Nick's been putting his fishing lesson into practise!Thursday is our Big Fish Blog and it’s the turn of Marukyu, the Japan-based bait innovators with products specially designed to catch UK fish.

Marukyu are the sponsors of this website’s new Like My Catch gallery.

The words below come to us from their man Nick Marlow (pictured right), the well-travelled former editor of Tackle Trade World.

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Every day is a school day in this game!


DURING the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of shadowing one of angling’s up and coming stars – none other than Marukyu prostaff member Bob Hodges.

This young starlet has caught more fish than almost anyone I know but I’ve always known him as a carp, chub and barbel angler. So when he asked me to send him some lures from our sister company, Ecogear, I was quite interested to see how he would get on.

Bob was quite surprised with what came through the post!.png

Bob was quite surprised with what came through the post!

Bob lives on the doorstep of some fine perch fishing – so I sent him a selection of products that I thought would fit the bill. Ecogear’s famous Grass Minnow seemed the obvious choice, along with a few BTS – a 4.5” shad bait, some Para Max and Ikajaco lures, all in a selection of colours, plus of course a few jigheads to go with them. But having the right lures and living near a river does not mean you live near fish – you need some watercraft too!

Grass Minnow and barbless hooks

Grass Minnow and barbless hooks

Perch are predatory so location is fairly easy! In winter the bait fish tend to shoal up – and the predators will follow them (or starve). So location is fairly easy, find the bait fish and you’re done! In the case of the Ouse, slower deeper stretches of river are obvious choices. But don’t ignore slacks behind trees and faster stretches with deep holes. You’ll need to use some watercraft but a lot is common sense.

Needless to say Bob knew exactly where to go and exactly what to do. He was not entirely new to lure fishing – just had not done it for a while. But to me – it appeared like he certainly had not forgotten anything.

“We know they live here,” said Bob, “but catching them is another matter!”

Speed is essential. And when I say speed is essential, I really do mean a lack of it!

“Once you’ve found the likely looking spot you need to explore it with your lure – and try every trick in the book to find out how the perch want your lure presenting,” he explained to me. “Some days a quick retrieve will result in smash takes. And others, you need to slow it right down. And I do mean slow it down… if you think of the slowest you could retrieve a lure – half that speed – and you’ll still be too fast!”

Over the next few hours I received a masterclass in what to do – witnessing fish of 3lb 4oz, 3lb 12oz, 3lb 14oz and the very next day… a 4lb 2oz fish!

Bob Hodges with a 4lb 2oz lump!

Bob Hodges with a 4lb 2oz lump!

“Some of my biggest perch have quite literally come when the lure is stopped dead,” says Bob. “I’ll literally give the reel a half turn and then pause for a couple of seconds. Maybe another couple of really slow turns, and pause again. The bigger fish certainly love a lure that has just stopped! I imagine to a perch – my lure looks like a dying fish that’s just about in its last throws of life… and they happily nail the easy prey!”

So what did I really learn from Bob other than speed is key? Well, heaps actually – more than I can summarise here, but in a nutshell: Watercraft is essential. Perch seem to feed more at certain points of the day. Sometimes big lures only attract small fish. Sometimes the biggest fish fall to the smallest lure. But the biggest lesson of all – take the barb off your hook!

Bob seems to know how to catch the bigger fish!

Bob seems to know how to catch the bigger fish!

Why? Simple really –a big perch will often follow all the way to the bank and then take the lure. You can’t strike as it’s too close, and therefore it’s almost impossible to drive the barb in as perch have hard boney mouths – and you end up playing the fish just on the hookpoint. The result… it’s on for a few seconds and as soon as it turns it pings off.

“I lost so many fish on barbed hooks,” explained Bob, “and it took me ages to realize why. But simply crushing the barb down means the hook penetrates instantly – and then you don’t lose them. That really was a Eureka moment!”

I was hoping to spend the Christmas break putting a lot of what I’d learnt into practice – but looking at the festive forecast it appears we are due a rather wet and windy one. But above all else, it’s going to be mild – so it’s not all that bad!

Of course, as my luck would have it, it has more or less ended my plans of catching a huge river perch on lures as the waters I fish are already high and coloured – and with this new rain water they are only going to get worse! This of course does not mean I won’t be going fishing over the Christmas period – it just means I have to change my tact somewhat. It might be time to dig the barbel kit back out J




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It's the BIG Christmas issue of Angler's Mail magazine, in shops from Tuesday this week spanning the period December 17-31. Including Tips of the Year pullout, Best Gear of the Year, Dick Clegg interview, Images of the Year and lots, lots more!

It’s the BIG Christmas issue of Angler’s Mail magazine, in shops from Tuesday this week spanning the period December 17-31. Including Tips of the Year pullout, Best Gear of the Year, Dick Clegg interview, Images of the Year and lots, lots more!


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