We get noticed
In 1987 Rob Smith won the Australian Inland Angling
Championship, fishing with a single rod and a handful of Boomerangs against
a big field of competitors using multiple rigs, baited setlines and other
lures. It was a seven day event and he fished alone and finished with
a commanding points lead over other competitors, including teams, in one
of the pioneering tournaments in Australia to include a catch-and-release
That really got the Boomerang noticed.
A Good Problem to Have
were now on the national fishing map and we had the fortunate problem
of being unable to satisfy demand. In the first 18 months of our venture
we hand made just 1000 wooden lures (now collector's items), breathed
a lot of sawdust and sniffed a lot of Araldite.
This was never going to work. We had to find a better way.
'Mass Production' Mk 1 - 1989
Using all profit from mail order sales we funded Downunder's entry into
mass production using moulds. The manufacturing was subcontracted to Alan
Dolan and Peter Howard of Lively Lures who produced finished 80mm Boomerangs
in expanding urethane resin. The arrival of our first batch of 500 lures
to be tank tested was unforgettable. Never had we seen so many of our
lures together in the one place. To us, at the time, this was big time!
graduated to laser-cut polycarbonate bibs; again, the first Australian
manufacturer to use this material. Our friend, Leapin' Leigh Boileau (Tackle
Master) assisted by inventing the Omega clip a clever modification
of our original tow point idea which is now so widely used by competitors.
Lively Lures was associated with other lure makers in those days and proposed
the idea of pooling resources and market product cooperatively. A weekend
meeting was held at Yamba and the 'Aussie Baitfish Range' was born.
Marketed under this banner were Lively Lures' Assassins, Gordon
Fallon's Kingsisher Poppers, Mal Florence's Masta Blasta's,
Leigh Boileau's Mirrorspoons and Blade Runners, and our
Downunder Boomerangs. (Sadly, Mal Florence died too young just
a few years later).
The association with Lively Lures continued for three years, during which
we launched two new models; the 60mm Boomerang; and the 40mm MinMin. The
MinMin was a ground breaker very small and very deep.
At the Crossroads - 1991
Although urethane moulding was a relatively inexpensive entrée
into mass production, it couldn't deliver the product consistency or economy
needed to sustain and develop a business in an increasingly congested
market. Backyard lure makers were popping up all over the place (just
like we did) and it seemed every small town had it's own local flavours.
Long live free enterprise!
Subcontracted manufacturing also reduced our margins and relinquished
too much control. We had to find another better way if we were