It’s with great joy and huge relief to have the first copies of my new book Hooked on Lure Fishing in my hands this month. After all, it has been over three years in the making. I say “my” book, but it has been a massive collaborative effort, testament not only to my co-conspirators but so many friends and brilliant lure anglers who have changed the whole UK fishing scene in recent years.
At a whopping 224 pages, the book is out now in a beautiful hardback first edition . You can buy it signed on this very site for £24.99 (you’ll also find it on Amazon for a little less- but be warned that they take over £5 from me or any vendor for this convenience!). With special chapters on everything from night fishing to catching wrasse, zander and even flatties on lures, it’s the culmination of countless trips, photo sessions, conversations and late nights.
In a nutshell, the book is a complete guide to species hunting using a huge range of modern lures and techniques. It would have been way, way beyond the scope of one person to achieve. In fact, the remit of the book is so big, there were times me and Andy wondered if we would ever manage it. Here’s what you can expect:
- A huge selection of lure fishing methods and tips, from basic to advanced, picking the brains and experience of my partner in crime, Andy Mytton, one of the UK’s best and most innovative lure anglers.
- Beautifully rendered diagrams and stylish fish illustrations from award winning graphic designer and angler Neil Sutherland.
- Stunning underwater photography and watercraft insight from BBC wildlife filmmaker Jack Perks.
- Extensive sections on watercraft, night fishing and modern lures and tackle.
- Dedicated chapters on various target species, including lure fishing for zander, wrasse, flatfish, chub, trout and many more.
- An immense species hunter’s guide, with facts, tips and ID notes for over 80 fresh and saltwater fish, from simple to wickedly challenging!
So, to sum up, the book features salt and freshwater species hunting alike, with an incredible amount of knowledge and inspiration in one very accessible package.
The story begins…
At the start of even the most arduous journey is a single step- and in this case, it was a meeting in Weymouth in 2015. I had started some correspondence with Andy Mytton after hearing about his crazy catches of various species, several of which you would not normally associate with lures.
It was images of flounder caught fair and square on lures that really fired me up, however. Since fishing for them as a kid I’ve always loved flatties and was completely intrigued. A meeting was duly arranged and we met in inauspicious circumstances to put it mildly; it was a dark, cold evening in Weymouth Harbour. Rats were running along the sea wall, while rough sleepers set up camp. Any onlooker watching our covert handshake and the strange items emerging from coats and boxes might have thought we were conducting some strange kind of drug deal.
It was a fascinating session. Thanks to Andy’s knowhow, and one or two things I’d never have thought of doing, I caught that first flounder on a lure. And, as is so often the way with anglers, it became the start of a much bigger conversation on the whole world of species hunting with lures.
Having fished spinners, plugs and the rest since childhood holidays in the 80s, I considered myself a reasonable lure angler, but from what emerged in subsequent trips I felt almost like a novice again. Here was a guy with a burning passion for catching a silly variety of fish using all kinds of novel techniques. In fact, his single mindedness and enthusiasm for the unconventional struck a chord, reminding me of my own efforts at fly fishing for coarse fish over many seasons. Similarly with Andy, a lot of it was genuinely different and exciting, not to mention seldom written about. Could there be a book in it?
From floundering about to finished book!
I’m not sure Andy fully believed we would cook up a dedicated lure fishing book at first, but our trips to various marks became the start of a regular double act. I began frantically taking notes and photographs along the way. As thing progressed, we also teamed up with two anglers who offered broader visual skills to the project: Jack Perks brought incredible underwater images and also fished with us and took the outstanding cover shot.
I also felt that diagrams and artwork were vital though- a book must not just be blocks of information, it must impart knowhow and enthusiam that is digestible and easy on the eye. Hence Neil Sutherland joined us- bringing some of the most stylish visuals we could have hoped for to unpack various rigs and concepts and give the book an extra level of aesthetic excellence!
At first, the scale and complexity of the project was daunting; but in hindsight my relative inexperience in LRF fishing and other areas compared to Andy’s vast expertise was an advantage. It allowed me to start from scratch, writing with a clarity and a childlike enthusiasm I hadn’t had in my fishing for quite a while.
It also made me keen to unpack all the confusing jargon and asking the natural questions that anyone of a less-than-degree-level-nerd standard would want answered! Hence you’ll find an in depth guide to all manner of technical stuff in plain English, whether that means drop shot and split shot techniques, Cheb and Jika rigs, all the different types of jig head and everything in between.
That said, while this is a friendly book for a less experienced angler or even a newcomer to lure fishing, it’s also one that is rammed with great ideas, genuine firsts and quite technical stuff that will appeal to the seasoned lure fishing nut. From some of the weirder modern rigs, through to combining lure and fly tackle, or learning where and how to track down oddities from gurnard to tadpole fish, it’s all there.
Overall then, I’m one very happy if exhausted author to have realised what seemed like a pretty crazy project back in 2015! Since then, my own knowledge has grown exponentially, too, and this is perhaps the biggest acid test: the techniques from the book can and will work anywhere in the UK or in the world that you care to travel! From Greek oddities to panfish on the West Coast of America, the same tricks have caught fish for me across several continents!
So, while we continue to hear that the UK is well behind in the world of lure fishing, the scene over here is evolving and -most importantly of all- anglers are adapting worldwide methods and ideas to our own fishing.
Personally I feel that the current trend for light lure fishing and species hunting is one of the best things to happen to UK fishing in decades. It’s certainly a refreshing, much friendlier and more open world than the hardcore world of specimen hunting. You don’t need lots of time or tackle; it makes fish of any size fight well and you can do it anywhere you find water and fish.
Most tellingly of all, though, there’s something about it that appeals to everyone from little kids to old hands. It can be very technical but also beautifully simple.
There are no signs of letting up then, with lure anglers now everywhere from urban canals to piers. This book is a testament to so many of the lure nuts we met along the way- and if it can help in some small way to bring even more enjoyment to new and existing anglers, Andy, Jack, Neil and I will be thrilled.
Now, all you have to do is buy the book! Whether you are a fanatic or just an occasional lure angler, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. Do get it from me or a tackle store or bookshop direct if possible, though, because as convenient as Amazon is, they take over £5 from every sale (in spite of paying almost nothing in UK taxes), making it harder and harder for smaller shops, businesses and authors all over the UK to survive- but hey, I”ll spare you the rant.
Happy reading and do stay posted for further updates!