Given a choice of times to fish with surface lures for Murray cod, it's probably fair to say that most anglers would choose late afternoon, nighttime, or early morning...not the middle of a sunny day at the height of summer. Would you agree?
Well, sometimes you have to roll with what's on offer. Team Predatek's Dylan Smith recently had just a few hours available to him in the middle of a hot summer's day to hike into some skinny-water gorge country and chase Murray cod with Jabberwok surface lures. It was a week after a new moon. He tells the story...
"It was bloody hot, with cumulus clouds giving us brief patches of shade. Most of the time it was just hard sunlight beating down from overhead. There was scant shade from trees or boulders anywhere along the banks and I wasn't confident that the fish would be in a mood to come out from cover and smash a surface lure in those conditions. But what do you do? Give it a miss? Nah...you have a go.
I caught two cod and missed three others that didn't hook up. That's a great result considering the conditions and low water level during a drought. I think that the Jabberwok's ability to maintain a steady paddle and plopping noise at slow retrieve speeds was a factor in my success on the day. The fish weren't fired up and actively hunting. The Jabberwok I used was a yellow pre-production model."
As a matter of fact, TEAM PREDATEK did some accurate measuring of the Jabberwok's slow-speed performance last winter. We accurately measured a course distance of 30 metres in a stretch of shallow, still water at Lake Copeton and pushed a stick into the bottom to mark the start and another to mark the finish line for the course.
An angler stood behind the finishing line, faced the starting line and cast the Jabberwok up the course and beyond the starting line. The retrieve was commenced so that the Jabberwok was up and paddling before it crossed the starting line.
An observer walked parallel to the course on the bank and started the stop-watch when the Jabberwok reached the starting line and stopped the stop-watch when the Jabberwok reached the finishing line. We repeated the test a number of times.
THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT FOR THE TEST
If the Jabberwok stopped paddling and making an audible plip-plop sound at any time during the retrieve, that retrieve was disqualified. In other words, we required the angler to retrieve the Jabberwok as slowly as possible while maintaining an audible paddling action.
The best (slowest) result we obtained for the 30 metre course was 60 seconds. That's 0.5 metres per second—1.8kph—less than 1 knot. Impressive!
Although we've caught many fish on Jabberwoks using a variety of retrieve speeds , including fast, at those times when a super-slow retrieve is required to keep the lure in the strike zone for longer, or to tease a reluctant fish, the Jabberwok can do the business.
We've swum the Jabberwok side-by-side with another well known surface paddler and the competitor's lure couldn't match the Jabberwok for slow-speed or audibility.