By Grant Dixon
The 500g Vexed Bottom Meat Deluxe accounted for several different species from 240 metres down, including ‘puka and bluenose.
The Vexed Bottom Meat comes in a standard (top) and a deluxe version.
In the February edition, I wrote a review of the new Vexed range of terminal tackle which was put through its paces in the Bay of Islands.
On a good morning’s fishing with Screaming Reels tackle store proprietor Garry Townley, I managed to catch snapper on several Vexed offerings, and have subsequently added several inshore species – gurnard, kahawai and trevally – to the catch list.
In that article, I mentioned I was looking forward to putting the heavier Vexed product to the test, and in particular the Bottom Meat and Bottom Meat Deluxe options.
Just looking at the Bottom Meats, you are hit by their ‘fishiness’ – these lures will catch fish, not only fishers. Over the years I have seen many outsidethe-box lures come and go; few have lived up to the hype around them. Not so the Bottom Meats.
That opportunity came with a six-day trip to the Three Kings aboard the Whangaroabased charter boat Demelza, a successful long-range operation run by Phil Barchet and son Matt. In the past, most of my Three Kings trips have had billfish as the primary target; the Demelza trip was different as the priority was kingfish, trevally and the cellar dwellers – bluenose, bass and ‘puka. Anything with a stick on its face would be a bonus.
It was the deep drops for the ‘puka that I was looking forward to, as we had the latest Shimano electric reels to put through their paces. The Bottom Meat rigs would be in their element, and if there was ever going to be the right time to fish this gear, it was in this situation.
The ‘puka, bluenose, and bass were on the chew, with conventional ledger rigs armed with both live and dead bait initially producing the goods. We knew the fish were there, so there would be no excuses if the Vexed offerings failed. No pressure!
We need not have worried. Fishing three rods at a time, two with standard rigs and one with the 500gm Vexed Bottom Meats, the latter proved equal to the task of catching bluenose and hāpuku, even surviving a shark attack which was more than the kingfish that had grabbed it did!
So what is so different about these lures?
Firstly, the rigs come ready to fish straight out of the packet – all you need to do is add a strip of your favourite bait; in our case it was freshly caught arrow squid.
The gang hook concept has been around forever, but not in as big a presentation as the Bottom Meats. The key to its success is the bait coverage the three hooks offer. Add to this a lumo skirt and head, plus the rig’s articulation, and you are presenting to the fish a realistic bait that has action, light and smell.
The rig features three Harbor stainless in-line circle hooks designed to catch in the mouth, not the gut. They are available in several liveries, all including a luminescent element that is proven to work well in poor light conditions. The Kevlar cord allows flexibility in the bait and will withstand the attention of most toothy critters.
The Vexed Bottom Sack adds a third dimension to the angling equation – the advantage of chum or berley.
The Cray Lord imitates a crayfish at the time of shedding its shell.
For anglers who can’t make up their mind if they want to fish a lure or a bait, the Vexed Bottom Meats are the perfect solution for a huge range of New Zealand target species.

But wait, there’s more

The Vexed Bottom Sack adds a third dimension to the angling equation – the effect of chum or berley.
The Bottom Sack consists of a durable and stretchy sack that can be filled with berley, chopped-up bait or even a small whole pilchard or two. Once it has been filled, a Vexed Occy Head skirt completes the lure.
The scent is spread through the water column as the rig descends. On hitting the bottom, give it a couple of winds to prevent it being snagged and then fish it as you might a slow jig, working the squid imitation up and down in a darting motion.
The high-intensity UV/Glow Bottom Sack comes rigged with a Vexed Dhu Bomb Head in a range of weights, head colours and a couple of sack sizes. The in-line circle hook rigs are sold separately.

You rang, My Lord?

Manufactured from the softest, stretchiest and most intense Stretch Flex technology plastic (Vexed’s description, not mine!), the Cray Lord paddletail softbait imitates moulting crayfish, ringing the dinner bell for snapper and groper especially, just two of the recreationallyimportant species that love to feast on this delicacy.
Far North charter operator Rob Parker described the Cray Lord as being a seasonal softbait. He has done well on them when the crayfish are in the shallower water to shed their exoskeleton around July to September, depending on water temperature. This process usually takes just a few minutes but leaves the crays vulnerable for some time as the new armour hardens. Rob says when he is fishing softbaits, he will set a Cray Lord out the back in a similar way gamefishers run a shotgun line.
There are four sizes of tail available – 4-7”, matched by four Cray Head sizes.
The Australian-designed tackle is distributed by Monster Distribution and available in tackle stores now.