Grant Dixon reviews Hayabusa slow-jigs...
When a new lure hooks snapper on its first three drops, it will always grab the tackle tester’s attention!
Long-standing tackle distributor Conaghans recently picked up the prestigious Hayabusa brand, a name synonymous with quality Japanese tackle. The mix includes three new jigs to the market: the ‘Jackeye Kunekune’, its close relative, the ‘Jackeye Slim and Slow’, and the rather weird-looking distant cousin, the ‘Hayabusa Blade Bomber’.
Leaving the Mangawhai bar, Conaghan’s sales rep Andrew Walsh and I were headed southeast to some low foul in 40 metres when suddenly the sounder lit up with snapper sign at the 12-metre mark. Not wanting to drive away from fish to find fish, the 60g orange ‘Jackeye Kunekune’ (where do the Japanese get their lure names?) was deployed into the silt-stained depths.
Andrew with a nice Bream Bay pannie that was one of many snapper to take a liking to the Hayabusa Jackeye Kunekune jig during the testing session.
Upon hitting bottom, and with just the hint of a lure lift off the sand, it was nailed with the first fish of the day – but it didn’t quite make it past the self-imposed 35cm size minimum. Putting it back, a second drop was made with the same result. This time it was a keeper that went on the ice.
Knowing there were possibly better fish out deeper, we ran to the 40m mark and, on the first drop, I hooked up again, this time into a better fish. The fluttering motion on the descent saw the jig hit several times on the way down. The Hayabusa website has some excellent underwater footage that shows the lure’s action both on the drop and when retrieved or yo-yoed.
With photos taken, I could relax into the rhythm. The lures had proven themselves, and with the pressure off, we could enjoy the day trying different jigging techniques.
Andrew had two more tricks up his sleeve. He picked out a 60g Pink Sardine from the ‘Jackeye Shot Slim and Slow’ range – rigged with assist hooks top and bottom – and was soon among the action. The highlight of his day was a ‘double’: a snapper on each of the hooks.
“I think they like it”, Andrew had the fish fighting over the Jackeye Slim and Slow.
The ‘Shot Slim and Slow’ jigs cast well with their rear-weighted body. They have a seductive backside wobble under a steady retrieve, and being rear-weighted, they can be dropped quickly to get down to the marks showing on the sounder. The hologram colour scheme adds to the attraction that certainly was not lost on the snapper population.
In a ‘now for something completely different’ department, Andrew presented me with the scary-looking Hayabusa ‘Blade Bomber’. My reaction to this unusual critter was similar to when I first saw the alien Daiwa Bay Rubber and Shimano Lucanus jigs a few years back: “What the hell is that?”
With its unusual shape and tail spinner, I wondered if the boundaries of common-sense lure design had been crossed. But no, the creation was as effective as it was different looking. As the snapper bite slowed, it was left to the gurnard to take a liking to the Blade Bomber. Dropped and dragged on the bottom, the lure was no doubt kicking up the odd puff of silt and sand, enough to pique the interest of the grunters. Several fish decided to join us topside for dinner, but not before first sampling the ice bath!
One of several gurnard that found the Blade Bomber to its liking.
Even the assist hooks for the range are intriguing. The name, ‘Neckties’, reflects the shape of the silicone strands that flutter with the slightest movement. Snooded to the kevlar chord, the small but ultra-sharp assist hooks are tin-plated to minimise rust. On almost every hook-up, both hooks had a purchase in the fish. If you don’t already have a strong set of pliers, I would suggest you purchase some before fishing these jigs. Once dug in, the hooks are hard to remove with just your fingers.
I genuinely rate this product. Apart from its brand pedigree, I have seen over three sessions now a small range of inshore lures (maximum weight 60g) that are up there with the best.
Hayabusa Spinner Blade
Weights: 14, 21, 28, 40, and 60g.
Colours: Red shrimp, Chili Pepper, Double Orange, UV Sardine, Pink Glow, Chartruese Gold.
Features: Round spoon blade designed for maximum vibration. Can be armed with softbaits, slider rubbers, octopus skirts and bait. Protection pipe inside the body reduces drag and prevents leader damage. Great ‘drop and drag’ lure.
Hayabusa Jackeye Shot Slim and Slow
Weights: 20, 30, 40, and 60g.
Colours: Blue Mackerel, Pink Sardine, Blue Sardine, Zebra Glow and Silver.
Features: Rear weighted body assists with casting length. Double assist hooks. Asymmetrical hologram colour scheme. Tough tin-coated dual hooks and tough silicon strands in the Necktie assist rigs.
Hayabusa Jackeye Kunekune
Weights: 20, 30, 40, and 60g.
Colours: UV Blue Sardine, UV Pink Sardine, UV Red Gold, UV Green Gold, Silver-Blue Lumo Zebra and Gold Orange Zebra.
Features: Can be used for both casting and vertical jigging. Assist hook rig comes alive with just the slightest movement, imitating wounded baitfish or squid. Ultra-sharp tin-coated hooks. Evenly weighted for a fluttering action on the drop.
April 2023 - Grant Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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