Two weeks ago I wrote about my experience using the new Ned range from Savage Gear. A series of four lures to cover all kinds of finesse perch and predator fishing scenarios. I wrote about two new releases, the Ned Salamander, Ned Cray, and how I fish with them. This week the final two lures in the range have been announced for release, and like the others, I’ve been putting them to the test for perch and other species.
The first lure, and one of the ones I’ve been most excited about, is the Ned Minnow. The Ned Minnow is a 3in baitfish imitation, made from the buoyant, extra-tough, salted and scented duratech plastic. It features a flat mouth and segmented body, combined with a realistic, fin-profiled paddle tail. The design choices of this lure make it perfect for fishing on both ball jigs and ned heads. The segmentation adds a new dimension to the action, making it suitable for side rigging, cheb rigging and dropshot fishing.
When it comes to retrieves and action, the Ned Minnow can be applied to so many applications it’s hard to pick one. Retrieved super-slow on the bottom, it presents perfectly as a stand-up ned bait. Speed it up on heavier jigs and chatterbaits as an aggressive lure for feeding fish. I’ve used the Ned Minnow most for my zander fishing. Utilizing the slow drop and big action to target fish in shallow weedy waterways.
The final lure in the new line-up is the Goby Tube, probably the pattern I’ve had the most success with. Made with the same material as the above, the Goby Tube is a hollow-body tube, the front mimicking baitfish while the back forms into lots of independent appendages. Tubes excel when the most finesse presentations are required. Fish them on ned heads or weedless rigs, dragging the tube slowly along the bottom, or using little hops and bounces to entice fish.
When fishing in flow there’s a lot of micro-movements formed by tentacles, giving them action even when static. I like to pair my tubes with the lightest weights possible. This is made easier by the streamlined profile. Using the slow drop and low weight resistance, makes a tube jig a perfect approach to very finicky fish that aren’t willing to take confidently.
TEN MINUTES OF MADNESS
A long day of pike fishing with little to show for it, bright sky, clear water, and lots of lazy follows. A few jacks made an appearance, keeping the day interesting. With dusk approaching it was time to gamble on a change. A long motor for 20 minutes in the right spot is better than an hour or so in the wrong one. I set off, keen to salvage the day, confident that a perch or two could turn it around. It wasn’t long before I reached the chosen area, starting by working a tree line. There were signs of life and after ten minutes I had managed a few small perch and another jack. It would have been easy to stay in the swim, hopeful that a bigger fish would be patrolling in the mix. Instead, my instinct told me to move.
The light was fading, and I had a hunch that the perch had already left the structure to feed in a deeper channel bordering a shallow. I quickly moved to the new area, dropping my weights, confident of a take. The bites had been tough so I rigged up a Goby Tube on a 3.5g ned head, first casting towards structure. Bounce, bounce, bang! I hooked up to a perch, quickly netting the fish, around a pound. Covering the structure a few more times without a bite, I returned to my original plan and cast to channel.
Plop, the lure hit the water and I began to feel it down. Suddenly, I felt a thud and set the hook. I was in again, the fish had taken the lure on the drop. This was a better stamp of perch. The rod hunched over, drag lightly clicking as the fish fought in the flow. I readied the net, drawing the fish closer as a beautiful 2lb’er broke the surface. In the net! With the light dropping fast I cast again, landing another fish around a pound, after just a few bounces. The next cast was painful, I lost a strong perch a few moments into the fight. Two more fishless casts followed, but on the third, slam! I hooked up to another great perch, this one even stronger as it ran with the flow. I slipped the net under another cracking perch in the mid 2s and cast once again.
The light was almost gone, the sky a deep dull blue transitioning through final stages of dusk before black takes over. My tube jig settled on the bottom where I paused it momentarily, hop, pause, repeat. As I crept the lure across the river bed I felt another faint tap and struck. Thump, thump, thump. The unmistakable rhythm of a nice perch. Another fight that didn’t disappoint, my Ultralight rod bent maximum as I eased the fish towards me. My final perch, ending a manic ten minutes. A fighting fit fish in the low 2s. A testament to how effective finesse ned lures can be in the right moment. Often in lure fishing we experience tough days, slow fishing, less than ideal conditions. But, it’s moments like these that fuel the addiction and encourage us to keep hitting the water, longing for that heart-stopping tug.
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