Are These 40+ Popular Lures The Best In Australia Right Now?
A Survey Of Australia's Top Anglers About The Lures That Work In Australia Today
- What are the best fishing lures for Australia's key fish species?
- What lures come up over and over when I interview our elite anglers?
Find out in this FREE report!
167 Interviews Conducted
Over 150 Elite Anglers Polled
8 Iconic Aussie Fish Species Covered
40 Top Lures Chosen From 500+ Recommendations
With over 300 episodes of the Australian Lure Fishing podcast published, it's understandable that information overload can take it's toll! But having so much information at our fingertips is a unique opportunity to get serious insights into what lures the top anglers in the nation are fishing with.
This report will make it easier for you to make excellent lure choices!
Australian Bass | Barramundi | Bream | Flathead | Jewfish | Mangrove Jack | Murray Cod | Snapper
For every Aussie lure fishing species with 12 or more dedicated ALF episodes I've identified the lures most frequently recommended by my guests. I'll update these a couple of times per year and expand the species and lure lists as the info becomes available. Obviously the value of this report will increase as more and more anglers are interviewed!
Please note that I'm not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this report, although Wilson Fishing has assisted me with prizes and giveaways from time to time (thanks guys). Many of my ALF guests do have affiliations with brands, however. This report is not an endorsement of any of the brands mentioned, nor does it suggest that other lure brands or models aren't effective. It's simply a listing of the products most popular with ALF guests who are selected based on their knowledge, track record, willingness to share information and on my need to provide a balanced spread of species and locations for listeners. The brand affiliations of my guests is not a consideration when scheduling interviews.
Finally, it's definitely worth checking out ALF episodes for the species and areas you're interested in. Most lures can be fished in different ways and my guests provide information on the techniques they favour during the interview. Having the right gear is just part of the equation, knowing how to use it is even more important.
Enjoy the read!
Table Of Contents
Bream (Black & Yellowfin)
Australian bass are voracious predators that will take a very wide range of lures. In that respect it’s perhaps not too surprising that during the 24 episodes of the ALF podcast addressing this species my guests have listed 65 different lures for targeting bass, which is more than for any other species so far.
I'm sure that in part this diversity of lure choices reflects the wide range of food items that the opportunistic bass feeds on, as well as the broad range of different habitats and structures that bass frequent, which requires anglers to carry a variety of lures for different applications. Many of the lures used to catch bass in rivers will also catch impoundment bass when presented correctly under the right circumstances. The reverse is less true, however, with some of the lures used for impoundment bass being unsuitable for river fishing.
I suspect the other factor at play is the popularity and accessibility of bass to a large proportion of southern
anglers, as well as the vibrant Aussie tournament bass circuit. Combined with their willingness to eat lots of different lure styles and crossovers with bream, trout and even flathead lures, there is a large market and a lot of opportunities for homegrown and international lure manufacturers to bring offerings to the table.
I've noticed while conducting ALF interviews that there seems to be 7 basic lure types, or genres, used in Australian bass fishing: spinners/spinnerbaits, soft plastic paddletails, spoons, hard bodied vibration baits, topwater lures of various sorts, metal blades and jigs. Interestingly, the 7 most popular bass lures among my interviewees include a representative of each of these genres. I'd personally have expected hard bodied minnow-style lures to have featured more prominently than they did, although these styles have definitely been mentioned in a number of episodes.
Most Popular Australian Bass Lures Of ALF Guests
The Bassman Beetle Spin is not actually a lure in itself, but more of a lure accessory. The wire arm and attached spinner blades can be clipped onto a jig head of your choice to add flash and vibration to any soft plastic lure or jig. Effective on both impoundment and wild river bass.
Suitable for both impoundment bass and river fishing, the 3” Powershad is a slender soft plastic lure with a decent sized paddle tail that imparts plenty of vibration. A very versatile lure, it can be rigged on jig heads in a range of weights, weedless, internal weighted or unweighted, depending on circumstances.
Generally a lure for impoundment bass, the Hot Bite Gangbanger G2 sinks quickly and is a swimming spoon, making it ideal for deeper water. It can be cast and slow rolled or even trolled if you keep the speed below about 5km/h. Can be counted down to target suspending fish and can be fished with periodic pauses to allow it to flutter back down. A home-grown Aussie gem.
A long-time favourite with impoundment bass fishers, the TN50 is a hard bodied, rattling lipless crankbait that pumps out oodles of sound and vibration. This lure can be ripped through weed or burned across flats and shallow weedbeds for a reaction bite.
When the fish are deeper, the TN50 can be hopped along the bottom or slow rolled with or without pauses and even fished vertically, making it a super versatile bass lure.
Surface fishing for bass is popular and effective in river systems and at times, in lakes. A number of topwater lures have been suggested by ALF guests, but none has come up as often Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada. A 40mm soft foam lure, it lands with a natural, gentle plop and sits high on the water. Often it is allowed to sit stationary for several seconds before being worked back either by slow rolling or with a “twitch and pause” style retrieve. Best fished where vegetation overhangs the water and bass are scanning the surface for fallen insects.
An ever-popular metal blade style lure, the ZX40 is designed to imitate crustaceans with silicon feelers and a single assist hook. An easy casting, fast sinking lure, it can be cast and slow rolled or more commonly, hopped along the bottom to imitate a yabby. This lure can also be ripped through weed for a reaction bite when the need arises.
Football jigs are designed for fishing rocky, hard structure as they’re less likely to get hung up and are easier to get loose if they do get hung up. Great for ledges, laydowns, rocky slopes and points, these fast-sinking lures work well in the deep water of many impoundments, the deeper holes of some river systems and even if quickly flowing, boulder streams.
An iconic northern species, Barramundi take a massive range of lures depending on the nature of the fishing location, conditions and feeding habits of the fish at the time.
Barra can be caught in estuaries, billabongs, rivers, lakes and coastal areas, all of which provide different prey and different feeding habitats. For that reason the list of potential lures to use is fairly long, though it should be noted that many lures are better suited to some of these habitats than others.
Traditionally, barra fishing was about casting or trolling hard bodied lures – and to this day many of the top barra lures are hard bodies. Three of the six favourite lures of my ALF guests are hard bodies, reflecting the effectiveness of this style of lure on the big chrome fish.
But I reckon one of the charms of barra fishing is the number of home grown hard body lures, often hand made timber varieties, aimed squarely at targeting barramundi. I recommend getting a few of these where you can, they can be a game changer when conditions are tough.
Of course, many anglers have moved on from only fishing hard bodies and as a result a lot of fish that would have been difficult or impossible on hard bodies are now commonly being taken. Over the past couple of decades paddle-tailed soft plastics and soft vibes have increased in popularity and often fill gaps and take fish that hard bodies wouldn’t.
Barramundi are tough opponents and require heavy leaders and (often) upgraded terminal tackle to survive the onslaught.
Most Popular Barramundi Lures Of ALF Guests
Jackall Squirrel Hank Tune 79mm
The Jackall Squirrel Hank Tune is far and away the favourite hard body for barramundi, which is probably not surprising given it was specifically designed with east coast impoundment barra in mind.
Rigged out of the box with heavy duty hooks and rings, silent (no internal rattle), suspending and deep diving, this is a lure that can be worked in ways that keep it in the fish’s face for long periods, maximising the chances of getting hit. This lure also reaches maximum dive depth very quickly, making it perfect for casting in deeper water or working down steeply sloping lake beds.
The first of our soft plastic vibration baits among ALF barra guests is the 95mm Zerek Fish Trap. Factory fitted with heavy duty terminals and having a great action both on the drop and on the lift, the Fish Trap is a versatile barramundi taker. It can be burned across flats or over weed, or it can be cast, allowed to sink and either slow rolled or hopped back close to structure.
The second soft vibration bait in the top 5 barra lures as voted by ALF guests is the Jackall Transam. This lure is quite similar to the Zerek Fish Trap, but has a forked tail, rather than a curl tail. It’s fished in much the same way as the Zerek Fish Trap, and in similar locations and conditions. Likewise, the Madness Shiriten Vibe and Samaki Vibelicious. However, don’t believe that all soft vibes are equal when it comes to barra fishing. There are subtle differences that can matter on the day – and certainly cheaper vibes often don’t perform as well as the ones mentioned here.
Paddle-tailed soft plastics are often a winner on the barramundi and the Castaic Jerk J Swim has come up as the most popular among those anglers who have come aboard the ALF podcast to talk barramundi. Whilst I haven’t fished these lures personally, I’d have to say I will be sometime soon! The long, relatively thin tail and large paddle is clearly designed for maximum vibration, making this a great lure for dirty water, shut down fish, low light conditions or generally when you want something with a fish profile that pumps out plenty of vibration without rattles or other sounds.
A hard bodied lure whose name says it all! As a barra lure the classic is, well, classic. There are six models of this lure: a suspending version and 5 others ranging from 1m diving to 7metres. Some ALF guests were not too specific about which version they preferred, so they’ve all been lumped together here, perhaps giving the lure an unfair advantage.
For mine, I like the suspending version, which gets down to around 3m and is perfect for twitching in front of barramundi. The suspending capacity allows it to be fished very slowly if desirable, or it can be cranked or trolled at higher speed when the occasion warrants it.
The Lucky Craft Pointer deserves an extra mention here as it comes up quite often in conversations about barra lures. The 100 XD received enough votes to get an honourable mention, but had I treated the 100 DD and 100 SP as being the same lure then it may well have pipped the Classic 120 to sneak into the top 5. Definitely go for the “barra series”, which have beefed-up terminals for Aussie conditions.
- Berkley Gulp Prawn 3”
- Squidgies Slick Rig 5”
- Halco Scorpion 125mm
- Z-Man Swimmerz 4”
- Zerek Live Shrimp 3”
- Madness Shiriten Vibe
- Berkley Hollow Belly 6”
- Bomber Long A
- Samaki Vibelicious
- Z-Man Diesel Minnows 3”
- Zerek Live Mullet 5” · BTD General
- Imakatsu Rip Rizer
Bream (Black & Yellowfin)
Bream are a popular Aussie lure fishing target and thus far 24 episodes of the podcast have been dedicated to either black or yellowfin bream, or both. Being a relatively small and shy species with small mouths and often cautious feeding habits, bream fishing is often about finesse, with light tackle, light lines and small lures the norm.
Black bream are restricted largely to estuarine systems in southern Australia, whilst the yellowfin bream are found in eastern Australia in estuaries and coastal areas – with some crossover between the two.
Obviously lure styles vary depending on the types of system being fished, species and conditions. But with bream being primarily crustacean feeders in many areas it’s no surprise that the Cranka Crab has taken first prize as the most popular bream lure among my podcast guests thus far.
Interestingly, the five lures that have come up most often in conversations with bream anglers neatly fall into what many consider to be the five essential lure styles for bream: crab, topwater, soft plastic grub, metal blade and hard body.
Most Popular Bream Lures Of ALF Guests
In ALF Episode 232 I asked Stephen Mass if there was a bream tournament angler in Australia who didn’t have a Cranka Crab in his bag. The answer was “There’s a few and they’re the ones you don’t see on the podium!”
When fishing this lure that you’re trying to imitate a crab- and crabs don’t usually move that fast. Cranka Crabs are usually wafted down near hard structure and are often taken on the drop. Once on bottom they are given minimal movement, just a few gentle twitches with the angler watching for that “tick” on the line that indicates it’s time to wind the fish on.
Because crabs are fished so slowly, tournament pros tend to start by prospecting with other lure styles, then switch to the crab when they want to start upgrading the fish in the live well.
Small grub style lures in the 2.5-3” size range are extremely versatile and can be fished in numerous ways by simply changing the weighting and the technique. The Z-Man grub was the only soft plastic lure to come up in the top five most mentioned bream lures and is a staple in the tackle box of many bream anglers.
Fished on jig heads of a quarter to a fortieth of an once, these lures can be sunk and hopped, burned, burn and killed, slow rolled, rigged weedless and fished with numerous retrieves of pauses and twitches.
Small metal blades like the Ecogear ZX40 are great when bream are holding deeper in the water, often in the deeper, relatively snag free parts of inlets, lakes and estuaries during the cooler months.
Blades tend to cast quite well and sink rapidly. They can be slow rolled back to the angler, but are often fished with short, relatively gentle hops, lifting the rod just fast and high enough to feel the lure vibrate through the rod, then letting it sink back to bottom on a semi-taut line. Bites often come on the drop.
This unusual style of surface lure has taken many aspects of fishing by storm. Bream that are moving about on the flats fossicking for prawns and other prey will often fall victim to an OSP bent minnow – especially during low light periods. And as a recent podcast guest eluded (Byron Tea Hill, Episode 214), even when fish aren’t taking the bent minnow, they’ll often reveal their presence and intent by boiling behind the lures. This allows the angler to switch to a grub or other sub-surface lure with a good chance of hooking up.
Bent minnows are typically worked across shallow areas with long sweeps, during which the lure will duck below the surface with an erratic swimming style, followed by pauses when the lure returns to the water surface.
Small hard bodies are a great option for bream, especially for those new to fishing with lures. The chubby is probably one of the best known and most popular bream hardbodies. Typically this lure is simply cast and slow rolled back to the rod with nothing too fancy in terms of retrieves. Fished around weed beds, flats, pontoons, bridges and snags, the Chubby has accounted for more than it’s share of bream.
• Ecogear Aqua Bream Prawn 50mm. • Zipbaits Khamsin Tiny
• Z-Man Slim Swimz 2.5” • Atomic Hardz 38mm
• TT Lures Switchblade • Squidgy Wriggler 65mm
• Pro Lure SF62 Pencil
• Zipbaits Khamsin Tiny
• Atomic Hardz 38mm
• Squidgy Wriggler 65mm
There was a time once when flathead were a species that was widely targeted by kids and families in pursuit of relaxed fishing and a tasty feed. There was the occasional old-timer who specialised in pursuing the monster flathead with a live bait of prawn or poddy mullet, of course. But by and large they were ignored as a sportfish.
Flathead are just as accessible to kids and families today as they were yesteryear, although a lot more people target them on lures these days. Importantly, the species is now recognised as a genuine light tackle sportfishing target and has an ardent and passionate following among east coast anglers.
Advances not only in tackle, but in techniques and our understanding of the habits of many sportfish have seen new and exciting approaches to fishing arise. In the case of flathead, it's been about increasing the catch of genuine monsters using big soft plastic glidebaits or multi jointed swimbaits that once would have been considered suitable only for big Murray cod. Or perhaps most exciting of all, the taking of big flathead using surface fishing techniques in very shallow water, with spectacular "boofs"!
With the evolution of new techniques, the number and types of lures being thrown around our southern estuaries has exploded in recent years. So with a decent number of flathead episodes racked up on the podcast, I was curious to see what hardware our top anglers favoured.......
Most Popular Flathead Lures Of ALF Guests
Paddle-tailed soft plastics have always been effective on flathead, and among our many podcast guests the Z-Man Diezel Minnowz in the 4” size was the most popular version of this lure. The techniques for fishing this lure vary tremendously, from unweighted twitching across flats and weed beds to ½ oz jig heads and vigorous “whips” of the rod to impart action. I suggest checking out the many flathead podcast episodes to see what my guests recommend for your location of interest.
Surface fishing for flathead has never been more popular, and when it comes to this style of fishing it seems the Crossfire 110 is the weapon of choice for many of my ALF podcast guests. Long casts followed by a few seconds settling time are followed by three sharp twitches of the rod before pausing again to let the lure float right back to the surface. Repeat this right back to your feet and then fan out another cast.
A larger, heavier glidebait style lure, the Hypo Teez requires heavier tackle to cast than most people would typically associate with flathead fishing. Baitcast reels and swimbait rods of the type normally used for snapper or jewfish are required to cast the larger lures. Fish them slowly over sand and mud, paying particular attention to weed edges and areas where water flow aggregates baitfish. Slow rolling with occasional pauses will usually do the trick. Good for water depths to around 2m.
The Vibelicious soft vibration bait is very versatile, but for flathead fishing seems mainly to be used in deeper water, where it’s usually cast long and worked back with short hops across the bottom. Can also be “tea bagged” vertically from a drifting boat in deeper water.
A classic soft plastic paddletail that’s deadly on flathead. Can be fished on jig heads but is especially effective when fish unweighted on a jig or worm hook with a stinger hook to increase the conversion of strikes to hookups.
A similar lure to the Vibelicious and fished in a similar way. The Fish Trap differs from other soft vibes in that it has a curl-tail, which gives it extra movement at slower speeds and on the drop. To some extent the choice between a Fish Trap or Vibelicious is a personal one, but it’s clear by the presence of two soft vibes in this list that you need one or other in your box if flathead are the target.
Interestingly, it seems that the scales are tipped firmly towards soft plastic lure styles when it comes to flathead – the Zerek Tango Shad is the hard body to come up multiple times, although a few others have been mentioned along the way. The Tango Shad is a tough, medium-deep diver that can be worked simply by slow rolling, allowing the bib to dig into the bottom and throw up puffs of sand, or using a “twitch, twitch, pause” style retrieve whilst keeping the lure close to the bottom.
I expected at least one Berkley Gulp to appear among the favourite soft plastics for flathead, but I was a little surprised at first that it was the 3” shrimp. Then I thought about it. Prawns are a staple in the diets of most east-coast estuary species, flathead included. So it stands to reason that a soft plastic prawn would be so popular with top anglers. The Gulp Shrimp can be fished unweighted, or with a range of jig heads or hidden weight hooks, depending on wind, tides and water depth. Remember that you’re trying to imitate a prawn, so work it very slowly and subtly like a prawn going about it’s business or with fast, sharp jerks followed by pauses, like a prawn fleeing from a predator.
Such a versatile lure! For flathead fishing, work this lure along the waters edge near the top of the tide, in channels draining sandflats on the runout or along the edges of weed beds. The trick is to fish it unweighted or to weight it as lightly as possible, use heavier gear to cope with casting the larger lure and move it slowly. A stinger hook isn’t such a bad idea either in such a large lure, or a high proportion of bites could be missed.
Jewfish, mulloway, silver ghost…….. Call ‘em what you like, this is definitely one of the more challenging estuary species for the southern lure flicker. It's also a real crowd pleaser any time I run a jewfish episode on the ALF podcast.
Once thought to be fairly scarce and hard to find, the jewie was almost exclusively a target for bait fishos prepared to sit out entire nights soaking large fresh baits or live baits. These days they're consistently caught by lure fishos right through the middle of the day, although it's rarely by accident. Racking up good numbers of lure caught jewfish typically comes as a result of a lot of dedication and time on the water. This is a species that doesn't come easily.
Looking back over the jewfish episodes on ALF, there are plenty of lures that have been recommended, but eight of them have been recommended more often by my guests than all of the others. Three of those eight lures are soft vibration baits and another three are medium-sized soft plastic lures that have large, flat paddle tails. Clearly vibration is a major factor, which makes sense for a species that often feeds in low light conditions and loves dirty floodwater!
Anyway, if you're looking for a challenge and want to ratchet your fishing up a notch, grab a handful of the lures mentioned below and head to the nearest estuary to find a jewfish!
Most Popular Jewfish Lures Of ALF Guests
The Vibelicious soft vibration bait is deadly on jewfish, especially when they’re actively feeding in relatively deep water. The most common way technique for targeting jewfish with this lure is to allow it to sink to the bottom, then lift it up a metre or two from the bottom, just fast enough to get the lure vibrating (you’ll feel this through the rod), then drop it back down on a semi taut line and repeat. If this doesn’t work, experiment with other techniques!
Samaki Vibelicious Thumpertail 100mm
Similar to the original, forked tail Vibelicious, but this lure is the only soft vibe I’m aware of that has a paddle tail, giving it massive vibration on the fall as well as the rise. Fished in similar locations using similar techniques as the standard Vibelicious, but gives an edge in dirty water, low light or when the fish are shut down and need some waking up.
This lure is quite similar to the fork tailed Vibelicious and is fished in much the same way in similar locations and conditions. These lures will have subtly different vibrations and actions, so it’s worth having both in your kit for those days when the jewfish are being fussy, which is most days……..
The Nemesis is something of a cross between shad and grub style soft plastics – the shad profile being popular with jewfish and the grub tail imparting extra action and vibration to attract and tempt fish from further. This is a lure that
works well when weighted as lightly as the conditions permit, allowed to sink to the bottom and then worked back with a slow roll, a “twitch, twitch, pause” or a medium paced burn and kill.
The Redic is a suspending hardbody that has proven a great jewfish producer in the larger sizes (100 and 120mm). A number of folks who have been interviewed for jewfish episodes have mentioned that these lures can be effective when trolled to active fish beneath schools of tailor or through the channels and lanes where jewfish move between feeding and resting spots.
The Fish Tail was specifically designed for targeting jewfish inshore and in estuaries. The chunky body and large paddle tail create water displacement and vibration that jewies can sense from a long way off. Weight as lightly as possible on a standard jig head and add a stinger if desirable. Cast long, let the lure sink to the bottom and then slow roll it past fish with a few twitches, hops and pauses.
A medium sized paddle tail soft plastic lure with a ribbed belly to increase the vibration it emits. Fished in much the same way as the Pro Lure Fish Tail.
Another shad profile soft plastic lure with a large, vibration emitting paddle tail. Once again, fished in similar locations and with similar techniques as the Fish Tail or Squidgies Fish.
One of the toughest fish in our northern estuaries. Despite being a voracious predator jacks are a species that requires a lot of dedication, commitment and time on the water…… not to mention pinpoint accurate casting, nerves of steel and rugged tackle.
Mangrove Jack fishing attracts an ardent and at times colourful band of fishos and I’d expected that there would be a few lures that would be commonly agreed upon, but instead it seems that everyone has their own favourites, which makes things interesting.
Fittingly, the top 3 lures represent the key styles most applicable to jack fishing: 3-4” paddle tail soft plastics, 3-4” topwater hard bodies and 3-4” hard body minnows.
Whatever lure style you choose to throw at the "Red Dogs", it needs to be fitted with high quality terminals that will take the beating jacks dish out. And it needs to be capable of almost dancing on the spot...... jacks rarely move far from cover, so you need a snag resistant lure that will stay in their faces long enough to entice a strike. Once it' a couple of metres from structure you might just as well crank in and cast again.
Most Popular Mangrove Jack Lures Of ALF Guests
Once again, the versatility of the paddle tail soft plastic comes into play. Rigged weedless on a belly weighted worm hook, the shad profile and large flat tail on the Diezel Minnowz allows them to be skip cast into some pretty gnarly country around mangrove roots, snags, under branches, pontoons, bridges and so on. They can be sunk down and slow rolled through structure, but often burning them quickly along the surface close to hard structure can get a savage response. Alternatively they can be fished unweighted on a worm hook, allowing them to be worked more slowly when the current is less strong. The 3” Diezel Minnowz have also been recommended by previous podcast guests, adding to the credibility of this lure.
Surface lures are effective on mangrove jack, particularly during periods of low light or in the hours of darkness. Among my ALF podcast guests so far, the G-Splash is the most popular topwater offering for jacks. This lure is a popper but can also be fished a little like a walk the dog style lure. Typically it’s cast tight to structure,
given a few seconds to sit stationary and then worked with very short, very sharp jabs of the rod with occasional pauses. Once it’s a couple of metres from structure it’s normal to quickly crank the lure back and fire out another cast.
The Hank Tune version of the Jackall Squirrel SP79 comes fitted with heavy duty hooks and rings suited to mangrove jack fishing. Other versions will require hook upgrades, which may take them from a suspending lure to a sinking lure. Aside from suspending, the lure has no internal rattles, making it perfect for getting a reaction bite and for keeping “in the zone” by imparting action with minimal forward movement.
- The Lucky Craft Pointer was recommended in several different models/sizes which, if added together might have catapulted it into the “Most Popular” list.
- The Halco Roosta Popper has been nominated in two different sizes, which combined might have put it in the “Most Popular” list.
Australia’s largest freshwater predatory fish is a formidable sport fishing target and for those persistent and committed enough. Large lures with heavy terminal tackle are the norm for cod fishing, although the generally smaller fish in the river systems can be targeted with smaller lures than the (often) larger impoundment fish.
As an inland sport fishing species there is nothing like the iconic Murray cod anywhere in the world. Frustrating? At times. They’re not called the fish of a thousand casts for nothing. Worth it? Well, if watching your 20-30 cm surface lure get smashed off the surface and putting your tackle and muscle fibre to the limits counts, then yes.
Of course, cod fishing isn’t always about spectacular surface strikes. Sometimes the fish are down deeper and other lure styles kick in. And there have been plenty of recommendations by accomplished cod enthusiasts on the ALF podcast over the past 2 years.
Of the Murray cod lures recommended by ALF guests so far, 6 stand out as having been recommended more frequently than the others: 2 Spinnerbaits, 2 large jointed surface lures, 1 large swimbait and a big paddle-tailed soft plastic. There is a thriving cottage industry for hand-made cod lures in Australia, and a number of those have also been mentioned during the course of the ALF program.
Most Popular Murray Cod Lures Of ALF Guests
With Murray cod being a uniquely Australian species, it’s not surprising that there are thousands of uniquely Australian lures designed to target this species and produced in small production quantities. Several of them appear in the above list, but the standout lure as far as ALF guests are concerned is the Mudeye Snake.
At 260mm in length you’d better have some seriously heavy tackle ready just to cast this big wakebait, let alone subdue what we hope might eat it. The Mudeye Snake is effective in storages and larger pools in rivers, especially in water depths of less than 2.5m with plenty of logs or boulders. Being a surface lure, there’s no chance of getting hung up on submerged structure, so it’s simply a matter of fanning out casts and then slowly rolling the lure back. The large profile of the snake winding across the surface is enough to draw cod out, especially during low light periods.
The Zerek Stalker is another seriously big, multi-jointed wakebait that creates a huge presence as it snakes and rattles across the water surface. With two sizes, 180mm and 250mm, you’re going to need the heavy gear once again, even just to cast this lure. Fished in much the same manner and the same places as the Mudeye Snake.
Few keen cod anglers will be surprised to be told that the Ganterel makes the list of lures most used by ALF podcast guests to target Murray cod. Large, multi-jointed swimbaits have become a mainstay of cod fishing and the Ganterel is a high-quality example.
Specifics about how this lure should be fished vary a little from location to location, but generally they’re fished in relatively shallow water around weed beds, rocky points and shorelines, isolated structures and so on. With large swimbaits being pricey and snag-prone, they’re not typically used so much in heavily timbered areas!
The Codman DT is Bassman’s big fish lure and is a twin-arm spinnerbait with Colorado blades for slow fishing in still or slow flowing water. This is a very snag resistant lure that has plenty of action even on the drop, making it perfect to drop into heavy cover or deep water and slow roll back out in constant contact with the structure.
Bassman Codman 4x4 Spinnerbait
The Codman 4x4 is a shallow water spinnerbait that gets tons of vibration. Like most spinnerbaits, it’s snag resistance allows it to be worked through some heavy structure at times, although it can also be slow rolled along weed edges and patches between weed or over shallow, grassy banks.
A large soft plastic swimbait, the Magdraft can be counted down and slow rolled through rock walls, boulders and timber at 6-8m. During low light periods this lure can also be effectively fished along shallow banks and points by allowing less sink time and working them with the rod tip high.
Snapper (Pinkies, Knobbies)
Interestingly, when it comes to snapper fishing lures the field so far recommended on the podcast has been strongly dominated by soft plastics from the Berkley stable.
There were five lure recommendations that came up repeatedly from ALF guests - all of them are Berkley plastics. Numerous other Berkley offerings have also been mentioned in snapper episodes over the past 2 years, but less commonly than the main five.
The dominance of a single brand and style of lure was a little surprising to me as I know that various jigs are popular and effective snapper lures. Even hard bodied minnow style lures can be productive on this species at times, though they're probably not as commonly used as jigs and plastics.
Likewise, other brands of soft plastic lure are also deadly on snapper but didn't seem to be as popular with ALF guests as the Berkley range.
To date, there have been less snapper episodes of the ALF podcast than there have for some of the other species in this survey. Plus, the episodes thus far have mainly focussed on shallow coastal fishing scenarios. So perhaps we'll see other brands feature more strongly as we add more episodes.
Or perhaps it’s the case that for whatever reason Berkley plastics are more effective and are the brand of choice for Aussie snapper fishers. Who knows?
Most Popular Snapper Lures Of ALF Guests
Typically used in fairly shallow water on a standard jig head, the Gulp Prawn is most often cast ahead of a drifting boat and allowed to sink to the bottom on the lightest jig head possible for the conditions. Often snapper will rise from the bottom and take the lure as it nears the seabed, but if not, it’s usually fished with sharp rod lifts and then allowed to sink back on a semi-taut line. Always watch for bites as the lure is falling.
Representing various marine worms that get eaten by snapper, the Turtleback is best fished on the lightest jig head that you can get away with. Cast long and allow to sink to the bottom, watching for bites as it falls. Snapper will often take this lure as it lays stationary on the bottom, but it can also be worked with small, subtle hops. Strike at any “tick” on the line, the bite is often quite subtle.
Fished in the same way as the Gulp Shrimp, the curly tail of the Gulp Minnow Grub provides more action and vibration as the lure falls, making it more visible to snapper.
The Gulp Nemesis is fished in the same way as the Shrimp and Minnow Grub styles, but with much more gentle rod lifts. The long curly tail on the Nemesis slows the sink rate and gives it amazing action both on the fall and when hopped, making it a great option when the fishing is quiet and a subtle approach is needed.
A larger profile lure, the Gulp Jerkshad 7” can be counted down close to bottom and then worked back with sharp rips, allowing the lure to sink between each rip. Great when fish are active and up off the bottom, as the lure isn’t allowed to reach bottom, avoiding unwanted by-catch.