In my cynical moments I feel that some manufacturers aren’t so much creating lures as throwing coloured lumps of plastic at us. Fish-shaped lumps that look and behave much like the fish-shaped lumps of plastic I already have.
I’m not saying they don’t catch fish; they do. I’m just saying that I already have stacks of nearly identical lures and constantly find myself buying more nearly identical lures.
Then I decide I’ll completely stop buying lures unless I’m in a tackle store for something else and they have a new crankbait. Oh wait, that’s every time.
But what I really wanted was something different. Something the fish hadn’t seen before. I wanted to have The Edge. I’m not exactly sure what The Edge is, but it’s mentioned in a lot of tackle articles so it’s clearly something worth having.
The 2Deadly, by virtue of its completely unique design, grabbed my attention. I had heard great things about it – it’s designed by Lance Butler, it’s dynamite on barra, great build quality etc. etc. – but I still had reservations.
Why? Because it’s a hybrid. I am wary of tools that boast about performing a million functions. Case in point is the Scheizer Slicer, a glorified cheese grater that’s meant to replace every knife in your kitchen. After watching the advertising you’re convinced it can slice everything from a marshmallow to an armoured car.
My sister gave me a Slicer she didn’t want (I didn’t stop to think why). I was thrilled. I pushed my old knives aside in disgust, reverently took the Scheizer Slicer out of its box and tried chopping a small potato with it. The thin blades made a few pathetic grooves, and that was it. You’d think I had asked it to slice through the Sydney Opera House rather than a small root vegetable. I put the Slicer back in its box and gave it to a friend (not a very good friend).
So, as my point proves, hybrids are bad at everything.
“But hybrid cars are getting good performance now,” I hear you say. OK, fine.
“And those Renovator-style multi-purpose tools can be really good.”
Shut up. Let’s get back on track and look at the background of the awesome 2Deadly and its designer.
Lance’s knowledge of lure making is encyclopaedic, his fishing experience is vast and his judgment of fish behaviour is shrewd. He also holds this title of being the most popular guide in North Queensland. When you’re at the ramp with him you get star-struck anglers waving and yelling stuff like, “Lance! 2Deadly! 2Deadly! Yeah!”
Lance always smiles and waves back, although he confesses to feeling a bit embarrassed by it all.
The fact that he is so genuinely likeable and modest means you pretty much want to buy his lures whether they’re any good or not. I’m sure many of his clients feel that way – there are loads of photos of them on the ‘net using his creations – but fortunately his lures are damn good.
And this guy loves lure making. His eyes light up whenever he talks about it. He got his affinity for wood working as a young bloke during his 4-year carpentry apprenticeship, but he decided he didn’t want to be a chippy. Instead, he did what most of us would do given half a chance: he gave it away to became a Top End fishing guide.
For many years he guided in top NT locations, including Alex Julius’ famed Barra Lodge, but he eventually decided to move back to his home near Townsville.
The lure making side of his business had its roots back when he handcrafted timber lures with his dad as a hobby. Lance’s fishing clients then wanted some to take home, so he made extras for them. Word spread of these great barra lures, reaching the ears of the people behind the Killalure brand. In 2010 John Millyard (from Basser Millyard, now J.M. Gillies) approached Lance to design some Killalures, and the rest is history.
“I get a real kick out of imagining a lure design, building it and then catching a fish on it,” Lance said. “And it’s amazing to see my timber lure designs transformed into injected moulded form. I see them come back from the factory in all these great colours and finishes and I’m like a kid in a lolly shop!”
The 2Deadly has a traditional baitfish profile but that’s where tradition ends – because Lance has designed it to be fished as both a popper and as a shallow diver. So why would you want this hybrid when you could just use a popper or a minnow? Simple – so you can take advantage of 2 fish-attracting features in 1 lure: the noise of a popper with the visual flash and vibrations of a minnow.
“When I was a guide up in the Territory, I thought, ‘Why doesn’t anyone make a popper that can both pop and swim?’” Lance recalled. “I sat down and started designing. I started out making face of the lure concave but it just didn’t make the ‘barra boof’ noise I wanted.
“Then I was walking by the river one day and glanced at my bamboo walking pole, and I noticed it had a blunt face. I pushed it into the water and it went ‘bloop’! It was the exact noise I was looking for! I went back to the house and started carving a version with a flat face. The 2Deadly was born. I had the sound I wanted combined with a great wide roll like a traditional shallow diver.”
The finished product from the Killalure factory is ready to fish straight out of the box, fitted with VMC 3X-strong Permasteel trebles for strength and saltwater durability. There are 3 models, all of which dive to 6ft: 60mm (6.5g), 80mm (13g) and 120mm (21g). Available colours are blue/silver flash, gold/black, bananafish, chartreuse/silver flash, guns n roses, gold mullet dazzler, tiger lily, Olivia and raw prawn.
This tough lure has taken on GTs, mackerel and XOS barra and won. Other species on its scorecard include queenfish, tuna, jacks, coral trout, kingfish, tailor, threadfin salmon, cod and flathead.
Plenty of these fish have been caught on the troll; the 2Deadly works particularly well when you’re trolling at a depth of around 4-5ft, especially along the edge of weed beds in a dam, or shallow flats where you have water draining off the mud flat.
If you’re casting and retrieving, here’s what to do: cast in tight to structure and let the lure sit there for a bit. Then make a sharp motion with your wrist, wind the slack up slowly and make another sharp motion with your wrist to make it bloop. It sounds remarkably like a barra boof (Lance calls it ‘ringing the dinner bell’).
“So you’ve rung the dinner bell, like you would with any popper,” Lance said. “But sometimes the fish don’t want to get out of their comfort zone. They’ve seen the lure on top, you’ve made the noise, now you want to get the lure down in their face. Just wind it down slowly and start flicking the rod tip, constantly taking the slack up between flicks.”
This simple technique has helped Lance and his clients catch a multitude of big tropical species. He and I had a great day casting the flats around Hinchinbrook, and I decided that the 2Deadly was definitely one hybrid I had to own. One of the additional things I liked about it was that after it’s popped it goes straight back to its original position, rather than creeping further away from structure with each pop. You can also walk the dog with the 2Deadly, if that’s what the fish are after on the day.
Some ‘barra’ lures look to have been designed by someone who has never seen a barra. Or worse, they have actually been designed by a barra, whose goal is for the hardware to fail and the fish to go free.
Lance’s lures, by contrast, are designed with all his barra expertise behind him, teamed with the Killalure guys who share his commitment to quality.
And from this, he’s delivered a great lure.Reads: 1521