It was at a Lure Anglers' Society competition at Ardingly reservoir where I first saw Del Bennett working a jerkbait.
Using a jerkbait rod and a multiplier reel in perfect co-ordination, I was fascinated watching him practicing the technique. He was jerking the rod tip, in perfect rhythmic timing with the spinning handle of the reel, causing the monstrously large lure to come to life in the water's depths.
'Not for me!' I thought, being inclined to fishing with light tackle and almost finesse sized lures.
Time and time again, Del's jerkbaits produced fish when nothing else was catching. I was beginning to wonder whether my rejection of jerkbaiting was perhaps a tad too Luddite, even for an old duffer like me.
Eventually I was convinced. If I wanted to catch Pike, and nothing else was working, perhaps I could find room for some jerkbaits in my tackle bag, and one more lure rod wouldn't break my arm would it?
So which jerkbaits to choose?
Well, I like using surface lures. There's something just a little bit exciting about seeing a bow wave forming behind your retrieved lure, or to see it disappear in a whirlpool of swirling water, or to watch a Pike torpedoing skyward with your lure clasped firmly in its jaws.
Even those frequent misses leave you with a thumping heart, as the surface water swirls, and a ripple spreads out, rocking the water lilies, and with your lure still trembling at its centre.
There's something special about working a surface lure, watching and controlling its every action, every moment filled with anticipation of a sudden explosion at the waters surface.
My choice of jerkbait wasn't in question, it had to be one of Del Bennett's hand made 6 inch Top Dawgs at a price of 9 pounds - in black. My only individual specification being a maximum of two hooks, as small as practical for the lure size.
I'd seen Del working these lures, 'walking the dog' style. Each jerk of the rod causing the lure to suddenly change direction so that it glides over the surface in a succession of S bends, seductively sinuous, irresistible to any nearby Pike.
If you fancy one of these lures, or the many other hand made, hand balanced, lures, which Del has designed, write to:
Del Bennett of Kingfisher lures at 43 Kingfisher Close, Thamesmead, London SE28 8ES.
Telephone 0181 310 0238.
1st May, 1999