There’s no accounting for tastes – especially as far as sea fish are concerned. You can understand how a trout might fall for an exquisite Mallard and Claret, Yellow Humpy or aptly named Irresistible. In fact, it’s difficult to see how a discerning trout could resist these delicate artificial flies which imitate insect prey with such finesse. But by comparison it’s hard to imagine the fishy appeal of the boldly coloured, flaccid, faintly comical lures known as muppets. Vaguely squidish in appearance, they don’t mimic directly any particular baitfish. However, their effectiveness as sea fishing lures is undoubted – guaranteeing the zany muppet a place somewhere in every sea angler’s tackle box.
Muppet on a string
Plastic muppets come in several colours and in three sizes – small, medium and large. They are a must as an extra lure and are used in many combinations for shallow and deep-water fishing.
Pollack, coalfish and cod are rather partial to muppets, and bass, mackerel, ling, pout and many other fish go for them if used with sea baits or pirks.
Small muppets are used when boat fishing for pollack, coalfish and bass. They are successful fished in a three-hook combination on 50 lb line, with a lead weight or pirk attached at the bottom. The best hook sizes for these rigs are between 2/0 and 4/0. A good colour for the muppets is fluorescent light green when you’re after pollack, and dark red, blue or black for bass and coalfish.
Medium and large muppets are ideal for pollack and cod if you drape them over a large treble 8/0 or 10/0 hook fixed to a large pirk. Red and pink lures on a pirk account for many cod and pollack catches from wrecks or rocky ground. In deeper water, where there is not much light, the colour of the muppet is not as important as the action and shape of the lure as you jig it up and down to attract fish.
When used at anchor, muppets left to flutter in the tide take a number of species. The best method is to team them with mackerel, lug, rag or even squid baits on a French boom which is fixed on about lm above a leger rig. The trace line can vary from l-1.8m depending on the strength of the tide – use longer traces when the tide is strong. This technique is doubly effective because the muppets continue to attract fish even if the baits have been pinched off the hooks. Pollack, bass, bream, pout and whiting all fall to this particular method.
When fishing three muppets on a three-hook dropper rig, try different colours and find out which one is most effective on the day. Once you know, you can put down all three of the same colour and improve your catch rate. It is handy to make up at least two or three rigs of each colour beforehand, ready for use when needed.
Fit the large muppets to your pirks on the day. To do this make a cut in the top of the muppet’s head and push through the treble so the eye protrudes and the hook is covered by the muppet skirt. You can then attach the eye to a split ring on a pirk.
Keep your large muppets in good condition by packing them away in separate compartments or plastic bags in your tackle box until you need them.