In the Beginning
One day in the spring of 1986, the founders
of one of Australia's most respected lure manufacturing companies were
in a boat on Lake Copeton in northern NSW, tossing around the idea of
building and marketing a better fishing lure.
What prompted us to explore this idea?
The high cost and poor durability of imported lures
The scarcity of suitable commercially available deep divers
Belief in our ability to succeed
We each put in $200 as start up capital for the venture and nurtured a
dream that maybe one day we'd export lures to the world.
In those days, the majority of the lures we used came from the USA and
we decided that exports back across the Pacific would be the ultimate
yardstick of our success. (That milestone was reached 15 years later,
thanks to one Joshua Schainbaum of Aussie
Needed One good design
made the decision to take a shot at it, the next step was to design our
better fishtrap. A series of handcarved prototypes followed
each put through its paces in field trials. It was a period spent learning
a lot about lure hydrodynamics and what it took to turn Murray cod and
golden perch on.
Eventually a design was chosen which, despite evolutionary refinements
over the years, is still recognised as the classic and definitive Australian
lure with a bend. What better name for this first product than the
Needed A good brand name
Australia was on a roll. Just two years before we'd created history by
winning the America's Cup, and Men at Work's song 'Downunder' had
become an anthem. So we chose Downunder Lures as our trading name.
It was doubly appropriate because our lures were designed to get down!
But you thought this was a Predatek
site? Yeah, we'll get to that later! Skip to page 6
if you're impatient.
Early Days in Business
(All Australian boys need a shed)
Working weekends from a farm shed near the rural village of Elsmore, we
made Boomerangs by hand from white beech and Australian cedar sawmill
waste. We built crude jigs and wood shaping machines driven by washing
machine motors. The iron walls reverberated and the sawdust billowed!
from the start, we were the first Australian manufacturers to use tough
polycarbonate sheet for bibs. For consistency, we made jigs to cut and
drill these, and each was hammer stamped with a DOWNUNDER die.
Our paint shop was a small store room in the smash repair shop of Gaukroger's
Holden dealership in Inverell a business founded by the great grandfather
of two of the Downunder boys, cousins Frank and Rob.
were primitive. For example, one day a minor tragedy struck when a rack
of freshly lacquered lures toppled. Scattering on the dusty, gritty floor
the sticky lures came up looking like lepers and were unsaleable. So much
painstaking work ruined.
Back then, we were direct marketers, selling lures locally and by mail
order, by word of mouth and off the back of cameo appearances in fishing
magazines. It was a buzz to see our name in print and our lures in the
faces of so many fish around the country.
Slowly, we built a reputation our lures worked very well.
Slowly because handcrafting lures wasn't fast!
Slowly because we all had day jobs too!