes a jighead in the 4/0 – 6/0 bracket very nicely. I prefer the 6/0 as it get’s the hook back as far as possible, but I used 4/0’s a couple of times and still caught fish. One thing to note is that the standard collar on most jig-heads is a bit fat for the slim profile of the Skippy’s head. A collar will make it bulge and is a lot harder to mount neatly, I’m pretty sure that it will also lead to splitting once it’s been used for a while as well, so instead I used a collar-less jighead which is much neater. If you want to be very secure, you could use a bit of superglue to hold the lure in place, but in practise I didn’t actually find it necessary. The first day’s testing was on the Warks Avon, vertical jigging in 6-12 foot of very clear water. With a 10g jighead the skippy sit’s beautifully in a moderate flow and the slightest movement of the rod is enough to get that tail moving. One thing I noticed very quickly is that perch are absolutely fascinated by the Skippy’s tail. There were times when I could see as many as 20 small perch surrounding the lure and pecking at the tail. The clear water really allowed me to see how the lure works in the water and it soon became clear that this really is a lure with a lot of action. The whip like tail undulates and turns and quivers almost all the time and does a great job of attracting fish. Unfortunately throughout our test period the river levels were clear and low making Zander fishing very, very hard, so it was tough to see how the Skippy shaped up when fished side by side with out favourite Zed catchers, but I did finally manage to squeeze one Tiny Zander out on the Skippy so it at least proved that they will take them.
TEXAS RIGGED WEEDLESS
Next up for testing was a texas-rig. I headed for a nice gravel pit I fish regularly for perch and set the 4″ Skippy up on one of my favourite japanese made “Nogales” Worm hooks. Unweighted the Skippy actually cast pretty well, especially since the Nogales hooks are made of pretty heavy wire and when jerked back they act as a great looking sub surface mini jerkbait. As a way of fishing over the top of weedbeds and in shallow water they worked great and I soon caught a couple of nice little perch around the 1lb mark
As the day progressed the wind increased and casting became more difficult, especially as the swims I wanted to fish were directly into the breeze. I wanted to fish the Skippy’s deeper along the edges of weedbeds too, so I added a neat little weight that I have started using recently a “BodyShot” weight also made by Nogales. These clever little weights screw in to the underside of the lure and rest on the hook shank, with a weighted bulge either side which balances the lure.
With the extra weight of the Body Shot weight the lure cast much more effectively and had a nice slow “head down” sink rate. By working it around the weed beds I picked up a few more perch. One thing that was noticeable was that perch of all sizes like these lures and so while your waiting for a decent stripey to just take the plunge and engulf the lure, you will get a lot of tail pecks and bumps from the smaller guys. Don’t let this put you off, it can be frustrating to keep getting pecks and bumps but no decent hits, but stick with it. If a decent perch comes along that soft flowing tail folds up incredibly easily and offers little resistance for a open mouthed fish, I found that anything over about 1lb would just engulf the lure, making setting the hook fairly easy. I’m pretty sure the commotion caused by having a gang of small perch around your lure can often illicit interest from bigger fish too, so even the nips and bumps are serving a purpose.
A drop shot set up was one of the few worries I had for the Skippy. Sure it’s long mobile tail was going to have a great action on a drop shot set up, but drop shot also tends to mean having the hook very near the front of the lure and I was concerned that i would get a lot of tail pullers and not many hooked fish. I have been doing quite a lot of drop shotting recently and at the moment I’m rather split between three different hooks. I have been using some samples of the new VMC Spinshot hooks to great effect recently, but since they won’t be freely available for a couple of months at least I decided to use the other two I like instead..the Standout Hooks and Nogales Mosquito Hooks.
As it turned out my worries were mostly unfounded. I did get plenty of bumps and knocks that didn’t turn into hooked fish, but that’s something you have to get used to with the skippy fish. This lure attracts a lot of attention and does seem to get more hits that almost any other soft plastic I’ve used, and when a decent fish comes along the they do seem to just wolf the whole thing down. Of the two set up the Mosquito hook seemed the more effective, partly because it just sits nicer with the lure shape and you can use a larger size hook without diminishing the presentation, so the hook get’s nearer the business end. I like the weedguard too, it let’s you drop your lure right down the side of weedbeds with a lot more confidence. Perch were again the main quarry and once again they showed up in decent numbers.
This was the very last rig that I tried, mainly because I wanted to fish the Skippy at range and depth but without the head down diving action that the Body Shot weights gave it. I had a feeling that the unweighted lure would work very well with the undulating action that a carolina-rig imparts.
The Carolina Rig was a revelation. It would cast the Skippy miles and the hinging action it imparts on the trace is the perfect way to present the lures flexible tail. Combinations of a stop, start retrieve and little upward sweeps of the rod tip had the lure dancing and swimming simultaneously and boy did the perch like it. First time out I had three fish over 2lbs and then a week later on a stretch of the river not really known for Perch I had a gorgeous 2lb 3oz Stripey, followed by a nice chub and then a couple of jacks. The way it was going I felt like if I stayed there long enough I’d get a bream, a roach, a barbel and a carp too! Almost every time I retrieved the lure there was a fish following. Admittedly a lot of the time they were small perch or micro jacks, but the skippy was a fish magnet. I loved it. Just before we had to head back, we drifted over a big deep hole and I couldn’t resist clipping a jig-headed Skippy on to my vertical rod. Almost as soon as the lure reached the bottom there was a thump, I struck instinctively and within a few seconds a gorgeous perch of 2lb 12oz was in the boat
SkippyFish are definitely adaptable lures that work well with a variety of rigs. My favourite methods were the carolina rig and vertical jigging…but all the others caught fish too. They are real perch magnets and I caught surprisingly few pike while using them, although to be fair I wasn’t trying. As a zander lure they are still untested unfortunately as the conditions just made it too hard to give them an adequate try out. I really think they will work for Zander though and I’m looking forward to a bit of rain and some colour in the rivers to test this out. If you want to catch perch and are prepared to put up with small stripeys bumping and nipping at your lure then buy some Skippyfish especially the 4 inch versions. If you want to actually catch the little perch, then you could do a lot worse than buy some of the 2″ Skippy’s I bet they’ll go mad for them. The lures themselves were easy to rig, lovely and soft in the water, but actually were pretty tough…I haven’t lost a tail yet !! which is more than can be said for you average paddle tail lure. At less than a fiver a pack they are a bargain. My most successful colours were Alewife shad, Arkansas shiner and Charteuse ice.
|Build Quality||nicely made and well packaged, the plastic used is soft and pliable but stands up to the rigours of fishing well||(9/10)|
|Quality of finish||Nice detailing, but it’s really that well designed flexible tail that does the fish catching||(8/10)|
|Performance||Proved to be super adaptable and a real perch magnet||(9/10)|
|Value For Money||At less than a fiver for 8 they offer great value||(9/10)|
|Variety of Options Available||Available in three sizes and twenty colour schemes||(9/10)|
|TackleTart Factor||Ok not really a handmade Japanese wake bait but at least it’s more interesting than yet another paddle tail||(7/10)|
|Overall||I love catching big perch and this lure caught some…so it’s a winner!||(8.5/10)|
Skippyfish lures are awarded a Gold medal by Luretour.com
Trade enquiries should be made to Swift Fishing tackle Ltd
Full details of Skippyfish lures can be found at SkippyFish