by Carl Hyland
Having been involved in the recreational fishing scene for over 40 years in Tasmania, it was only natural that some time ago, I turned my hand to making my own fishing lures. 25 years on, I’m still making my own lures, plus lures for many people around the world. My lures are unique, they are hand crafted from that unique Tasmanian timber, Huon Pine which only grows in the remote areas of Tasmania. Some of the timber I use is over 500 years old and it has been ‘salvaged’ for use by craftsman within this state.
A victim of a Hueys Bardi Grub
All Hueys are collectable. here's a 'naked or nude'lure
When I started making Hueys Lures, there were only two manufactures that I knew of, myself and Walllure in Hobart. Walllures were made from King Billy Pine and I believe, have since gone out of production.
An atlantic taken of a Christmas tree colour.
Some of my early lures were to be honest ,real dogs, sure they swam, but they looked like something a child would make. Funny thing is, these have gone on to be the most ‘collectable’ amongst anglers around the world. A good Hueys Lure from the first batch can now fetch up to $100 AU and sadly, I don’t have any in my possession. Every few years, I completely change the range and whilst keeping the numbers to fewer than 20 in a single year, I do try to come up with a ‘unique’ lure every couple of years. The single most popular lure I have ever produced was the Bardi grub and I was the first person in the world to make a bibbed lure that looked just like a wattle/bardi grub. Sure companies in the US manufactured white powerbait grubs from plastic, but mine was the first ‘hard’ bodied lure of its type anywhere. This has proven to be one of the most popular lures I have ever made. When I then introduced the jointed grub, even that surpassed the solid grub in sales and collectability.
My lures are strictly made by hand, a feature that doesn’t go unnoticed by collectors and avid lure users in today’s fishing world. Whilst there is a role for plastic mass produced lures in the fishing scene, true diehard anglers love that uniqueness of a handmade, hand painted lure made from quality timber. Huon Pine has one feature that other timbers can’t even match and that’s its water repellent features. With such a tight grain and being full of oil, it has been used for hundreds of years in boat building and fine furniture making. I have used Huon Pine that has been underwater (salvaged) for 50 years and it is still as good as the day it was cut down. Another feature that Huon Pine has is its ability to repel insects and borers. This is due in part to the heavy oil content found in the timber.
Hueys 3cm grub
When I select a piece of timber for lure making, it is a simple process to cut out the shape I require using a bandsaw. Once I have the lure shape, it is then sanded and whittled to its final shape before undercoating and painting. I use automotive acrylic paints and use a system that incorporates metallic paints and pearl finishes. The lure, once painted is then fitted out with top quality hooks and hardware and tested before going on to a backing board for display or sale. Simple packaging is all I use as I am a great believer in looking after the environment and that’s why I don’t use plastic covers or wraps.
Packaging is straight to the point!
Someone likened my lure making ability to the late Fred Aborgast in the United States who was famous for manufacturing many creations from timber. To be likened to this craftsman is a real honour and I do trust that I can continue to manufacture my lures for many years to come. Sadly, when I go, my lures will go with me. All the techniques, special tools and tips will not be passed on to my son or daughters as they have no interest in continuing on with manufacture. I suppose that’s what makes the unique.
Wooden fishcakes are a popular surface lure.
As Frank Propok of Australian Lure making fame once said…..I believe Carl/Huey makes the best Spotted Dog coloured lures anywhere in the world these days'…. 'These lures are sure fire trout takers in the Rapala CD stratosphere'
Frank was of course talking about my Spotted Dog lures, a colour and style that is again, unique to Hueys Lures Tasmania.
And this from the guys at Fishing Monthly: Wooden lure aficionados might be more interested in Huey’s Lures. These Tasmanian timber lures are carved from Huon Pine by local fishing identity Carl Hyland. Being handmade, no two are exactly the same and while they may lack the finishing touches that plastic moulding allows, each one is certainly unique, which is part of the appeal of wooden lures. In particular, Carl produces some neat trout orientated minnows, which are worth checking out, particularly in the ‘spotted dog’ colour scheme. The brighter coloured minnows (particularly pink) are also worth trying on ultra-shallow flathead waters.
Hueys Lures can be viewed at Fishtas.com or by visiting the Facebook page here.