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Product Awareness Fishing - Reidy's Lures... the NT's premier lure manufacturer

REIDY’S LURES… the NT’s premier lure manufacturer By STEVE COOPER Colin and Karen Burdon enjoy lure manufacturing… and their iconic Reidy’s Lures brand is trolling deep into the market as sales continue to move ahead in leaps and bounds. In October 2003, I was fishing Lake Awoonga with Gladstone fish breeder, Andrew Hamilton. The barramundi were working best in the evenings, feeding in about a metre of water among the light timber lining the many coves and bays along the southern shore. That night we caught barramundi from 10kg through to 16kg. Nobody thought this was anything special. What was different for me, as well as catching my up to then biggest barra, was the lure I was casting. Andrew said the shallow diving lure, the B-52, was the best option. I am not sure that it was the only option but during my stay it produced the goods for me time after time. I still use the B-52 today, along with many of the other lures in the Reidy’s lure stable. The same year I was at Awoonga, Colin Burdon moved to Darwin. He had been a publican at St Helens in Tasmania, and enjoyed living there, “But then someone wanted the pub more than I did, so he sold it to him.” BREAKOUT: “We have thousands of visitors every year from all over Australia and overseas,” Colin said. Ten years later in Darwin I met up with the owner of Reidy’s Lures, Colin Burdon, and had an opportunity to visit his factory. This wasn’t so special: the door to the Stuart Highway factory is open to all comers, Monday to Friday. “We have thousands of visitors every year from all over Australia and overseas,” Colin said. However, with so much product manufactured overseas, it was an opportunity to see how an Aussie company was making a go of business against the imports, and learn some history. Colin and his wife Karen bought the Reidy’s Lures business from Jeff Reid in July 2007: “It was more about lifestyle for us, but now it is full on business and we can’t sit on our haunches.” Reidy’s Lures started out as Exciter Lures. Colin explained that Jeff Reid was in Cairns and Jack Erskine asked him to sell his lures in his shop: “He asked Jack whether he should go into manufacturing full time and Jack encouraged him to do so.” When Colin bought the business there were 10 lures in the range. “We have doubled the range since then … and counting,” Colin said. “The B-52 is an iconic lure and our biggest seller; there are four sizes with a fifth one coming out.” And then there are the other lures, like The Judge, Little Lucifer, Big Lucifer, Hell Raiser, Rubbers, Weedies, Goulburn Jack, Taipan, Daly Devil, Big Boss, Rattle Snake, J Walker, The Bloopa, Seabug Spitfire, Seabug Midgy, Seabug Rat, Seabug Oyster, Seabug Hawk, and Reidy’s Knife Jigs. To add to the range, individuals can order any of the lures with their own imprint. For example, I could order a B-52 and have “Silver Gypsy” imprinted on the body. BREAKOUT: It is always a good sign in business to be able to work through the slow times. Despite the barra downturn owing to the failure of the Wet this past season, Colin said sales had been steady. It is always a good sign in business to be able to work through the slow times. And Colin admitted his lures weren’t 100 per cent Australian: “We import the hooks from France, eyelets and rings from the US, and our soft plastic lures come from China with Mustad hooks.” However, when it comes to the plastic bodies on his major lure range, these are manufactured in Brisbane, Australia. It’s a big commitment given so many Australian designed lures are now made overseas and imported back into the country. Colin said he understood why companies went overseas as local labour and Occupational Health and Safety costs were high, which is why it is unique to be an Australian lure maker. “We even source the paint we use locally,” Colin said, and then explained the lure making process: “The blanks arrive from Brisbane and are sent to a local disable workshop where the balls, weights and eyelets are fitted. “These come back to the factory and are welded ultrasonically, and then we clean off any excess weld. Next stage is to paint the lures, followed by a clear coat. Then we print the eyes, gills and other features before the rings and hooks are attached.” When a lure is finished it is tank tested to ensure the motion is correct before being allowed to dry and be packaged. Inside his factory it is wall-to-wall boxes, but Colin said these held the raw materials, and his lures were stored elsewhere. As you walk in the door of the factory there is a large shop area, and the walls are lined with lures. “This is our storage facility,” Colin said pointing to the walls of lures: “Can you think of a better place to store your lures than on a shop wall?” INFORMATION: REIDY’S HELLRAISER Recently we received for testing a prototype Little Lucifer “shallow” from Reidy’s Lures. Dubbed the “Hellraiser”, this is a shallow-running version of the Little Lucifer that most Top End barra fishermen will be familiar with. It sports the same body shape and size as the original, but diverges from its predecessor by having a small oval bib moulded into the body, and is drawn from a fixed eyelet in the nose rather than from the bib. The original Lucifer has already spawned three variations, one a deeper diver that will hit 3m on the troll, an integral-molded bib version dubbed “Export” model that will track to 2m, and finally a big version of similar construction to the second. FIELD TEST Given its pedigree, it was to be expected that it would live up to the strong reputation cemented by the original Lucifer, which has been around since the mid-90s. The Little Lucifer is a gun billabong lure, and anyone who has trolled for barra at Corroboree Billabong will, at some time or another, have had one attached to their leader. With an ability to carry heavy-duty hooks and rings, troll to 2m and keep swimming reliably after plenty of aquatic ambushes, the original has a strong following. So how does the latest variation compare? First, it is designed to swim much shallower than the original and will no doubt carve out its own niche in this department. My first impressions of the swimming action of the Hellraiser was that it reminded me a little of that other legendary barra lure – the Nilsmaster Spearhead – albeit in a smaller profile and having a slightly-stronger swimming action. The new model has accounted for several barra in the brief time we have had to trial the samples. SUMMARY The Hellraiser casts like a bullet, swims well out of the box, is fitted with quality hardware, and will have a great range of colour permutations. Although the bodies are manufactured overseas, it was designed in Darwin, and all lures are tested and finished off at the Darwin factory. You can’t get a better guarantee than that. LITTLE LUCIFER HELLRAISER Style: Hard-body minnow Size: 65mm Weight: 10g Dive depth: 1m Colours: TBA Retrieval:  Slow roll or quick twitches and pauses


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