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Predatek - Maximum Efishency

Mass Production Mk II - 1991-92
Looking around the ranks of imported lures (which by this time were taking a hammering from the local cottage industry) we saw that injection moulding was the way to go. Unit costs could be reduced to support competitive pricing, though the downside was breathtaking startup capital requirements for small fish like us.

But the bullet was bit and we went into mortgaged sized debt to fund moulds and the ancillary equipment needed to bring the manufacturing back in house. Geoff and Cheryl Reid (Reidy's Lures) influenced and assisted our transition to injection moulding technology. At the same time, Downunder Lures Pty Ltd was registered.

Because of tooling costs, we were forced to drop one model from our stable of three lures. Reluctantly, we let the 40mm MinMin go; a project for the future?

Our first two moulds were bodies for the 80mm Boomerang and 65mm Boomerang (lengthened by 5mm from the old 60mm urethane version).

1992 saw the first hollow (hey, we can rattle now!) moulded Boomerangs hit the market, sporting pad-printed rather than stencilled patterns, and the same laser cut polycarbonate bibs introduced in the Lively Lures era. With injection moulding, we adopted a modular approach to product development. Using different bibs we launched seven models in quick succession, based on the 80mm (3) and 65mm (4) Boomerang bodies.

The workforce consisted of just the three company directors, all of whom still had day jobs. Again, manufacturing became a spare time activity, conducted in 3 locations because we lived in different places (Inverell, Casino and Elsmore). It wasn't ideal, but the only way to spread the work around.

Result? Like all fishing lure manufacturers, we spent less time fishing and more time designing, manufacturing and marketing product, and doing all the other things associated with running a small business.

But...hey!.... we weren't complaining. We knew we were in this game for the long haul and the early hard yards were a labour of love.

Distributors
To achieve better market penetration, distributors were neede to cover all states of Australia. We received enquiries from a number of businesses because our lures had a ready-made reputation. Today, our products are represented by an effective and loyal distributor network.

Moulded bibs
In 1993, we invested in moulds for bibs to lift quality and further reduce component costs. We were the first Australian manufacturer to use moulded polycarbonate bibs. These are superior to laser cut bibs and less expensive on a unit cost basis. The capital expense of moulds is what keeps smaller manufacturers loyal to laser cut bibs.

The radical Jindivik bib was our first, and designed to deliver a speciallised rock and roll action favoured by barramundi experts. The Jindivik became the fourth variant of the original 80mm Boomerang body, and remains a perennial best seller. Funny, that, considering one of our outspoken competitors declared it would never swim when he first saw the rakish bib!

Introduced with the Jindivik bib was our stainless steel towing plate, a heavy duty alternative to the Omega clip. Again, this innovation was copied by local competitors and some overseas manufacturers. What's that they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?

Restructure
Restructure — corporate buzzword of the 90's — touched small time Downunder as well. The difficulties of geographically dislocated production, and health issues for one of the Directors led to the consolidation of all manufacturing activities in Inverell. It was 1994, the year we launched the 90mm Woomera — our first tow-from-the-nose lure — and the dual action Woomera Skitzo. Nineteen ninety four also marked our first small export order to Sri Lanka. The business was becoming too much to handle on a part-time basis and we began employing labour.

Early in 1995 we built a modest factory in rented space above the Gaukroger Holden dealership in Inverell. That year we launched two more body styles; the 140mm Viper; and 85mm Bandit, which used existing bib designs.


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Dual-action Bunyip (now discontinued) had 2 slots for the towing plate in the bib. The action could be changed by moving the plate between the slots.

Two lures in one!

Watch this space in the future.

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