New Lure Technology… Sebile’s Bonga Minnow.

Everett Johnson
New Lure Technology… Sebile’s Bonga Minnow.

If I could somehow get my great-grandfather, Pappy Joe Shepherd, to join me for a day on the water, I'm sure he'd flip at the first sight of my present tackle and methods. Pappy Joe was a WW-I veteran and diehard fisherman all his life and; he left us while JFK was living in the White House. I got all his fishing stuff and I'll never forget those True Temper solid steel rods and direct-drive Pflueger Supreme reels. Even though the designs were decades old, I was the baddest cat at the fishing hole when my buddies were using cane poles. With a sparkplug for weight I could cast to the middle of the lake. I gave them a lesson in tackle technology.

Technology will always rule the day and I guess that's what I like about competitive fishing and innovative lure designs. They're a lot like auto racing. The hot setup on the track finds its way into the family sedan, and the stuff designers put together to win fishing tournaments finds its way onto tackle dealer's shelves.

Sebile's new line of fishing lures caught my eye at the ICAST Show last July and I finally got the chance to fish them a couple weeks ago. Keeton Eoff, Sebile's U.S. marketing man, joined us for a day of backcountry topwater work. Our primary target was Matagorda Island's marsh reds, and we caught trout too.

Now the concept of noise-making lures is hardly new. When I was a kid lure makers used chug plates, propellers and spinner blades on their plugs to attract fish. Over the past couple decades we've seen a plethora of rattlers, clickers and clunkers blowing the competition away; now everybody's making them.

Sebile's approach is similar, yet new and technologically different. They are offering a line of lures that emit low-frequency sonic vibrations by way of liquids that flow and shift within the lure body. For fish-catching flash, they place metallic flakes in the liquid. The concepts are novel and the combination is effective. Weight transfer of fluid to the tail of the lure on the backcast lends bullet-like casting performance, another innovation.

The Bonga Minnow is part of Sebile's Possessed Series and a true floater that "walks the dog" easily and can be whipped several inches under the surface with a sharp downward stroke of the rod tip- another feature I found useful for enticing temperamental fish. This bait has a bulbous head that tapers quickly to a slender tail, perfect for creating surface disturbance and that side-to-side swish with little forward travel required. And even though we cannot hear them, the sonic waves created by the fluids also add enticement. We caught reds and trout in gin-clear water less than two feet deep not exactly the easiest scenario for tricking them with a surface lure.

The Bonga Minnow is 95mm in length, about 3.75 inches. The surface finish imparts realism beyond what we normally find on surface plugs. Lips, gill plates and scale features are molded into the body and the eyes are prominent and highly reflective, more features that enhance clear-water appeal. Keeton says the glitter imitates scales falling from the sides of a baitfish struggling away from a near-miss encounter with a predator.

During our trial run with the Bonga Minnow we kept one angler working tried and true favorites as a control measure. It would have been difficult to rate the new bait without this control in place. The Bonga kept pace with our personal go-to plugs and that's a good start in my book. Being a stickler for staying with what works, a new lure has to earn a place in my tackle box. From what I saw on the first go 'round I'll be setting up another interview with the Bonga Minnow.