Accomplished boat anglers Ian McLean and Mike Patten are pernickety when it comes to plastics for general pollack, bass and cod fishing. The pair are seldom seduced by new ‘wonder’ lures, but Ian tells how Red Gill EVO Sandeels have really rocked their boat.
Most anglers will confess to favouring particular patterns, sizes and colours of lures, with orange, black, red and pearly whites featuring highly on the countrywide popularity chart. Such leanings are driven largely by previous successes or one’s own eye for a colour, and the challenge is to whittle down the options that you take to sea. This is easier said than done, and the ever-growing swathe of choice that serves to hypnotise and befuddle even the most assertive angling minds can be hard to resist.
I am as susceptible to an attractive new lure as the next guy, but five-minute wonders do not make it past the test stage into my tackle box proper. Just once a while however, a new lure, a new colour, or both, stakes a strong claim and graduates to my main lure tray. The new 115mm and 175mm Red Gill EVO lures fit this profile and have quickly become must-haves in my hypercritical eyes.
First impressions of the new EVO sandeel lures were good. A soft and supple latex-type body/tail mirroring the hugely successful original Red Gill design is fitted an internal weight and hook. The colouring was vivid, and, at a glance these very realistic imitation baitfish seemed well balanced. Wiggling a lure in the hand, the vibrating tail action intrinsically produced by the softer body material looked superb. An initial question was how would the EVOs withstand the rasping attentions of regular pollack, bass and cod, and ultimately; how long would they last before needing to be replaced with a new lure?
Many lure test reports revolve around one or two fishing trips. My regular fishing buddy, Mike Patten and I decided to take a little longer before reaching any conclusions, figuring that an extended trial period taking in a variety of venues, species and fishing situations would stand as a far more meaningful testimony.
Two Year Stretch
Two years later, results are becoming clear. The Red Gill EVOs have been used to great effect in the Home International boat events in Scotland and Ireland where pollack and shoal coalfish were recorded in impressive numbers. Plymouth, Dartmouth, Torbay and Weymouth boats have likewise seen the lures put to regular work and outstanding catches recorded. Pollack aside, EVO Sandeels in certain colours have accounted for significant numbers of cod and bass. On a recent Weymouth bass outing the white 115mm EVO Sandeel clearly out-fished live eel.
The supple EVO body material proved pleasingly resilient, robustly withstanding attack from batteries of fish. In matters of size and colour: As might be expected, many of the bigger fish from the deep wrecks responded to the larger 175mm EVO versions, but a surprising number of good fish succumbed to the temptation of the smaller 115mm. One demonstration of this occurred during a pollack trip on Gemini back in November, where the 115mm bubblegum pink EVO used by one angler eclipsed all other catches by a margin of three-to-one!
Inshore the smaller size took markedly more fish of a typically more modest general size. There is a lesson to be taken from the events in particular, and that’s that lure size is not always the determining factor when targeting larger fish. If fishing is slow then experiment with your lures, and be prepared to perhaps drop down a size or two and work with a daintier morsel.
The colour question is, and will always be open to great debate. Individuals‚Äô answers will vary according to various factors and indeed previous results. My take is that there are three key elements to consider in lure colour selection. Knowledge of the venue must be taken into account, while another prerequisite is angler confidence. The third consideration is a to cover all bases with an adequate but not ridiculous range of colour choices for those occasions when fish decide to ignore our rules and theories.
There is no point in going out for a days wrecking with the obligatory rhubarb-and-custard lures only to find that fish, for some unknown reason, are hammering white, blue or pink. Lure definition can be key too, and fish often show a preference for a particular shape of lure, with sandeel patterns scoring over shads on some days and the reverse scenario on other occasions. There is nothing more frustrating than watching the angler next to you catching fish regularly and you simply cannot get a take because you do not have the killer colour or pattern.
Steve Souter has published an excellent article on colours already and I will not duplicate his views in this article, but I recommend that you read Burning Rubber.
The clear message is to carry a selection of quality lures and be prepared to adapt. Red Gill lures come with a proven pedigree built on decades of angling success. The British company’s commitment to new lure development is ongoing, with considerable time given over to fresh initiatives. The new Red Gill EVOs, leadhead V8s and Pilchards are primes example such painstaking work and a compulsion to get vitally important finer details right.
Mike Patten and I agree that the new EVOs track extremely well in the water, while the electric tail action is quite something else. Their effectiveness for predatory species cannot be disputed and is underlined by the numbers of commercial bass and pollack men who have allied themselves to the new lures. The leadhead feature gets the lure down quickly and copes excellently with areas and marks habitually brushed by stronger runs of tide. The new body material is wonderfully lifelike and harder wearing than most currently vogue lures of a similar ilk.