Predatek Viper and Hyperviper

Posted by mark hope on March 27, 2011 (0 Comments)

 Predatek's Viper range of lures are not exactly new to the Australian market.  First Released in 1995, the viper consisted of a new body shape, coupled with a molded polycarbonate bib from Predatek's existing product range.  The Predatek range of lures were extremely advanced for their time in regards to the materials and construction methods used.  While other local Australian manufacturers were using expanding urethane foam to speed up construction times, the boys at Predatek were looking farther afield.  By drawing inspiration from the USA and other international markets, they decided to step things up a notch and go for international standard molded polycarbonate lures which were far more aesthetically pleasing and far more durable for tough domestic species such as the Barramundi. 

Early in the piece Vipers had a reputation on Tinaroo for having a very weak bib.  When i weighed my first World Record, i was informed by an employee of Bransford's Tackle at Clifton Beach that some people on the tablelands had a whole shed full of vipers with the bib broken off.  I had never seen a single broken bib, but these words stuck in my head, and for some time i was just waiting for a breakage.  Later i found out the reason why i had never seen a broken bib.  Predatek redesigned the bib in 1999 under the trademarked name Enduroshok.  The Enduroshok bib is much tougher, of thicker construction, a new plastic, a different molding process and a central reinforcing rib that extends into the nose of the lure.  I can Truthfully say that in the time i have been using Predatek lures, i have not yet broken any part of the lure, including the bib.  Sure i have straightened hooks, but i have not yet broken any plastic part off any of my Viper or Hyperviper lures the whole time i have used them.

When i started fishing for Barra i knew nothing about the species, or the tackle required, as the only other freshwater fishing experience i had at the time was fishing for bass in Northern NSW.  I phoned my dad and asked him some questions about Barra, because he had fished for them before.  He decided he would send me a package of 2 rods, 2 reels and about 6 vipers.  After doing some internet research, i found that vipers were actually the most popular lure used on Tinaroo, primarily by trollers.  For some time i was under the impression that vipers were no good as a casting lure, but i was in for a rude shock.  In early 2011 i cast a black viper with red head almost exclusively for 3 months straight, in the dirty storm runoff flowing into Tinaroo.  I estimate i hooked 40 or more Barra over a metre in this time which well  and truly proved the worth of my chosen lure.  The Predatek Viper may be the most successful lure yet for catching world record Barramundi.  I know of 4 records that were caught on a Viper, including the 8kg line class, Small fry class, Retired 37kg line class, and the very first All tackle Length world record for a 117cm fish I caught casting a viper on 10lb line.  I would say there are probably even more than this.

117cm Barra caught on Black Viper and 10lb braid

To be continued...................


Sebile Bonga Minnow 125FL

Posted by mark hope on December 01, 2010 (0 Comments)

Yesterday I was loaned a lure to try by Phil Henricks of Malanda.  The lure was  a Sebile Bonga Minnow 125FL from Sebile lures.  Sebile are fairly new to the Australian market, but have received a lot of publicity in Australian fishing publications during 2010.  Part of the Australian Marketing campaign involved a trip to Tinaroo to chase monster barra by company founder Patrick Sebile.  Patrick, John Mondora, and IGFA world record holder Ian Kucurs put the lures to the test, and the results were amazing considering that they were fishing in the off season.  They came away with a number of fish over a metre, all on Sebile lures.  The full article can be read in NQ Fish and Boat magazine November 2010.


I have now seen a few of the different Sebile lures suitable for barramundi, as Patrick was kind enough to give some away to a few of the locals while he was up here.  The build quality of the lures are of the highest level, easily on par with benchmark brands such as Rapala.  The lure under review was already second hand when I received it, and was still in great shape.  The paint had some small chips and scratches, but any airbrushed lure receives damage like this with continued use.  On close inspection it appears that the lure is moulded in two halves, fused together, ground smooth, then airbrushed.  The plastic is of a good thickness, and seems to be not too brittle.  Good for throwing around rocky shorelines.  When held up to light there are 3 transverse (side to side) supports inside the lure for strength, and a ball bearing of approximately 8mm with approximately 0.5mm of movement for some noise.  The advantage of this type of set up is that the larger ball bearing gives a lower pitch rattle, which a few Tinaroo anglers prefer over the loose tinny sound of small balls in a large cavity.  The ball in the tail also aids in casting and holding the tail down in the water on long pauses.  I could not see how well the stainless loops were anchored into the body of the lure even when held up to light, but the wire is a decent thickness and appears to be good quality.  I am not sure if the hooks and rings are standard, however as you see it, I would be more than happy to use this lure on 80lb braid, which can destroy terminal tackle.

I decided to fish the lure around Tinaburra Ramp on sunset as I didn't have time to get the boat ready after work.  The lure looked good although I was not too optimistic.  Although walk the dog surface lures draw a respectable amount of attention, their hookup rate is less than ideal.  On a number of occasions I have received decent boofs from big fish, but not got any hookup.  Currently I own a Cultiva Tango dancer and Rapala X-walk in this style which I will use as a comparison.  Other equipment used included a G.Loomis 721 IMX rod, Shimano Calais 200DC reel, braid and 80lb Jinkai Plus leader.

The first thing i noticed with the lure was it's weight, 46.08g on certified scales.  This thing is pretty heavy.  Especially on a rating 1 rod and light braid.  The next thing was the thickness of the lure compared to other walk the dog offerings.  It is very fat up front, with it's thickest point around 1/3 of the way down the body.  And lastly, the stick on eyes are of a cool design, incorporating the Sebile logo in their pattern.  Similar to the headlights on a Volkswagen car.

To cast the lure I had to leave very little trace outside the rod tip or I would snap the tip clean off.  This type of lure would usually be fished from a rod of around 8-10kg rating.  The cast was great, and went a hell of a long way, probably one of the easiest casting lures i have ever tried.  Once in the water the lure sat tail down with authority, but remained extremely buoyant.  To start the action the slack has to be taken from the braid and the rod given around 4-5 short sharp taps of the rod tip.  This should start the lure travelling in a zig zag pattern.  The lure is then paused to remove the slack and can be left in position for several seconds.  This is when the fish will hit the lure, so keep alert and stay watching the lure.  Let the fish take the lure and don't strike until you feel weight on the rod, then lift the rod tip as hard and fast as possible.  A sign of a good walk the dog lure is the number of zig zags per metre of water travelled.  I can easily say that this lure is the easiest walk the dog i have used.  Sometimes it was hard to get the lure to start the action, however this was partly due to lazy technique and partly position of the lure on the first jerk of the line.  If the lure is facing head on it can be difficult to get these types of lures working for a few jerks.  I found that the effort required per twitch was very little, contributing to the high number of zig zags per metre.  This kept the lure in the strike zone for a long time.

In the end, for 40 min work I landed one small Barra around 40cm in extremely shallow water.  These lures are best fished on shallow flats and points next to deep channels on sunset and sunrise.  Some people have had success under other conditions, but the majority of people prefer to use them in this manner.

Overall:  Good lure, good quality, worth the money.

Mark Hope