Henry Gilbey
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From an ethical point of view I despise seeing original lures being so blatantly copied, but when a company stops making one of your favourite lures, what are you meant to do?

Of course I understand why a lot of anglers want to buy lures as cheaply as possible, and these days it’s not exactly hard to go online or even into some tackle shops and buy direct anc cheaper copies of most of the popular and effective killer lures that tend to come out of Japan and have a good history of catching bass. Not everybody has or wants to spend what is often close to the £20 mark on a hard lure that they could of course lose to a snag on their very first cast with it, and so on. Are these ripoffs as good as the originals? I am not the person to ask.

From a purely ethical point of view I struggle with the whole lure copying thing. Say you’re a tackle company that spends time and money on designing, testing, and bringing to market an original item of fishing tackle, only for another company to then make what to my eyes tend to look like lesser quality copies of your lure and sell them at a much lower price because of the cheaper materials, lack of R&D costs, and most likely some scary-cheap labour costs as well - pretty tough to take eh? I know how much time, effort and money went into what you now see as the Fiiish Black Minnow for example. To me it’s a highly original concept that over time has been copied in various different ways and I think it’s just plain wrong. Take the price out of the equation here, because time and money has been poured into an original concept and design and it’s just plain wrong when stuff like this is ripped off. But copies exist and we like what we perceive to be a bargain.

And no means am I trying to justify my own actions here. A few years ago I couldn’t find any IMA Salt Skimmers for love nor money and I stumbled upon what looked like the same lure but for far less money. I bought a couple because I had to see what they were like, I took them down to my local estuary to check that they cast and fished okay, and when I got back home I threw them in the bin and vowed never again - these particular Skimmer copies cast like a banana into a very mild breeze whereas the originals fly like a little missile (when you can get hold of them of course!). I tried and failed and I have always stuck to original lures.

My beloved IMA Hound 125F Glide

My beloved IMA Hound 125F Glide

Now I seriously like the IMA Hound 125F Glide hard lure, and I have done from the first time I got hold of one and found out how well it casts and how amazingly it gripped into some properly lively seas. The Hound Glide hasn’t got a magical kind of action that turns the bass on regardless, but they have caught plenty of bass for me over the years, I have seen our clients over in Ireland nail a lot of bass on them during the day and also at night, and as a 125mm long hard lure I don’t really want to be without it.

A while back I was perusing the IMA Japan website as one does - I call it “vital research for work purposes” - and I noticed that the Hound family of lures were no longer listed on there. My heart rate immediately increased in a sense of panic as via a bit of digging around it became clear that for whatever reason, the killer IMA lure company had decided to stop making all the Hound lures (Glide, Sonic, Fang etc.). Now you could of course say that there are a bunch of similar lures doing similar things, and as regards the actual action of the Hound Glide in the water I’d say yes - but I still haven’t come across a regular, medium sort of depth, diving, minnow-type hard lure around this 125mm size that casts and grips in as well as a Hound Glide. I was so excited when the bigger 140mm long Hound Glide was launched a few years ago, but it doesn’t cast anything like as well as the smaller 125 that I love so much.

So my understanding is that my beloved IMA Hound 125F Hound Glide is no more. For sure I’ve got other hard lures which I like as much for different reasons, but I don’t want to be without a Hound Glide after I have gone through the ones I have here at home. I had a look online online to see if there were any direct copies of this lure out there, and I was honestly shocked at just how widely this one lure has been copied. A friend then emailed me and told me to have a look at the HTO Search, a hard lure which, let’s be honest, is at least a “tribute” to the IMA Hound 125F Glide! So I did, and there are three colours of the lure as per above which I think are pretty nice. The lure is not expensive at all.

HTO Search rigged with a couple of these VMC barbless trebles

HTO Search rigged with a couple of these VMC barbless trebles

You can tell straight away that the treble hooks on the HTO Search are not exactly of the finest quality, so the first thing I did was to bin all the trebles and split rings on the lure and rearm it with a couple of size 4 VMC 7554B BN Barbless treble hooks (I don’t want or need three trebles on a lure of this size). I think these VMC barbless trebles are outstanding, it’s worth trying to track them down, and VMC here in the UK are listing them in their catalogue so you can hassle your tackle shop to stock them. When you shake this HTO Search lure next to your ear and compare the sound to an original Hound Glide, there is indeed a difference in the sound which I am taking as a difference in the internal weight transfer system and how it works. I am assuming here that the Hound Glide with it’s slightly deeper sound from what seems to be bigger balls inside has the better weight transfer system, but then from a hell of a lot of use I obviously know how well the Hound Glide casts.

This HTO Search “tribute” casts really well though, and I have had it grip into a lively sea with no hassle at all. I can’t tell you if it will catch bass as well as the original Hound Glide, but because the original is no more and I so want a hard lure like it, I’m going to give this HTO Search a go. I have seen a few of those huge Chinese lure catalogues over the years that are mostly filled with pages and pages of direct ripoffs, so I am guessing that a lot of these Hound Glide copies are coming out of the same factories but with different packaging and colours and so on. If you go looking there are plenty of Hound Glide “tributes” out there, but the HTO Search seems to be readily available here in the UK and the price is not exactly expensive albeit I’d always bin the trebles and split rings and start the rigging process again with components that I trust.

But then I came across another Hound Glide “tribute” the other day on an Ebay site over in Holland I believe. I bought a couple of metals from the page earlier last year, so I went through my emails, found the page again, and went online to see if by any chance they did any Hound Glide copies that might be worth a look at. Rather interesting to say the least and I got hold of some to try………….

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The “PAYO PERCA 125 Floating Jerkbait Fishing Minnow lure SeaBass” (above) from this Ebay site seems to be the same lure as the HTO Search to me - same hooks which I would bin, but a few different colours and a similar price. Casts well.

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The above is where it gets more interesting for me though - the slightly more expensive “PAYO PERCA 125 Mac Tune Floating Jerkbait Fishing Minnow lure SeaBass” (above). Ever so slightly heavier than the above “tribute”, but you can hear a slightly deeper sound from within the lure when you rattle it. My understanding is that there are proper, bigger tungsten balls inside, plus the lure is also armed with proper Owner/Cultiva ST46 treble hooks which I believe are the same trebles as we find on nearly all the original hard lures we might buy from the recognised lure companies. Now I’ve only had a quick go down on my local estuary with this lure, but into a pretty strong breeze it absolutely flies. I know it’s easily going as far as an original Hound Glide and I am really looking forward to seeing if this “tribute” really could be an almost like for like replacement for when the few and very cherished Hound Glides that I have here at home are no more.

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I also got what is meant to be a shallower swimming version of a Hound Glide from this site, the “PAYO PERCA 125F SHALLOW Mac Cast Floating Jerkbait Fishing lure SeaBass” (above), and I’m interested to see if this thing casts as well and does indeed swim a little shallower. There is also a baby “PAYO PERCA 98F Mac Cast Floating Jerkbait Fishing Minnow lure SeaBass” (below) - it’s a slightly narrower profile version of the lovely little Hound 100F Sonic which is also no more. These three different “Mac Cast” or “Mac Tune” versions all comes rigged with proper Owner/Cultiva ST46 treble hooks.

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So there you go. I don’t exactly feel great doing a blog post about lure copies, but IMA have stopped making a lure that I seriously like for my bass fishing and because there are “tributes” of these Hound Glides out there, I had to go and have a look and see if I could get what the Hound Glide gives me. I am most excited about this “PAYO PERCA 125 Mac Tune Floating Jerkbait Fishing Minnow lure SeaBass” because it sounds and feels most like a Hound Glide to me, and from admittedly only a few casts it seriously gets out there (I would so love it if there was a solid white one as well!). In reality I’d far rather IMA were still listing the entire Hound family of lures on their website, but I can only guess that they weren’t a very popular lure over in Japan and it therefore became financially unviable to keep making them.

And of course we English rugby supporters are crossing all fingers and hoping that the match on Sunday against France will prove that Ireland last weekend was not a one off and that those amazing intensity levels can be sustained through to the World Cup and beyond. If you don’t hear from me on Monday it’s because my dreams have again been dashed and I am weeping into my coffee…………………

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