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50mm Spaddler

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• When & where

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Sounds of nature?
BENEFIT: On a steady retrieve, Spaddler makes gurgling and slapping sounds as it swims towards you. It sounds like a small creature in trouble. You won't hear the sound of the in-built rattle as the body rolls from side to side, but it's a subtle addition to the menu of sounds served up for lurking fish. Whether the sounds of a Spaddler are familiar to a predatory fish or not, they are bound to attract its attention.

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Tony Schultz won the 2002 SEQTAR "One Lure" Invitational Tournament with B65D.

And here's a fine Australian bass! he caught at Wivenhoe Dam.

When to fish Spaddlers

Early morning, late afternoon and through the night are the classic times to work surface lures in freshwater. Insect activity is highest and predatory fish are actively searching for food in shallow water; bright sunlight drives them deeper.

Time of year is also a factor in freshwater. The warmer months will produce the best surface action for species like bass, Murray cod and jungle perch.

If you're chasing bream in the saltwater, surface luring can be a year round proposition. As a rule of thumb, fish the snags and banks in the upper estuary systems in the summer and oyster leases closer to the river mouths in winter. The periods of slack water around the tide changes are best. At high tide, you can work Spaddlers over shallow oyster leases that are death to diving lures! But you can still be in deep trouble if you hook a feisty bream that runs for cover, whatever the lure.

Where to fish Spaddlers

Look for places where there is cover close to the surface or the river bank. These kinds of lures usually work best when cast close to cover that harbours fish near the surface: overhanging branches and foliage; streamside trees that have toppled into the water; shallow weedbads or boulder patches; overhanging and undercut banks; oyster leases; the tips of large snags that stir the surface in currents; edges of reed beds.

Imagine where you'd hang out if you were a fish. That's often a good place tp start prospecting with surface lures during the low light hours of the day.

Sometimes, surface lures will produce results far from cover. When there's a disturbance on the water indicating predators hassling bait fish near the surface, it's worth walking a Spaddler across the top. It's small size is unlikely to spook feeding predators.

TopHow to fish Spaddlers

The 'black' theory
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OPINION: It's often said in the fishing media that black is a great colour for surface lures because it gives a strong silhouette against the night sky. It's arguable that the colour of a lure is irrelavent in these conditions. Hold a light coloured lure up to the night sky, on a river, away from man made lights, to see for yourself. A silhouette is a silhouette!

Regardless, black will always be a popular colour because it imitates crickets and black cicadas. Coupled with Spaddler's luminous bib, it is a potent fish attractor.

Soft landings!
BENEFIT: Spaddlers have finesse! This can be a great advantage when fish are wary. Spaddlers don't blunder in there and spook the fish. They land with a soft splash, like an insect falling from overhanging vegetation.

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TIP: The Australian bass is a very surface oriented predator. During the warmer months when insects are prevalent, bass are suckers for a small, imitative surface lure. In the brackish reaches, Spaddlers can draw strikes at those times of the month when prawns are running and being harrassed from below.

Loop knot
Use a loop knot
TIP: Attach small lures to your line with a loop knot in the leader. This will give maximum performance. If you use a wire snap, the action could be degraded. A large wire snap may even sink the lure!

How to...
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TIE A LOOP KNOT: Click thumbnail to see large image.


When it comes to finding barramundi in impoundments, Neil Schultz is a pioneer and expert. He has supported Australian-made lures for years and favours Spoonbills and Vipers for impoundment work. This is a Lake Awoonga barra caught in a shallow bay.

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