There’s no denying that the simple pleasure of going fishing is getting more and more expensive with each passing year.
Petrol, cars and fishing tackle keeps going up. Of course, there’s been a bit of a trade off, as some really good gear is more affordable than ever, at least in comparison with the average weekly wage. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that getting into fishing can be a costly exercise for new anglers.
Luckily, there are some ways to keep the costs of putting together a useful fishing kit within the reach of most people. But you still get what you pay for and in the long run it is worth spending a reasonable amount on long term purchases like rods and reels. However lures are a different kettle of fish.
There are some really good bits of gear, priced reasonably, that work well and will fool more than enough fish to keep you happy. Sure, they probably won’t last as long or put up with the sort of abuse that top quality gear does, but lures are meant to be disposable items. Anyway, if you can catch a few fish on one, then most anglers I know would consider its purchase price as money well spent.
On the other side of the coin, there are also some absolute shockers out there, which are a real waste of money. Lures with brittle plastic bodies, weak wire fittings and sub standard hardware. They are amongst the cheapest of the cheap and a close inspection will soon reveal their inadequacies.
So how do you tell the difference between the lemons and the bargains? Well experience is a good teacher and if you are unlucky enough to buy a dud and it lets you down, remember it and never buy that brand again. You can also check with your mates to see what lures they use and ask if they have come across any good value cheapies. Thirdly, you can read magazine articles and reviews like this one, which hopefully point you in the right direction.
When you have a lure collection like mine, which runs into the thousands, you usually find some real little beauties along the way. The following are all cheaper priced lures, which have found a way into my tackle boxes to support my front line of Aussie made lures. Most retail somewhere between the $4 and $7 mark, which is certainly at the bottom end of the price range these days.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that they should take the place of our locally made lures but they can be relied upon to do the job at a minimum of cost. They would all be worthwhile acquisitions for youngsters on a limited budget, or for anyone just getting into lure fishing. They are also great for throwing into those evil spots where chances are they won’t return.
Finally, I have no association with any of these companies and certainly won’t get any kickbacks for mentioning them. As I’ve stated earlier, I have found them to be good value and believe they are worth passing on to other anglers to help them save a few dollars and hopefully avoid buying cheap priced duds.
These low cost lures are great value for money and have caught quite a few fish for me over the years. There are plenty of models to choose from, but I mainly use their Salty Poppers and Zeros. As the name implies, Salty Poppers are surface lures, whilst the Zeros are bibless rattlers.
Salty poppers are a no-frills lure, which do a great job on estuary barra. They come in a couple of sizes and I have not had one let me down yet. The same can be said for the Zeros, which I normally use to jig right in the sticks. When you are fishing for barra with no stretch braid and locked up drags you soon get to know how strong a lure really is and the Zeros have been up to the task so far.
Other effective offerings from the Producers include a freshwater plug called the Double Downer and a big bibbed deep diver known as a Barra Mauler. The Double Downer bears a passing resemblance to the Storm Hot ‘n’ Tot and is a more than useful impoundment lure for bass and golden perch. Barra Maulers are more a saltwater option and the boys in Gove used to buy them by the truck full for mackerel trolling. With a high attrition rate in those shark infested waters, no wonder they needed a cheap, reliable supply of lures.
Producers fit their lures with VMC hooks, so they can be used straight from the packet in a lot of situations. Not bad for lures which I have seen as cheap as $4.50 on special.
Berkley Frenzy lures would have to be the cheapest, reliable lure of their type on the market. They often retail for less than $4 in Big W stores and for hard-bodied minnows, that’s incredibly cheap.
I mainly use the cup faced surface lure (similar in shape to a Rapala Skitter Pop) and the Frenzy Rattler. The popper works like you would expect it to and bass will belt them if you give them the chance. There are few better poppers in amongst mangrove roots and jack consistently strike these. The rattlers are also very good and I really love the almost clear green version, which has a finish that is very similar to some high priced Japanese rattlers.
Both these lures have caught me numerous bass without any problem and while I don’t often use them in the more violent world of saltwater fishing, I have several of each model tucked away in my tackle box for those times when I may need them.
Kokoda carry a whole range of lures, which vary in price from the extremely cheap to somewhere in the mid price bracket. Of their cheapies, the two I am most familiar with are the G-Vibe rattlers and the tiny Sprogs, however there is a shallow diving minnow named AVO and all barra anglers will recognise its heritage without much trouble.
The G-Vibes are a much cheaper alternative to the very high-end rattlers coming out of Japan. The finish is not quite the same and either is the weight, but otherwise they can be used for the same purposes. They work in much the same way too and I have already caught a number of bass by casting them around the edges of the weedbeds in our local dam. Whether you would use them in preference to a $30 lure during the pressure of a bass tournament is another matter, but when fishing socially, they are a much more affordable option.
The Sprog looks ideal for bream fishing and again, it’s not hard to recognise its bloodlines. If you enjoy fishing hard-bodied lures for bream this one is well worth a look, particularly when big sports stores like Amart often offer Kokoda lures at two for $10. Even at their regular price of just less than $7, they are well finished and carry reasonable hardware.
I have only just started to play with Gladiator minnows but the results are encouraging so far. I have a great little shallow diving plug, which is well finished and is well worth using on bass, bream and flathead. It’s called a fighting minnow and it carries blood red chemically sharpened trebles and hasn’t let me down so far. On the lightweight freshwater and estuary tackle it normally gets used on. It should have no trouble anyway. Retail is somewhere around the $7 mark but I picked mine up on special for $4.50.
Shakespeare bring in some great bits and pieces but the real standout is the Original Little S. Golden perch have an absolutely fatal attraction for this innocuous little lure. Along the NSW/Victorian border where small redfin are a staple part of native fish diets, it’s a real secret weapon. They’re usually sold for around $5 in most tackle stores that I’ve visited.
As you can see, there are some great, cheap lure options out there and provided you know which ones to pick, they will serve you well. I’m not saying that they can replace your proven favourites, but they can be a great addition to you tackle box. They can also give new anglers the chance to get a few extra lures in their arsenal, without having to get a second mortgage. They may be cheap, but they certainly aren’t nasty.
|Salty Poppers||bass and barra|
|Double Downer||golden perch, cod, bass|
|Barra Mauler||mackerel, barra|
|Frenzy Rattler||bass, golden perch|
Fighting Minnow (62mm)flathead
Original Little Sgolden perch
Top to bottom they are: Producers Barra Mauler (small), Gladiator Fighting Minnow (62 mm), Shakespeare Original Little S, Kokoda Sprog.