There’s been a surge in interest for JDM lures of late in South East Asia as more anglers become increasingly exposed to the latest tackle information corresponding to various fishing styles that’s easily available these days over the web and social media.
One such brand to recently reach our shores is NORTH CRAFT lures – a once “garage-made” lure name that’s now joined the league of the big boys in the tackle business producing top-notch, premium quality lures with unique, fish-catching actions. In an exclusive interview, fishonmag.com speaks with Mr Hironori Kitade, founder and lure designer of NORTH CRAFT to learn more about the NORTH CRAFT brand and what makes their lures so special.
1. Can you give us a little background information about NORTH CRAFT lures?
I established a lure factory producing hard baits named “RIDE ON” in 1998. I’ve never worked for any other factory or fishing tackle company prior. Our factory solely produced lures for JACKALL Lures then and gradually progressed further till 2004 when I started Northcraft as my own company.
2. What motivated you to start NORTH CRAFT lures?
I always have many ideas, thanks to my many years of experience in fishing. I have a deep passion to produce new lures that have yet to exist in the market or that can be worked with the latest fishing method.
3. What makes NORTH CRAFT lures so special? How is it different from other fishing lures from other brands?
We always need to think about the employing the latest fishing techniques if we want to continuously achieve good results. My fishing friends, numbering about 100 all over the world (some that fish every single day!) and I constantly accumulate a wealth of information about fish species; their habits, feeding patterns, best time and seasons, location as well as methods to catch them. Based on inputs from people who know how to catch these fish, I then aggregate and derive what information is necessary to develop a lure that will interest the fish. However, a good lure is of no value unless it looks attractive to anglers. As such, I ensure the lures I design look beautiful yet possess effective factors that can catch fish. This is very difficult in lure-making.
4. Are some NORTH CRAFT lures still GARAGE MADE (hand made)?
NORTH CRAFT GARAGE MADE production only ran from 2007 to 2011. These were produced specially for the high-end market. The price range for GARAGE MADE lures was between 2,400YEN to 3,500YEN each. The most expensive GARAGE MADE lure ever produced was the GUNDUCE 180 with a price tag of 6,500YEN. We had one of the typical NORTH CRAFT paint work called “生塗り” KINURI (lively painting) incorporated into the GARAGE MADE. Unfortunately we had to halt production for a couple of years due to the intensive work and detailing required to make KINURI before eventually resuming the production thereafter.
5. What is the meaning of VINAL ACTION in NORTH CRAFT’s lures?
Vinal Action is an inherent characteristic of a NORTH CRAFT lure. Basically you can have two or more functions within a single lure. It all depends on the the speed of the lure’s movement. It’s an immediate change of action from the lure when the speed of movement changes from slow to fast or vice versa. Whether it’s a change in retrieval speed, the flow of the current or any change to the water resistance, the lure’s action will change. Most NORTH CRAFT lures are designed to have this Vinal Action.
6. How is this VINAL ACTION able to make difficult-to-catch fish more likely to bite?
Very often, fish respond to sudden changes in the motion of the lure. It’s a reaction bite.
7. Tell us about the “drifting method” (allowing the lure to move/drift with the current). How is this able to increase chances of strikes?
You can easily understand this method if you understand dry-fly fishing. Fish living in streams or flowing rivers always position themselves to wait for food to drift downstream. A lure that floats downstream in a natural fashion will not alarm wary fish. As such, the idea is not to retrieve the lure in a ‘lively’ or aggressive manner but rather, to maintain some form of line control and allow the lure to drift with the current in a natural fashion. The NORTH CRAFT BMC is designed to be fished in such a manner.
8. There are 3 models of the AIR OGRE available. Can you tell us what is the difference between the three lures? When would be the best situations to use the lures?
The floating Air Ogre (AOG58F / AOG70F / AOG85F) has a wobble and rolling action. It’s designed to work the top-water and sub-surface. Perfect for shallow water when used with a slow retrieve. It’s is also very effective when fished with continuous jerks.
The sinking Air Ogre (AOG58S / AOG70S / AOG85S) maintains that wobble and rolling action and is weighted to sink to the depths. It’s good for use in places with currents such as in streams, rivers or spots with some tidal stream influence. On its own, the sinking Ogre has a very attractive action on a steady retrieve.
The most typical method to fish the Air Ogre SLM (Sinking Slalom AOG58SLM / AOG70SLM / AOG85SLM) is the lift and fall method off the bottom. Though sinking, it differs from the Sinking Air Ogre by the way it swims in a side-to-side, slalom fashion on a steady retrieve.
9. Why did you choose to have a a Slalom action for the Air Ogre SLM ?
I’ve known for a long time that the unique, side-by-side slalom action is very effective particularly for big fish. Many species of fish like this kind of evasive action, from Seabass, Barramundi, Snapper and even Squid. Furthermore, not many companies were keen to take the risk to try and develop lures with this kind of action.
To see what’s been biting North Craft lures, check out the North Craft Facebook page.