We've all got various lures that we trust implicitly. Allow me to take only one surface lure for bass fishing and eight times out of ten it's going to be the IMA Salt Skimmer, but bearing in mind that they seem to be impossible to get hold of these days, I am always hoping that I don't go losing any of the few that I have. After nailing a load of bass late last year on the kind of similarish Rapala X-Rap Walk (90mm, 15g) but then losing the thing, I have high hopes for this lure as well, and it's very close to the Skimmer in casting efficiency.
There are loads of surface lures out there that hammer bass, but the Skimmer works for me, and I can't help but love how the thing casts. I might obsess with wanting my surface lures to be able to cover a lot of water, but considering that loads of lures will catch bass, then for me it does often come down to the individual characteristics of the lure - and the Skimmer is an Exocet missile of a lure that is a good size and weight for most of the lure rods I might be messing around with.
But there are times when I want something a bit bigger. It amazes me how stable some of the smaller surface lures are in lively conditions, but we all know that there are times when bigger and heavier can be useful. I know the Xorus Patchinko is a renowned bass killer, and I have smashed plenty of bass on them myself, but I will mostly try and avoid using this lure. Why? I just don't feel that comfortable with how heavily and noisily it lands in certain situations, and although it's amazing how well it can cast if you catch it right, I tend to hold it back for on the edge conditions as I believe the lure can sometimes spook the hell out of bass. Each to their own of course, but again I come back to summer last year and how it really forced me to think more about lighter tactics.
So I have spent a lot of time looking for a surface lure that kinda sits midway between the Skimmer and the Patchinko. I can't get the Xorus Frosty to cast very well at all, and I did get hold of some very nice looking (and extremely cheap) surface lures from the US that I like, but again they don't seem to cast that great. The Lucky Craft Gunfish is of course a killer lure that can fly, and although I like how the MegaBass XLush looks and casts, I just don't have proper confidence in it yet. I am an angler and I always want something that I either can't have or can't find, and I have been looking and looking for that kind of WTD (walk the dog) surface lure around the 18-22g weight that casts like a missile and has a similar sort of shape to the Skimmer.
A few months ago I was leafing though the 2014 Ultimate Fishing catalogue online (as you do, research of course), and I noticed a lure in there that I had never seen before, the Tackle House Vulture 120. It looked interesting from the off, and especially at a quoted 120mm/20g and with that Skimmer sort of profile (obsessed, me?). I liked the look of the lure, but then I have come across a few surface lures that I liked the look of yet which just didn't cast as well as they looked they might if that makes sense. Anyway, it seemed that this new Tackle House Vulture 120 was not yet in stock anywhere in France - so I did a bit more "research", took a punt and bought a couple from an Ebay lure site (I believe they are now starting to appear in Europe and no doubt in the UK and Ireland sometime soon).
The Vulture looks great when you work it, albeit I can't see anything "revolutionary" about the action (I would guess the plastic vane thing will add stability in rougher conditions) - you just know it's going to smash bass. No, what pricked my interest the most when I saw the lure in the Ultimate catalogue was the 120mm/20g, Skimmer sort of narrow shape - there had to be a chance it might fly, surely. The Salt Skimmer is a freak of nature how well it casts, but I have taken punts on lures before and been disappointed. I got overexcited about the Illex Chatter Beast (110m, 18g) a couple of years ago, with the shape of it and the size/weight mix, but I found that it cast like a dog in the wind and I went and snagged it in a kelp stalk before I got a proper chance to use it.
Well it seems that my search for a surface lure between the Skimmer and the Patchinko might be over, or at least be over until I start obsessing about something else. The Tackle House Vulture 120 absolutely frigging flies. The internal weights are loaded around the arse-end of the lure and it casts as well as I hoped it might when I first saw it winking at me from the pages of the catalogue. I like how the lure lands, I like the action, I like how the size and weight of it means that I can move it very fast in the cast when fishing with the sort of lure rods that I like using, and I have no doubt that bass will just murder it. Into the wind I am convinced that the heavier weight gives it more penetration than the already freakish Salt Skimmer, indeed I am starting to feel that the Vulture might just be close to or perhaps even the longest casting bass size surface lure that I have ever come across. I know it's pathetic to be this excited about a fishing lure, but I am, and I can't wait to start using it in anger.