Rabbit Trout Lure Colours
The Rabbit lure is one of the most versatile of all trout streamer flies
You have probably realized by now that I am a big fan of the Rabbit Lure. If I had to choose just one lure to take with me when trout or salmon fishing in would have to be the Yellow Rabbit Lure or streamer fly. This is the most deadly lure I know. For daylight fishing for sea-run trout at river mouths, there is nothing better.
It works so well for several reasons. Firstly yellow is an easy colour for fish to see; particularly if there is a little colour in the water from rain or snow-melt. Secondly, when the rabbit pelt strip gets wet it absorbs water and takes on a life of its own when pulled through the water. It wriggles and pulses with every draw of your line. Thirdly I like rabbit lures because they are one of the simplest and quickest to tie.
Video: How to tie a Yellow Rabbit Trout Lure. Easy to follow video guide as Allan Burgess shows you how to tie a Yellow Rabbit Trout Lure. This is a top Canterbury sea-run trout fishing lure or streamer fly.
Though yellow is the best overall colour to use many other colours seem to work well also. A Black Rabbit makes an excellent night fly. I have used this colour a great deal with considerable success in the Waimakariri River. We fish with a Yellow Rabbit during the day and early evening switching over to a black version just as the last of the sun’s rays disappear behind the Southern Alps.
I have also been successful harling rabbit lures on the Canterbury high country lakes. Red works well during the change of light period morning and evening. Again try a Yellow Rabbit for harling during the day and a red or black lure in the late evening and after dark.
I have seen rabbit lures sold in the shops in a huge variety of colours: pink, green, silver, fluorescent lime, and so on. Indeed many tackle stores nowadays have such a bewildering array of trout fly variations that it often takes a few seconds to get to grips with just what you are looking at. Tackle shops stock lures labeled as Pink Taupo Tigers and Chartreuse Sparkle Rabbit Lures and the like! Frequently these lures bare little resemblance to the original pattern. This often confusing situation largely results from competing for commercial interests trying to differentiate their products in the market. They want to avoid selling the exact same flies as other shops.
Often the only difference between trout patterns is the colour of the hackles used to tie them. For example, a Yellow Rabbit and Parsons’ Glory look very much alike at first glance.
Experience has shown me that a trout will take just about anything if it is about the right size and colour. Most important of all is the way the lure is worked through the water. It has to show movement that suggests life! After a trout lure has caught a few fish it will look so chewed up you can no longer tell which pattern it is meant to be. Most of the materials used to tie it will have been lost. Such a lure will go on taking fish even after there is little more than the hook remaining!
Many of the lures sold in tackle stores are over-dressed anyway. Too much material has been used tying them. This, of course, is because a lure must first appeal to fisherman before it can appeal to fish. If you tie your own lures they can cost less than 30 cents each – or little more than the cost of the bare hook! This is about ten percent of the cost of shop bought lures.
Without being too extreme another good colour for trolling and harling is the Olive Rabbit. This is a great harling fly fished near the bottom over weed beds. It looks very much like an adult Inanga, or whitebait. The gold body catches the light in tea coloured South Island West Coast lakes and rivers making the lure appear incredibly life-like. You can also tie this lure with a yellow Estaz body for extra sparkle or try a yellow body and add extra Krystal Flash either in pearl or yellow. This lure is fairly close in appearance to an Olive and Gold Zonker.
The best way to fish a rabbit lure for sea-run trout is by casting upstream and allowing it to sink as it swings around. Then begin a short jerky retrieve to simulate a small smelt fish swimming upstream. Often a brown trout will follow your lure all the way to the rod tip either pull away at the last second or take the lure at the very last moment. I have even had trout take the lure as I have lifted it from the water. Great fun and very exciting.
When lure fishing with spinning gear or a Canterbury Lure Rod I always fish a pair of lures. This gives the opportunity to try two different patterns at the same time to see which get more strikes! Many anglers will fish with one dark and one light coloured lure. Perhaps a Yellow Rabbit trout lure at the front and a Black Rabbit trailing it. See the two hooks sea-run trout rig.
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