I met one of these guys recently, and even back in the early 80's most, including myself, would say that perfection had already been obtained, Dave Killalea has kept on striving and refining his skills and knowledge to make that 'perfect' lure. From the early beginnings with the original Killalure brand, then across to DK Lures in early 2000. With an impressive range of lures such as the Barra Bait, Snag Master, Flatz Rat and Eyecon, to name a few, Dave, and his wife Judi still thought there was something missing and after a short time out of the eyes of the mainstream fishing world, they released Old Dog Lures, back in 2014.
Now, anyone who knows the saying about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks will undoubtedly understand the reasoning behind the name, as Dave had to personally learn a lot of aspects with the more modern technology that was now at his fingertips. Deciding to stick with timber, Dave learnt how to design new shapes, and tweak things such as balance points, etc. before even picking up a block of timber. This was done with some very impressive software that he used to use when drafting. Just recently, while still using the CAD software, Dave has once again improved on perfection with the introduction of a CNC machine in the Dog House, which allows him to increase his productivity, while keeping quality at the forefront of each and every lure that is made right there at his location in Townsville, QLD. Yep, the whole process is done at his place (the Dog House), from design to manufacture to packaging.
And, every single lure is tank tested before it is let out the door. As Dave put it, this new stage in manufacturing has allowed him to blend old style craftsmanship with modern technology. One of the critical aspects of this new step in the manufacturing process is that each lure has exceptionally high tolerances, meaning that each and every single lure is as close to perfect as the next.
I was suitably impressed by the whole operation, but the tank test was the 'clincher' for me. During my time at the Dog House, Dave would continually talk about improving on certain design aspects because he was never completely happy with the previous lures. Now, I've used just about every lure that he has made, and I was thinking "Hmmm, there's nothing wrong with them, they've caught heaps of fish", but it was when we got to the tank test that the penny dropped and in a big way.
It's the attention to detail in these Old Dog Lures during each step of the process that really stands out when you take them for a swim. From the way each lure sits in the water, to the way they react to certain 'twitches' of the rod tip. The fact that they can be worked extremely slowly, with a very enticing action and then ripped through the water, yet still swim perfectly. For me, as a die-hard barra lure fisher, the Guttermaster (in both shallow and deep)was the standout. If you haven't grabbed yourself a few Old Dogs, then you need to do yourself a favour and either get into your local tackle store, or better still, jump online to the Old Dog Lures website www.olddoglures.com where you can purchase singles lures, or the lure packs, such as the Guttermaster pack.
While I wait for the next perfect barra tide, I've got a ten-year-old Mastiff that I'm off to teach how to fetch.