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  1. #1

    Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Lure Modifications- Or buy another brand?

    When we talk about lure modifications, we usually do it as a result of the lure not being capable of the requirements at hand. We can tinker until the cows come home, but at some point we must realise that scratching the lure totally and starting again is a smart move. Like in any manufacturing or design game, prototypes get used, abused, scrutinised, until a better product is re-designed and forthcoming. For many (not all) anglers, and believe me, this has taken its time, the realisation that dead slow moving soft plastic lures and barramundi go hand in hand. A soft lure that can swim very slowly, and on the free-fall is a dynamite barra catching tool. Recent printed wording has prompted me to push the level of thinking even higher once again, so anglers get better opportunity with the world of barra, instead of being kept in the dark ages. I'll be dead and buried before 2009 material hits the scenes on a broad spectrum scale. At the rate in which up to date information filters out, we'll all die wondering, and i'll be hard pressed and wear my fingers out doing the job that others won't or can't seem to do. When we modify any lure, we must ask ourselves what we are trying to achieve. With many paddletail soft plastic lure modifications (swim baits), the common result, apart from weight change, is trying to achieve a lure that swims more freely, and at slower speeds.
    A lure that swims effortlessly on the drop is a key element. (wink wink, nudge nudge). Scissors and a choppity chop, snip snip movement is often used to make soft lures swim slower by removing excess body and tail thickness. Many brand name lures were never designed to swim at slow speeds, nor where they intended or packaged with 'slow' in consideration. Kinked tails kill action- simple! So do we spend our time trying to make something better, or do we take a few more steps sideways in tacklstores and find lure brands and types that have already been tested, tried and re-designed to swim better? Many quiet brand names that aren't pushed hard often already do what others are trying to achieve.
    Would it seem strange if we bought a size 12 pair of thongs and took them home and cut them down to a size 9 so they fit, when we could have easily taken a few steps to the left and bought a size 9 direct from the shelf? Why would we bother cutting, cooking, glueing when better lures are available etc etc etc? Would you buy and then sharpen the edges of a big flat screw driver, or simply buy a chisel? If the price was similar I don't know who would bother doing that, or what gain there would be from doing it.
    So, what else is out there, and how far ahead are many of these companies with their products that often collect dust on the back rows, racks and shelves in tackle stores?
    Not only have many companies looked into swim action, "slow and fast", but they have gone and advanced into vibration variation via differing tail sizes, as well as utilising sound and rattle development for their plastic lures. All of these are keys to success in the barra world. The guns like the Taylor Brothers have their own strategy in plastic mod design that 99% of anglers are not ready for, so we shall leave that aspect out until these other gaps are filled and anglers discover what else they can start to do with their barra lures without modifying at all, apart from weight change, which is common place in all barra terrains and fishing variations.
    Here is a photograph of lures that will give you an idea on what is available and possible.
    Brand names or lure names here include, Storm, Berkley, Tropic Angler, SureCatch, Byron Lures, Phony Bream etc etc etc. All of these lures, straight from the packet, or from advanced packaging will swim dead slow, will free-fall and swim on the drop and are tuned to do the job- the homework has already been done for you; or very close to it.
    The Berkley Mullet is a lure, for the life of me, I can't understand why it isn't a more popular choice for anglers as it is a gun lure for barra, salt and fresh. It is pictured above the Berkley Hollow Belly in the photograph (another great slow mover). The Hollow belly in shot has been spiced up with an internal glass rattle chamber. It can be seen about mid body, also the other photo shows glass rattle chambers beside an Storm Intense Swim Shad- these lures are already tuned and swim all day- "blue cattle dog and kelpie" type workers.
    Storm is a name that keeps coming out of the wood work for me. They usually have great packaging, which keeps lures straight an true for better swimming action. They have also varied the designs, and sizes, and created various tail pulses. ( another key element for barra stimulation) The Storm Intense Swim Shad (3 in the photo) is a cracker of a lure, and they even have some smaller versions with bloody good hooks for a small lure. I managed a 115cm and a 118cm on that small lure just recently.
    The Blue lure in the photo is the SureCatch Live Shad (100mm)- it never stops moving and creates more vibes than you could imagine. On the free-fall, it swims non stop.
    ( It is in The lure section-underwater footage- in the Lake Monduran DVD)
    Bottom right- from Byron Lures- Holographic Swim baits- swims great, great construction. swims on the free fall at slow pace.
    Bottom left and up one- Storm lure- 'Finding Nemo' I call it. Live Sunfish----- I think?!?!? A great tail action exists, if wound slowly, lifted up and down, it can be a killer; remembering that any lure on any day has the potential to work better than the others.
    Bottom left, don't forget the curley tailed softies either. Their tails move at a slower speed again, they put out a light vibe that on the day can be the right choice.
    Top left- The Phony Bream- alive with vibe - very similar to the Live Shad from SureCatch.
    Tropic angler- mid left- is already jointed/reticulated so it has the freedom to swim. Even though quite small, this lure and all the others on this page have accounted for lake barramundi over 111cm long.
    I'd recommend anglers source some of these lures just to trial there movement- you may be pleasantly impressed. They, and others too, sit high in my choice box for Awoonga,,, or anywhere else for that matter.
    Happy Fishing,
    Johnny Mitchell

  2. #2

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    AAAAggghhh !!!! I thought I had finished spending LOL !!!!

    Thanks for that advice Johnny. Thats great stuff. Off to the shop again .

    Two questions. Do you reckon there is a minimum length plastic that you don't go under ??

    And - I fised with Stillwater a couple years back and back then Brett wouldn't touch softies at Mondy. Hard body only. Is your first 'go to' lure at either dam a plastic or hardbody ?

    Cheers

    Peter

  3. #3

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    JM, thanks for, as usual, a very informative and thought provoking insight.

    Pete.

  4. #4

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Another interesting post JM, thanks for that

    One thing I've been wondering abt for a few years, why hasnt someone developed a plastic that is a dead ringer for a Boney Bream?

    edit: ie like an ACTUAL Boney Bream (props to whoever took the pic)

    That being said, my mate is actually the distributor of the Phoney Bream (by Panther Martin) so will be giving this lure a swim real soon

  5. #5

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Thank Johnny, great reading, full of info.

    As someone, who has been playing with/developing soft and hard body lures (and have been a little obsessed with barra lures) it is a great insight into what works for impoundment barra.

    We must catch up next week, for further discussions.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  6. #6

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Good thread JM,
    This has needed highlighting for some time, a well marketed lure has never caught me any more barra.
    Modifications- just to give a lure barra catching potential; Iíve been over that for some time.
    Quality packaged lures have been sourced from eBay, with good hooks and well weighted, big hammer like tails and thin wrists. Swimming like champions out of the packet-no mods needed.
    And half the price.
    Used one on the weekend, its first swim, first cast, bang, 105. No itís not a silver bullet lure as some would say, the bigger picture was put together before the lure even got wet.
    Canít even remember its name.
    Mods to improve an already performing slow swimming lure-now there is a world to tap into.
    A recent publication of modifications for big brand named lures, a few pages of info that is years old and behind the game. These mods need to be done only to bring a lure up to scratch for the impoundment world. Lots of improvement needed for some manufacturers.

    Robert
    0pen minds, open doors....

  7. #7

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Thanks for a thought provoking thread Johnny.You're on the money as usual. Most people only take notice of the lures made by the BIG companies who have huge advertising budgets. I've found companies like Storm,Surecatch make excellent lures and plastics.Trollcraft also make good hardbodys.I think modifying still has its place as its more of a personal challenge type thing to put one over the fish that won't submit.
    Paulo

  8. #8

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    thanks for such a logical, easy to read, practical article Johnny with pictures as well to make it even clearer - Richard

  9. #9

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Great read Johnny. Plenty to think about there. For freefall presentations in the salt I have been using things like Lake Forks and Javellons with good results. I just wish they were made from Cyberflex type material

    Neil
    A Proud Member of
    "The Rebel Alliance"

  10. #10

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Quote Originally Posted by 5Zigen View Post
    Another interesting post JM, thanks for that

    One thing I've been wondering abt for a few years, why hasnt someone developed a plastic that is a dead ringer for a Boney Bream?

    edit: ie like an ACTUAL Boney Bream (props to whoever took the pic)

    That being said, my mate is actually the distributor of the Phoney Bream (by Panther Martin) so will be giving this lure a swim real soon
    The fine folk at Storm have made this one. Closest thing I've seen so far to a Boney Bream. Not too sure of the hooks on it though...I reckon it could do with a few more.
    So shines a good deed in a weary world
    - William S Shakespeare and William S Wonka_

  11. #11

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Where's that bloody picture gone...I'll try again. Hang on !!!
    So shines a good deed in a weary world
    - William S Shakespeare and William S Wonka_

  12. #12

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Gud article Johnny many will find this very very helpfull.

    Maybe Lydon needs to open a soft plastic surgeory.

    Cheers Lachy

  13. #13

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?
    Another interesting post JM, thanks for that

    One thing I've been wondering abt for a few years, why hasnt someone developed a plastic that is a dead ringer for a Boney Bream?

    edit: ie like an ACTUAL Boney Bream (props to whoever took the pic)

    That being said, my mate is actually the distributor of the Phoney Bream (by Panther Martin) so will be giving this lure a swim real soon
    Attached Thumbnails - Click to enlarge


    That pic is straight from my website. That Boney Bream was attacked by a barra, but it couldn't get it down at the time, and it floated to the top, still kicking. It took me about 7 attempts to catch it. its neck is actually broken. It happened less than 50 metres out from the Awoonga main ramp.
    LGM, Storm do make a nice replica, if its the same one I'm thinking of. It scored barra for us on charter yesterday.
    Johnny

  14. #14

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    There are plenty of other great soft plastics out there, as mentioned above in other posts. All you have to do is look, but make sure they have a suitable hook for barra, and it is wise to check the packaging as well. We don't have to limit ourselves. If the lure makes a vibration, a barra will eat it at some stage, but if it swims as free as a bird, it will get eaten more often, especially if you can swim it dead slow. If it still has the balance to be fished faster then your onto a double whammy, but if it can only be fished slowly, and not quickly, simply open ya tackle box and select one that does both, or handles the speed well.
    Cheers,
    JM

  15. #15

    Re: Soft plastic modifications- or ditch it?

    Great read Johnny!
    Those rattles are great, I have been using them in slickies and hollows for some time. For those who wish to try them they are usually found in the Fly fishing section of tackle stores.
    I have been wondering lately if barra respond to scented plastics, another area of the game im going play with...
    I have contacted major overseas tackle companies and im waiting for all their catalogues to arrive in my mail box so i can see what the rest of the world has to offer in both plastics and hard bodies and often they are are much cheaper....
    Also has anyone really tried a yabby imitation plastic, something the same size, colour and shape of the common yabby? They are in the dams and i dont doubt for a second a barra would eat a yabbie...
    Thats part of the fun the searching and tinkering...if one lure worked just fine on all ocasions that wouldnt be much fun?

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