The Spikey Shad is one of them lures that have got me out of trouble on a number of occasions when a blank has looked imminent. One of the thing I really like about it is its versatility; it really does suit both the bank and boat angler. Hopefully the following tips will help you to bank a few predators!
Within the Spikey Shad range there are several great colour patterns ranging from the very subtle Green Pumpkin, through to the very vivid Lemon Tiger. The colour I decide to use will depend on the conditions and as a rule I’ll employ the vivid ones at dawn and dusk whilst the more natural patterns will be my first choice during the day.
Brighter patterns are also very useful if the water is coloured after rain or intense boat traffic during both summer and autumn. Each lure has well over 100 individual spikes that are a great asset in coloured water because of the vibrations they create - even at very slow retrieve rates they work extremely well.
It’s very simple to change the lures during the day and I change the patterns several times, as a different colour might provoke a response from a fish that was in front of you all the time. The Salt n Pepper is a great lure for this as it looks like the bleak and small roach that are the main prey on a lot of waters.
Of course it is often worth looking for cover and this is particularly valid when the water is clear or the fish have grouped up prior to spawning. I have had many of my biggest perch from open water and I’ve had fish over 4lbs from just an 18inch deep bay in the middle of the day.
I think that most people target the cover and so I believe the fish are far wearier in those situations. The perch will only need the smallest bit of branch or weed to act as an ambush point and more often than not this is below the surface and not a obvious feature to the angler.
Remaining mobile and covering plenty of water is the only way of discovering such areas, so it pays to not leave any stone unturned until you start to identify ‘hot’ areas. That’s one of the great things about the Spikey Shad, there are very few predators that won’t give their presence away when one is worked in their zone!
Always fish until it is dark, you’ll be very surprised how late it is when the fish will feed, especially in the winter when they use that last little bit of light to go hunting. I prefer the short evening sessions as the light falls, but dawn and very overcast days are also worth a go. In essence – DON’T GIVE UP TOO EARLY – you might be missing a fish of a lifetime!
It never ceases to amaze me how you can continue to cast all day long for very little, but as soon as the light starts to drop bites start to materialize! Prey fish always become more active at this time as well and if you feel that you’re lure just isn’t standing out from the crowd, either up the size of the Spikey or employ a pattern that will stand out like the new Firetiger.
Read the local match reports in the weeklies and on club websites. Local tackle shops can be a great source of information too. You might not see perch reported, but look out for bags of small fish like bleak and roach; these are often pointers to where the perch might be. If you live close to the venue why not walk the match and see what’s being caught.
Also take into account the exact prey fish that are being caught, this will help you to choose the correct lure. For example, like I have already mentioned, if silver fish are most likely the staple diet of the resident predators then I will use a Salt n Pepper Spikey. More often than not however, large perch for instance will be feeding on their own young, so employing the awesome Hot Olive can well be the right decision!
The larger Spikeys can often get “tagged” by smaller predators, so don’t ignore this and change to a smaller lure to catch the culprits. This is where carrying various size Spikey Shads comes in handy and where the new 6cm versions really come into play.
However, I often use this as a sign the perch are feeding and I’ll either persevere with a bigger lure in the expectation of catching something a bit bigger or make sure that the bigger lures come out during peak times such as dawn and dusk. On some venues pike of all sizes can be present and if I think the pike are active I will add a trace into the set up to prevent bite offs. The pike can be great sport on lighter jig rods.