Its the south island east coast salmon fisher here.
I spoke to you and said I was keen to trailer my boat to Tutukaka , Northland, NZ.
Well after 24hrs of driving we made it to Toots. I was there for just under a month but only had 9 or so days on the water due to big seas and terrible weather. I followed exactly what you told me to in your chat session and in your videos. For the 9 days we had 2 hook ups and caught and released 2 striped marlin. For a rank beginner I was stoked. many thanks.
Please make sure Peter reads this. Took my witch doctor and the rest of the lures I purchased from you and ran them as recommended. I was very critical about their exact position. My wife and I along with my captain fished no more than 30 miles from La Paz, BCS. We fished very hard and steady and in 8 days had recorded these results which can be verified by photos. We raised 20+ stripe marlin. Coming into the spread in 1-4 at a time with several double hookups. We eventually were able to catch and release 17. More importantly in an area that has not been friendly over the past 5 years. In addition we raised about 12-15 blue marlin. We hooked and brought to the boat 8. Smallest estimated weight of 125 lbs and the largest was a measured weight of 441 lbs., which was tail wrapped and died prior to betting it in. All others were successfully releases with no injuries to them or us. Most were in about 250 lbs with two others being big at an estimated of over 350 and the other slightly larger at possibly 400. We ran all of the lures, colors and position as you recommended. We did include the Mexican Patrolero out of respect for my captain who was in the state of shock when after 3 days it did not get a hit. It was being run in the shotgun position and even I was surprised. My wife didn't care...she was reading her book and only responded when summoned to clear lines and the witchdoctor. We also won a small tournament that included 8 pangas and had a blast. Never have we done this good. I just wanted to let you know that the lures worked flawlessly and out performed everything else. I have no less than 100 lures on the boat and only used 7. I will be ordering the shredder today if for no other reason than I don't have one. This is not a fishing story and if you would like some photos of the lumo sprocket on the big blue send me your email address. People were actually following us around and I even have photos of that. Thanks so much. Take care. 3MJ
Whoever receives this please forward it to Peter.
I have been fishing the Sea of Cortez between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas for the past 15-20 years. I currently own a 58 Donzi sports fisher. I don’t claim to be an expert like yourself but have caught my share of marlin. I have good fishing equipment, wear good sun glasses and cheap clothing.
For the past 6 years I have taken my two youngest grandsons fishing to Mexico. Just grandpa and two grandsons…no one else allowed. It’s obviously a highlight I love, as do they. Now that they are 12 and 13 years old they are able to help with the fishing.
I have never written to anyone regarding their product either pro or con. I am sending you this letter in hopes it puts a smile on your face knowing that you contributed to a grandpa and two grandkids having a very successful annual fishing trip using your lures and suggestions.
My boat is loaded down with the standard fishing equipment i.e. rods, reels, fishing line, lures, teasers, dredges, and other must have necessary equipment. (My wife of 45 years just doesn’t understand…but has given up)
I’m not sure how, but one day while using the internet I came across a film of you explaining the “Witch Doctor”. (I am a huge fan of teasers). I also liked the way you made up your hooks. Simple, yet very practical. Not sure I fully understand the 60 degree offset of the hooks but I’ll figure it out. I of course ordered the Witch Doctor directly from you rather than a copycat version, along with a host of other much needed equipment. My wife had to help me as I have never placed an on line order in my life.
About a week or so later your stuff arrived and I packed it up and headed south to my boat with both grandsons. Hurricane Blanca was passing through and so the ports were closed and we kept busy with preparation until they opened on Tuesday.
Overall fishing was slow so we headed south. On June 11, while fishing near the south end of Island Cerralvo, with the Witch Doctor and other lures of yours, along with two proven teasers and the infamous Mexican Petrolero lure that is probably number one in our collection. My Captain and I witnessed two stripe Marlin come into the pattern and come between the witch Doctor and the rear of the boat. They circled the Witch Doctor as if trying to figure it out! Reminded me of curious porpoise. It was obvious to anyone and everyone that they were checking out the Witch Doctor!!! One of the marlin eventually hit on your famous green lumo sprokett. My Mexican Captain was in complete shock and his feelings were hurt as the marlin had bypassed his Mexican Petrolero. On June 12 this exact same thing happened once again! The marlin did not appear to be attacking the Witch Doctor but only curious…..again they passed up the infamous Mexican Petrolero for the green lumo sprokett. ( side note…not the same two marlin). Obviously the witch doctor drew them into the pattern. Fortunately for them we are a catch and release gang.
In all my years, I have never seen marlin so curious about anything. Thank you.
Since I have purchased the Witch Doctor and other stuff from you I have noticed similar products being sold elsewhere. Before passing away my Dad told me the best form of flattery is to be copied. However, It does become upsetting at times to see others make a profit from something you have developed and sincerely believe in. Some people will buy the copied version and maybe it is good. I don’t know and I don’t care…I’ll pay the extra to support the right people.
Just thought I would let you know.
Pakula lure wow and wow again. Love using these skirt. The take the reel spinning. The fight wow
Hey mate I'm Michael Lassen from the SCGFC and I joined half way through the season and I have a pakula addiction. There the only skirts I run in my spread. The quality and results are incredible. My total for this season finished on total from when i joined last season: blacks: 21 sails: 6 Dolly's: 12 spainards: 11 yellow fin : 8 wahoo; 4 and 90% of that was on your skirts. The boys are teaching me a bit of live baiting these days and I'm really keen to keep improving my fishing. But just letting you know how great your skirts are and really impressed with your product. I got first billfish for the club this season and I'm going to enter my first tournament in October. If around you should come up.
Adam Voss - Fiji
Bula to the Pakula team. I think you have done a great job with the new web site. I have just made another on line order and it is a much improved experience. Again well done and keep up the great tackle and service.
Kevin Harrison - Texas
I'm new to fishing the Gulf of Mexico, been a bay fisherman. A friend of mine asked a friend of his, who has won tournaments all over the world, what kind of lures I should use. He said the only lure I need is the Lumo Sprocket head. Sure enough the first time I went out, I muddled around trying to figure out what I was doing and they worked great. Thanks again, Kevin
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Harrison's Lure Lore
From Fishing World Magazine February 1989
"Peter Pakula is a successful lure maker because he is a successful student of billfish. Rod Harrison looks at the Pakula approach to billfish lures, hook arrangements and techniques, which has changed a lot of thinking on the subject".
"My lures aren't just made, they're developed." With that simple statement, Peter Pakula aptly sums up his monumental contribution to the science of trolling for billfish. For Pakula this pursuit, this life's work, began back in the time when lures were running a distant second to baits as getters of marlin. Back then, the established game boats were sticking with tradition towing dead baits. The Young Turks coming up through the sport fishing movement, then having its golden era at Montague Island, were turning lots of heads with the kind of results they were chalking up slow trolling small bridle rigged tuna.
What billfish lures were around were mainly the Konahead range; local product produced by the then Penn Fenwick organisation. In their time they were useful lures but according to Pakula, they lacked the capacity to handle a wide range of sea conditions. Pakula recalls from his deckhand days that lures having a weaving action sometimes tangled. Consequently, good fishing time was wasted, sorting out the snarl of lines, traces and hooks.
He goes on: "Many of the people then trolling for marlin never gave much thought to what they were doing, or what they were trying to achieve. They'd just throw any old lures out, blunt hooks and all and just drive around the ocean, hoping for the best. 1 can't think of too many who could supply a reasonable answer to basic questions about their fishing."
The boost that lure fishing for billfish needed had its beginning around the early 80s when viable stocks of blue marlin, certainly the most willing lure taker and arguably the fightingest member of the billfish tribe, were found along the continental shelf. At first, it was fish taken from Bermagui wide. However, the trend spread and Sydney based boats followed by those out of Port Stephens soon found rampaging blues getting mixed up with their spreads. Then came Lord Howe and more recently Cape Moreton wide, quite possibly the greatest blue and striped marlin trolling alley around the Australian coastline.
Pakula was right in on the ground floor of this action. As billfish tournaments began to spring up along the NSW coast, he was in the stages of fine tuning his head designs. 'these comprised two types, christened Beer Barrel and Sprocket, soon to become household identities around the game fishing circuits The track record they established under tournament conditions has lots in common with that of the magnificent Florence Griffith Joyner.
The Beer Barrel probably doesn't need a lot of explanation on shape. There are similarities between its outline and that of a beer keg. The Sprocket, on the other hand, has a more tapered head. What both types have in common is a flat, concave head similar to that of blooping type poppers. This feature produces a bubble contrail that seems more intense than the tracings of conventional pusher-type game fish lures. Bubble trails play a big part in inducing marlin strikes. There's no question about that.
A newer addition to the range, which Pakula calls the Beer Gut has a Sprocket configuration except for a bulging, true-to-name midriff. This sensational lure, with its 'spare tyre' generates an even more concentrated bubble stream. Not surprisingly, it is known as the Bubble Eye in some quarters. The difference in names is mostly the doing of Tim Simpson, who has an eye for a good lure. Simmo, I'm told, has caught some great fish on the Beer Gut, and probably has more than just a soft spot for it. He prefers to sell it to Compleat Angler customers under the more genteel name. Pakula on the other hand, wryly regards this as all a bit un-Australian. But whatever the name, this Pakula original seems destined for a place in game fishing history.
The success of Pakula lures hasn't just been confined to Australia. They've made a name for themselves in New Zealand, continental U.S.A. and the place where it all started, Hawaii. As a comparison, it would be a bit like trying to flog off a truckload of bibles at a Queensland National Party Convention. However, Pakula lures have quite a solid following amongst some noted Kona boats, and anglers who've seen them all. Pakula is a perfectionist. This great attention to detail reflects in a standard of hand craftsmanship that I doubt is matched anywhere else. There's probably more chance of a Rolls Royce rolling off the assembly line with a miss in the engine than Pakula putting an imperfect lure on the market.
In determining the kind of action a game fish lure will have, the head is the most important component. Where the head goes, the tail must follow. But tails happen to be the things which sell a lot of lures; which brings up the vast and unknown subject of colour. There is considerable scientific opinion to the effect that marlin are colour-blind. Yet there is an equal pile of evidence that colour does make a difference on certain days. Many successful trollers are more than happy to go along with the bright day/bright lure,' dull day/dull lure approach. And there are other theories on colour that can be argued with equal conviction.
The Pakula', colour range shows imagination and would seemingly cater for every whim. More important is the speed with which the successful blends are incorporated into his range; the colours Pakula knows through his constant on-water research, are catching fish. I terms of durability and overall quality, the skirting material Pakula uses is as good as money can buy. But even that has its limits. No skirt is Wahoo proof.
COVERING THE WATER
Covering water is the name of the game when lure trolling for billfish. The operating speeds of lure boats allow search patterns over far greater expanses of sea than what's possible when fishing baits, dead or alive.
The normal trolling spread for most boats is a four-lure pattern. Two are run from stinger lines. Those rods are generally mounted mid-deck in launcher or chair holders. This set-up allows the other two rods to fish flat lines from gunwale holders, thus having sufficient separation to avoid tangles 'For some boats, the temptation is too much and they'll elect to run a lighter rod down the guts'. It's a decision they often rue. For reasons billfishers are never able to explain, the fish of the trip - unbeatable on that gear - sometimes chooses to ignore everything else in the water and clobbers the little lure.
The basic rules in setting up a pattern are to position lures so that they won't foul when making turns, and so that the lures remain in sight of each other. The more successful anglers are constantly adjusting their patterns. For reasons that will forever remain obscure, changes in the position of a lure can be a catalyst in it getting hit.
The 'straggler' approach works. A lure positioned some distance behind the main bunch is often picked off on the days billfish are reluctant to come too close to the boat. Some boats have characteristics in the water that seem to attract fish. It could be motor noise, hull noise, or perhaps something to do with the wake they make. But some boats significantly, not those powered by outboards literally have billfish swimming up their exhaust pipes to get at their lures.
Working with the sea provides some advantages in lure action. Lures working the face of a wave like a surfer seem to have a better fish-getting action. Lures pulled against the wave motion are subjected to a buffeting that can result in them fouling and breaking away from stinger lines.
On the subject of breakaways from stinger lines and flat lines that may be rubber banded, it's worth noting that size 32 bands (7 kilo break) are ideally suited to 24 kilo tackle, while size 64 bands (10 kilo break) are the ones to use in conjunction with 37 kilo outfits.
Another important consideration is the billfish characteristic of moving in the same direction as the sea. It's probably an energy conservation thing as much as anything, this billfish tendency to be pushed along by wind and wave. Its significance for lure fishers is that lures positioned in the face of a wave have a better chance of entering the vision cone of a billfish.
Boat speed is a critical element in lure trolling. Far too many skippers work at so many revs, and that's it. This approach cannot always provide the best lure action in the prevailing sea conditions. These change. The more successful boats have the operating flexibility to run at speeds that present their spread at its best.
It's a big ocean out there. Unlike the basically-bait Cairns scene, where the outer edge of the Ribbon Reefs and other battlements of the Great Barrier Reef mark the place where the scads go in the water, there's no such walk-up for lure fishermen working off southern Queensland and NSW.
Blue, striped and large black marlin off those parts of the east coast tend not to stray inshore of the continental s16pe in great numbers. The anglers who are successful with lures tend to take a greater interest in things as they get around the 100 fathom line.
It's often necessary to travel much further. Billfish are oceanic nomads, likely to be found where sea conditions are to their liking and where there's food around. This means finding the right water temperature and keeping eyes peeled. A starting point can be water that's a minimum temperature of 19 degrees C. But warmer is better. Cobalt water in the midd-20s is just about perfect. However, that doesn't mean that green water should be totally overlooked. If bait is there, usually suggested by birds working, it could produce. Some days, it's impossible to find those ideal fingers and eddies of the East Australia Current.