Friday, 16 September 2011

Tough conditions for Tide Minnows

A brief gap in the horrendous autumn gales we've been having allowed me to launch the kayak for a few precious hours last week.  I was hoping that I'd be able to test the two colours of my Duo Tide Minnow Slim, but while they got a dip in the sea the conditions weren't really good enough to draw any conclusions.

The day was so dark and overcast, and water looked like some horrible form of drinking chocolate close in, that my first thought was to put on a big noisy plug and to use a very slow retrieve, much as you would when fishing at night.  On went a Megabass Zonk Gataride (Hi Pitch) in French Pearl and sure enough, 3 fish in 3 drifts.  The Zonk Gataride has always been a good catcher but it has notoriously weak diving vane.  That third fish just wouldn't open its mouth, so I lifted it by getting hold of the top of the plug using my hand instead my lip gripper.  You can guess what happened next, the fish gave a powerful wriggle and snap!  Off came the thin clear plastic diving vane of the Gataride in my hand.  Grrr!!  Another £20 of useless plastic - I really don't know how they can manufacture such a fragile plug with getting more customer complaints. 

Luckily, I had my new Tide Minnow Slim 120 in colour KO2, which is very similar in colour to Megabass's French Pearl.  Although I've seen bass shy away from this colour when the water is crystal clear earlier in the season, I love this colour when there is a slight milky tinge to the water and even more so at this time of year when the bass are turning more aggressive. 

Despite the difficult conditions, and the water looking more like pea soup than having a slight milky tinge, my third cast resulted in a nice little bass:
Some spirited resistance...
but finally led to the side nice and quiet.
I would like to be able to say that I went on to catch a kayak full of fish, but I didn't!  After the first few drifts with a fish on each drift, I swapped over to the darker model (J222) to see if it could have similar success.  Nothing.  It seemed I had lost the fish, as even going back to the pale Tide Minnow Slim K02 couldn't get me a take.

In fact that was pretty much it for the next 4 hours.  I paddled from place to place trying every imaginable plug but I couldn't locate another fish anywhere.  Then the wind picked up and it became unsafe to stay out on the kayak, so I headed home.

First impressions on Duo's Tide Minnow Slim 120
While it's hard to draw conclusions from a single outing, particularly given the poor fishing conditions at sea, what I can say is that these plugs cast like bullets and have a great action.  For example, although lighter than the Megabass Zonk by 8g, the Tide Minnow Slim easily out cast it on my short kayak rod of 6ft 6".  On a longer, more powerful rod the Zonk might do better, but on the shorter rods typical for kayaks with limited casting power, the Tide Minnow Slim 120 goes an incredible distance given its weight of 13g.  Of course, there are the longer, heavier versions if you need more distance (but distance is one thing the kayaks are good at!).
The action of the plug through the water is a head roll and slight "S" type wiggle.  Although this looks understated, it is certainly effective.  When I got hit by the bass, they really hit the plug hard and given it has 3 trebles you're nearly certain of a good hook up.  The plug ran about 50-70cm on a slow retrieve.

Now the colour test.  My original plan was to look at the fish catching performance of these two plugs with respect to their colours.  One dark, the other light.  However, appearances can be deceptive.  Although the plugs look dark and light from the side view, underneath (which is where many bass attack from), it's less certain what the bass will see, as version J222 is actually translucent when held up to the light:
Which is darker plug?
When held up to the light, we can see that in fact the pale plug has the darkest outline.  In clear sunny conditions, this might well be a factor for bass that come up from deeper water to attack the lure.  The low visibility of the sea on this particularly day meant I couldn't test it.

Hopefully over the next fortnight the weather and sea conditions will improve and allow me to do a proper comparison of the Tide Minnow Slim 120 with what I think is its nearest competitor; the very keenly priced Daiwa Saltiga Minnow, which is nearly identical in both size and shape to the TMS 120.

Until then, tight lines!


  1. Great report!

    13 gr does seem a little light for shore fishing but the weight doesn't always mean longer casts.

    Shame the weather didn't allow you to test to your liking, hopefully (for all of us) this will change and you can test to their full potential.

    One question. What did you think of the bib? For us coast spinners they've had bad results (breaking all too easily!

    Duo have bettered this problem with some lures but the colour of the bib you show in the pics seam to be the same as the old ones.

    Happy (and safe) Kayaking. Frank

  2. Hi Frank - yes, I choose the 120 because with the kayak I don't need to do long casts and it gives you the chance to fish with smaller lures. But honestly, they really do cast well for their weight.

    I'm surprised to hear about the bibs breaking - obviously if you're casting against rocks any bib will break after a time, but the bibs look fairly strong, certainly miles better than a Megabass Zonk Gataride!

  3. Hola KESTER,buen comentario,la verdad es que los duo tienen muy buena pinta,yo necesito mas peso para lanzarlos pero tu con ese peso te lo vas a pasar bomba,venga a probar colores...
    Un Abrazo.

  4. Thanks Juanrra - from the shore you might struggle with this weight to get enough distance. I think you have to compare the Duo TMS 120 with other lightweight plugs such as the IMA Imagine 130 which is around the same weight and which also casts a long way. Both these plugs will obviously outcast something like a Rapala X-Rap SXR10.


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