Practical tackle


No one can ever really know what makes any pike take a lure at any particular time. There are loads of reasons. In fact, it is highly unlikely that a pike knows why it takes a lure. Because it can't reason it relies entirely on its instincts to survive. The most concise summing up of this that I have come across can be summed up in the saying, "Pike don't think, they react." This is a paraphrasing of a comment in an American walleye fishing magazine which struck me as particularly apposite, and one which I think every pike angler should bear in mind at all times when lure fishing. Instinct has served the pike well enough for thousands of years. After all, until anglers came along, anything moving through, or on, the water was likely to be food for a pike. The pike's inherent instinct has not yet evolved to distinguish between live food and lumps of wood, plastic or metal. Certainly it has the ability to make this distinction through its senses, but as far as moving objects are concerned anything is fair game to a pike - until it has learned the hard way that lures are not food. How readily a pike can tell one lure from another is difficult to ascertain. A pike might hit one lure, for example, the angler failing to hook the fish. This lure might then be rejected on subsequent casts, but a change of lure might see the fish repeating its mistake. I have actually witnessed a pike turn and hit the same lure three times in three casts. Small pike seem more likely to repeatedly have a go at an individual lure than larger pike. This either indicates that big pike learn more quickly, or that they have already learned about artificials from past experiences.

If we accept that a pike can distinguish a lure from a real fish, and this is undoubtedly so, then why don't lures have to be precise imitations of natural food items? Although there are occasions when pike will hit static lures, it is normal that the lure is moving through the water, and it is certain that it is the way a lure moves that stirs a pike's interest. Quite what form this interest takes will be governed by a number of factors. Hunger, aggression (territorial or otherwise) and curiosity all play their part at times. Most people imagine that all pike that take lures are simply interested in feeding, but I do not think that this is the case. At times, and more often than you might think, I reckon pike strike at lures almost involuntarily. Reacting, not thinking.

How long it is since a pike last fed is probably going to have a bearing on how eagerly it will pursue or attack a lure. I think it is safe to assume that a pike with an empty belly is most likely to hit a lure, and one that is replete stands every chance of ignoring it. There will, of course, be intermediate points too, where the pike's willingness to take baits falls between these two extremes. No doubt it is pike in these stages of hunger that we are most often going to encounter. There will be times, though, when just about every pike in a water is switched 'on' and feeding with a vengeance. Unfortunately for the angler such days are rare!

Pike that are extremely inactive will take lures, but need provoking. We have all experienced how the smell of a favourite food cooking can make us feel hungry, even though we have eaten fairly recently. Or there are times when you have to pinch a crisp out of the packet a friend is eating. In neither case would you have thought of eating until a stimulus and an opportunity were put in front of you. In a similar way non-feeding pike can be caught on lures by putting a bait before a fish in such a way that its instincts overcome its physiological state.

Lure choice, and the way they are fished, are critical at such times. There has to be something about the bait and how it is worked that triggers the pike's instincts and makes it strike out in an involuntary way. Usually you will only get one chance at such pike. If they miss the lure, or you fail to set the hooks you've blown it. The technique required to provoke the strike might be to keep on casting your lure to a certain spot in the hope that simple annoyance causes the fish to hit the bait out of sheer aggravation. I have done this many times, and the take always comes when I am least expecting it. I tend to use this strategy in spots that I have caught pike from in the past, or which look like they should hold pike. It can be a very tedious operation, but on slow days it can be the tactic that works and is well worth trying with noisy baits in particular. There is always the possibility that a pike hasn't been in the vicinity at all, and that the take comes from a hunting fish that has just moved into the spot. Such are the imponderables of fishing. Nonetheless I am convinced that this tactic does induce takes from inactive fish. Fish in this state are extremely unlikely to follow lures.

In my opinion, pike that follow lures are in an intermediate feeding stage. Not hungry enough to hit a bait straight away, but interested enough to want to get a closer look. These fish can be extremely frustrating at times, and there is the possibility that they are just curious. I have witnessed perch, often large and in groups, trailing my pike baits on a number of waters. The lures have been larger than the perch on occasions so I doubt that hunger was the motive for their behaviour. Maybe it has been a territorial display, chasing intruders from their patch. Or possibly they have simply been inquisitive. Similar reasons could be explanations for pike following lures. It is better to assume that they are interested in eating your lure, though, as you might eventually be able to provoke a positive reaction if you persevere.

How big was the one that got away? This pike got very heavy indeed shortly after it was hooked, and the teeth marks near its tail tell the story why. But did the larger pike grab the small one out of hunger or some other instinct, and how big was it anyway?

I remember watching Canadian underwater video footage that showed two pike of similar size trailing a spoon. The pike were side by side and followed the lure for some distance until one finally engulfed it. Almost as soon as the bait had disappeared the second pike grabbed its companion across the middle. The pike was immediately ejected, and there is no doubt in my mind that the reason for the second pike's action was little to do with hunger. Some form of aggression centring around competition for food seems likely. Whatever the impulse, it illustrated that pike could be made to take lures for reasons other than pure hunger.

Many times I have read that it is possible to induce takes from following pike by a number of tricks'. The most common is to stop the lure and allow it to rise to the surface, or sink to the bottom depending on the lure. Then give it a twitch and the pike will nail it. All very well in theory, and it does work at times. Just as frequently it fails. The simple answer to following pike is that there isn't one! The momentarily paused retrieve is the easiest to use, and I prefer not to let the lure move too far above or below the pike before giving it the twitch. Only a foot or so at the maximum. There was an occasion, when fishing a clear water river, when I had a pike of about five pounds follow a small crankbait right to side of the boat. The lure was hanging stationary in the current wobbling slowly, subsurface, with just the trace and a few inches of line beyond the rod tip. The pike remained motionless about two feet behind the lure. For what seemed like an age nothing happened, then as I lowered the rod tip downstream and the bait went with the flow the pike simply opened its mouth and inhaled the bait. All this seemed to happen in slow motion - until the water erupted as the pike realised its mistake! It goes to show that anything is worth a try when faced with following fish.

No doubt you have read or heard about a tactic called the "figure-of-eight" which catches fish that tail lures to the rod tip. Having seen American fishing videos where this tactic is used to great, and exhilarating, effect I know it works for muskellunge. Unfortunately, Stateside opinion is that the figure-of-eight doesn't work for pike. My limited experience, and that of friends who have tried the technique, leads me to believe that this is indeed the case. We are not talking here of the waving around of a rod tip above the surface of the water that used to be thought of as figure-of-eighting, but the way it is done from a boat with almost the whole rod under the water. There is no way that this manoeuvre can be performed from most banks, or with rods much over seven feet in length. Quite why it appears to be of little use for pike while musky anglers reckon it gives them a high percentage of their takes (up to 40%) is hard to determine. Certainly muskies have the reputation for following lures far more frequently than pike. If this is because they are more wary, intelligent or have better eyesight, why do they fall for a crude operation like the figure-of-eight? Another mystery. I have had one smallish pike follow a Mepps Lusox around in a complete circle under the rod tip, snapping its jaws at the lure in a lazy, half-hearted, manner. But that's about as close as I've come so far. I shall keep on trying though.

When faced with a pike that follows, but refuses to take, a lure my response is to try another cast to the very same spot that produced the initial follow - even if the pike has moved off in a different direction. The chances are it is moving back to where it came from. Pike are long fish and have a large turning circle. On your second cast try altering the way you bring the lure back, twitch it, speed it up, slow it down. If nothing happens try another lure. Give the spot ten minutes or so, then rest it. Come back later and try again. I remember having a twenty pound fish follow three different lures, in three patterns, about eight times. Each time it would appear inches behind the bait, stopping when the lure was paused, moving forward when it was twitched. Strangely it ignored spinnerbaits and jerkbaits, but followed crankbaits. At no time did it appear to be spooked and slowly faded from view each time the lure was removed from the water. How do I know it was a twenty pounder? It was an easily recognisable fish, and it later transpired that it had been caught three or four days earlier, and was recaptured a couple of days later, too. Both times on natural baits. The incident with the lures must have fallen on a day when it was beginning to show an interest in feeding again after its first capture. Just my luck!

Not all pike follow lures as closely as that fish. I have had many instances of pike appearing in front of me after I have taken the bait from the water. These fish can be three feet or more behind a bait by my judgement, and while this has usually taken place in clear water conditions, it can also happen unnoticed in cloudier water. You never know for sure if there's a pike behind your lure or not. Try and develop the habit of switching your attention from the lure to a spot a few feet behind it when the bait is getting close. I don't pretend it is easy, but you will spot those late followers while the lure is still in the water, giving you a better chance of inducing a take in the last few feet of the retrieve. With followers very much in mind, it is worth random variations in retrieve every so often. Even when trolling lures, vary the speed a little or work the rod if holding it. Takes can be induced. On a large clear water lake who knows how far a pike might trail a lure for. When trolling you can quite easily give a change of direction to your lure which can induce takes, but this is less easy to achieve when casting.

In flowing water a lure cast across-stream will come back to you on an arc, and takes can come as soon as the bait starts to move directly across or up-stream. In still water you have to use the wind to put a belly in your line to achieve a similar effect, and a fairly light lure so as not to take up all the slack as soon as you start the retrieve. This tactic does work, but hooking the pike is not too easy because of the bow in the line.

Path of a lure across a flowing river showing likely places where a change in the lure's direction might provoke a strike.

Whether pike take lures because they are hungry or not, something about them must attract their attention. There are two main factors involved; sight and sound. Sight is easy for us to understand, but how a pike 'hears' a lure is another matter. Hearing is probably not quite the right word to describe how fish sense underwater vibrations, but is close enough to make a comparison with human senses intelligible. In clear water, vision is probably the sense used to make initial contact with a lure, while in murkier conditions, or low light, sound will be more important.

Even in low light, though, I consider the visual aspect to be crucial. So long as a lure is passing over a pike it will be visually aware of its presence, no matter how indistinctly, in the form of a silhouette. Some anglers have suggested that surface lures work well at dusk, and indeed in the dark, because they are noisy baits. I am not doubting that the noise or disturbance factor is important with surface lures, but surely the silhouette is just as critical at these times of day. I have caught some nice pike on shallow working minnows with wide actions in low light conditions, just before daylight has fully broken. Quiet baits with good silhouettes.

Lures will visually attract the attention of pike in ways other than their silhouette against the sky. Those with metallic finishes, spoons, spinners and plated plugs, give off bright flashes as they are fished. Flashing lights are more noticeable than those which are continuously shining. Therefore, it is probable that there will be times when flashy lures are going to work well, mostly when the sun is bright and their reflectiveness will be most marked, and maybe in clear water. At times, though, a lure might be too flashy and could possibly put pike off. It is commonly recommended that spoons be regularly polished to maintain their reflectiveness, and I endorse this view whole-heartedly. This is only a guideline though, for I have noticed times when that silver-plated spoons have been more effective than chrome-plated ones. If you compare the two side-by-side it is apparent that the chrome-plated ones are the shiniest.

The on/off facet of lure actions might also account for the successfulness of lures with contrastingly coloured sides and bellies. When a plug, for example, rolls from side to side its belly will alternately be exposed to fish on either side of its path - in effect flashing on and off. A light or bright colour is going to be most effective against a dark background, white, yellow or orange for example. In an extreme case, the main body colour of the lure might render it almost invisible to the pike against the prevailing background. In this instance all the pike will see is the flashing of the belly colour. If the pike is beneath the lure there could be a case for using a lure with a dark belly colour and lighter sides. This 'upside-down' type of pattern is not new, and has been proposed in the past to imitate a dying fish floating belly up. Perhaps the reason for its success is that it improves the silhouette of the lure and the flash of the side colours at the same time. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to hold a standard lure against the light in a way that a pike might view it from below, and roll it from side to side. Then turn it so that you are looking at its dark back and repeat the process. The dark belly/light sides combination seems more noticeable - to my eyes at any rate.

The importance of lure colour is extremely complex, and I have no hard and fast rules to lay down. I read a convincing argument by Tom Seward in In-Fisherman in favour of clear crankbaits. The idea being that these most naturally mimic the appearance of silver sided prey-fish. Clear lures containing foil, or prism, inserts were rated as the next best thing. While I have no experience of using clear lures I can confirm that clear-plus-insert baits are very effective indeed. There are times when pike appear to prefer certain lure colours, but it is difficult to be certain that this really is the case. It is quite possible that there are other factors at work. I can think of one session when Dave Scarff and I were both catching on Toby spoons, one on silver and the other zebra. If we switched patterns neither of us caught, but reverting to our original colours saw more pike in the boat. 

Determining why a particular pattern is successful is fraught with danger. Take a perch pattern, for instance. Is it the overall coloration of the lure, the presence of stripes, or the flash from the metallic scaling that makes it effective? Not all perch patterns are the same, and those without scaling seem to work just as well as those with scaling. Stripes appear on many lures, and not without reason. Quite why they work is another thing. I feel that it probably has something to do with breaking up the lure's appearance. In part it might make the lure seem more natural, concealing its hard profile in some way, or perhaps giving an illusion of a more fluid motion. Whatever the reason I am in favour of stripes, but also in favour of spots and blotches of a contrasting colour. So this may be the key - contrast.

Do pike think perch pattern lures are perch, or rainbow trout coloured baits are trout? Not likely! They take them because they can see them under the prevailing conditions governing visibility. It might be a nice theory to try and "match the hatch" with imitative patterns, but I think that there is some reason to assume that it is not a lure's colour that is critical to the pike, rather it is its tone. It might make little difference if a lure is yellow or white at times, so long as it is not black. Don't forget that suspended matter in the water could easily distort a lure's colour in any case. Tone is going to have as much bearing on the visibility of a lure as its colour, quite possibly even more. Maybe it is the fact that most perch patterns fall in the mid-tone range that makes them so successful, being visible in a wide range of light and water conditions. When it comes to choosing lure colours I like to cover three tonal bands, no matter what type of lure is in question. Dark, light and something in between. So for spinners and spoons these will be silver, brass and copper. Painted spoons mostly cover the mid-tone band as they are often coloured only on one side, frequently being brass on the concave face. A similar selection works for bodied lures with chrome, silver and white finishes being at the light end of the scale, and black and brown at the dark end. In the middle are most of the other patterns you see in the catalogues. 

So for most plug type baits I like to have a chrome, silver prism or other reflective patterned one, a perch pattern and the darkest finish I can find. Because there is a reluctance by lure dealers in the U.K. to stock black, or nearly black, lures you may have to paint these up yourself. As with lighter patterns, I like to add stripes to my all black lures, but this time in white. In addition to this three tone attack I will add a fourth lure almost invariably in Fire Tiger. It has to be said that some manufacturers Fire Tigers are too dark, being little more than a perch pattern in effect. The best Fire Tigers, to my eyes, are those that have a lot of fluo yellow in them. Some people are convinced that it is the orange of the belly that makes the pattern so successful, but I beg to differ. I catch a lot of pike on lures that are predominantly chartreuse or fluo yellow. Bagley's run a number of natural patterns (Baby Bass and Lil' Muskie are two that have scored for me) printed over chartreuse and these are really effective. What these lures all share is a highly visible yellow belly and sides. I love it, and the pike do too! I am not so sure an orange belly increases catches because it is orange. More likely it works because it provides a contrast to the sides of the lure. Orange also looks sort of natural to us, maybe a representation of fins on a roach or perch. That said, bright orange jerkbaits are good pike catchers, as are Day-Glo green ones - but these often come with chartreuse bellies!

The efficacy of hot colours is a relatively new phenomenon. That they work is not in question, and as with all patterns they have their days. Day-Glo colours have been used by fly tiers for many years, so why it has taken pike anglers so long to cotton on to these colours is a bit of a mystery. Part of the reason for their success is high visibility. At times they seem to glow, almost as if they have an aurora around them as they come through the water. You are certainly aware of them long before you would have noticed any but an all white lure. I heard recently that fluorescent colours remain visible, as colours, deeper in the water than do normal colours. By the depth that all other colours have become grey, fluos are still detectable as a particular colour. Apparently this has something to do with the way they reflect UV light. Only black and white remain discernable as long - this is because black absorbs all wavelengths of light, and white reflects them all. I had always thought that I could see Day-Glo painted lures deeper down than ordinary ones. Maybe it wasn't an illusion. It seems possible, to me at least, that this might explain why fluorescent colours work well in cloudy water. 

I am not disputing that certain colours may be attractive to certain species of fish. I am told that rainbow trout are suckers for flies with lime green in them. I have also heard it mentioned that pike like hot pink flies. When it comes to light and dark patterns these are often pastiches of naturalistic colour schemes, or completely abstract creations. The famous Fire Tiger is, as already mentioned, essentially a perch pattern in fluorescent colours - green back, dark stripes on yellow flanks and an orange belly that is an extension of a perch's fin colour. There is a variation on this pattern that I use to good effect which is even more simplified. My 'cartoon' perch has a fluorescent yellow body with black bands and a hot orange head. This is a high contrast, high visibility pattern which works on crankbaits and jerkbaits, and will quite probably be effective on spoons too, when I get round to trying it.

The key to lure colour choice is almost certainly picking the one that is going to be most visible to the pike. Under certain lighting conditions then, complete opposites may be equally easily seen. Against a grey background white and black might stand out very well, while green could merge in. Fluo colours will stand out well against most backgrounds, which could be a very simple explanation for their success. Something worth mentioning here is the addition of a Day-Glo, or white, stripe down the back, or on the head of very dark lures. This is not for the pike's benefit, but yours. In low light conditions this will help you pinpoint the position of your lure, helping you guide it around weedbeds for example. It can stop you winding the trace through your tip ring too!

Another success for the 'cartoon perch' pattern. This time it is a Swim Whizz that has done the business.

Let's now look at eyes. There has been quite a school of thought proposing that prominent eyes on a lure improve its performance as a pike catcher. This always seemed reasonable to me, and I have painted large eyes on some of my lures over the years. I have also fished with lures that have no eyes painted on them at all, and others where they are not visible to the pike (here I am thinking of surface lures in the main). These 'blind' lures also catch pike. Recent U.S. research has hinted that eyes on lures might be counter productive. The opinion is that predatory fish are most likely to attack prey that are distracted, i.e. not looking at the predator. An eye on an artificial might give the impression that it is aware of the pike. Supposition I admit.

No need for a net. This one jumped into the boat! The photo not only demonstrates that a nine inch lure is not too big for a ten pound pike, but also clearly shows that the lure had been grabbed crosswise at its mid point - the pike's preferred method of attack.

There is a strong possibility, though, that eyes are used not as precise targets for a striking pike, but as an indication of the prey's direction of movement, and a guide to where the mid-point of its body is. The mid-point of a fish's body being the best place for a pike to grab it to give minimum chance of escape. Watch a pike take hold of a fish, and unless it can engulf it, the pike usually goes for the middle with head and tail hanging outside its mouth. This is borne out by the way in which pike attack lures. Even when approaching from behind they will swing out to catch up with the lure and hit it from the side if they can. Only with fast moving baits have I found pike to regularly attack from behind. Not every time, but more often than not I would suggest. Of course they don't judge the line of attack right every time, which accounts for lures being missed, and some of the odd hookholds that occur now and then. I have also had lures taken, apparently, from the front. Being opportunist feeders pike won't refuse to take a food item just because it is moving in the wrong direction!

While lure colour is important quite what influence lure shape has I do not feel qualified to comment on in detail. To come up with theories on this subject makes nice reading. Pike that feed predominantly on bream should, by these arguments, prefer deep bodied lures over slimmer profiled baits. My thinking is somewhat different. I always aim to use a lure that will fish the area of water I am interested in covering most effectively. This approach ensures that my baits are where the fish are most of the time. If this means using a bait that doesn't "match the hatch" then so be it. Pike in any one water are not 'programmed' to feed on specific species, this is most likely a learned response. The inherent instinct is to feed on things that move. In any case, it is not always best to imitate a pike's food, differences will be all too obvious to the pike. Giving it something that it doesn't immediately recognise as food, but which has some attributes of its prey might be just enough to trigger the pike's curiosity enough to make it strike.

Similarly there has been much written about a pike's preferred meal size. Another pleasing theory that ignores the fact that no wild creature will pass up an easy meal. Pike don't think, they react. Remember? On the whole I would always go for lures that are larger rather than smaller, but not just because they offer a larger mouthful. Large lures score with pike of all sizes. The bigger a lure is, the more visible it is going to be. This much is obvious. It is also going to displace more water as it moves. As pike are designed to detect changes in water pressure, as we are to detect changes in air pressure (our sense of hearing), so it is likely that a large lure will be more readily detected than a small one. Displacing more water and therefore creating a 'louder' sound. This is more so if it is true, as I have read, that pike are 'tuned in' to low frequency vibrations. Apparently, small pike are keyed to high frequency sounds. Small food items will give out high frequency noise/vibrations, which is what small pike should be trying to eat. However, there is a rider to this in that even small pike have an inbuilt instinct to respond to low frequency sounds. The tuning to high frequency vibrations being lost as the pike grows. It is this that I believe supports my faith in the attractiveness of larger lures to pike of all sizes. The number of small pike that I catch on big lures lends further weight to my case, as they are not isolated examples. Plenty of fish under five pounds in weight regularly fall to lures in the six to nine inch size range. That I find these larger lures more effective at attracting bigger pike also leads me to consider that small (therefore high frequency) lures are less useful in this respect. This is, of course, a generalisation and I do not intend to dismiss small lures out of hand. I know of too many big pike - some extremely large - that have been caught on tiny baits. The reason for any particular small lure's success is most often the fact that it was the lure that passed in front of that individual pike. As is often the case, no matter what the lure may be. There is also a logical case for using smaller lures where small pike are what you expect to catch, for the simple reason that these are larger in comparison to the fish that is trying to eat them! I used to think that big lures would scare pike in confined spaces, narrow drains and so on. However, I no longer hold this view having caught plenty of pike on big lures from such waters. The biggest lure I have used to catch a canal pike on was an eight inch Swim Whizz, and seven inch minnows are probably my all-round top canal lure these days.

Quite what is meant by a 'big' lure is not self evident. Simply going by length is not a good guide. You can have two lures of identical length, but one will be much 'bigger' than the other. In simple terms small lures will be slim, and big ones fatter or deeper. As an example the seven inch original Rapala is a slim minnow bait while the Super Shad Rap is a five inch shad shaped lure that looks much larger. Similarly any seven inch minnow bait looks a lot bigger than a five inch version from the same manufacturer simply because they increase in depth as they do in length. Spinners manage to look bigger in action than they do hanging from the rod end. This is because they rotate and create the illusion that the lure is fatter than it really is. Many surface lures also make a disproportionately large silhouette with their wake. It is lures with a big 'presence' that you should be looking at using more often.

A recent incident pointed out clearly to me that pike do respond to noise. Or at least certain sounds. A fish of around six pounds had followed a spoon right in to the rod end, and hung there after I lifted the lure out of the water. I recast some eight feet behind the pike which immediately turned, and shot round to lie directly below where the spoon had landed. I know it was directly below the bait, because the spoon actually hit the pike on the way down! The braking distance of a pike is phenomenally short. One second this one was moving quickly, later the same moment it was motionless. While I didn't catch that fish, it made me wonder if pike that hit surface poppers, and so on, on the very first twitch of the lure have come some distance to investigate the sound of the splash. Rather than having had a lure land directly above them. What we might have thought to have been lucky casts that have "dropped lures on a pike's nose", could well have been way off the unseen target.

Talking of noise, there are many fans of rattling lures around. Their confidence is boosted by their belief that lures with in-built rattles are noisier and will more readily attract the attention of pike. However, research in America has shown that their bass wise-up to rattling baits far more quickly than they do to lures that don't rattle. Pike aren't bass, I know, but it is food for thought nonetheless. Returning to the frequency aspect, it seems probable to me that rattles will create high frequency vibrations, the rattles being small and hard as a rule. This should then make these lures more attractive to small pike. Larger rattles made of softer materials (hard-wood spheres for example) might make for better rattling baits than those containing the more usual ball bearings or shot.

On the whole, though, I am not a great fan of lures that rattle. I have been known to stifle my rattling lures, either by injecting hot epoxy to gum up the works, or by removing the shot altogether. Rattles have not proved themselves to have any noticeable effect for me. Lures that caught pike when they rattled have continued to do so after my de-rattling operations. It is far more important that the inbuilt action of a bait is good. Like a lot of things concerned with lure design, I feel that rattles are there as much to catch the angler, as they are to catch the fish - just like fancy paint finishes! I am not discounting the importance of noise in lure design, the frequency and violence of a crankbaits wiggle is extremely important, but whether it rattles or not is incidental. While I share the view that sound makes a difference in coloured water, I don't pick out rattling baits. Rather I go for ones that I can feel really thumping the rod top as I retrieve them. Things like large-bladed spinnerbaits and crankbaits that have a strong wiggling action. After all, bait-fish wriggle, but I have yet to come across one that rattles. Having said that, if rattles give you confidence - stick with them.