side rail test

TESTED: Savage Gear Yabby

IF you had to pick a bait to catch a Murray cod and golden perch, then live yabbies would have to be right up there at the top of the list, alongside the freshwater shrimp.

Bait anglers everywhere target natives using the humble yabby. Most inland tackle shops sell live yabbies and they’re pretty easy to catch in farm dams, creeks and rivers.

Given the fact that these freshwater crustaceans are such a prime bait for native sportfish, a lure made to imitate a yabby should fish well. And you’d think a plastic with wiggling claws and legs should be absolutely deadly.

Anyone who’s tried to catch a yabby in clear water will soon find that their No.1 escape trick is a rapid flick of their tail which causes them to shoot backwards. When the backwards dart is finished, the yabby comes to rest on the bottom with its claws raised in defence.

Recently I tried the Savage Gear 3D Yabby, in five and 3.5-inch sizes. These plastics originate from Denmark and are incredibly life-like, although the colours of the claws and legs on the lures I had were probably closer to Cherax quadricarinatus or red claw than the common yabby, Cherax destructor, which inhabits the streams and lakes I fish.

The Savage Yabbies come in packets of three or four, depending on size, but only one jig head. The supplied jig head has a flat surface and is placed through the tail and the hook brought out mid body. When retrieved, the Yabby shoots backwards, mimicking the real thing.

When the Yabby is lifted and dropped it settles on the flat jig head and as the lure itself floats, it rests with its head and claws up in the defensive position.

I fished the Savage Yabby two ways: cast and allowed to settle to the bottom, then another lift and settle, with at least a five second pause before lifting again. Anyone who’s seen a yabby swim cannot fail to be impressed by the life-like action of this rubber version.

My second technique involved using a threadline reel and retrieving the lure slowly across the bottom with a finger holding the line close to the reel face, imparting action to the lure in much the same way as a “Line Dancer” clip does.

I headed out to fish some rocky water holes. I was tempted to spray the orange claws and legs black to be in keeping with the local yabbies, but refrained from doing so.


While fishing the rock pools I noticed a movement where a small trickle of water was running from the rock pool above into a small pool before spilling into the deeper waterhole below. Thinking it was a carp, I initially paid little attention. When I got into a position to see the fish, my level of excitement was raised quickly.

It was a nice Murray cod poking its nose into the oxygenated trickle of water. The pool was no more than a metre long and half a metre deep.

I dropped the Savage Yabby into the pool above and slid it over the rock amongst the trickle to land in front of the cod. The fish initially seemed panicked before it turned and smashed the Yabby but failed to hook up. It looked like it would bolt back into the deep water but again turned, looked at the Yabby and then beat a hasty retreat.

I then cast down the length of the rocky channel where the cod had fled to and started to work the Yabby back up towards where the fish should be sitting when I unfortunately came up tight on a snag.

After repeated efforts to free the lure I decide to break it off and rig another using a Snake Head Jig hook, which was a poor replacement for the flat sided jig head that comes with the Savage Yabby.

I cast the re-rigged Yabby hard against the shaded rock face in the deeper water and let it drop to the bottom. Before it could settle, the line moved away from the rock face at a rapid rate. I struck hard and came up tight. The cod had taken the Yabby on the drop but this time was firmly hooked.

After quickly landing it I didn’t want to leave the cod in the heat for too long; there was time only for a quick picture and a measure against the rod, which later showed it to be 76cm.

The fish powered away into the cool depths to sulk for a few days before the instinct to feed on the abundant yabbies and freshwater shrimp would force it to again hunt for prey, possibly making another angler’s day in the process.

I tried the smaller Savage 3.5-inch Yabbies on some brown trout and had one take and several follows but failed to land a fish. Again, I’d like the colours of these smaller lures to mimic the common yabby. That said, a trout will at times slam a pink Tassie devil so there shouldn’t be a reason they wouldn’t take a pink/red yabby.

These Savage Yabbies have a date with some redfin and European carp in the coming weeks, as well as more natives. I’ll keep you informed of the result.

Meantime, Savage lures are distributed by BCF. See HERE for more details.

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