OK, I most definitely caught this affliction off the Seeto boys and they probably got it off Steve Morgan but hands down Tiemco Stick Minnows are one of the most amazing Bream lures out there, period. Used from the very surface to the bottom, on just legal bag filling fish up to really big fish, from fired up right through to dead stick finesse, they flat out catch fish.
It’s one of those things. It was the perfect weight, size, sink rate and action and while there are many things that looked similar, they just were not the same. One school of thought on the reason they come up solid on so many fish compared other sinking stick minnows was that they were small enough that Bream suck them in lengthways hooks and all rather than T-boning them and getting a chance to spit them out with no hooks. I wrote a fairly lengthy article about how to use them here that goes much deeper into the idea of why they work. So bigger models didn’t work as well and others around that 40mm size tended to be lighter and harder to cast and/or didn’t have the sink rate.
So why didn’t Tiemco Stick Minnows dominate the tournament scene and then become a stalwart in regular anglers tackle boxes like the Jackall TN60 did in Bass fishing? Well for reasons still unknown to me supply was abysmal. Being a bit on the expensive side was also a bit of a thing but then I think of the price of a TN60 or a Chubby and people get past that once they truly believe it works and have confidence that their money is being well spent. The long and the short of it is they were in short supply and a few switched on people quickly bought them up and the stores were always left with all the crappy colours. Never a model to inspire consumer confidence. For a while there we were buying the not so great colours and repainting them because it was that or having none.
There were rumours for a while that other companies were trying to bring something to market that would fill the same role. Those companies never came up with it and we were left wishing. Really? It’s a solid piece of plastic with a weight in the belly… how hard can it be?
But about 12 months ago we finally got the wink and wry smile from Steve Morgan that a true contender was coming in the form of the Austackle Shinku minnow.
Well, we’ve had a while now to have a proper fish with them and I’m happy to give them the two thumbs up. They are 38mm instead of 40 but other than that work exactly the same as the Tiemcos. In fact when I reach into my tackle box I am just as happy to pull out a Shinku, sometimes more so because they are a hell of a lot cheaper and come in a million colours. I was more than happy to buy some of the weird colours like the “stripey devil” and the “black chevron” that I figured might pass for a crab down in Victoria where big blacks can get into shallow water looking for just that. There are also a bunch of prawn and baitfish colours which pretty much covers it all.
I was confident enough in the Shinkus that when it came to selecting a rod and reel to use in the kayak Grand Final for our Cancer Council auction last year I picked the Generation Black Drunknmonkey just for fishing them on straight through and caught all of my five biggest fish on it. So far I’ve used them from the surface through counting them down to midwater for schooled blacks and dead sticked them under boats when the fish are shy and they have worked the same. If I had one complaint it would be that the standard hooks could do with an upgrade out of the box as they seem a bit brittle but the truth is you change the trebles on any stick minnow a lot anyway. They would be fine for social fishing but I don’t know if i would trust them 100% if there were sheep stations riding on landing the fish.
I still love my Tiemcos but I really can’t see myself paying more for something that does the same job.