Amazingly, marine scientists used to tell us that marlin do not see colour.They said they see various shades, but not colours like us.
However, recent discoveries suggest marlin do see colours, but the information is received and computed to the brain in a different way. One only has to see how a specific lure colour is chosen by a marlin to see this theory has credibility. When they want a certain colour, they will weave their way past several lures to take one – and this happens not just once, but time and time again, often by a series of different attacking marlin. So while all lures will catch fish at some time, knowing which colour scheme is effective at the time makes a big difference – and that particular colour can change overnight.
However, luminosity in a lure is something that tuna or marlin seem to like most of the time, and Sam Mossman once discussed it with me and agreed. He said that for some reason the lumo that glows in the dark also attracts fish on a bright day. He speculated that fish may see wavelengths that we don’t, but whatever the reason, fish are attracted to it big time. I am someone who has learned a lot by listening. Peter Pakula’s most successful lure is the Lumo Sprocket. Just about all the Cairns fleet now run the Lumo Sprocket off the ‘rigger. It catches big blacks there for sure. My recently introduced Freedom Super Lumo made by Black Magic is similar to the Pakula Sprocket, but has even more lumo in the skirts.
Ultimate Lady uses this lure most of the time, and their 305 marlin last season tells us all that they know what they are doing. Then there is my big black of 473.2kg – New Zealand’s largest marlin ever caught, and which ate my Freedom Grand Slammer Lumo. Black Magic’s Rick Wakelin asked me to produce three Freedom lures, and the first one, the Freedom Grand Slammer, was their best selling lure here last year. So we have now produced the Grand Slammer, which was in the ‘Evil’ colouration, but is now in a lumo version. A great all-rounder that catches everything he says.
It is time to tell my secret. Being intensely keen on making my own lures, I developed something I am sure nobody else has done before. If you are a diver, you will have seen kingfish swimming quite happily with kahawai all around them. Perfect harmony. However, if one of these kahawai is put in the water with a hook in it, it takes on a fish-in-distress attitude. Then, like a lion picking out an old, weak wildebeest or a young defenceless fawn, the kingfish recognises distress, and the scene changes from cruise mode into dinnertime.
What I have done to try and imitate this movement in the angle-faced lures is to offset the internal lead keel to the side by a few degrees. The angle of the face still directs the lure upwards, but because of the weight not being quite at the bottom, the lure swims and rocks a little from side to side as it does so.
Many anglers will have seen marlin run into the spread to pick out the ‘lame duck’. At such times I noticed that if the lure ran a little off balance – seemingly injured – the marlin often did not seem to whack it or try and kill it anymore. The ‘injured’ lure was not going anywhere, so more often than not the marlin simply went up and ate it. This naturally improves your hook-up rate.
The second thing I do is use a single hook, as two-hook rigs dampen the lure’s natural action.
You will notice that at the back of the lure head there is ‘X’ shape moulded there for locking hook rigs. Originally I locked in two thimbles inside one another (forming a cross) and crimped them to 600lb wire, locking the hook so that it ran point up./However, I found this lure’s vigorous swimming action caused metal fatigue and, after leaving two hooks in marlin, I changed my ways.The advantage of locking a single hook so the hook’s point stays upwards is twofold. Marlin have hard mouths, so the best place to target is the top half of their mouth’s roof under the bill. The side of the mouth is also good, but the bottom jaw is all bone. So if you have your hook pointing upwards, theoretically you are improving your chances of hooking up by 50%.
Some say a hook rides up anyway, but a skirt not sitting perfectly can override that. The moulded ‘X’ at the rear of the lure-head makes sure it stays correctly positioned.
I believe a single, well-sharpened and unimpeded hook will go through bone more efficiently. If a marlin misses hooking up initially, it often comes back time after time until it does.The second advantage of a single-hook rig is that far more yellowfin tuna appear to be hooked as a result. As we all know, tuna can be very fussy about what they feed on and can see very well too. Lighter leaders and a neat preparation helps to make a difference, but a single, smaller hook will lead to more tuna captures I am sure.
Finally, the Freedom lures are based on successful lures made worldwide.
Joe Yee of Hawaii is very famous for his range of lures. The term ‘Evil’, which describes a well-known skirt colour combination, was originally used by him on his famous Apollo Evil lure, which caught some of the largest marlin in the world off Hawaii.
This colour scheme represents several species here, such as flying fish, koheru, yellowfin and mahimahi. The Freedom Grand Slammer and the Freedom Grand Slammer Lumo is not a straight copy, but is a bit smaller and subtly altered. The new Freedom Super Lumo is similar to the Pakula Sprocket – another highly proven most successful ‘pusher-type’ design.These lures are all well proven and have caught me all the billfish species – including several spearfish – as well as the tunas, except for a bigeye (and I hope to rectify this soon!).
The lumo-colour versions represent the mahimahi in particular. The mahimahi is widespread in the tropics and a major food source for predators. That’s why green and yellow lures are so good for yellowfin. I was once invited to go night fishing with a Fijian hotel worker who became a good friend. He wanted fish for his family. As we paddled out into the lagoon, several very fast fish streaked out in front of us, all lit up and leaving a trail of phosphorescence behind them – just like shooting stars – and I think lumo lures create a similar affect!
Just a couple more things. These lures run best when run off the long ‘rigger and not too close to the boat. The pushers are for the rough days, as they hold their position well, while the angle-faces are especially good when conditions are calm. Good luck!
2005 - Alain Jorian
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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