Grosari Lures are made in Finland, the home of the original floating diver and the biggest most famous lure manufacturer in the world. I'd never seen one of these lures in the flesh, so when UK importer Sharnbrook Tackle (of Purglas rods fame) asked me if I'd be interested in testing them out, my tail fin propelled my fierce, gaping jaws forwards out of the cabbage at five G's to snap their hand off, well I said, 'Yes I'd love to, thank you, Sir.'
Right, I'll hold up my hand! In spite of terminal avarice, I do love collecting lures and let's face it, who doesn't? The old adage about lures catching more anglers than fish rings expensively true for many of us, but the simple fact remains, if the lure doesn't catch the angler then it will never catch the fish!
While I'm convinced that lure choice is secondary to watercraft, this doesn't mean that any old lure will do. Indeed, some lures catch more fish than others. Of these successful lures the âclassic' floating diver â€˜minnow' and the trusty old spoons have to be the most reliable and versatile pieces of kit in my armoury. So what about these Grosari jobs then?
The two lures I'll concentrate on here are the Grosari minnow (it doesn't seem to have a name L ) and the Flyer spoon.
The minnows (I tested two sizes - 12cm and 15cm which both sank rather slowly, I'd hoped at least one would have been a floating diver) come in five sizes 5.5, 8, 10, 12 and 15cms. The smallest size is hand carved and is consequently more expensive than its larger brethren (which are 'hand finished' moulded resin) at £5.78. The resin lures range from £4.73, for the 8 cm, to £4.87 for the largest. Not a great difference in price between sizes really.
The first thing that helps the Grosari plugs stand out from the shoal is their shape, which is a little different to the classic lipped minnow. As you can see from the photos, the Grosari plugs are rather humpbacked, giving a sort of kink to the standard taper of the minnow. This hump gives the plug a nice chunky feel, which, combined with the flattened flanks, stops them looking like brightly coloured pencils and more like bait fish.
The second interesting thing about the plugs is the shape of the diving vane. I can honestly say that it's new to me, but I'm surprised that this shape isn't more common. Looking a bit like a small prawn cracker, the round lip looks the business. Lips and humps bode very well for the plugs' swimming action, but more about that later. In addition to the shape, each plug has a hollow chamber containing (I couldn't bring myself to hacksaw one open) about four ball-bearings and thus rattle like my wife's Austin Maestro. I'm not convinced this makes any real difference, but neither does it seem to put fish off. It's a nice touch though, and it does rattle, unlike some others I've tried. I might give one to my baby godson. Phew I managed to avoid the â€˜fisherprice' puns, that was a close one.
Other things you notice about the plugs include the study build quality, better-than-average quality hooks (they still needed sharpening and, for my own purposes, the barbs crushing) and fittings. The paint finishes are quite stunning and the selection of colours is about the widest available from any manufacturer and should cover all weather conditions and fishing styles, plenty here for coarse, sea and game anglers alike.
The Flyer spoon I tested retails at a reasonable Â£3.15 for both the 25 and 35 gram sizes. The shape is nothing radical, a sort of elongated teardrop not a million miles away from the deadly (and more expensive) Luhr Jensen Crocodile. Like the plugs, the Flyer is superbly finished. My example was the turquoise perch pattern, although there are plenty to choose from. One of the best things about spoons generally is the tantalising flash of metal they give off as they flutter in sink-and-draw tactics. Well, you won't be disappointed by the Grosari spoons. The metal finish is of the highest standard, and although liable to tarnish as all the others, it looks solid and bright and should give as much service as you can get before it decides to attach itself to a tree.
On the downside, I was disappointed that the packaging (they come stapled to a timber-look card with rubber hook cover) did not provide any information relating to weight, length, and more importantly, if the plugs were floating or sinking. This alone would make me hesitate before opening my dusty old wallet and would be a real shame. A simple sticker should sort this out, but it is an important point.
All in all, first impressions are very good. These lures will certainly catch the angler's eye in their local tackle shop, and the price will cause many to do a double take.
Mmm, the proof of the puddingâ€¦
In the Water
Right, it's the closed season, so my usual river haunts are out. Shame, as I won't really be able to tell whether the lures or my lack of knowledge about the venue are failing to tempt fish. I don't live by the sea unfortunately so no bassing either, I'm sure the plugs would be perfect! That leaves stillwaters and the canal. So that's pike then.
The first thing I noticed, as I gently lowered the plug into a gravel pit, was that it sank. So I tried the others. They also sank. Okay, not a problem, but I for one would like to try a floating version, but worst of all, as I've said earlier, there was no indication of this on the packet. The plugs did, however, sink nice and slowly so it was very easy to gauge depths and work the baits effectively.
Both spoon and plugs were a joy to cast, even into a chilly wind, and neither made an overly large splash. The clear water of the pit I was fishing allowed me to observe the lures working, and both were very impressive. Fished in classic sink and draw tactics, the spoon was lively and bright sending accurate messages to the rod tip.
The unusual design of the plug lived up to all expectations in the water. An interesting feature was caused by the ball bearings. By careful twitching of the plug, it is possible to change the direction and angle at which the plug sinks, a twitch forward and it nose dives, lifting the rod tip and its tail would fall first, and anything in between. In cold slow fishing conditions this was a very useful characteristic which really imitated a fish with swim bladder problems. I also found myself fishing the plugs jerkbait style, which, given their neutral buoyancy was very effective indeed, making the Grosari plugs a nice lightweight jerkbait.
Another note on quality, the hooks are very strong, as I found out when I caught a submerged tree and snapped a 30lb trace in the ensuing battle. B@#$ocks!
No pudding was eaten. So, I blanked on the test. It was terrible weather, and I was fishing an awful gravel pit. If it means anything, I dragged my lure fishing partner, Paul, along and forced him to fish tried and tested lures that I would have used had I not been sticking to the testing, and he blanked too. I have no doubt that under normal circumstances these lures are up there with the top fish catchers in the lure angler's armoury. I'll be using them again, that's a fact.
At the moment, Grosari and importer Sharnbrook Tackle, are offering high quality and functional lures at very competitive prices (remember under Â£5!!!), even if you forget that these are hand-painted, tank-tested lures made in Finland. Just because you can buy the plugs for well under a fiver it does not mean you're buying a cheap option, these lures will force some of the big name competitors to have fraught marketing and pricing meetings.
If Grosari can expand their range to include floating, deeper diving and larger versions of the minnow, things will look very bright indeed. But if I were the head of product design, I'd make a 15-20cm floating diver that was shaped just like a roach and sell it for five or six quid. That would upset the neighbours in Finland!
If you want to give these superbly finished and great value lures a go then recommend them to your local tackle shop, or failing that Sharnbrook Tackle can supply them directly to your door with a small P&P charge, call David Watts on 01234 781902 and tell him Angler's Net sent you.
3rd June, 2000