Combine lure and fly fishing!

3 min read

IF YOU TRY ONE THING THIS WEEK...

Chris Howell lifts the lid on the hybrid tactic that’s proved incredibly effective for predatory species such as pike and perch

Lock cuts are productive spots to try.

TRADITIONALLY, there has been a clear divide between lure and fly fishing. With increasing innovation and the growing variety of angling styles and techniques, however, it was inevitable that lines would be crossed and boundaries pushed.

The first clear crossover came a few years ago when carp anglers, noticing fish feeding on aquatic life in different water layers, started using zig bugs. Lots of fly fishermen are now targeting carp on the fly with various insect and biscuit patterns. A few years ago, Fox made the crossover, introducing the much underrated ‘Fly Fry’.

Then in recent years, a growing number of lure anglers decided that they wanted to fish flies on their regular spinning and casting rods. This is when the ‘Jig Fly’ was born.

If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s a streamer fly with a bit more extra material than its counterpart, tied on to a jig head or weighted with a ‘cheb’.

This extra weight allows it to be cast out by lure anglers with their spinning set-ups. There are now numerous versions available, boasting features such as articulated bodies, trailing stingers and silicone twist tails, all in endless patterns.

Fishing a jig fly is simple, as it is essentially retrieved in the same style as a lure – either a constant or varied retrieve – twitch and jerk, stop and go or bumped along the bottom.

The style of retrieve is largely determined by the conditions. There is little point fishing a jig fly quickly on a frosty winter’s morning when the pike areunlikely to be particularly active or on the lookout for a meal. As with all styles of fishing, there are pros and cons of the jig fly. The positives include excellent movement, especially the drift time when the retrieve is paused. The movement is also unrivalled, as each individual strand or fibre of material moves and glistens on the retrieve.

It is almost mesmerising, watching it dance back through the water, then comes a flash of green and a swirl of water above your fly as a fish takes, snapping you back to reality.

There’s a wide variety of styles, sizes and colours available, with jig flies suited to every condition, target fish and location. The catch and hook-up rate is very high, too.

One of the drawbacks of this style of fishing, however, is that casting distance is limited. This is because you can’t load a jig fly with too much weight, as this would cause it to quickly sink to the deck a