- Catch Rate
Soft Plastics have been around for a long time, so what would make you try something relatively new?
Megabass are one of the leading Japanese makers of hard and soft lures for both freshwater and saltwater bass, so we have spent a year testing them out to see how they work in UK waters.
How to Work
Firstly, you need to attach them to a jig head, with various sizes available between 2g to 20g proving the optimum weight according to the depth you are fishing onshore. For boat use, it it best to use a drop shot to ensure you can get the lure to the required depth.
Onshore: Cast into gulleys or over rough/weedy ground ( you can even work through weed, using a ‘weedless hook’ setup ) As you retrieve the lure, twitch it by using the tip of your rod to bring it to life. As the lure darts and dives through the water, any predatory fish close by will be attracted by it’s natural action and scent ( xlayers come scented, albeit slightly, but it’s enough to convince any fish this is a potential meal on a plate )
Estuaries: You can cast xlayers against the flow of water (so if the water is flowing to your right, cast to your left) and let them ‘bounce’ along the bottom with the water flow. You should get a lot of feedback through your rod as you hit sand, pebbles, rocks and weed – BUT you will know when a fish strikes – it’s a great feeling and should put a BIG smile on your face – it’s that much fun.
You can also cast and retrieve the lure, with ball bearings in the tail section giving out just enough vibration and flexibility to give the lure an action of it’s own.
Boat: Use any size hook or jig head up to 10g. Setup a drop shot with a weight that will allow you to work the depth required. Drop the lure into the water and let the required line off. As soon as you have hit the required depth, really put some effort in attracting fish by jerking your rod up and down up to a dozen times ( leaving 5 to 10 seconds between each ‘jig’ )
The Lure will look at it’s most natural as it drops down each time, which can very often entice a strike. If you haven’t had any bites after a dozen ‘jigs’ slowly bring the lure back up to the surface and repeat the process again. If you are really struggling, hit the lowest depth, but be sure to wind hard 4 to 5 turns to ensure you don’t snag the bottom.
If you do feel a bite, be patient and gently jig the lure so it stays within a couple of feet of any fish close by.
The Xlayer comes in many different colours, both light and dark in various finishes. In the UK, the AYU colour has established itself as a good lure for targeting bass, although it is just as effective for catching wrasse, pollack, cod and haddock. Other colours of note would be the Oikawa, French Silver, Wakasagi, Avocado Silver and Smoke and Glitter.
At around £13 – £15 per packet of eight lures, the xlayer comes out to a very similar price to alternatives such as the Sidewinder Sandeel and Savage Gear Sandeel. In our tests, each lure would last a good 10 catches before showing any signs of wear.
Onshore: We have caught bass, wrasse, cod, pollack and haddock on these lures and they are a lethal artificial bait to have in your tackle box.
Boat: We found, when compared to sidewinder sandeels, they picked out the bigger fish, partly due to the hook position in the lure, so it’s especially effective if you are struggling to hit good size specimens. On one particular trip where many small codling were being caught on sidewinders, the xlayer hit bigger fish 9 times out of 10.
The xlayer could be stronger, but the argument would be that this could seriously affect the action. Also, with megabass beginning to introduce artificial baits that have a taste as well as scent, it would be a good idea to use their VIOS mineral on the xlayer.