Soft plastics have certainly grabbed the lion’s share of the lure market over the last few years but if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that good old-fashioned hardbodies haven’t gone away. If fact, they are currently enjoying a real renaissance, with everything from high-tech tournament tools down to bargain basement specials hitting the shelves in ever-increasing numbers.
Amongst the latest releases are some beautifully finished and solidly constructed local offerings as well as some absolute bargains for those on a budget. Interestingly, there have also been some new developments in the spinnerbait/chatterbait market that look very promising. So no matter what type of lure fishing you do, there is bound to be something in the latest batch of offerings to catch your interest.
I consider myself to be a real connoisseur of Australian-made wooden lures and these new Barra Slayers from Lethal Lures are certainly up there with the best I have seen in the last few years. Barra Slayers are made by Daren Fall in Central Queensland and while they are not cheap, retailing between $16 and $24 each, for hand-made timber lures of impeccable quality, the asking price is still very realistic.
Darren is currently producing his Barra Slayers in 70, 90, and 110mm lengths. They also come in two diving depths with 3m and 4m models available. They carry no-nonsense hardware and look to be very solidly constructed. For example, the clear bibs are both glued and pinned into the body of the lure, so they shouldn’t come apart in a hurry.
Darren is also making a very serious barra fizzer that goes by the name of the Boss Hog. These 90mm, single blade fizzers are heavy duty in every sense of the word. They cast a mile on barra baitcasting outfits and come fitted with very serious looking Owner trebles.
Boss Hogs are rear weighted, which makes them sit at just the right angle in the water, so that even the slightest flick of the rod tip gets the propeller moving. This is a very handy trait, as it allows you to keep the lure in the strike zone for longer and really tease the fish into striking.
Boss Hogs are certainly up to offshore work, but they might be just the thing to chuck at those big impoundment barra which have seen everything. And mine are destined for a date with a couple of Monduran monsters over the coming months.
At the other end of the price range, Trollcraft’s new Crocs and Shrimps really are cheap priced lures. Even though they sell for a very modest price, the lures themselves are not the ‘cheap’ kind.
Both of these lures are based on well-proven shapes but what makes them worth mentioning is that for what are ridiculously cheap lures, they feature some of the best finishes I have ever seen. If you didn’t know better, you could easily be forgiven for mistaking them for top-of-the-line Asian offerings retailing for four or five times as much.
In particular, the new Shrimps feature translucent bodies with just a hint of over-spray, as well as some neat matt finishes. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the selection of these colour schemes and keen barra, bass and bream anglers will no doubt be impressed.
And while there are plenty of ‘cheap’ lures on the market, I’ve always found Trollcraft to be the best value in their price range. Quite simply, they work and won’t fall apart on you the first time you hook something.
For casual anglers and for those who don’t have a large budget to work with and, let’s face it, who does these days? I suggest you check them out as the quality will surprise you.
Viking lures are one local manufacturer who has really worked hard to improve the finish on their lures so that they rate right up there with the best of the imports. Viking have recently released their new Crank Minnow range and apart from the sturdy polycarbonate bibs, these little guys could be mistaken for high priced imports.
Crank Minnows come in 60mm and 48mm sizes. The 60mm weigh around 4g and are a utility minnow, which means they are just the right size for most of our popular lightweight sportsfishing targets like flathead, bass, golden perch, and trout. The 48mm, however, are intended to give the tournament boys a locally produced ultra-light minnow to work with. Weighing in at a mere 3g, they are a finesse fishing tool, designed to work their best on fine braided lines or ultra-light mono.
Both models come in shallow and deep diving versions and if you are after something out of the ordinary, check out the almost see-through, Finesse versions. These little gems look like they would fool even the fussiest bream.
As our impoundment barra get bigger and bigger and the tackle needed to land them on has become stronger and stronger, there is more and more pressure being placed on the lures being used.
These days, it’s not just the hooks and split rings that need to be watched, in some cases the lure bodies themselves are in danger of becoming the weakest link in the chain. Now this is not a criticism of lure makers, just an example of the amazing power these awesome fish are capable of exerting once they get well over the metre mark.
Joll’s Lures are one manufacturer who has directly responded to the challenge by deliberately placing reinforcing into the body of the lure during construction. This reinforcing (think of a sheet of mesh in a concrete slab) helps the lure stay together even when the largest fish are involved.
Their latest creation is a perfect example of a lure being custom built for impoundment barra fishing. It’s a beast of a lure called the Kodiak and after extensive testing on Peter Faust dam, designer Steve reckon it’s his best impoundment barra lure yet. Given the success of the GillRakers and Bounty Hunters over the last couple of seasons, that’s no small claim.
The Kodiak is a 3m diver that responds well to cast and retrieve techniques or it can even be trolled to great effect. To tick all the boxes, the Kodiak comes ready rigged with a pair of razor sharp Owner trebles and is available in neat coloured chrome finishes.
When it comes to looking for something a bit different, these new Rock’n Runners certainly caught my eye. Appearing as something of a cross between a spinnerbait and a chatterbait, they have bits of metal wobbling and spinning all over the place.
At the front of the lure, they have the chatterbait blade to provide the action, while there is also a willow leaf blade hanging off the nose. With so much action going on, it would be hard to see any bass or cod ignoring them.
Rock’n Runners come in 1/2oz and 1/4oz sizes in a good range of colours. The larger sizes have already proven themselves to be very acceptable to Murray cod and I’d be surprised if the bass don’t find the 1/4oz size attractive too.
The same goes for these new ‘Come in Spinner’ spinnerbaits. While they follow a fairly standard spinnerbait formula, they do offer that something different which makes them worth a try.
The beauty of ‘Come in Spinners’ is that they have a clip built into the wire arm of the lure. This allows you to change jighead weights and skirts at will. It also means it’s easy to clip on your favourite jighead if you want to use something entirely different. That makes them a pretty versatile lure and it’s little wonder they have already racked up some impressive catches on species as diverse as bass and Murray cod through to estuary cod and mangrove jacks.
Bundaberg boy Steve Cheng from Tropic Angler lures has recently expanded his already extensive colour range to include a couple of neat new finishes. He has added a bananafish and a motley crew to his line-up and they look set to draw plenty of attention.
Both colours are a bit tricky to describe but the bananafish has golden sides, blending with a mauve and green back. The motley crew looks sort of like a mottled rainbow trout pattern. As I said, fancy finishes aren’t that easy to put into words, so it’s probably better to slip down to your local tackle store and check them out for yourself.Reads: 3886