I have a serious passion for fishing lures, this obsession has led me to collect 100’s of lures, some of which are quite valuable and due to this these lures will not enter the fray ever again. They have been retired, some after many hours swimming over snags without seeing a fish, some that have the battle scars of an old warrior and some that due to their reputation are still brand new in original packaging. With this post I will attempt to explain my obsession, if not justify it by showing some examples of these works of art created by some very talented craftsmen.
I would like to start with my favourite collectible, an Allcocks Paragon circa.1890. This lure was generously given to me by a workmate, he came across it after a clean out of a deceased estate of his wife’s uncle Bob who lived a hermit like existence in the hills behind Kuttabul near Mackay. A heavy brass spinning type lure I can just imagine Bob casting this lure into the rock strewn streams searching for his next meal. Although the hooks have been removed it was given to me with a large treble on the back end and this coupled with its weight I find it almost incomprehensible that this lure survived for so long. These lures were crafted in England by retired jewellers which is evident from the clasped stone eyes and detailed engraving. In addition to this the Paragon spins upon a central through wire of brass as it is pulled through the water and this feature still works exactly how it did when Bob used it!
George Dempster was a prolific North Queensland lure maker and all his lures show an original artistic flair that are instantly identifiable by those who seek out his work. These lures were the go to Barra Lures of the 70’s and 80’s and I am still certain they would catch fish today. I love his subtle use of colour and how he layered his paint to achieve a realistic look. A great Aussie timber lure.
Killalures…..Dave Killalea in my opinion is an Aussie icon and I am sure these simple little timber Barrabaits can be attributed to 1000’s of epic Barra captures. The secret of these lures is in the action with a distinctive wobble that Barra seem to sense and react to by instinct, a lure made by a Barra Fisherman for Barra Fishermen! With an extensive colour range there is a Killa for every occasion. Dave’s still carving up a storm with Old Dog Lures check ’em out.
The late and great Ken Richardson of Richo lures has a cult following and as late as this week a sixteen year old angler was singing the praises of the “Tiny Terror’ and the “Extractor” asking where he could purchase some more as they were his favourite Barra lure. He was visibly devastated when I told him that “Richo” had passed away and that they were no longer being made. It is reactions like this that has prompted me to keep these for posterity as a tribute to ‘Richos” and Aussie made timber lures!
These are only a few of my favourite lures. These early pioneers of the Australian lure industry deserve recognition for supplying an original and quality product. The modern plastic, mass produced, heavily advertised, overseas made lures may catch fish but there will be no stories of retired jewellers, or of Aussie guys sweating it out under their houses or in their sheds striving for a quality product unless we support our local lure makers. Guy’s like this are still out there and are still making quality lures but they need our support to survive, so ask at your local tackle store or check out lurelovers.com for local lure makers in your area. I hope this gives the uninitiated an insight into lure collecting, a unique combination of Art, History and Physics all rolled up in one neat package.
“Aussie Made For Aussie Fish”