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Home » Fishing-Tips-Techniques » Estuary-Fishing » Dhipirri Lodge Testing Trip

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Field testing products is an important part of their development and Wilson Fishing does a lot of field testing to ensure their released products stack up against the tough Australian conditions and fish.

Too many imported products need to be tweaked and adjusted to suit Aussie fish and we at Wilson Fishing believe that is simply not good enough and buyers should always be able to simply clip a lure on, tie on a swivel or grab a rod and it's right to go.

With this in mind the focus of this trip to Dhipirri was to test and photograph our new 2016 release product and also develop new products in conjunction with our overseas partners.

Attending the trip we had representatives from ATC, Zerek, Surecatch World, Mustad and selected Wilson Fishing staff.

Rods and reels used were both spinning and baitcast outfits in both barra and bluewater situations with the aim of testing current and prototype product to their limits.

The rods were all from the Venom stable with the baitcaster rods a combination of Crank Bait PE 2-4 6'3" and also the 5'9" 4kg, 6kg and 8kg cork handle models baitcasting rods that are a favourite in the NT.

The spin rods used were all the Venom Sportfishing rods. They varied from 7ft 1- and 2-piece spin rods to the 6'5" Crank Bait Spins that are a top seller for vertically fishing over reefs and rubble.

The reels were a combination of the new low and high gear ATC Valour spinning reels and the popular Vittatus baitcaster, as well as some developmental baitcasters that were being assessed. The Valours were mostly used on the blue water excursions to really put their design and drags to the test on fast fish that love to find any weaknesses in tackle.The baitcasting tackle was mainly used on the barra excursions.

We used Zerek lures including the Fish Traps in 95 and 110mm (, the new 69 and 89mm Tango Shads ( in suspending and floating, the new Barra X in 100 and 120mm ( and the Flat Shad in 3", 4.5" and 5" ( All lures were fitted with the Mustad Ultra point hooks with the Mustad Saltisim hooks ( being a standout and coming standard on Zerek lures designed in Australia for our fishing locations and species.

The fishing was outstanding and Dhipirri Lodge lived up to its reputation as a fishing Mecca but as with all locations no matter how remote, they still have their quiet times and this is when putting on the correct Zerek lure made all the difference.

The bluewater fishing was very tide dependant and the bite ranged from quiet to mayhem and the main method was to find bird life and active fish and then vertically fish the water column from top to bottom. There was one lure that out-fished all and that was the Zerek Fish Trap.

The strangest occurrence was that all the reef species were underneath the surface feeding fish following their movements. The whole area is a rock base and quite shallow so you would go back over a spot that had good marks on the sounder and they would be gone - off following the bait. Using the Zerek Fish Trap to work the water column from just under the boat to the bottom meant that you caught the most and the greatest variety.

The species we encountered were cobia, XOS brassy trevally, sweetlip, cod, big tuskies, nannygai, queenfish, golden snapper (fingermark), golden trevally, three species of mackerel, longtail tuna and a bucket load of other critters with some being just unstoppable.

All Zerek Fish Traps come fitted with the Mustad Ultra Point Saltisim trebles. These are a saltwater designed treble that is ultra-sharp, forged and 4X strong. These hook proved faultless on the bluewater and when you're talking about 100 fish sessions it can take its toll on hooks.

When it came to the barra fishing it was all about the tide and the correct areas to fish with the correct lures. When we were fishing snag piles that were deep (3m out from the bank to 20m out), the Flat Shad in 3" and 4.5" were the ultimate for this type of fishery. We would cast way back in the snags and just let them sink and slow roll them out. The snagless design meant that you could keep the correct speed through the snags and not worry about snagging up. This speed was what enticed the fish to come out and bite.

Some people are apprehensive about weedless/snagless designs but we really found day after day that the folding design of the Flat Shad had great hook-up rates on the fish. The biggest surprise was that the 3" and 4.5" versions were the most successful and that a 3" Flat Shad is easily castable on 6kg Venom baitcasting gear. To me this was the highlight of the trip, casting way up the back of snags where you wouldn't ordinarily dare too and get the bite and worry about getting the fish out after that. Most of them did come out with some deliberate aerial work and a fair old heave on the rod. The Venom Crank Bait PE 2-4 rod was the best for this situation as the added length at 6'3" rod both helped cast the light lure and guide the fish through and over the timber.

The next barra situation was deeper edges and corners with smaller more individual snags and for this situation, especially when the tide was half way out, the new 69 and 89mm Tango Shads worked a treat. If there was a snag we would use the floating and if there was a pressure point with swirling water we would use the suspending version. With the floating version the key was to cast as close to the bank as you could and then crank the lure down to the desired depth and then work the lure through the snag. The lure was designed to be worked into the timber aggressively then back off and let it float up and then bang it back into the timber. The long bib and nose down altitude combined with an aggressive action really fired the barra up. When targeting the pressure points with the suspending version it was a matter of getting the lure to dive to the optimum depth and then a twitch and pause retrieve to imitate a baitfish caught in the swirling water.  

The last barra situation was towards the low of the tide when the drains and small creeks delivered the last of the bait to the waiting barra and the riverbank snags stick high out of the water. This was when the Barra X Pro came into its own. It's a shallow, 1m floating lure with a high flash reflective finish and tight easily produced roll (this due to the square bib shape) that happens with every twitch of the rod. The method was to get the lure to the snag or edge of the drain and make it twitch and roll on the spot, often this area was discoloured and the reflective/holographic colours were the best when this discoloured band of water was present. We had some samples of the sinking version of this lure that is due to be released after the floating model and it was interesting to note that once you had found a patch of fish and the water had drained right out of the snake drain or snag you were fishing on the bottom of the tide, that the fish would not leave the area and that's when the sinking version worked out wider of the bank really fired up until the tide had turned to come in and push itself back into the drain or over the snag.

All in all it was so good to go to remote place like this and use/test outstanding new and existing product in a remote fish rich environment and know that the gear is up to the task and in many cases ahead of the pack! 

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