by Carmen Macdonald
Last month, tackle manufacturers from around the world converged upon Las Vegas for the annual ICAST Show. An industry get together, ICAST attendees have access to view nearly every new product that will be available to retailers the following year. I don't generally have an opportunity to go through the details of every booth, but having attended this show for the past 17 years, between a lot of friends and contacts, it's pretty easy to get a sense of what's truly new and different. Within lures, there are always an exceptional quantity of new size introductions, as well as new finishes. This year, from both Storm and Williamson brands, I actually got to check out something extremely unique, different and to my knowledge, never before done in the tackle industry.
New Storm Arashi and Williamson Speed Pro Deep each share new Patent-Pending, self-tuning line ties.
The Northwest has a reputation for containing some of the most detail-oriented anglers in the whole country. I guess it's really not surprising to understand why. Where many fisheries around the country host robust populations of fish, it seems like the finicky nature of salmon and steelhead and competitive nature of the fisheries drive anglers to elaborate preparation for their time on the water. In the Northwest, you could be fishing for one singe bite that will change the complexion of your whole day.
Tuning plugs is a large point of separation between the "haves" and "have nots" when it comes to pulling plugs throughout salmon and steelhead country. Those with the skills to fine-tune plug action catch a lot of fish. Those without the skill take their chances with out of the package performance. Many lures are labeled with "no tuning necessary" or some derivative. I don't know one serious angler that takes such claims to heart. A nudge or tweak here or there can make a lot of difference.
To date, the perfectly-tuned lure has been approached with screw eyes and molded in line ties, each getting more precise in their location over the years, but all with their limitations in the manufacturing process.
And there at the ICAST Show, Storm Lures and Williamson Lures released fascinating new technology that could prove to be game-changing; a Self-Tuning or Auto-Tuning line tie.
Two new lure families are the Storm Arashi (arashi means Storm in Japanese) and the Williamson Speed Pro Deep; two distinctly different lures sharing Patent-Pending technology. The Storm Arashi is targeted at largemouth and smallmouth bass (with one model that may hold promise for steelhead and coho). The Williamson Speed Pro Deep will play for Northwest albacore anglers, touting maximum troll speeds of an incredible 15 knots.
On the underside of each diving bill you can clearly see the free-floating extension running from its anchor point in the body of the lure.
In both lures the line connection floats in the bill of the plug. It's not that these plugs are easy to tune, you cannot tune them if you wanted to. When pulled through the water, as the plug begins to favor one side the floating line tie self-adjusts to bring the plug back into tune. In concept, it's genius. And if it excels, one could only expect to see the technology expand through different lure actions.
There are three performance measures to diving plugs: dive, wiggle and hunt. Dive and wiggle are generally understood- how deep the lure dives and its inherent action- being wide, tight, etc. Hunt is the one that most people miss. A lure that "hunts" does not run in a taught, straight line. It floats back and forth, from side-to-side, covering a wide swath of water rather than just the immediate space of its back and forth wiggle. In back-trolling applications, a hunting plug covers more water and whether challenges fish or excites them, draws more strikes.
The Arashi Deep 10 holds immediate promise for salmon and steelhead anglers. Anglers who want to troll fast for fall silvers should offer it an immediate look and back-trolling for steelhead will not be far behind. You'll notice the unique bill on the lure. It's cut from incredibly durable computer circuit board material. High-strength and highly durable, its thin profile does not inhibit side-to-side action.
The freedom of movement offered by a free-floating line tie could potentially offer the strongest and most consistent delivery of "hunt" from manufactured lures to date.
If it seems that I'm pretty excited…you're correct. In our fast-flowing, uneven, and boiling river currents, this technology could be the tool that brings success to a great number of newly-initiated plug pullers.