Lure fishing is all about providing the best deception possible. Whether it is through movement, design, or pattern, finding that extra something from a lure can often be the difference between catching fish and just fishing.
So when I first caught a glimpse of the Balista range of LED hardbodied lures I was quite keen to see whether their slogan of ‘getting the unfair advantage’ was true.
After fishing with them for most of the 2011 spring and the summer months of 2012 I can certainly attest that the Balista range of lures and their unique LED attraction bring a whole new dimension to lure fishing in both fresh and saltwater environments.
These LED flashing lures provide an extra advantage compared to ordinary hardbody offerings: the flashing LED seems to capture the fish’s attention, especially during times of low light. Saltwater and impoundment barramundi react instinctively and aggressively to the flashing lure and will often move from a distance away to check it out.
My first experience with this behaviour was down at my local boat harbour where some very large saltwater barramundi reside. Now while the barra are always present, finding a way to get their attention is a whole different story as they move into the protected waters of the harbour to rest and not feed.
For years I have thrown live bait, small plastics, and every type of hardbody imaginable at these fish for limited success as they refuse to bite. However, on only the second cast of the LED flashing Balista Cyclone it was obvious the flashing LED had captured the attention of the barra who curiously followed it time and time again to the edge of my rod tip.
I have also witnessed this behaviour in freshwater impoundments where I have seen numerous barra follow the flashing lure curiously time and time again before eventually sucking it down like a tic-tac. This brings a whole new perspective to sight fishing as when the water is clear enough you can often see the lure flashing its way back to the boat before it suddenly disappears deep into the mouth of the attacking fish.
From what I can tell the flashing LED encourages fish to bite out of impulse or even just curiosity, which is something quite unique.
On most occasions the barra will follow the lure two or three times before getting on board and it is definitely a case of ‘curiosity killing the cat’ or from the barra’s point of view a clear case of impulse buying.
This is my favourite attribute of the Balista LED lure range, as I have a number of fishing spots that consistently hold barramundi during certain times of the tide. If they are in a feeding mood, then most lures will do the job, however if the barra have shut down and sulking, having a lure which can draw some attention and eventually a reaction bite is a big advantage.
The built in LED is also helpful in terms of working the action of the lure. When fishing the lure close to the surface during times of low light and especially at night you can keep in touch with where your lure is and how your rod tip action is making it swim. You can also get a very good read on the rate of speed on your retrieve. The suspending lures are also great as you can register when the lure is almost on the surface.
The Balista range of lures really come into their own at night and have snared me more fish during the night than day. While catching big barra is always a thrill, watching a leaping barra with a flashing LED lure hanging out of its mouth sure adds to that exhilarating feeling.
The range of Balista LED Lures covers all the bases for both impoundment and saltwater lure fishers. My personal favourite is the Balista Juggernaught, which is a lipless crankbait in both a 65mm and 90mm long. This little battler has a boney bream imitation in the freshwater scene, but also heavily resembles greenback herring in the saltwater creek scenario.
The 65mm Juggernaught is a perfect lure for the creeks and at 17g can be thrown with either spin or baitcast tackle. The smaller 65mm size makes it an awesome mangrove jack lure but don’t be fooled as this little model has personally snared saltwater barra up to 95cm long.
The larger 90mm weighs an impressive 1oz, which makes it perfect for those big long casts in the impoundments especially when fishing in wind. The Juggernaught is simple to fish and the smallest amount of rod action can easily get this little lure swimming like an injured fish.
LED Balista Cyclone is a true barramundi lure suited for both casting and trolling. While a particular heavy lure for its size, this model is great for casting long distances in the dam. It gets down deep and also suspends, which is a big plus. This lure would be right at home in the rivers of the Northern Territory where trolling is a popular option as its wide body and rolling action really play into this type of fishing.
I have only recently had a chance to test run the latest addition to the Balista line up: the Firestorm range. The Firestorm lures are the big boys of the Balista stable and are ideally suited for trolling for big pelagics and horse dam barra.
With a through wire construction, extra strong split rings and hooks it is certainly up to the task for catching and staying connected to big fish. With a deep diving and a medium to shallow model on offer, I put these lure through their paces in Peter Faust and they certainly did the trick.
While the LED ranges of Balista lures are impressive in terms of the amount of fish they catch, they have also recently released non-LED jointed swim baits that have also proven to be quite effective on barramundi. The Balista Alive jointed swim bait is finished superbly and imitates a slow swimming mullet perfectly.
Available in a floating, slow sink and fast sink models, this lure is so realistic with its jointed body that even the sea eagles have been having a go at it.
Fished with either a slow wind retrieve or twitched back to the boat, it has all the attributes of other successful jointed hardbodies like the Sebile Magic Swimmer, but with a larger and more robust profile. The floating models are a surface fisher’s dream as they push a perfect bow wave when retrieved which sends a big ‘come and eat me’ signal to predatory fish below.
If you are heading for a lure fish give the Balista range a go for yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. If a spot of night barra fishing at your local impoundment is on the agenda, then make sure you have a couple in your box in case the fish are proving difficult. Finding an advantage is the key to lure fishing and the range of Balista Lures certainly offer more than your average hardbody lure. Check them out at www.balista.com.au.Reads: 3869