The world of soft plastic baits is broader now than it ever has been before. I remember not so long ago (or is it longer than I think?) that if you were wanting to try out the lighter spinning disciplines just finding the kit to purchase was a challenge in itself. Not so these days however. The explosion in popularity of the lighter spinning styles – LRF, Drop Shot etc – has seen the market flooded with new baits and jig heads and I imagine that for somebody new to the scene the world of soft plastic lures can seem a little daunting.
That’s exactly why I was keen on trying out the Savage Gear LB 4-Play Pro Shad kit Pack and the Savage Gear Perch Pro Pack. Containing enough hooks for the clumsiest of anglers and plenty of plastics they seemed to tick a lot of boxes and having ordered them online I was intrigued as to what was going to arrive. First things first, the hooks and shads in both packs are the same configuration. The size 1 hooks have either a 5g or 7g jig head and the shads are 7.2cm, the only difference between the packs is that the Pro Perch Kit has 3 of the 6.5cm curl tail grubs and a few less shads.
All the baits are made from a reasonably flexible and soft plastic and the packs provide a nice range of colours from a nice bright silver flake to a rich motor oil brown with a gold flake. Initially I was a little concerned about the weight of the jig heads as I usually use lighter. I was also a little surprised that the baits in the Pro Perch kit weren’t a little smaller but even before you’ve rigged them it is clear both the shads and curl tails have been excellently designed with ease of use in mind. I would also have liked to see a shad with a more bold colour – maybe a proper firetiger – but this is very pedantic!
I set out to the Trent and Mersey canal armed with only the two packs of Savage Gear lures. I like to test baits out like this as it forces me to really learn and figure out each lure. The boat traffic that day was heavy and the day was bright – in truth I didn’t really hold out much hope for the afternoon. I rigged the 5g jighead on a Flexonit wire trace and slipped the Chartreuse/White 4-Play shad on. I lined my first cast up along the side of a boat, flicked it out and let it sink to the bottom. Just two or three cranks in to a straight retrieve the lure was smashed by something in the depths so hard it really caught me by surprise! I assumed it was a jack pike as it repeatedly bored back down below the boat, I hadn’t expected an enormous Zander! Quickly beaten, the fish allowed me to chin it up out of the water and as I did the owner of the boat came to see what the fuss was about. Fortunately he was willing to take some pictures before the fish was returned. I estimated the fish to be around 7lb at the time but a few zander experts have seen the pictures and think it may have been even more. Score for the4-Play Shad kit first cast!
I’ve caught fish on all the shads in a whole range of conditions but the two that I reach for most often these days are the Chartreuse/White and The Motor Oil. The Chartreuse is so bright in the water it glows and around heavy structure like boats and bridges it seems to outscore the other baits. The Motor Oil has been the most effective shad ‘down the track’ in areas where there is less cover or in quite murky water. I’m not sure whether I’ve caught more fish jigging the shads or straight retrieving, they work very effectively either way.
I really believe in the effectiveness of curl tail grubs and the ones in this pack have worked brilliantly. Allowed to sink and then slowly jigged a few inches from the bottom they can be irresistable to not just perch but pike too. In fact I would say that I have caught more pike on the grubs so if there are pike in your waters then you really must use a wire trace. The jig heads are the perfect size for the grubs and are weighted to perfection as I found when I tried them on a lighter head – the grubs just didn’t have the same movement as they sank to the bottom.
Savage Gear have come up with a couple of really interesting packs for the learner or intermediate angler – all of these baits put fish on the bank. They may not have the same quality finish as a Nories Spoontail or a Keitech Easy Shiner but if that’s what you’re in to then starter packs probably aren’t on your remit. At less than a fiver per pack what Savage Gear have created here is an inexpensive and effective way of introducing anglers to the world of lighter lure fishing and I am sure that anybody who purchases these packs will have a blast fishing them just as I have. I can’t promise anybody their biggest ever Zander first cast but unless you buy a few and try them out you never know!