In the next 80 metres of river two more substantial specimens were taken, as the lure swung across and down the pool as it shallowed. These lowland brownies obviously didn’t think the lures were too bright!
Reviewed by Tony Dawson
Daiwa Crusader and Chinook Trout and Salmon Lures.
I just want to say that I definitely wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, let alone a gold one. Actually, also not in my hand nor my cutlery draw – and, until now, not in my tackle box either. What I’m referring to is Daiwa’s new range of metal lures… they fall into the lure category of spoons and they are either silver- or gold-plated.
To be honest, it’s a long time since I’ve fished with a spinning setup using metal lures; I’ve spent my time over recent years fishing for trout with hard body bibbed and bibless lures, vibe lures and softbaits, so having a range of new metal lures to try has been a refreshing and reassuring experience. ‘Reassuring’ in that metal lures never stopped being effective at catching trout ... it seems many of us just moved on to lures that did different things and maybe had a wider range of applications for specific sets of circumstances. And ‘refreshing’ because there’s an element of the new to this range of metal spoon-type lures.
There are two pattern variations in the range: the Crusader pattern is lighter gauge, more pronounced in its shaping, and larger with more surface area for the weight when compared to the Chinook pattern, which sports a heavier gauge and a more subtle shaping and smaller size for weight. The weight range runs from 5 grams up to 25 grams, so covers the field for both trout fishing and salmon fishing applications.
The finish of the lures is bright, plated in silver or gold, sure to catch the eye of the magpies among us – and the painted patterns cover a range of designs in stripes, splotches and zig zags, and solid colour in reds, blacks, blues, pinks and orange. The paint is also UV paint; it reflects rather than absorbs the UV light wavelength, providing an extra dimension to the colour in underwater light conditions. My first thought upon having a close look at the lures was “They’re very bright.” I guess that was the fly fishing, ‘match-the-hatch’ part of me reacting with surprise. However the proof is always in the eating of any pudding and the trout would soon prove me right or wrong.
The hardware on the lures is of a quality finish and in a relatively fine gauge. Rigging comes in a variety of hook sizes and includes both single hooks, on the lighter 5 gram lures, and trebles on the heavier models. Solid split rings and barrel swivels on the Crusader range are contrasted with roller swivels on the Chinook lineup.
Down to Business
I decided to try both 5 and 10 gram lures, casting and trolling in my local rivers and in the southern lakes of Fiordland. The first outing was to the Oreti, a modest lowland willow-lined section of river with clear water and gravel beds. The 5 gram Crusader with the single hook in black and gold was deployed and on the third cast across the tail of a run a small brown was very intent and crashed the party. I was surprised by how effective the single hook was, even on such a small trout. In the next 80 metres of river two more substantial specimens were taken as the lure swung across and down the pool as it shallowed. There was no hesitation, with solid hook-ups. These lowland brownies obviously didn’t think the lures were too bright! I did notice how quickly the paint had chipped as a result of making contact with the gravel river bed but then an inspection of the other metal lures in my tackle box showed exactly the same attrition on their painted surfaces too.
The next time the lures saw the light of day was on Lake Te Anau, where I cast a 5 gram version and trolled both the 5 gram and ten gram lures in a variety of colours and combinations: black, red, orange and blue on silver and gold. The action of the lighter Crusader lures is a very pleasing ‘falling leaf’ kind of flutter when worked at a modestly slow retrieve in slow-moving or still water. The heavier gauge Chinook lures with smaller surface and more weight cast like bullets and required a faster retrieve for a less vigorous action. Both the Crusader and Chinook models in both lure weights were effective while cast and retrieved and while being trolled at 2.5 to 3 knots. Both brown trout and rainbows thought so, anyway! The hits were decisive and the fish remained firmly hooked even after becoming airborne a number of times.
These are good quality metal lures and they catch fish; they catch fish easily. The beauty of metal lures is that all you have to do is cast and retrieve them where there are trout and salmon. But they’ll work just as well on kahawai, I’m certain. No fancy techniques are involved, just a steady retrieve matched to water flow or, in a lake or the sea, to vary the depth and degree of action imparted.
I thought I was done with the simplicity of metal lures, but now I’m not so sure; I enjoyed the ease of use and all the hook-ups. These Daiwa lures are a fairly reliable way to put a bend in the rod, any place and any time.
There’s room in my tackle box for them, for sure!