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The Old Dog taketh but Old Dog giveth back

July 28, 2020

The Old Dog taketh but Old Dog giveth back

"So how long do you pause these lures?" Brian innocently asked. I was about to say the usual "##% if i know" answer (we were field testing the prototype Jnr Mutt). Suddenly there was a startled scream from the front of the boat. I immediately turned around expecting to see some sort of North Queensland nature incident, but instead, spotted a green and black missile spearing into the water in front of me. Brian, the Barra Whisperer, formally of Scotty's Sportscene in Ingham, North Queensland, was in panic mode, "the bloody thing, thing just got ripped outta my hands...my rod!..my rod!..get it Peter!..my thirty year old rod!" and I have got to say he wasn't whispering at any point during this incident.

This particular thirty year old rod has been the subject of many conversations and the verdict is that this original custom built Loomis Premier 665of Brian's could have caught the most Barramundi in North Queensland on lures. Fair call, knowing Brian is one of the most naturally gifted fisherman and outdoors men I have met. I might have to get wet here, went through my head as I quickly looked at the side imaging for any nastys close by, the pressure was on!

A quick short cast found my Old Dog intercepting his braid and after a short tussle I wedged his rod with mine up against the back of the boat. All this with a running fish on the other end. Somewhat akin to pinning a large game fish on the gaffs to the transom. I reached down and nonchalantly picked his rod up out of the briny. "Oh thanks Pete...unreal.. thanks." I replied, "No problem.. just point your rod a bit up the line on the pause, 6 inches of slack..welcome to the world of jerk baiting, bud!"

This could be a little tricky to explain to guys and gals out there I thought, the difference between jerk baiting and normal hard body fishing. It is a plain simple fact that lures have been jerked, twitched, jiggled, swept from side to side and generally manipulated to a point of bewilderment for an age now. All in the name of fooling a fish into eating something artificial.

Pictured above: The author of the this Blog Peter Mammino aka Mutta - looking very pleased with this Barra that fell for the Mutt Jnr in the deep version.

Most fishos of my era can remember the early American shallow divers, the Normans (Rebels), Cotton Cordell's Redfins, Mirror Lures and of course Bombers, Finland's Nils Masters, Rapala, and Bete's. The elder statesmen of the sport recall tales of Abu Killers and Hi-low's, Heddons and Arbogast (sorry if i missed any) and then along came the Australian cottage industry, when availability, cost and structural integrity of these imports became an issue. Ho hum, some things haven't changed with our big fish throughout Australia and the lures ability to handle them.

Moller, Boland, Hall, Leadbeater, Nunn, Edwards, Gallo, Reidy, Muntz and of course Killalea are names that spark the memory bank of lures that were produced in northern Australia in those early days. Another influential  name springs to mind who probably jerked a lure around here on a rod and reel early in the piece was Vic McCrystal. Names such as Bransford, Erskine, Mondora, Woodbridge, Wrights, Harrison, Calcutt, Rankine, Winkworth, Hazard, Florence, Pemberton, Welldon, Dalling, Tilly, Newton, Scott, Pagano, Nash, Jeston, Simmonds, Haynes and Cross come to mind to help shape the sport we all love today.  A lot of barras were caught with a hand line using a jerking action with Siddy Boland`s barra frogs, 303 shells, bull horn tips, feathers and a particular Cattle Creek south of Ingham. My favourite was to make lures out of tarpon tails before these guys were around. The commercial sector have been jerkin and woggin Trout and Mackerel for as long as boats have been venturing out to the reef.

Pictured above: Rolly Newton and mate Dion, both from Tully NQ catching up for a fish and giving the prototype Mutt Jnr a swim - they were very impressed too.

A bit of nostalgia in these uncertain times and to remind us all that we are only the custodians of the sport at the present and there is very little we do today in  fishing with all our technology, that is completely removed from the old ways and the way these pioneers discovered.


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