An Introduction To LRF
Hello and welcome to my corner of the Streetfishing London blog. It was a great privilege to be asked by Momo and the SFL team to contribute to this new feature. I have followed SFL for a while now and have watched the growth of their social media and online shop. It's always a pleasure to work with enthusiastic anglers and even better when that enthusiasm is aimed at lure fishing. With that in mind I want to give an introduction to the type of lure fishing that I enjoy - Light Rock Fishing.
Light Rock Fishing, or more commonly called LRF, is essentially finesse saltwater fishing, using lures of no more than 7 or 8 grams. Once you step above that you get the equally fun Light Game Fishing, then you are on your way to HRF or Heavy Rock Fishing. These scenes are imports from Japan, with intrepid anglers having translated the various blogs and tackle popular in the Far East for use in the UK and Europe. In the ten years since, the popularity of these techniques have waxed and waned, with a few die-hards keeping the fire burning. Recently though I have seen an increase in my personal blog's traffic and an increase in interest from newbies. This gives me hope that more anglers may find this engaging side of saltwater lure fishing.
One of the most common misinterpretations of LRF is that is just about catching tiny fish. The mini-species such as scorpion fish, gobies and blennies all can be caught using LRF (and they can be great fun), yet it's so much more than them. Mackerel, scad, bass, flounder, gurnards and many more are regular LRF catches, all will put up incredible scraps on the light tackle; and I haven't even mentioned the wrasse - powerhouses of the rock fishing scene. The finesse presentation also helps you tempt spooky species that would normally turn their nose up at a clumsily presented lure. It makes for an addictive fishing experience, whether you are trying to catch many different species or just targeting fish that will make the drag sing.
Tackling up for LRF needn't be expensive. A lot of the lure fishing rods, reels and braids used for UK perch fishing can be used. If you are starting out though, I will try and go through the basics without boring you. You will need: A rod with a casting weight of no more than 8 grams. The big choice is solid tip or tubular - normally you can tell this if they have an S or a T in the name. Solid tips give you sensitivity in bite indication and little resistance to wary fish; tubular gives you more power and better control of metal jigs, at the cost of resistance to fish on the take. You can buy entry level LRF rods for £30-50 from the likes of HTO & Shakespeare, that can serve as a great gateway into the sport.
Pair the rod with 1000-2000 size spinning reel, I use the Daiwa Ninja 1500a for the majority of my Lerfing (affectionate term for LRF), you can find them online for under £50 but again HTO and Shakespeare have fine cheaper reels. The most crucial aspect I would say is to have decent, fine braid. This is going to make a huge amount of difference to your fishing. 6 or 8lb breaking strain is a good place to start. I have been fishing with the Majorcraft Dangan Braid in 6lb for the last 6 months, for £15 for 150 metres I can't fault it. Light braid will enable you to cast tiny weights long distances as it provides little resistance. Tie on a 6 foot leader of 4lb fluorocarbon with your favourite braid to leader knot (I use the FG knot) and you are nearly there.
Lure and rig choice is where things get fun. Small metal jigs, crankbaits, soft plastics of various sizes, scented worms rigged on light jigheads, dropshot, Texas or Carolina rigs. The list goes on. If you have some size 8-10 jigheads under 2 grams or size 10 hooks and dropshot weights under 7 grams, they will cover you for a start if you want to catch a multitude of species. If you are after bass, mackerel or similar, then the spoons, paddle/curl tails, crankbaits and spinners you use for perch, trout and chub will work.
You will read/hear a lot about Marukyu Isome and Berkley Gulp when people talk LRF, the reason being because they catch every fish going in the sea! It's easy to get preoccupied with these scented lures though and on a warm day they won't be needed. They are a fantastic tool when the going is tough though and for catching species that are unlikely to take a traditional lure.
For the mini-species like scorpion fish, blennies and the smaller wrasse, find structure. Rocky gulleys, pillars around harbours or piers or weedbeds all will hold fish. Keep the movements subtle and don't be afraid to keep the lure perfectly still for a moment, just the movement from the current can be enough. For the pelagic, mid water species, a simple cast and retrieve will work. Work the lure like you would in a river or lake, find the currents and structure and imagine where the fish will be, there's usually at least a small pollock willing to feed.
I will be adding many more in depth articles to the SFL blog over the next few months. If you want more detail there's loads of tips, reviews, stories and species identification on my personal blog, find it at www.benbassettfishing.home.blog Thank you for reading.