Sam Cunsolo. You may not know his name, but chances are, you’re one of over 21,000 members in his Murray Cod Fishing Facebook group. We know, not everyone here is on Facebook, but you may well also be throwing around one his handcrafted Solo Lures. Sam is one of the most passionate anglers we’ve come across, he is a true champion and loves to talk. This interview is seriously worth a read, particularly if you’re keen to have a crack at handcrafting your own lure. Take a gander at what he has to say.
MOST PEOPLE KNOW YOU AS THE BLOKE FROM THE MURRAY COD FISHING FACEBOOK PAGE. TELL US THE STORY AS TO HOW THIS GROUP CAME ABOUT?
The Murray Cod page is a little sketchy as to how it came about. From what I’ve been told the creator had to give the page up as he became a compliance officer. I was invited by a mate Tom Shaw about seven years ago with about 4500 members.
DID YOU ALWAYS HAVE PLANS FOR THE GROUP TO GROW AS BIG AS IT HAS?
The page was growing and at 7000 members I said to the then admin team “ we should grow this page , we could make something of this page “ it was then we took on sponsors to the page and we’ve been going from strength to strength. I’ve got to clearly say it doesn’t happen on its own. The admin team made up of Bailey Thomas, Thomas Pinter and Mark Vassallo are truly the guys pushing the page along. Together we’ve been able to grow the page, it’s profile and make an impact on community awareness.
Did I expect the page to get this big? Well, yes. I knew we had something special. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming support from our sponsors and industry.
THERE MUST BE SOME RIPPER STORIES FROM THE GROUP. TELL US ABOUT A FUNNY MOMENT.
The page has some awesome characters and has had some great monumental moments. We’ve had a wedding proposal posted, the awesome Will Parr and his dog Kimmo who are regulars, Brian Smiths poetry like videos with his soothing commentary and we’ve had some awesome jokes posted by members, we’ve had great video footage of Big cod hits and cod taking a duck. One of the best moments I remember on the page was when a fellow angler found a rod and reel. Through the page we found the owner. You can’t beat that community feeling when the page comes together. The page seems to be the first-place people post with concerns to our fishery and I’m proud to say it actually does get results. Liaising with both NSW fisheries and the Victorian Fishing Authority I truly believe the page has helped with the improvement of our sport.
SOLO LURES IS THE BRAND OF YOUR OWN HANDCRAFTED LURES. TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS AND WHAT GOES INTO MAKING A LURE?
To make a lure you’ll have to firstly come up with a shape and purpose weather you’re going to make a diver, surface or swim bait. A good way to learn is to get your favourite lure and copy it, to learn. Once you have a shape in mind you then source your timber. I’ve seen people use lots of different types of timbers and my advice has always been use something cheap and easily accessible when first starting out as the will be many mistakes and learnings. Timber like pine and cedar in Victoria are common throughout most hardware shops. Next you would cut the shape out using a coping saw, jigsaw or if you know someone a band saw. Once you’ve cut your shape out it’s time to shape your lure using a box cutter and ALWAYS CUT AWAY FROM YOUR FINGERS AND HANDS, as a box cutter doesn’t know the difference between your hand and timber. Once you’ve shaped your lure give it a sand with 120 grit sandpaper and seal the timber. An inexpensive way to do this is to go to your local Two-dollar shop and get super glue. This will water proof and harden the timber. Once it’s dry sand it with a finer grit paper like 240. Now the body is ready for paint and clear coat, just use automotive aerosol cans from a hardware shop. Time to sort out a bib. You can make your own using aluminium or poly carbonate sheet but the easiest way would be to Head over to eBay or the Kuttafurra page and buy your necessary components to complete you lure such as tow point/omega’s eyelet’s and split rings.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT MAKES A GOOD LURE? WHAT IS IT THAT WE SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR WHEN BUYING LURES?
When buying a lure, I make sure there is a relative difference to what I already have in my tackle box. I like to have Lures to cover all scenarios. Big divers, little divers, Big paddlers and little paddlers, noisy Lures and silent Lures and so on. The best lure is the lure your most confident and comfortable with. I’m really not obsessed by brands and colours. I’ll have dark lures, bright lures and natural coloured lures to cover all bases. If it’s strong enough to handle our big cod I’ll swim it. My favourite lures are my own, but I’ve always got my thirsty, Kuttafurra and outlaws at hand.
YOU’RE ALSO VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT VICTORIAN FISHING. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LOVE ABOUT FISHING?
I’ve been fishing since I was 5 and yes fishing became my passion but how blessed are we at the moment having such a forward thinking active government lead by Jaala Pulford. Travis Dowling along with his awesome team have really lifted the profile and made changes I never thought would happen. For the first time in history, the iconic Murray Cod is king in this state. It finally got the recognition and exposure it so deserves which has all been done by the great work at the VFA. I stay in contact with quite a few interstaters and I’m so blown away that they look at Victoria as the example all governments across Australia should adopt. How can that not excite you? It sure make me proud to know that we are in great hands.
NOW TELL US ABOUT YOU AS A FISHERMAN. BOAT, KAYAK OR BANK? WHAT DO YOU CHASE? WHERE’S YOUR LOCAL FISHING SPOT? WHO DO YOU GO FISHING WITH?
Fishing to me is a personal thing. I fish because I enjoy going on adventures and having experience with great mates. I fish to achieve my own goals. I fish, I’m not a fishing specific. I’ll fish a puddle. My trips range from Warrnambool to port Phillip bay to Eildon and the Murray. I have a boat but I still do my fair share of bank fishing. My partners in crime are mainly Quy Vann and Jesse Ollie, but I do also have the odd regular trip with good friends Chris Crab, Paul Carter and Mark Vassallo.
TELL US YOUR BEST FISHING STORY?
Sharing those big catches are so much sweeter with mates, as the stories are told forever.
LET’S TALK FISHING SETUP. WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO RIG? GO-TO
I fish the green arrow rods by Tariyo. The reels I’ve matched are Diawa Zillion, Diawa pixy, Abu revo beast, Diawa crazy crank and shimano Chronarch. I’m a lefty so I don’t get the options the right handlers get, but I’m happy with my artillery.
WHAT’S YOUR PB?
My biggest cod so far was a little over the meter mark, but as I make Lures they don’t count until I manage to get one on my own lure.