Mick from Pickles Fishing & Outdoors tackle store in Eden loves a good trick. This issue, he shares a few tools to give you a hand when you’re practising the art of deception.
01 LUNKERHUNT PHANTOM SPIDER
This one isn’t just useful for scaring your annoying sister. It’s also handy for deceiving bass, cod and saratoga — basically anything that feeds on the surface around debris. Made in the US, it’s a highly realistic, slow-moving surface lure, with a weedless system, ideal for casting deep into weedy and timbered areas. Retailing for $22, it’s built tough, so the same lure can be chomped on for a few seasons.
02 FISHIE FLIP FLOPS
You’re not a real fisherman unless you’re wearing these scaly slippers. They come in Cod or Barra designs and are made of skid-resistant, high-density EVA. Hell, if Michael Jordan knew about these fishie flip-flops, he’d never have signed to Nike. Available in kids (1–4) and adults (6–12) sizes. Imported by JM Gillies, they retail for $19.95. www.picklesfishing.com
03 DIY SUBMERSIBLE CAMERA
This DIY camera isn’t an original idea, but when production models of the Towcam hit the market for around $2000, I knew I could do better — and cheaper. I got busy researching and stumbled across a plumber’s pipe inspection camera. It could dive to 360ft, ran on 12 volts and came with a light, perfect for spying into the depths. So it could be towed effectively, I modelled a cone then fitted a paravane to stop the camera spinning and to lock in the horizon. The camera is secured to the boat via a stainless wire and the RCA camera lead plugs into a portable laptop so I can record.
We originally developed the camera for marlin fishing, sitting it in behind a dredge teaser. That gave us a great opportunity to play around with lure designs and see the fish come in and out of the spread. It was useful for scoping out inshore reefs, but proved most effective pinpointing elusive jewfish. We dropped it down on river rock bars and could see the mulloway laying in the current, hard up against structure. Previously we used to sit midstream and cast to the riverbank, retrieving over the fish. Armed with the camera intel, we knew to hug the shoreline and cast upstream into their strike zone. Our catch rate went from average to exceptional.
04 CLEVER DICKS
Crafted by Striker in Swaziland, these penis-shaped lures, er, come in pink or black. They fell into my possession courtesy of a customer who couldn’t handle the shame of owning them. I rigged them up and they’ve since accounted for plenty of bluefin and a few deep-throated marlin. They run dead straight, like a rocket thrusting through the water. Boom-tish! Unfortunately, when Striker was bought out by Rapala, these lures were, er, snipped from the line-up.
05 FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY
The Prez lure was designed by Cotton Cordell as a tribute to US President Jimmy Carter, a former peanut farmer. It was released in America in the late 1970s as part of the Heddon lure range. A well-known novelty lure, it was also pretty effective and is now deemed very collectible.
06 JP LURES DEEP DRIVER
The packaging of the JP lure reads like a porno movie, advertising its: Extra deep driver, Throbbing action, Satisfaction guaranteed; and advising: Do not pull too hard, Use extreme care in cold conditions, Rub vigorously to restore to original size and condition, If at first unsuccessful try another hole and, When not in use, place in box.
But this lure also has a tragic history. Shaper Joe Priest was a top NSW angler and lure maker who had a feud with another fisho, John Knol. This came to a bad end one night in Wisemans Ferry after a session on the turps following the 2004 Hawkesbury River Bass Invitational. Following a disagreement about, er, lures, the pair punched on. Told to sleep it off, JP instead got his gun and shot Knol before plugging himself. Knol survived, Priest wasn’t so lucky. “They’d had a few arguments over producing lures, an event organiser said. “But why would he even bring a gun to an event like this? Fishermen are normally such a placid, easygoing lot.”