OTHER than marriage or personal relationships, it is rare these days to have a relationship with a specific manufacture or media outlet for nearly 30 years, but I am blessed to still have both.
I am currently into my 29th year of writing for this great magazine and give or take a month or two, I have been using Dave Killalea’s (founder of Killalures and now Old Dog Lures in Townsville) wooden lures to land jewfish to over 34kg the entire time. Dave made his famous wooden Killalures for many years before retiring from lure making and selling the brand to another company that decided to make them out of plastic, which devastated me.
The plastic version in my opinion was crap as I found it did not cast as well, had a different action and the plastic bib broke easily. Needless to say, I only ever bought two plastic versions then watched as my stock of Dave’s original wooden lures began to dwindle.
Out of necessity I tried many different makes and versions of hard-bodied lures in a vain attempt to find a lure that would give me something close to the catch rate I had with the wooden Killa but alas I couldn’t. I even ended up designing my own wooden lures which I have taken jew on however there was always that question of doubt each time I fished and no I never had anywhere near the catch as I did with Dave’s lures.
A couple of years ago my phone rang and it was the lure making guru himself, Dave Killalea. In a nutshell Dave said although he had been retired from lure making for a few years, he had a serious itch that needed scratching, so he was getting back into making lures again. He had already design two prototype lures, the 13cm Mutt and the 15cm Jew Dog.
He asked if I would be interested in giving them a swim and naturally I jumped at the chance, so Dave sent me two of each to field test. I did ask that the Mutts be done in his famous Elton John colour, which as you see by the accompanying photos, he gladly did. Unfortunately, not long after receiving the lures my health took a bit of a tumble and I was unable to fish how and where I used to.
However, in recent times I have been making more of an effort and naturally enough have been rewarded with a few nice fish. The three fish pictured were all taken at night, some 5km inside the Clarence River in crystal clear water, which tells me if Dave’s Mutt lures can fool a jewfish in gin clear water then watch out when I get casting them in the white water around the headlands.
As you would all be aware, Dave is now in full production of a good range of wooden lures under the Old Dog brand name and they can all be seen by visiting his Old Dog website and while you are there have a look at the two short vids of two of the fish I landed. A few of you may think that this is an unpaid ad for Old Dog Lures. Well it isn’t as I have never prostituted myself by writing up a product I don’t use myself or have never personally caught a fish on, hence the long delay in mentioning this product.
I will say however that each time I swing a Mutt lure these days I do so in full confidence, which is a feeling I have not had since retiring my small stock of Dave’s original wooden lures years ago. On the fishing front the southern end of the Iluka Bluff is still yielding quality jewfish on lures with the biggest taken in recent weeks being the 27.1kg fish taken by visiting angler Andrew Mayo.
Both the Iluka and Yamba breakwalls are producing a handful of fish up to 18kg on a variety of baits ranging from squid and octopus to minnow lures. Inside the river jewfish can still be found if you know where and when to have a look but this style of fishing will generally end as soon as the last few flat-tailed mullet head back upstream for the summer. Luderick catches have remained pretty ordinary in the lower reaches of the river however if you have the time to spare a feed is still possible using black weed on the low water at the noted spots.
For reasons unknown to this little black duck, very few anglers fish the river at night for bream these days other than a handful of boats fishing up at Browns Rocks occasionally the Middle Wall and Collis Wall are usually void of boats unlike five or ten years ago. When the wind has not been blowing 30 knots or the swell running at 3m. Big tailor can still be taken from the local beaches and headlands with the average fish being taken tipping the 2kg mark.
As usual the ever-productive beach up along Shark Bay has been the saviour of many anglers with nice mixed bags of dart, bream and the odd good whiting being reported. Speaking of whiting, it is only a matter of weeks before these tasty, hard-fighting little critters begin to move into the local rivers in good numbers.
Snapper, trag and the odd jew have kept the outside brigade amused when sea conditions allow and a lot of the boaties will be counting down the sleeps until the first run of spotted mackerel turn up in the warm waters of Woody Head.
Until next month, safe fishin’.