Reviving a Legend: The Grim Reaper Lures Reborn in New Zealand
New Zealand's fishing community is buzzing with the revival of the legendary Grim Reaper lures, thanks to one man's passion and dedication. Dean, a subscriber and resident of Matata, acquired the original lure-making machine that crafted these iconic lures back in the 80s. His ambition? To bring back the beloved Grim Reapers for a new generation of anglers.
The Grim Reaper lures have a rich history in New Zealand, initially popular for catching Kahawai in river mouths and beaches. Today, they have evolved into versatile micro jigs, ideal for a variety of species, including trout, baitfish, King Fish, and Snapper. Dean's quest began with a tip from his brother, leading him to an engineering shop in Foxton where the fabled lure machine lay dormant.
Upon our visit to Dean's workshop, his dedication to hunting and fishing was unmistakable. He shared the lore of the Grim Reaper lures, which ranged in weight from 4g to 300g, capable of attracting a wide spectrum of fish. His journey to revive these lures was fueled by his passion for the outdoors and a chance encounter.
The lure-making process is both intricate and fascinating. It begins with cutting 1.2 mm stainless steel wire, forming the lure's backbone. This wire is then meticulously shaped and inserted into the lure machine. The machine, an 80s relic, was revived by Dean without any instructions – a testament to his ingenuity.
The lure machine itself is a marvel. Hot molten lead is injected under pressure into molds, ensuring high-density, air-bubble-free lures. Dean humorously recalled a near-disaster when the machine caught fire, underscoring the risks involved in this craft.
The next stage is powder-coating, where Dean applies UV-enhanced coats that glow in the dark, increasing their allure underwater. This meticulous process involves heating, dipping, and curing the lures in an oven. Each color layer adds to the lure’s effectiveness and aesthetic appeal.
Selecting the right colors is crucial. Dean, with his keen eye, chooses combinations like pink and white for Snapper, and green and orange, known as 'Snapper orange'. The final touch involves attaching high-quality hooks, including American split rings, known for their superior strength.
What's truly remarkable about these lures is their versatility. Initially designed for Kahawai, Dean discovered that by adding jig assist hooks, they become effective micro jigs. This adaptation highlights the lures' ability to evolve with angling practices.
The packaging process is the final step, transforming these handcrafted lures into market-ready products. It's a tribute to traditional craftsmanship, standing out in an era dominated by mass-produced gear.
Dean's revival of the Grim Reaper lures is more than just a business venture. It's a homage to New Zealand's angling heritage, rekindling memories for seasoned fishermen and creating new ones for the current generation. His story is a blend of nostalgia, innovation, and an unyielding passion for fishing – a narrative that resonates deeply with the fishing community.
As Dean's lures gain popularity, they're available for purchase online and in select stores around New Zealand like Ocean Sports Marine in Whakatane. This revival has not only brought back a legendary lure but also reignited a sense of community among New Zealand anglers, united by a shared history and love for fishing.
In conclusion, Dean's journey with the Grim Reaper lures is a compelling tale of passion, perseverance, and innovation. It's a reminder that in fishing, as in life, sometimes looking back can be the key to moving forward, especially when it revives a legendary piece of angling history.
Watch the full video: