The search for perfection – minnows and plugs (Part 2)
  |  First Published: May 2007

Last issue I reviewed shallow runners, bibless lures and prawn imitations. Now let’s get onto the deep divers and mackerel lures.

Getting down to it

Aussie lure makers have a proud heritage when it comes to producing deep-diving plugs which can get down and scour the bottom layers of our inland waterways and this is clearly displayed by the creativity involved in some of the latest lures to hit the market. For example, Anthony Curtis from Australian Crafted Lures has recently pushed the deep-diving envelope about as far as it can go for small lures with the released the 50mm Slim Invader. The Slim Invader is capable of getting down to around 10m; a small profile, two-inch lure plugging away 30ft down is sure to fool a lot of golden perch and schooling bass in our impoundments.

Viking Lures produce a range of horizontally keeled divers with pretty good depth credentials. While their deepest runner doesn’t quite get down as far as the AC, their unique profile gives the Talisman an action that is all its own. Viking are also making a move into saltwater models with metallic finishes which will really give those flathead something to think about.

Mac’s Lures cater to dedicated native chasers with the largest of their Mauler range going deeper than 7m. Again, the Maulers have a unique profile and action, which seems to hit a real note with impoundment bass and the test samples were exceptionally popular in Cania Dam. Solidly finished and sturdily built, Mac’s Lures have recently changed hands and with new owners, different models and colours are sure to be in the pipeline.

Another well-known lure brand to have changed hands in relatively recent times is McGraths Lures. These balsa-bodied beauties from the NSW/Victoria border region are one of the original Aussie freshwater lures, however their profile seems to have slipped over the years. New owners Graham and Maxine Tait are very much focused on producing top quality lures and with Graham’s engineering background we should see these brilliant minnows regain their former glory in the very near future.

While dedicated cod lures will be covered in the final article of this series, it would be remiss of me not to mention the small Codgers from Goulburn Lures. The 55mm Codgers have a yabby or crayfish type profile, which makes them appealing to golden perch and other smaller native species when working the 5m range which is so typical of native fish waters in the southern half of the continent. The classic Codger sway of the larger lures is still evident in these smaller lures and they are understandably popular with native fish anglers who enjoy seeking out their quarry with intelligent cast and retrieve techniques.

Then there is Halco’s 50mm Poltergeist: another small, ultra deep diver with an 8m crash dive capability. Or you could try Steve Jolly’s Grave Diggers, which are classic plug-shaped divers only 60mm long, yet they also get down around 5-6m. With such a range of quality small lures descending to ever increasing depths, there are fewer and fewer species which remain out of reach.

Mini mackerel mayhem

Chasing the lesser mackerel species (such as schoolies and spotties) with small to medium sized minnows is one of the most underused techniques. Towing lures normally found in freshwater anglers’ tackleboxes around our local river mouth can produce some of the most consistent fishing available.

A typical example of this is the No.3 StumpJumper with the shallow running bib. In metallic colours the little macks just love them. Another really successful small mackerel special is the Bo-Bo Lures Spitfire. Spitfires are marketed as the perfect baitfish imitation and that clearly is very close to the truth. I rate lures in this category on their ability to find success in heavily fished waters and the Spitfire excels at this task. Spitfires can hang in at surprisingly high troll speeds and if the mackerel are around, they usually eat them up. If you chase macks, you need to try a Spitfire.

Another small lure that excels in this role is the Wasp, from Bandit Lures. Wasps are tiny but if you are prepared to tweak them a little, they will run at close to 5m on a fast walking paced troll and school mackerel and tuna will eat them like lollies. Reidy’s Little Lucifers (export version) are another special for this sort of work and they do a great job of imitating the schools of herring which mackerel love to hunt.

Next month, I’ll look at serious lures for big cod, impoundment barra and pelagics. Catch you then!

Fact Box 1

Lures for this two-part article were supplied by:

Australian Crafted Lures0408 688 805
Bandit Lures(03) 9646 4745
Bo Bo Lures0414 065 310
Goulburn Lures0407 544 965
Halco Tackle Company(08) 9430 5080
Huey’s Lures0417 169 652
Joll’s Bounty Hunter Lures(02) 6655 2269
Mac’s Lures(07) 5465 2891
Primal Fishing(07) 4125 6544
Tropic Angler Lures1800 467 628
Viking Lures0414 551 572


Cania BassTesting the deep diving minnows in Cania Dam produced plenty of bass like this chunky fish.

Deep Divers

A selection of deep-diving lures (clockwise, from top left): AC 50mm Slim Invader, Mac’s Mauler, 60mm Viking Talisman, Goulburn Lures 55mm Codger, Bounty Hunter Grave Digger and50mm Halco Poltergeist.
Mini Mackerel temptersA trio of hot school mackerel and tuna tempters. Top to bottom: Bandit Wasp, Reidy’s Little Lucifer (export version) and the brilliant Bo-Bo Lures Spitfire.
Spitfire schoolieA school mackerel with a taste for Spitfires.
Spitfire spottyThe lesser mackerel species love Spitfires.
McGrath BassMcGraths have always been great native fish lures and with new owners, they look set to be back to their best.
McGrath Bass 1This nice Cania bass really wanted to make a meal of this McGrath minnow.
Viking Moses PerchThis little Moses perch found the new saltwater Vikings attractive before something much bigger and meaner claimed the lure for keeps.
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