• The Rapala Shadow Rap has proven its worthiness of late with many big barramundi falling for it, including this metre plus fish taken by the author.
    The Rapala Shadow Rap has proven its worthiness of late with many big barramundi falling for it, including this metre plus fish taken by the author.
  • Threadfin salmon also love the Samiki Vibelicious Thumper Tails. Image: Peter Zeroni
    Threadfin salmon also love the Samiki Vibelicious Thumper Tails. Image: Peter Zeroni
  • You would be hard pressed to find a better craftsman than Mark. And they catch plenty of fish as well!
    You would be hard pressed to find a better craftsman than Mark. And they catch plenty of fish as well!
  • 3” and 4” Zmans will catch just about anything that swims.
    3” and 4” Zmans will catch just about anything that swims.
  • Warren's youngest son Jamie with a barra he caught while using his favourite lure, a 3” Zman in Glow/Chartreuse.
    Warren's youngest son Jamie with a barra he caught while using his favourite lure, a 3” Zman in Glow/Chartreuse.
  • Mark A Lure’s have proven themselves on most of our tropical species.
    Mark A Lure’s have proven themselves on most of our tropical species.
  • Another barra falls to a Mark A lure!
    Another barra falls to a Mark A lure!
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IF you’re like most fishos I know, we all love getting our hands on some nice new lures and this is a little update on what my fishing mates and myself have been putting to good use lately. There are an almost infinite amount of lures available these days and I would love to be able to afford them all but for the time being I'll just have to pick a few! And, I'm sure there are lures out there that are probably just as good, if not better, than the ones I’m going to mention, and I hope to one day get through a whole lot more. But for now, these few are the ones that have been working best for us over the last couple of months while fishing around Darwin.

Samaki Vibelicious Thumper Tails

Soft vibe style lures are without doubt one of the most versatile lures you can have in your tackle box and will appeal to a host of species in both fresh, and salt, water environments. There are literally heaps and heaps of this style of lure in the market place these days ranging from the cheapies right through to the 30 buck wallet stingers. My tackle tray has many of them and some work quite well but these days we go straight for the Samaki Vibelicious Thumper Tails.

These lures have proven to be excellent at getting a bite when nothing else is working and I’m pretty sure it is all down to the unique action in the tail. You can feel the tail vibrating when you lift them off the bottom and also when you drop them back down. They also have a strong action when slow rolled through the water. They are made from a tough material that can handle multiple fish captures without tearing like some of the other ones getting around. The 70mm model is an outstanding lure and it appeals to all the northern species we encounter across the top of Australia. Barra, jacks, golden snapper and threadfin salmon, to name just a few, all absolutely love these lures.

I’ve heard good reports from my brother Ken, Mark Williams and Jim Harnwell when using the same lure on our southern fresh and saltwater species. The 100mm model works just as well and we use the bigger 125mm model when targeting bigger barra and black jew. I fish a lot with Russell Kenny these days and he is with out a doubt the fussiest person I know when it comes to lures and colours and he rates the Samakis very highly. I don’t go out these days without at least four of these in my tackle box.

Rapala Shadow Raps

Rapala have been making lures forever and my tackle trays are full of them. The range of shallow running lures is second to none and are my go-to choice when fishing flats and shallow drains. These new hard body lures look very similar to lots of other shallow to mid running depth lures but the Shadow Raps have a fantastic side to side flick action that, once you get the hang of working them, is absolutely deadly on barra and threadfin salmon.

The Shadow Raps also look great when slow rolled. They're supposed to be a sinking lure which is true, but the sink rate is quite slow, and so I tend to rate them more as a suspending lure. They have proven to be quite strong and we have yet to see any failures from wire pulling out of the bodies while fighting fish. We had a great build-up season this year targeting large barra on the neap tides in October and November. In five days on the water, Russell and myself landed over 20 fish a session. Those neap trips resulted in 16 Barra over 90cm, with three going over the magic metre mark. Of these, 11 were caught on the new Shadow Raps and once again the fussy Russell rates them very highly, so probably another one to make sure you don’t leave home without.

Mark A Lures

The first time I saw these lures was on Facebook and they immediately caught my attention. Not long after that I had an order for a couple of hundred dollars worth of mixed lures on the way. Mark makes a huge range of hand crafted wooden lures suitable for anything from large saltwater pelagics right down to some tiny ones suitable for bream, trout and bass. When my package arrived I was more than happy with the great range that Mark had selected to send me. The paint job on these lures is exceptional and I sometimes feel a little guilty knowing they are only going to get scratched up but they are very durable.

I had a day out fishing with Peter Zeroni recently and we had a great little session with some barra and when they quietened down I opened my lure tray looking for something different that might stir them up again. I spied one of Mark’s Creekybait lures and tied it on. It’s a lure around 11cm long that dives to 3m. The day ended with Pete commenting of how well the Creekybait lure preformed.

There are plenty of Aussie’s turning out some fantastic hand crafted wooden lures these days and it would be great to get the chance to try all of them but you won’t find many better then Mark A Lures. I have always had a soft spot for hand crafted wooden lures. Check him out on Facebook.

Zman Soft Plastics

I reckon there are more soft plastic lures on the market these days than ever and for good reason. They catch lots of fish in many different types of situations and locations. The last few years that I was guiding I would be confident in saying that more than 60 per cent of all fish I saw caught were taken using the Zman 3” MinnowZ and the 4” SwimmerZ soft plastic lures. I do have other makes in my tackle trays but I love the Zmans. Made from really tough plastic it’s not uncommon to land a dozen or more fish on the one body before needing to replace it.

When we fish water like drains or junctions with not too many snags a ¼ oz. jig head on a 3/0 or 4/0 hook is the go and when you have to get right amongst the sticks to get a bite , rigging them on a weedless hook in the same size with a No 1 or 2 ball sinker in front is the go. Rigged weedless you can target fish that you just can’t get at any other way.

I have a few mates that don’t like using soft plastics saying they just don’t have the same feel as a hard bodied swimming lure and I agree to a point but we regularly find that by using soft plastics you will catch fish when all other lures fail to draw a strike. The other great thing about using single hooks and soft plastics is that they are much kinder on the fish when releasing them with potentially far less damage to the fish compared to a set of trebles.

I’m not on the pay roll of any of the companies mentioned in this article and I’m not trying to get any free lures either. My mates and I will probably have some new favourites in the next few months too which is great because fishing with lures is one of the greatest pleasures you can get from fishing in my opinion.

To me, having a huge collection of lures is like looking at an old photo album. While sorting through them for my next trip I’ll pick one up that reminds me of a special place or time and say to myself, “ah yes, I remember this lure!” Then I’ll either put it back with the reverence of a piece of treasure not to be lost or, chuck it in for the upcoming trip, with high hopes of repeating its prior success.

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