Big lures catch bloody big fish mate" (Ernest Hemingway). Yeah alright, Ernie never said that but it sounded pretty good didn't it?
Now, we’ll start off with a little introduction here; my name is Drew Hedington (@the_flogmattic_fisho) and I have my own joint near the banks of the Dawson River in the Central Queensland region. For anyone that has not seen my social media accounts or photos posted to Lure Me In, I enjoy hunting dinosaurs. Scleropages Leichardti to be exact or southern Saratoga. Toga have become an addiction and I’m forever on the hunt. My passion takes me far and wide, through all reaches of the Dawson in pursuit of the mythical like creature that may no longer exist.
Anyway, about 15 years ago I started teaching myself about big baits and saw an immediate potential for Saratoga. Through a lot of trial and error, I have discovered that it is possible to constantly capture larger fish, up to and well over 70cm, in time I’ll discuss what I've learnt. I don’t claim to know everything as I’m still learning with every outing. As I was once told by a dear friend who is no longer with us, “if you think you know it all, then you really know nothing “. To this day, this is my approach to fishing. Right, enough about me, let’s talk about the Wild Lures Wild Beat. I only recently received this bait, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 11”, 6oz spectacle that it is. These baits were somewhat of a unicorn for so long, before the plastic production models were finally released. The colour I purchased through Lure Me In “Clear Tiger”, not a colour I’m familiar with but it had an application before even arriving.
When you receive the Wild Beat, it will sink at a dead slow rate. Once a slight breeze catches the slack in your line, the Wild Beat will sway and glide. Personally, I have removed the stock hooks and replaced them with 1/0 duel assist hooks. This is just an experiment to start off with but it has offered results through testing. With the much lighter assist hooks, the bait will suspend somewhere around 1-2ft which I find ideal as the water cools with the changing seasons. A big suspending glide that has an action that is triggered so easily is truly unique. The idea is that after such a large body touches down it’s almost certain to spook but intrigue. Allowing the Wild Beat to rest as the ripples on the waters surface settle will allow Toga in the area to give into curiosity and investigate.
“Always work your lure as if there is a fish behind it”.
Through hours of experimenting and noting dozens of reactions, I feel like I’m beginning to understand the ways of the Wild Beat.
The first initial bites were through an all out hack at a reaction bite.
Burning and killing the bait through offshore standing timber (which the Dawson has no shortage!) sure it got reactions but not the right reactions.
More so a “OHMYGODWHATISITGOAWAYHECKSWIMAWAY!!”
So I chose to go polar opposite and fish dead slow... my way of thinking is to understand both ends of the response spectrum and fill in the gaps as I go... hell, there’s no pressure on me so I can take my time with my approach.
Getting a response on aggressive and dopey retrieves it was time to look at my equipment.
To start I used my all around big bait combo
Legit Design WSC65XXH Big Bait Special
Daiwa Tatula 150H-TW
Pe4 66lb YGK Fulldrag and a 40lb nylon leader.
This however I found to be a little cumbersome, though the WildBeat is within the ability of the rod, the short rear handle made the old wrist sore and mate, my left wrist is sore enough already.
So after a couple unsuccessful sessions using this outfit I decided to step it up to a bigger rod, slower reel and a new line system.
Abu Garcia Revo Elite IB5
Abu Garcia World Monster WMSC762H
Pe3 55lb YGK Fulldrag and a wind on 15ft 25lb ygk nasuly dreadline FC leader.
This set up gave me a more comfortable casting ability and shock absorption.
Usually I will fish a short leader of 40-80lb incase a mongrel ten keg catfish decides to have a go and we all know the repugnant critters go like a shower of shit and they’re brilliant at bricking and busting off big baits if you’re not expecting the situation to occur.
Working backwards and forwards casting the eleven inch WildBeat comfortably in and around the standing timber I’d chosen to fish it became apparent that it was born to fish on anything but braided line!
Having 15ft of 25lb fluorocarbon gave it new life.
From there it was a mix up of actions, slowly gliding and bouncing through the snags and I’ll say this, damn this thing is snag resistant!
And fast burning, jerking and all manner of silly attempts to get from from this pricey little gem.
The first capture came from allowing the bait to land 10ft passed a prominent cluster of timber, letting it soak whist I lit my cigarette and tripping over my own feet. As I stumbled and regained composure I noticed beneath the disturbed water a golden figure coiled into an S shape jolting forward and backing off the bait. This toga though small was lit up, upset but unsure as I’ve seen many times before. With a sharp sweep finished with a half moon sweep in the opposite direction the WildBeat performed the famous 360 and that’s when the bite came.
I watched this fish dive out of sight to come full boar back up and hit.
A short fight ensued and a 60’s model hit the deck, along with it came a load of information.
I’ve been fishing the Wild Beat relentlessly since with mixed success but my feeling at this point is that; to catch consistently, fish it inconsistently.
Since learning this I’ve had many reactions and hookups but as we all know; the larger the lure, the easier the acrobatic Saratoga will throw the lure.
This is where the longer leader comes in, providing drag against the short and aggressive outbursts of hooked fish, essentially doing half the work for you and then just grinding the critter to the net.
Stretch and shock absorption are another obvious bonus taking a bit of effort out of the equation and I’m all about effort reduction.
There is a lot to be figured out with the Wild Lures Wild Beat and I’m determined to learn but the days are only so long and I could keep writing lines but it’s a wee bit too soon to make any predictions or give an outright opinion until I further my understand of this incredible work by Wild Lures.
If given another opportunity to write and with a topic I’m more familiar with, I hope that you the reader enjoyed this little squiggle and are keen to learn more with me in future.