Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it is the newest addition to the Catch Fishing ‘Livies’ stable of TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) wriggling goodies.
Look for this packaging in your local tackle store
Without doubt, soft bait and artificial lure fishing is just going from strength to strength, with pretty much most NZ species jumping on this stuff like they have never eaten before.
Big snapper in particular, are real suckers for this artificial bait scenario, and the beauty is that they are almost always hooked in the mouth, making for easy release.
The more you use these soft-style lures, the more blasé you become about landing big snapper, and there is a real pleasure in seeing monster fish swim off strongly as you keep the usual quantity of pan sized specimens for the table.
Catch Water Wings added to a Kabura skirt for more mmmmmm!
So what is a Water Wings?
Essentially, these are not lures in their own right, but are more an added extra to put on existing patterns.
Think of it as a ‘Do you want fries with that?’ for fish.
The Water Wings are designed to add a great mass of wiggling, wafting, vibrating tentacle physicality to lures such as soft baits, kaburas, jigs, and any other terminal tackle application that takes your imagination.
We had a day out recently testing the product on board Wave Dancer Charters, and managed to score a few nice snapper, and a couple of legal kingfish.
Another pannie that liked a big, colourful, Water Wing meal
Snapper seemed to go for a slow movement, and the kings couldn’t resist a faster retrieve.
Water Wings in action
Catch’s product developers claim the theory behind the lure-pimping strap-on is to imitate tentacles, which they believe fish are hardwired to want to eat.
It’s a fair assumption there are not many relaxed squid or cuttlefish about when fish are hungry, and many lures, including a few of Catch’s own, such as Squidwings, and Freestyle Kaburas, already imitate this class of prey.
Kingfish on light gear that took a fast moving soft bait/Water Wings cxombo
Thermo blasting your tackle
Water Wings are made of a very stretchy, and pretty tough, elastic material known as TPE (thermoplastic elastomer). The very same material their 'Livies' soft bait bodies are constructed from.
This material moves incredibly freely in the water, and resists being bitten off well.
It does also have a very buoyant property, which helps it appear alive once attached to a weighted lure and moved around in the current.
Underwater wiggles. You can see the added lure mass could have appeal to fish
It’s not biodegradable, so don’t cast away your used bits, as they will not only remain viable for a long time, but will float.
On that note is perhaps our concern for the ocean's wellbeing kicking in, although using artificial baits does present an argument that the main ecosystem food sources such as squid and pilchards are not being harvested for frozen bait sales.
We would love to see a reduction in the amount of plastic used in the packaging of this type of product, as there is a fair wad going into housing just two little wings. Perhaps something Catch will look at going forwards.
We’ll soon be releasing a video where you can see the action of the Water Wings underwater for yourself. They can be worked tantalisingly slow, or jerked fast, and certainly look like they are hard to miss.
Caveats when using this product
Things we found to watch out for are mostly issues around the Water Wings staying where they are supposed to on the lure, and not slipping down or tangling in hooks.
The small centre hole actually stretches right out and will allow slippage of the wings, so they may end up where they are not welcome.
It’s all about how you rig them up, and you might want to experiment a bit.
There’s no issue adding them between a soft bait and a jig head where they act like oversized pectoral fins, but watch out when using them on Kaburas, as they can slip right down over the original bodies and gum up the small hooks.
Using a split ring to anchor the Water Wings to the right spot
Catch have been using split rings to secure the Water Wings to an anchor point with success. Perhaps a small zip tie could also do the job?
If you like using the Shimano, Daiwa, or Ocean Angler sliders, there is a solid ring where the assist hooks attach, that Waterwings can be fastened to, which might be a better option than replacing original lure bodies in some cases.
Also watch out when storing TPE products with other rubbers. They do not play well together, and you can end up with a tackle box full of glowing snot next trip out!
Kingfish landed on light gear and Water Wings enhanced soft bait
If you feel like taking advantage of this new invention, now is a good time. Fish metabolism slows in winter and they love a big, wobbly meal that is not moving too quickly.
Water Wings are available at most places that sell Catch products such as Marine Deals, Hunting and Fishing, and Smart Marine etc.
They are available in a range of colours, all treated with UV, and come in packs of two. We would love to know how you get on so feel free to send in any photos via email or our Facebook page!