Lure Reviews

This is how it works. Every lure that I get my hands on gets thoroughly tested and I let you know what I think - easy.

Highly Recommended = Always have one on hand
Recommended = I would buy another one
Above Average = Would buy one on special (and then only cast it around shallow bommies)
Average = Wouldn't buy another one (would lend it to a beginner)
Below Average = Something has pissed me off about this lure
Not Recommended = This lure is a rip off or has major flaws
Useless = I yell at my mates if they buy one

Secret Sauce Lures

 Secret Sauce Lures are a relatively new custom lure builder based in Palau. They produce lures hand made from local, sustainably gathered exotic hardwoods and high quality imported  hardwoods from the USA and Canada. Each lure is built to an exacting standard of quality, effectiveness of design, beauty and durability.
Currently they supply only local Professional Fishing Guides with custom designed lures but will soon be producing product for the retail market. These are not cheap mass produced items but custom designed tackle, tuned for heavy duty use by professionals in the Pacific.
Secret Sauce Lure's "Woody" 110mm/40g
Action: Short popping splashes that result in a wiggle after the splash.
When to use: Shallow water conditions over reef or other structure, when you need a STRONG dependable lure that can take the heat.
Weight: Various weights/lengths will be available. The one shown is 40g.
Cost: $20
Comment: A really easy to use lure that really attracts fish with its splash and wiggle. I wasn't convinced about the "natural" colour but it works! Best used by accomplished anglers who can appreciate the benefits of a hand made and tuned plug.
Overall: Tough, effective and one of a kind. Recommended 


Fisherman is one of the most well known and respected manufacturers in GT fishing circles world wide. Based in Okinawa, the boss Suzukisan travels extensively to tests his products and it shows.
Fisherman Long Pen
A veteran Long Pen - Blue Mackerel

Green Mackerel

Pink Mackerel

Action: Hold the rod tip at 45 degrees and wind flat out.
When to use: I use them exclusively when targeting GTs in shallow water, especially around breaking waves.
Weight: Various weights are available. I prefer 100g because they have less drag in the water and tire you out less.
Length: About 250mm
Cost: 7, 000 yen or $80
Comment: These are my favourites of the Fisherman range. They are simple to use (just wind fast) and they catch GTs.They are generally well built and presented but have weak paint jobs that scratch easily.
Overall: Great lures but a bit pricey. Recommended 
An example of the nice detail of these lures, a double cap that strengthens the lure against the pressure of the through wire

Tailwalk Gunz 180s
These lures are from Japan but I suspect that they are made elsewhere. They have sinking and floating models and appear to be designed specifically for GTs and tuna.

Highly reflective finishes make these stickbaits effective when new
My favourite colour combo of the Tailwalk lures
Action: Using a "stroking" action (or a sideways sweep if you like) of a soft tipped rod will impart an attractive dipping and rolling action to this lure
When to use: The sinking version is ideal for rough days that make popper work difficult. Stickbaits such as this are also much easier physically to work than a popper so I use them when I need a rest.
Weight: Around 120g
Length: 180mm
Cost: 2, 500 yen or $30
Comment: When new these lures are very attractive (to fishermen at least) with great looking paint and a very reflective 3d eye. They also have a pleasing weight in the hand. In the air they are very good and can be cast a long distance. In the water they are also good swimming with a nice darting action. I have caught GTs on this lure so we know that it works BUT they are fragile. Customers aboard the Sara Guide Service boats have brought these to the islands brand new and had them full of water after catching only one small fish. I have had my personal lures leak too.
Overall: Below Average (unless the leaking problem gets fixed then they would be Recommended)

Ocean Tackle International (OTI)
OTI are and American based company producing equipment mostly for the jigging and popping market.Komodo

Blue Lazer
Blue Hawke


Action: Heavy blooper/chugger
When to use: Deep water near baitfish
Weight: 130g
Length: 200mm
Cost: $25
Comment: These lures are basically good lures but they are not really worth owning due to their substandard finishes. Paint comes of very easily especially over the chrome stickers on the "lazer" colours.
Overall: Below Average


Nemo with the old style Owner hooks

Pink Snapper

Action: Heavy blooper/chugger
When to use: Deep water
Weight: 130g
Length: about 150mm but it varies wildly between lures
Cost: $25
Comment: These are the best of the OTI range. Big splashing action attracts fish. Poor quality finish lets them down
Overall: Average


Pink Tiger with a well bitten backside

MahiMahi check the reef damage
Surface Bull GT
Action: Light popping, works best with a smooth stroking action
When to use: Smooth water near reef edge
Weight: 100g
Length: About 200mm
Cost: $25
Comment: I think that this popper is the best for beginners. It is easy to use, cheap and tough. It will attract all sorts of fish from GTs, Red Bass, barracuda to good table fish like long nose emperor and coral trout. The downside is that it doesn't make a very big splash and therefore isn't the best for big GTs. Change the hooks and split rings and use them in dangerous areas where you wouldn't cast more expensive lures
Overall: Cheap, tough, get one. Recommended

Tobimaru F
Action: Shallow diving, best used on a slow twitching retrieve with some pauses. 
When to use: Best used in water around 3m deep over coral reefs
Length: 130mm
Cost: $12
Comment:  Fish love this lure. The biggest problem that I have had is stopping the fish that eat it. It requires the use of relatively light line for it to work at its best (30lb leader) but I have often been reefed using it due to lack of stopping power. Because of this I am somewhat reluctant to use it.  
Overall:  Recommended
Hydro Popper f Green. Current King of the reef
Hydro Popper F (wide mouth version)
Action: Popping
When to use: In water up to about 8m deep
Weight: 43g
Length: 130mm
Cost: $12
Comment: The caption says it all. These are the best lures for the kind of fishing that we do regularly here in Palau. The make a great splash and can be used with a variety of retrieves. They are extremely versatile, attracting most reef species, blue finned trevally and GTs (up to about 15kg). As in my post about tackle failure, split rings and hooks must be changed out if you are fishing around structure.
Overall: I never leave home without at least 3 of these in either silver/black, green or blue. Highly Recommended
Surface Bull 150 Sashimi

Surface Bull 150 Pink Mirror
Surface Bull 150
Action: Popping
When to use: Calm waters on the reef's edge or over reef at around 5m depth
Weight: 70g
Length: 150mm
Cost: $25
Comment: In many ways I think these lures are superior to the larger Surface Bull GTs. They make a better splash and are light enough to be used on my regular outfit (PE#4 or 50lb). The one downside is that they seem to scare of fish under 5kg that might have gone for the Hydro Popper F, so I think that overall you would catch less fish but might have the chance at slightly larger quarry. I would avoid buying the Sashimi variant as I firmly believe that this finish is inferior to others in fish attracting ability, it is however more durable.
Overall:  Recommended
Hydro Tiger - Watermelon

Hydro Tiger Purple
Hydro Tiger/Hydro Popper (normal version)
Action: Light popping
When to use: Calm water around structure
Weight: Various weights are available, the biggest being 43g
Length: Up to 130mm
Cost: $12
Comment: Compared to the wide mouth version, these poppers are a failure. They throw much less water and are much more difficult to use. They are extremely sensitive to hook weight, line weight surface conditions and rod input. I use the 90mm model occasionally when fishing from shore with very light line on a very calm surface but generally I don't bother anymore.
Overall: Average
Surface Slider 140F Blue
Surface Slider 140F
Action: Stroking action with a soft tipped rod.
When to use: Deeper water near baitfish or along the reef's edge. Can be used in rough conditions.
Weight: 70g
Length: 150mm
Cost: $25
Comment: A very good option for catching trevally, especially larger blue fin and smaller GTs. Hooks and split rings must be changed, original items wont hold against the fish that this lure will attract.
Overall: I use these regularly. Recommended


Bull Chop - Sardine

Bull Chop face detail

Bull Chop 

Action: Slow jerking retrieve gives a darting and rolling action
When to use: Deep water
Weight: 42g
Length: 120mm
Cost: $15
Comment: An interesting lure that looks a bit like a popper with a cupped face. After quite a bit of experimentation I found that this lure is most effective with a slow retrieve. Interestingly it attracts fish that dont normally bite on other topwater lures, including mackerel and other oily fleshed fish. Has worked for nannygai too. They seem really well built and should take some abuse (apart from the paint)
Overall:  Above Average


Old and ragged but still catching fish
Action: Medium popping.
When to use: Good for use in marginal conditions that make it tough to use other more sensitive lures (ie choppy/windy).
Weight: 140g
Length: About 200mm
Cost: No longer made (as far as I am aware)
Comment: This is a really good lure that is easy to pop, makes a great splash, doesn't make you too tired and catches fish! Construction is of hard resin and is generally quite durable so long as you dont cast it onto dry reef/rocks.
Overall: Great lures if you can find one, especially good for smaller anglers or beginners. Recommended



Orion Big Foot 140

If there has been a lure maker that I had always wanted to try, it was Orion. These lures are hand made from some kind of molded resin in France. I had read many things about them, mostly positive and I was eager to try a lure of European origin, for something different.
Orion Big Foot 140
I had read that these lures "don't look like much" and are "agricultural looking" and at first glance I would have to agree. The paintwork is messy and has bubbles in it, the cutouts for the eyes have not been sanded and generally the lure appears to lack any true craftsmanship.
Eye detail showing the rough finish
Having said all of that, I was prepared for a lack of "beauty" and to be honest, I don't really care about such things too much if the lure catches fish and is durable (things that I have heard that these lures are).

Apart from the lack of attention to detail with the finish, the Big Foot looks promising with good quality eyes and heavy duty wiring and an interesting shape. It is quite narrow and tall with a slightly more pointed nose than tail. . Definitely not a lure for the fussy "jewel" type lure collectors!
Very difficult to use. 

Action: Not sure what the action is supposed to be like, but I cant make it swim to save my life.
When to use: They just sit in my lure cupboard these days.
Weight: 140g
Length: About 200mm
Cost: $80ish
Comment:This lure is a complete disappointment. It has caught a couple of Red Bass but they struck before the lure had been moved. 
Overall: Not happy. Not Recommended

Orion Nambas 140

This is my newly arrived Orion Nambas, a floating topwater lure, similar looking to the Big Foot but less dense.
Nambas 140

Larger eyes than the Big Foot

As with the Big Foot, this is a lure that I cant get to swim in a way that I need it to. I have caught nothing with it and therefore now dont even bother taking it with me.

Action: Not sure what the action is supposed to be like, but I cant make it swim to save my life.
When to use: They just sit in my lure cupboard these days.
Weight: 140g
Length: About 200mm
Cost: $80ish
Comment: As a GT Lure, this makes a great paperweight.
Overall: Not happy. Not Recommended



Super Magnum Zara Spook

Heddon Super Magnum Zara Spook in Blazin' Shore Minow
Action: Walk the Dog.
When to use: Calm water
Weight: 110g
Length: About 200mm
Cost: $20
Comment: Probably the craziest name in all of fishing! These lures look like cigars. They are well finished for the price (excluding the poor terminal tackle) with good looking paint. Designed as a bass lure, they aren't really designed for blue water use but I saw one and had to try it! Have caught a GT on it, so it does work but i think the sharks like it most of all. The action is really difficult with a heavy rod and it is also hard to use in rough water. I dont think that I would but another one but I still take it out from time to time when I am up for a giggle.
Overall: Average

Super Spook

Nicely finished for the price

More nice detail. Zara Spook




  1. Interesting I love your candor and frankness. I've got some lures I'd love to have you try ;)

    1. Hi Armand! I have seen your lures, they look interesting!

  2. I am completely with your recommendation. About the Orions i am wondering myself ever if they are recommended.

    One of my favorite Poppers are the Zest Big Mouth poppers, but they aren't longer in production. I think the same Popper ist now distributed by Braid. I like the cup and the wight, because it is not so heavy and will murder me over the day.

    Great site.


    1. Hi Jurgen! Thanks for your comments! I am always interested to receive other people's recommendations about lures, I will be sure to check out that Zest popper you like.
      As for the Orions, I can say that I really like their popper "Cono Cono", it is a tough and effective lure (but HEAVY WORK!). All of their others though I was very disappointed with. I managed to catch some fish with the Numbas but i didnt enjoy using those lures. There are definitely better, more fun and cheaper lures out there. Would love to see and pics of fish you catch on topwater, feel free to post them, or email them to me and I will post them on this blog! Happy fishing!

  3. wow nice post thanks you so much for providing us a valuable information related about popper fishing lure .

  4. Hy Ben, nice overview of Lures.
    My top favorite is the bertox stickbait, you should really test it. I had some with me on my last trip to the Maledivs and now for 2015 it will be te biggest part of lures in my Box. They cought a lot of GT's there. have fun