Sunday, 15 May 2011

Lure review: Savage gear soft 4-play ready-to-fish. First impressions.

A shoal of soft 4-plays
The arrival of the Savage gear soft 4-play was hotly anticipated by lure fans. Combining the sinuous swimming action of the popular hard 4-play with the fishbiting economy & versatility of softbaits, these new lures sold out all over the place.

The one I got was the 13cm ready to fish version where the soft double jointed rubber fish comes already rigged on a sturdy wire frame with nice sharp treble slung beneath the 1st section. Soft 4-plays are also sold as just loose bodies which can be combined with big single hooks for a weedless rig or jigheads or the 'lipscull', which is a little transparent helmet with a lip to make the lure into a flexible crankbait.
The 'ready-to-fish' version looked good with and I took it out in the  firetiger colour scheme for a second try at the jacks in the oxford canal.
The bait looks nice with some sort of rubber paint adding the orange and black over the chartreuse rubber body and plastic eyes. Like a doll's eyes... There are slots longitudinally top and bottom to allow the use of single hooks and the wire harness sits in the bottom one with a cranked wire going forward out the nose with an eye to attach to your trace and a spike going perpendicular up through the body to stop it bunching up or falling off.
First cast went across the canal and I retrieved it quickly to watch the action. It came across just below the surface but, by stopping it can be left to sink reasonably quickly to get down deeper.  I wouldn't look to fish deep water with this setup as it comes up again very quickly. however there may be scope for adding weight to the harness to get deeper. Do not add anything to the second section (its in 3 sections like a jointed swimbait).  I thought it needed something and added a small glass rattle but just that little weight slightly off centre caused it to tip over on the retrieve. This probably looks ok to a pike, like a buggered up small fish, but I didn't like it and removed the rattle to get it back on an even keel.  As the first retrieve ended (before I removed the rattle) I thought I'd stop it and twitch it to see what it would do. It turned sharply and was walloped by a small jack that either followed it or appeared from under the stern of a nearby boat.
The hook took hold well and a lively small pike of about 2lb thrashed and tailwalked furiously. The hooks seem to be as good as the wickedly sharp ones on the hard 4play.

The test lure prior to be being chewed up. 
That little anus-like aperture at the back is where I put the rattle in.

What was disappointing was that this one small fish broke the 4-play and it was all the way up the line when I landed the fish. The harness had torn out of the bait leaving it split irrevocably under the nose.  I managed to mend the split by burning it with a lighter and squeezing it back together but it split again a couple casts later.
No further pike were caught but I was happy to get a fish on 4play as the hard one I have has never done anything.
Question marks over durability but at least I'd still have the wire harness onto which a replacement body could be rigged.
Overall this looks like a good lure for shallow water. And, at £5.99 for two from Harris, could be used in snaggy swims where you wouldn't want to throw the hard version.
Here's a quite good instructional video all about the soft 4-play and the various ways to fish it.  I was sold...

1 comment:

  1. **Update***
    The eyes on the lure glow in the dark. Spooky....