Trigger Reaction – Trout fishing with Balista lures

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Trigger Reaction – Trout fishing with Balista lures

Whist we’re all accustomed to using smaller large brown trout balista lurespresentations for Trout such as winged lures and tiny minnows in many scenarios it makes a lot of sense to use a larger presentation. You might be wondering if I am referring to the old saying upgrade the size of the presentation and you’ll upgrade the size of the fish, but sacrifice the numbers of fish caught

. Whilst this point can be very true in that a larger presentation will entice larger fish with regards to Trout, however it does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice the numbers.

Risk vs. Reward

steve williamson trout fishing balistaTrout are known for been extremely intelligent fish, that is not new information. Trout are like little mathematicians, whilst they are patiently waiting for their next meal to come along they can make a decision in a heart-beat on whether the amount of sustenance that will be gained from obtaining the meal, is greater than the energy exerted. There is a risk factor tied into this decision, what are the chances of actually securing this meal? And is there a chance that this potential meal could actually escape and hence waste the exerted energy? This is where the mathematics behind risk vs. reward takes place:
The reward – the reward is the potential meal on offer, the bigger the meal, the bigger the reward. And the bigger the reward is, the greater the amount of risk that can be taken in acquiring it. The risk – this is the exciting part; this is where the meal offering aka lure presentation comes into play. Presentation is king, produce the perfect presentation and you reduce the perceived risk required to obtain this meal, and hence make the decision a straightforward one. What is the perfect presentation? Lets strip the perfect presentation back for a moment, I’m imagining a Trout sitting in the stream and a potential meal comes past, it’s a nice big juicy 75mm brown trout, perfect eating size for an average stream size Trout of 400grams.

What attributes of this small fish are going to be appealing as a potential meal? Is faster going to be better, or slower? Is a steady retrieve more natural, or more erratic. A slow presentation is key; most importantly a slow retrieve reduces the perceived risk of this meal fleeing. A slow retrieve says the baitfish has yet to spot the predator and is at its most vulnerable. You can add additional action to the lure by twitching and pausing (if the lure has a neutral or slow buoyancy), subtlety is the key. Use soft twitches and long pauses, 2-3 seconds will suffice. If you twitch a lure too violently it is quite unnatural and 1. Can scare the fish and 2. It increases the perceived risk of this potential baitfish escaping.

When bigger is better

There are many scenarios when a larger presentation is better, and vice versa with a smaller presentation. When is bigger better?


Its important to look at the body of water you areriver trout balista trigger fishing, if you are fishing a tiny stream than the size of predators are usually going to be smaller (not always) and the fish they will be feeding on will be smaller, and hence a larger presentation would not be natural. Then on the other hand if you are fishing larger streams where the potential Trout you will be targeting are say 500 grams or larger than lures of 70-80mm will be a dream sized reward. Lets use the Goulburn river as an example, if lure fishing you’re most likely throwing around a 40-50mm minnow, a spinner or plastic, and there certainly is no debating the effectiveness of these presentations. Personally when I fish I want quality, use a slightly larger presentation and you will consistently catch less smaller fish and more larger fish, with emphasis been on more larger fish.


Impoundments are the home of larger presentations and lure size can easily be upgraded to 100mm, but lets not get too crazy 70-80mm is a great size to tempt the larger fish without been so big that it could be a predator to the smaller fish! With stockings over the last decade there is a vast range of high quality Trout lakes on offer including my personal favorite – Lake Eildon, as well as Lake Purrumbete, Eucumbene, Jindabyne and that’s just to name a few. Trout of a kilo are a commonality in these waters and much larger specimens are far from rare.

Trigger Reaction

balista trigger troutThe Balista Trigger is an Australian inspired Trout lure with two points of difference – 1. The unique LED technology. 2. A larger profile which is an ideal size for chasing quality Trout. New research has found that a flashing red LED unleashes a rapid increase in fish reaction bites when LED technology is incorporated into a fishing lure. A lure containing a flashing red LED is perceived as a bleeding baitfish which is seen as an ‘easy meal’ and is a real weakness for predatory fish like Trout.

What is most unknown about the technology is when to use it, is it better at night, or during the day? Whilst the LED is least visible during the day, it doesn’t mean that the light is rendered completely useless. The most optimum time to utilize the LED is in times of low light, which can be 1. Overcast conditions. 2. Daw nd dusk. 3. After dark. 4. Murky water, and most importantly – 5. At depth.
When you can get an LED lure diving down deeper than 3 meters the visibility of the LED substantially increases. A majority of the Balista lures naturally dive greater than 3 meters, however in the case of the Trigger this model dives to 1.5 meters. This means this lure requires assistance to get down past the 3 meter mark which can be done using leadline, a downrigger, or alternatively you can use a more simple rig to get down deep called a DIY down rig.

Trout are commonly found at depth and though you can still pick up plenty of fish on the surface its well worth having the means of getting deeper if required. If you can use one of the methods mentioned above to get down deep you will really notice the impact the LED in the Trigger has on your catch rates.
If for example you’re using a down rigger and your running 2 lures at 12 meters, you have a regular hardbodied lure and you have a Trigger that is intermittently flashing a bright red light, which lure do you think the Trout is going to notice first? Use this technology to your advantage by combining the subtlety larger profile of the Trigger with ‘blood red’ light and you can significantly increase the quality of your Trout catches.


Next time you’re heading out chasing Trout try a larger lure, your comfort zone could be marginally stretched but you’ll pleasantly surprised to find that a larger presentation can significantly increase the size of Trout caught, and if you’re still worried about sacrificing numbers run a winged lure in tandem and bob is your cousins father.

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