the first paddle tail lure
Made in his garden shed in the early 1970's by Alex Ingram, Red Gill paddle tail lures ruled the lure angling scene for over 25 years until the arrival of the internet, then everything changed as other paddle tail lures from Europe and the Far East became ready available.
The Evo is still favoured by many who fish south coast estuaries.
choosing a paddle tail lure
The vast array of paddle-tail lures that are available in a never ending variety of shapes and colours, can be grouped together as —
Light = 5-15g. Medium = 16-28g. Heavy = 29g+
Because the huge majority of shore caught predatory fish such as bass and pollock are not huge, 16-28g lures are quite sufficient for shore fishing, which suits the most popular 10g-30g spinning rods.
weighted paddle tails
Weighted paddle tail lures have the lead weight cast around the underside of the hook shank with the soft body moulded around it. These were first released in the UK in 2004 by Sidewinder, becoming immediately popular. Being easy to cast and swimming with the hook uppermost, the lure was far less likely to snag on seaweed.
The illustration (right) of the 115mm, 25g Sidewinder Brown Sprat shows the shadow of the weight cast around the shank of the 4/0 hook. The only impingement this shape of lure has upon its casting profile is the size and shape of the paddle tail in relation to the length and weight of the lure.
Red Gill soon took up the idea of having an integral weight and released the 178mm, 17g Evolution, which greatly improved the lures casting profile whilst maintaining most of its unique swimming ability; making it particularly good as a large lure for light line spinning with an offshore wind.
jig head paddle tails
Jig head lures are made up of two parts, the jig head and body. Most of these type lures ship in a bubble packs and include a spare body. Individual packs of jig heads or bodies are also available. The Savage Gear sandeel is probably the most popular shape paddle tail lure used by bass anglers spinning from the shore.
mix and match
Because jig heads and bodies can be purchased separately they can be mixed and matched to give an assortment of weights. The illustration shows a standard 23g Savage Gear sandeel lure, whilst below it is the same 12·5cm sand eel body adhered to a Crazy Sandeel 10g jig head. The end of the soft lure body has been cut flat before mounting and gluing to the jig head.
articulated jig head lures
With this type of assembled lure the point of the hook generally sits in a groove in the back of the body to make the lure 'weedless'. It is advisable to glue the body to the jig head if self assembled.
The white diagram illustrates how a Black Minnow jig head, hook and body are assembled. Various jig heads can be used with the same size body. Below that is a heavier Off Shore jig head, whilst behind it is an assembled lure dressed with the lighter Shore jig head. Check out YouTube, how to assemble a black minnow lure.
There are other articulated lures that also have a variety of different weight jig heads that fit the same body but be aware, most bubble packs give the weight of the jig head only, thus the assembled lure in a bubble pack marked 10g could weigh as much as 20g. Check out YouTube how to assemble a delalande swat shad.
soft body paddle tails
The range and size of jig heads and drilled bullets is as varied as the choice of bodies, which come in all manner of sizes, shapes and colours, again allowing endless opportunity to mix and match to your preference.
Check out YouTube how to rig soft plastic fishing baits.
As the name suggests, this is another rig imported from America, which has been adopted by UK sea anglers to a much greater extent. This rig is not only distinguished by the drilled bullet sinker weight, but also by the 'weedless' hook.
The rig has been adapted with great success by Red Gill in their popular EvoStix lure, which bridges the gap between the traditional Texas rig using soft worm shaped lures and the European method of using a paddle tail lure.
The Red Gill EvoStix design uses the tail of their classic Evo sand eel lure with a round solid body, giving it a superb swimming action.
The body, weighing 8g, has a groove in the top to accommodate the point of the hook. Although the pack ships with five bodies, three drilled bullet sinkers and two hooks, other size bullet sinkers and weedless hook can be used.
A plump early morning Wrasse landed at Portland Bill on a No:2 Black Minnow dressed with an 10g Off Shore jig head. The teeth on large wrasse can make a mess of soft lures. But this can be the most exciting part of lure making, much like the fly angler discovering the joy of making their first fly.