Halco Madeyes Softbaits Review

In a world over-subscribed with fishing lures - including softbaits how does any newcomer make its mark in such a crowded market.

Short of throwing bundles of marketing money at them, simply put them in the hands of people who are going to catch fish and who are respected in the fishing community.

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Conaghans NZ represents the worldfamous Aussie lure manufacturer Halco and they have had the lure company’s recently developed Madeyes softbait option on the back burner for a little while. I first ‘tested’ the Madeyes Paddle Prawn range probably 18 months or so ago with some success. I recall fishing Bream Bay at the height of the holiday season and while the lures caught fish, the best I could do were some ‘average’ pannies in the 40-45cm range.

At the time I thought these lures, which imitate a small crayfish for want of a better description – all legs and tail – would come into their own in late winter when the crays came into the shallows.

Fast forward a couple of years when ‘a person respected in the fishing community’ – Far North ‘Fish whisperer’ Rob Parker – was introduced to the Madeyes range. Like me, his initial results were far from spectacular, but in the last few weeks, the lures have come into their own.

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His go-to tail in recent weeks has been the Madeyes Paddle Prawn in Orange, followed by Glow, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in size – both seven and five-inch tails have been doing the business.

Rob says, as a charter operator, he needs to run with what is working for his clients.

“To be honest, it was not a winter for softbaits. We had persistent westerlies and there was a lot of algae in the water. The tried-and-true bait and berley worked best for me this year, although when drift fishing I would often drop a Madeyes way back as a tail-end Charlie, and we picked up some nice fish that way.”

With the water starting to clear up this spring, softbaits have come back into their own, the Madeyes already accounting for several snapper over 20lb. Depending on their experience, Rob’s clients would either cast forward and work the lures back, or simply drop and drag. Both produce good results.

Much of Rob’s fishing is done in 30-50 metres of water with a one-ounce short shank hook his jig head of choice.

Spring is a prime time for big snapper in the Far North. The big males arrive first and one of their favourite foods is moulting crayfish – exactly what a seven-inch Madeyes Paddle Tail is designed to represent. Squid is another favourite snapper snack and Halco have this aspect covered, the lures enhanced with a ‘natural squid scent’. Open a packet and you will know what I mean – no extra lure enhancement is needed with these puppies!

In the water the lures have a lot of moving parts – there are feelers and legs that wiggle and a paddle tail that moves the whole rig enticingly. Rob fishes them with 20lb fluoro trace. He also mentioned he most often gets his bigger fish in the middle of the day – 12.00-2.00pm.

What makes the Madeyes different from other softbait tails on the shelves?

Firstly, and most importantly, they catch fish. I have proven this on the pannies with regard to volume, Rob on the XOS trophy models.

The lures are constructed with RST (Rubber Stretch Technology), a unique rubber copolymer that is five times more durable than standard plastic. This superstretchy compound enables the Paddle Prawn to withstand repeated strikes, making them ideal for species such as snapper and kingfish. A look through Rob’s photo library and you will see the lures hanging out of the mouths of a range of other species including trevally and john dory.

RST has a second advantage – it floats. This ensures when worked across a sandy bottom it has an enticing wiggle to it that attracts the strike.

Halco has other products in the range, including an Octoskirt, a 3.5” Whippy Worm, a 2.5” Flutter Shrimp and a Mad Craw.

The Paddle Prawns are available in four sizes – seven, five, four and three inch; and in seven different colours – fluoro orange, glow, pink glow, chartreuse glow, fusion, pearl and ice cold.

In conclusion, while the Madeye Paddle Tails are not my go-to lure (yet!), there will be a place for them on board. Now is a good time to introduce them into your terminal tackle lineup – they might just pleasantly surprise you!

Disclaimer: Rob Parker is now a sales representative in the Far North for Conaghans, distributors of Halco product.

Written by Grant Dixon

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