Lipless crank baits or vibration lures are certainly not new with the first ones I used being the original Cotton Cordell Rattlin' Spots – with the gold one being particularly productive on our first trips into barra country back in the 80’s, although the lures dates back to the 1960’s.
These bibles/lipless vibration style lures have undergone what I will call a “re-birth” in recent years with significant refinements both in design and body materials now being used. Lipless rattling hard bodies are now available across many brands and come in all sorts of body shapes and materials that produce different sounds and vibrations in order to attract both active and non-active fish which will trigger a “reaction bite” when other lures won’t turn a head.
These bibless rattling lures are also easy to fish with it being as simple as casting them out, letting them sink to the desired depth and retrieving them back in with a slow and steady retrieve often referred to as “slow rolling”. No jigging, ripping, wiggling or twitching – just keep winding until the rod loads up and your line is going in the opposite direction of your reel!
We also have an endless array of “blade” style lures which work on a similar level to lipless crank baits and rattling lures but trigger the bite through vibration alone and have the ability to be fished in “the zone” long enough to trigger a bite even from shut down fish.
Tournament fishing both in freshwater impoundments and saltwater estuaries has solidified many new trends and techniques within our sport. Previously obscure and rarely used techniques, tackle and lures have set winning bench marks on the tournament scene with proven results under pressured fishing conditions and are now regarded as “must haves” in our everyday fishing arsenal.
Soft vibration lures first arrived on the freshwater tournament scene around 2005 with the Jackall Mask vibes turning heads and increasing catch rates at a level few lures had done previously. Offering similar versatility as the hard bodied versions these “mask vibes” offered a new stealth presentation that triggered bites when their noisier cousins drew blanks, particularly in heavily fished areas.
Soft vibes offer the fish a natural feel, subtle vibration and lifelike movement in the water that has now proven deadly on a wide range of species far removed from freshwater impoundments including snapper, threadfin and barra. As with most other vibes there are not many fish that won’t eat a soft vibe.
Spanyid Sniper Vibes are a relatively new, soft plastic UV-enhanced hybrid lure which by design allows you to work every depth of the water column using a range of retrieves. Robustly built with big fish in mind they include a durable “through-wire” construction that has been tested to 26kg so you won’t be left guttered after losing a big fish due to the wire frame being pulled out or off as can happen with other brands not offering this design. Fitted with ultra-sharp VMC trebles, the Spanyid Sniper Vibe is available in eight proven fish catching colours and four sizes ranging from 60mm to 120mm to cover everything from bream & bass to barra & threadfin salmon to name just a few species that will eat a Sniper.
Sniper Vibes sink quickly due to their slim profile and excel when probing deeper water columns where fish can be found holding out of the main current flow behind structure like rock bars and large snags. I have also recently had good success on our local threadfin salmon on the smallest 60mm model when targeting them in shallow drains when they have been frustratingly feeding on jelly prawns. Look for the small showers of jelly prawns that generally indicates that a salmon is not far away. Cast you Sniper in the middle of the jelly prawn patch and immediately start a quick hopping retrieve. Salmon use their whiskers to herd the prawns and will pick up on the vibrations even in dirt water with eth strike often being more like an eruption and quite visual in the shallow water with the fish often bow waving onto the lure.
Using a quality depth sounder like the new Lowrance Gen III units with structure scan I will often sound around until I see the fish I’m looking for, then use my Minn Kota rip-tide bow mount electric motor I will hold just off them using “anchor mode”. You can now work your vibes through the fish until you trigger a strike. Persevere if you are marking fish even if you’re not getting bites straight away as the beauty of vibes is you can keep them in front of a fish long enough to trigger an aggressive “reaction bite “ even with shut down fish. Generally if you are marking fish but not getting it will generally just be a matter of time before they switch on with the trigger generally being the change in the tide. Don’t fall for the trap of leaving fish to find fish.
Using the rod tip to impart quick rips brings the Sniper Vibe to life and produces a lively vibrating action. By allowing the vibe to sink between rips or hops means that you can keep the lure in the effective zone for longer. As with other soft vibes, you will find that a lot of the strikes will come on the drop, invariably. Always keep an eye on your slack line between rips/hops as you may miss subtle bites otherwise.
We have just started to fish the Snipers out on the reefs in depths down to 30 metres on the neap tides with great success. Species such as golden trevally, snapper, scarlets, trout and mackerel have all taken a liking to these good vibrations!
And now that S-Factor is available in individual tubes don’t forget to add some of that as well!