Rapala Japan recently introduced a range of new micro soft plastics called the Storm Gomoku Soft series for their light salt game market. Designed to target species such as Chinu (Black Bream), Aji (Japanese Horse Mackerel) and Mebaru (Japanese Rock Fish), the Gomoku Soft Series come in two models, namely the 2-inch Gomoku Soft Straight (GSST20) and the 1.5-inch Gomoku Bulky Ring (GSBR15).
These micro soft plastics have since found their way to our local tackle shops here in South East Asia and their introduction to our local fishing scene has since opened up tremendous opportunities with exciting new methods and techniques to catch fish. From freshwater to saltwater, the Storm Gomoku Soft series have been catching plenty of fish for folks who have taken the step of faith to down-size their tackle to as light as 4lb! That figure may sound ‘normal’ for finesse applications on small fish, but when you’re talking about tackling big, bad Peacock Bass of 10lbs or more, 4lb tackle can be rather hairy!
Big Peacock Bass caught on the 1.5-inch Storm Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring micro soft plastic.
THE MICRO SOFT PLASTIC ADVANTAGE
Have you ever popped a small, bite-sized snack into your mouth just to know how it tastes even though you’re not hungry? It probably looked delicious. Maybe even smelt really good. But chances are, you’ll never know whether its really tasty until you taste it for yourself. On the other hand, you’d probably be less likely to ‘try out’ something that’s of substantial portion. Theoretically, fishes behave the same way especially when they’re not in a feeding mood. Wary fish are likely to check out a small foreign object or food with their mouths rather than something larger. This is more so in places with high fishing pressure, where fish are often caught and released.
Wary fish like this Red-tailed catfish from a catch and release pond can be coaxed into taking a small offering like the Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring.
There are also times when fish are zeroed in on a specific baitfish profile and size and simply won’t take anything else. When they’re hunting really small stuff, that’s when the micro soft plastics really shine. The vibrations given off from these small soft plastics are more minute and subtle than their hardbait counterparts, therefore appearing more ‘natural’. That said, these micro soft plastics need to be used with appropriately weighted jigheads. A jighead that’s too heavy will sink abruptly, making the presentation unnatural. That’s why most of these micro soft plastics are matched to jigheads around 1 to 5grams. How heavy a jighead to use depends on the technique you’ll be using. Do you intend to hop the soft plastic off the bottom? Then a relatively heavier jighead will be ideal. Or will you be leaving the soft plastic to drift with the current? Depending on the current speed, you’d then select a jighead accordingly to position your soft plastic in the water column.
Drifting Gomoku Soft micro plastics in fast currents is a deadly technique for Trevally.
ULTRA LIGHT SETUP
To fish the Gomoku Soft micro soft plastics effectively, ultra light or finesse tackle is highly recommended. Unlike larger hardbaits or soft plastics, you’ll hardly feel any resistance or vibrations from these micro soft plastics on the retrieve. It’s almost as if you’re retrieving a bare hook on the other end of the line! Be assured though, that predators can hone in on them, whether by sight or from the very minute vibrations created as the lure travels in the water. 1-4lb or 2-6lb rated rods are fine for most situations. A good quality graphite rod with a sensitive tip is advantageous as it can easily pick up the slightest taps or bites. I personally enjoy using the Rapala RFS Finesse Series Elegance 2-6lb spinning rod. It’s extremely sensitive and does the job well of handling medium-sized Peacock Bass or big Sagai (Longfin Trevally). Paired with a Daiwa Luvias 1003 loaded with 150m of Rapala Rapinova PE#0.4 braid and a short length of Rapinova 8lb FC leader, this setup covers most of my outings with the Gomoku Soft micro soft plastics. As for jigheads, a good range that will cover most freshwater and saltwater applications would be 1.8g, 2.5g and 3.5g weights.
Even aggresive predators like this Chao Phraya Catfish occasionally take small stuff, in this case, the Gomoku Soft Straight.
Here’s a closer look at the bite-sized snack
HOW TO WORK THE GOMOKU SOFT SERIES
Catching different species in saltwater and freshwater requires different techniques, rigging methods and strategies. Below are just some suggestions you may wish to try with the Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring and Gomoku Soft Straight. Do bear in mind though that these are not the ONLY ways to work these soft plastics. You may want to experiment a bit to see what works for your local species and fishing conditions. For the suggestions below, we rig them with a standard jighead between 1.8 to 3.5 grams.
The Gomoku Bulky Ring rigged on a 3.5g jighead with a straight retrieve just off the bottom has been fooling plenty of Barra from D’Best Fishing Pond at Pasir Ris.
1. STRAIGHT RETRIEVE
This method works great for the Bulky Ring. Cast it out, let it sink a bit and retrieve slowly and steadily whether mid-water of just off the bottom. You can add a bit of variation to the retrieve too, for example, pausing every once in a while before resuming your retrieve. The pause actually causes the lure to suddenly stop swimming and sink. This sudden abrupt action often triggers reaction bites. Don’t worry if you don’t feel any pulsating vibration when you’re retrieving the lure. The Bulky Ring’s little ‘heart-shaped’ tail lets off very subtle vibrations that might not be felt at all by the angler but can be picked up by the fish in the water.
The little ‘heart-shaped’ tail of the Bulk Ring gives off very minute vibrations in the water.
Lift and drop works well for deeper waters.
2. LIFT AND DROP
This method works for both the Bulky Ring and Soft Straight. Let the rig sink all the way to the bottom. Then lift the rod tip to about 10 o’clock position and quickly let it down again. Pick up any slack line and then repeat the lift-and-drop action. This causes the lure to hop off the bottom, which can be very deadly for bottom-feeding fish. Again, you can experiment with your retrieval, whether to hop the bottom in short, sharp movements or with high and easy sweeps of the rod tip. You don’t want to use a jighead that’s too heavy for this method. Otherwise the drop may be too abrupt and frighten off cautious fish, rather than draw them in.
It’s amazing how Longfin Trevally can zoom in on such a micro-sized soft plastic!
3. DRIFTING IN THE CURRENT
This technique has been proven extremely effective on Trevally species off Singapore’s southern islands for anglers fishing from an anchored boat. For this technique to work well, the current needs to be moving fairly quickly and the boat positioned up-current from some fish-congregating structure. The rigged Bulky Ring or Soft Straight is allowed to drift on free-spool with the current to where the fish are likely to be hunting down their prey. Once the lure has entered the ‘strike zone’, engage the reel and hang on. You can twitch the lure a little with the rod tip. Don’t retrieve any line though. This subtle movement of the rod tip makes the lure move only very slightly, resembling a tiny baitfish holding its position against the current. If there are no bites after a while, you may wish to allow the lure to drift further or deeper to search for the fish. Pay attention to tiny nibbles, which Longfin Trevally (Sagai) love to do on the Gomoku Soft lures. They nibble ever so delicately but do be prepared for a streaking run when you set the hook! This method not only works for Sagai but also other species such as Yellow-tail Scads, Hard-tail Scads and Fusiliers, just to name a few.
“And there she goes!!”
Drifting is an exciting way to catch Sagai!
The Gomoku Soft Bulky Ring and Gomoku Soft Straight micro soft plastics are now available at Riverland Tackle (Changi Village), Sincere Fishing Tackles (Yishun), Joe Fishing Tackle (Beach Road), Big Fish @ The Helping Hand (Serangoon) and E-Waves Fishbyte (Clementi).
Have an interesting way of catching fish with the Storm Gomoku Soft series? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us!
HOW TO CATCH SAGAI WITH GOMOKU SOFT MICRO SOFT PLASTICS
The new Storm Arashi Top Walker strides true even when retrieved fast, having been purpose-built to eliminate the missed bites all too common with lesser topwater lures.
If you look at the profile of the Arashi Top Walker from the back, you can see how its sides are just a little bit flatter compared to most other topwater lures. This design element prevents the Top Walker from rolling as it changes direction on the retrieve and allows the lure to continually walk with its hooks underneath the body. This in turn increases the hook-up ratio of striking fish.
A long-glide walk-the-dog action, a powerful wake and a multi-ball cadence rattle sound signature combine to make the Top Walker a seductive topwater lure to call fish from afar. It features four bearings that broadcast a variable pitch frequency, mimicking the sound of schooling baitfish that predators can’t ignore.
Rotated hook hangers, a feature of all baits in the Arashi lineup, ensure the treble’s angle of movement is limited, therefore preventing hang-ups when hooks up to a size larger are used. This position also ensures the hooks are nestled closer to the lure’s body, offering better action.
The new 11cm Storm Arashi Top Walker weighs 22g and is available in 10 color patterns, most of them slightly translucent: Green Gold Shad, Hot Blue Shad, Pearl Ayu, Bluegill, Blue Back Herring, Wakasagi, Ghost Hitch, Pro Blue, Ghost Pearl Shad and Black Silver Shad.
The Storm Gomoku Adajo slow jigging rod gets a range extension of PE1 and PE3 for 2016. The two new rods feature the same 30 & 40 ton blend graphite blank, Fuji T-DPS reel seats and genuine Fuji Alconite Guides. The PE1 Storm Adajo is rated to work up to 100g slow jigs while the PE3 model is rated to work up to 300g slow jigs.
The new 2016 Rapala Snow is more than a facelift from its predecessor. An all-new, lightweight 40-ton graphite blank with a regular-fast taper offers the angler absolute control, whether casting or fighting fish. Fuji KR Concept Alconite guides maximize the rod blank’s performance and reduce twisting torque. A truly elegant baitcasting rod for light tackle applications.
Terbitan Majalah Sirip bulan Ogos 2015. Penterjemahan oleh En. Halimi Hanip.
STORM ARASHI – Berkemungkinan gewang luar biasa yang paling mudah digunakan. Prakata di atas adalah satu kenyataan yang berani. Tetapi itulah yang Hiroshi Takahashi (pereka gewang Storm) maksudkan apabila beliau mereka-bentuk gewang Storm Arashi. Menurut Hiroshi, platform Storm Arashi diilhamkan daripada keperluan untuk gewang jenis crankbait yang mudah digunakan.
Crankbait yang ideal perlulah boleh dilontar jauh, mudah dikarau, berenang cantik sebaik keluar dari kotak dan yang paling penting, mempunyai aksi menggoda ikan yang sangat menarik. Storm Arashi memenuhi semua keperluan di atas. Jadi kenapa ia begitu istimewa?
Lidah Papan Litar
Penggunaan material papan litar yang nipis, namun kuat dan tahan lasak pada lidahnya telah menghidupkan aksi luar biasa gewang ini. Berbanding lidah acuan konvensional, papan litar nipis mempunyai daya rintangan lebih rendah apabila gewang dikarau. Ini juga bermakna Storm Arashi dapat mencapai aksi maksimumnya walaupun pada kelajuan perlahan.
Satu lagi kelebihannya ialah keupayaan untuk kekal stabil pada kelajuan sangat tinggi. Ini penting terutama apabila mencari ikan di kawasan yang luas atau apabila terdapat keperluan mengilat laju bagi mencetuskan sambaran ikan yang agresif.
Penyangkut Mata Kail Berputar
Gewang konvensional mempunyai penyangkut mata kail yang sejajar dengan muncung gewang. Walaupun konfigurasi ini baik untuk mata tiga yang sesuai, namun peluang untuk mata tiga tersekat agak tinggi apabila mata tiga lebih besar digunakan.
Dengan memutar penyangkut ini sebanyak 90 darjah, sudut pergerakan mata tiga adalah terhad, justeru mencegah sekatan apabila mata tiga lebih besar digunakan. Kedudukan ini juga memastikan mata tiga terletak lebih rapat dengan badan gewang untuk aksi yang lebih cantik.
Titik Ikatan Talaan Sendiri
Di tengah-tengah titik ikatan talaan sendiri pada gewang ini adalah satu rekaan pergerakan bebas berpaten yang memastikan renangan gewang melurus sebaik keluar dari kotak. Memang sukar bagi crankbait jenis terapung untuk mencapai kestabilan pada kelajuan tinggi. Walau bagaimanapun, titik ikatan pergerakan bebas ini mempermudahkannya.
BARISAN STORM ARASHI
Arashi Silent Square
Model ini berenang secara goyangan dan gelekan yang bernyawa. Keapungan membantu ia melepasi halangan dan reka bentuk lidah bersegi meningkatkan pemesongan yang sempurna apabila berlanggar struktur. Seperti namanya, ia tidak bergemerincing untuk pendekatan senyap kepada ikan yang berwaspada di air cetek.
Silent Square dilengkapi mata tiga VMC nikel hitam premium. Terdapat dalam dua model iaitu ASQS03 dengan panjang badan 2-1 / 8” selaman 3 kaki, dan ASQS05 dengan panjang badan 2-3 / 8” selaman 5 kaki.
Arashi Rattling Flat
Ia adalah gewang pemburu yang sempurna dalam perairan terbuka. Bahagian sisi ratanya membalikkan kekilatan yang tinggi, menarik perhatian visual manakala aksi gemerincingan merenjiskan getaran tinggi untuk menarik sang ikan. Model terapung yang berukuran 2-1 / 8” ini dilengkapi mata kail VMC nikel hitam premium dan mampu menyelam sehingga 7 kaki.
Arashi Rattling Deep
Rattling Deep berenang dengan gelekan sederhana, tetapi tendangan ekor sangat kencang. Model selaman dalam berukuran 2-3 / 8” ini mempunyai bebola tunggal besar untuk menjana frekuensi yang rendah dan reka bentuknya berdaya lontaran jauh dengan tepat. Ia dilengkapi mata tiga VMC nikel hitam premium dan mampu menyelam sedalam 10 kaki.
Tame big fish with confidence. Whether its large Toman in snaggy terrain or big Black Bass near structure and cover, the new Rapala Risto rod will take them on. Sensitivity is uncompromised with a regular taper on a 40-ton graphite blank. An ideal choice for crank and roll applications, from crankbaits to spinnerbaits.
Storm Southeast Asia announces the arrival of the Storm Adventure, a new lure-casting rod priced aggressively to bring the joy of lure fishing to more anglers. Equipped with genuine Fuji reel seat and complete Fuji guide set, the Storm Adventure is absolutely value for money with a price tag that’s way less than you’d imagine! The Storm Adventure comes in a range of different tapers, from regular fast to extra fast and in both spinning and casting models.
The long-awaited slow-jigging rod from Storm has finally arrived. The new Gomoku Adajo is designed to work slow-style jigs easily with each pitch or crank. The Gomoku Adajo is built on a 30 & 40 ton blend graphite blank with a slow taper for optimal recoil when working slow jigs up to 300 grams (PE3 model). Jigging upstrokes are less taxing on the angler and the optimal recoil allows for a greater tension ‘free-fall’ on the drop to bring out the slow jig’s optimal fluttering action.
The Adajo features 30 & 40 ton blend graphite blank
Probably one of the most anticipated jigging reels from Daiwa this year has to be the 2015 Daiwa Saltiga overhead. Launched at this year’s Japan Fishing Show in Yokohama, the Daiwa Saltiga comes in two sizes: 10 and 15 in 5.1 and 6.4 retrieve ratios.
DAIWA SALTIGA 10/15
The new Saltiga overhead is a very compact reel with an oversized gearbox. For greater longevity on the water, Daiwa placed its proprietary MAGSEAL ball bearing on its pinion, similar to the 2014 magsealed Ryoga Bay Jigging reels. It is also features ATD (Automatic Tournament Drag), Daiwa’s latest implementation of a new proprietary grease on their drag washers to enable a very smooth and consistent start up drag pressure right from the start.
The new 2015 Saltiga is available in 2 sizes – 10 and 15, in 2 retrieve ratios: 5.1 (retrieves 80cm per turn) and 6.4 (retrieves 100cm per turn). The size 10 takes in 300m of PE #2 line or 200m of PE #3 while the size 15 takes 500m of PE #2 line and 300m of PE #3. The reel also comes with a nifty neoprene reel pouch for protection against nicks during travel. Nice!
Since Lauri Rapala crafted the very first Original Floating Rapala in 1936, classic Rapala lures have become synonymous with that signature Rapala wounded-minnow action – made only possible from premium balsa wood that give them their responsive, life-like action.
Close up of the Scatter Rap CountDown
It is no surprise therefore when Rapala introduced the Scatter Rap series in 2013, balsa wood was the material of choice. When fitted with newly designed swimming lips that somewhat resembled Pringle potato-chips, classic balsa wood shads and minnows were transformed into entirely different baits.
The Rapala Scatter Rap CountDown
Scattering, Evasive Action
Conventional ‘wounded-baitfish’ lures swim in a linear fashion and present themselves as easy meals for predators. On the other hand, lures that are capable of sudden movements and directional changes often trigger reaction strikes from predatory species. In fact, many experienced anglers know that one of the key techniques to trigger bites from predatory fish is to work a lure in such a way that it darts about, suddenly changing directions, as if it’s a baitfish in panic mode. Very often this involves some fancy rod tip work and wrist-snapping that beginners may find rather difficult to immediately pick up.
The evasive action triggers the predatory instinct of fish
To catch fish with a Rapala Scatter Rap, there’s no need for elaborate rod-tip maneuvers or wrist motions. The Scatter Rap’s Scatter Lip creates an erratic and evasive sweeping action with directional changes that imitates a spooked baitfish trying to escape a predator’s attack. All that is needed is a steady retrieve with minor changes in the retrieve speed and the Scatter Rap will weave side to side attractively. Experienced anglers will need to resist the temptation of twitching or jerking the Scatter Rap lures as they work best with a straight retrieve and have the built-in ability to change directions on their own.
Scatter Rap CountDown worked fabulously on Sebarau
Bee simply loves the Fire Tiger Scatter Rap CountDown
A nice one by Yu Hock on Scatter Rap CountDown Perch
Scatter Rap Series
The Rapala Scatter Rap series of lures are built upon classic Rapala body shapes. The Scatter Rap Minnow resembles an Original Floating Rapala. The Scatter Rap CountDown is almost identical to the evergreen Rapala CountDown. The Scatter Rap Shad takes on the classic Shad Rap’s tried-and-true shad shape while the Scatter Rap Crank looks similar to a DT series crankbait. Each lure has a uniquely-designed Scatter Lip to match their application.
Temensis that fell for the Scatter Rap Shad in Golden Alburnus pattern (Photo by DaFisho)
I had the privilege of fishing with the Rapala Scatter Rap series for a few outings in dams and land-based arenas and have found the Scatter Rap CountDown to be my firm favourite, followed by the Scatter Rap Crank and Scatter Rap Shad.
Peacock Bass that have wised up to conventional swimming lures can be fooled by the Scatter Rap’s action
Scatter Rap CountDown (Fire Minnow) scores!
The 7-gram Scatter Rap CountDown casts well on a light setup and mirrors the classic CountDown’s ability to sink to the desired depth where the fish are holding. The evasive action of the Scatter Rap CountDown is perfect for fishing rocky ground or rock bunds where baitfish often hide among the crevices (hint: reservoir rock bunds!). Retrieve at moderate speed and the Scatter Rap CountDown will weave left and right among the rocks, just like a panicky baitfish darting for cover among the rocks. I was actually surprised how deadly this natural-looking, evasive action with a simple, straight retrieve (without any twitching or jerking) was able to fool wary Peacock Bass and even several nice-sized Haruan from heavily-fished waters.
A huge Haruan fooled by the Scatter Rap CountDown’s evasive sweeping action
Close up of the Scatter Rap Countdown in Fire Minnow pattern
The Scatter Rap Crank comes in two versions: The standard Scatter Rap Crank which has a listed swimming depth of between 1.8 to 2.4 metres and the Scatter Rap Crank Deep, with a listed swimming depth of 3 to 3.6 metres. This scattering crankbait is a great searching lure for deeper waters. ‘Lombong’ (mining pond) Haruan hunters will love this crankbait for its ability to cover a relatively larger area by its evasive action. The deep version is also ideal for gregarious Toman, such as those Air Ganda ‘gangsters’ – as the erratic, evasive action adds another dimension to trigger their predatory instincts. A note of caution though; since the Scatter Rap Crank is only 5cm in length, the possibility of the whole lure being engulfed and bitten off by a Toman is highly possible!
Another Haruan on Rapala Scatter Rap Crank
The new Scatter Rap Crank Deep. Great for Toman!
Kok Ping with nice Toman on Scatter Rap Crank Deep (photo by Kok Ping)
Close up of the Toman with Scatter Rap Crank Deep
The Rapala Scatter Rap Shad
The Scatter Rap Shad responds to different retrieval speeds. A slower retrieve speed creates subtle side sweeps while a faster retrieve amplifies the evasive action with aggressive direction changes and tighter kicking action. The first few fishes I caught on the Scatter Rap Shad were Sebarau from a running stream flushing into an area full of aquatic plants sitting just about two to three feet under water. The depth was just nice to swim the Scatter Rap Shad close to the plants, making it look like some forage fish darting about the shallows. As the shad zig-zagged back to the boat, a dark shadow shot out from the depths to snatch the bait. Gotcha! It was definitely no coincidence as two more Sebarau were landed in similar fashion thereafter!
Demon pattern on the Scatter Rap Shad
Fred looking pleased with Rapala Scatter Rap Shad’s performance
Light Tackle For Optimum Performance
Scatter Rap CountDown and Shad cast best with light tackle. I personally enjoy casting them on a 3-8lb outfit such as the Rapala RFS Zephyr 3-8lb paired with Daiwa SS Air with Sufix Nanobraid or Daiwa Pixy SPR and Sufix 832 6lb. The thinner diameter line not only allows the Scatter Raps to cast a little further but also makes the lures livelier and more responsive. On the other hand, Scatter Rap Crank Deep can be cast with relatively heavier tackle of 4-10lb or 6-12lb equivalents.
Light tackle is preferred to cast Scatter Raps further – I personally enjoy using Rapala RFS Zephyr 3-8lb with Daiwa SS Air and 8lb Sufix Nanobraid
At a glance, Rapala Scatter Raps look like their classic counterparts but in reality, their actions in the water are far from the same. Their evasive, baitfish-fleeing action perfectly complement existing Rapala lures that swim with a wounded baitfish action. When fish have become accustomed to the linear swimming action of conventional swimming lures, the sweeping, evasive action of Scatter Raps can possibly turn the tables of fortune for the angler. Remember, don’t twitch or jerk. Just retrieve steadily and let the Scatter Rap do the fish catching!
Even Green Chromide were interested in Scatter Rap Countdown