The history of the ‘GT Ice Cream’ surface lure
By Barry Wareham from BasilManning lures
The first GT Ice Creams were made on a lathe I inherited from my grandfather. I had experimented with many different shapes and sizes, but it was the cone chisel-nose that proved to be very successful.
Manufacturing the plugs out of wood was a problem. GTs often sunk their teeth into the wooden lure, which made them seem to be on for a while before they let go without a proper hook-set. After a number of years of manufacturing wooden plugs we started using polyurethane which solved the problem.
The “GT Ice Cream” name came about while a good friend and well-known fly fisherman, Andrew Parsons, guided fishing clients in Mozambique. We equipped him with the latest spinning gear of the time and of course these plugs. His feedback was that the plugs were like ice cream for GT’s!
Whilst hand-made lures are the core of the GT Ice Cream brand, the need for mass-production led us to develop a whole new range with each design being available in a range of colours and all orientated to run belly-down. During the development phase we restricted ourselves to certain sizes and only one shape but the popularity of these lures necessitated a fast-tracking of the rollout of other shapes and sizes.
GT Ice-Creams throw extremely well, giving the angler a big advantage in terms of water covered. They are very versatile and can be used at many different speeds above and below the water. Where a cup-head popper would normally be used to call fish, the GT Ice Cream can be cast high and allowed to dive down into the water leaving a bubble trail like a bird pursuing bait. One can let the plug sink to any depth before commencing the retrieve. In some applications however one would definitely have even more of an advantage by using the most appropriate shape for the conditions.
Use and applications
The Cone shaped lure was designed to flutter, with the flat portion of the chisel-face throwing up a splash of water like the ‘birds’ used as teasers off-shore. The round or cone back section allows for the rolling or fluttering from left to right on a constant retrieve. The lure throws extremely well and creates a lot of splash in a choppy water situation. A very good general purpose long-casting top-water lure, for slow to medium speed retrieves.
The Needle Nose was specifically designed for a faster retrieve with a nice sideways splash/slash coming off the sharp edged square body. The nose also proved to significantly increase hook-up ratios as there is not much for fish like GT’s to hold onto which would otherwise hinder the hook set. In glassier conditions the presentation is more subtle, but fast, which is better in those conditions. The one problem we had with the Needle Nose was that in windy conditions it tended to blow in long skips across the water as the wind caught the line making it very difficult for a fish to see, never mind catch. This problem led to the development of the Flat Face.
In windy conditions, this plug holds the water a lot better and creates more spray which is what is needed. It has become very popular as it casts well and can be wound substantially faster than the Cone. Although this plug was designed to cater for wind blowing essentially from the side, it has proven to be really successful in strong off-shore winds, such as the ‘off-shores’ you get in the mornings where you have a warm sea and cold land.
Skinny Needle Nose
After seeing the excellent results due to the increase in speed with the Needle Nose, we decided to take it a step further. The Needle Nose at extreme speed would tumble and the hook would sometimes snag on the main line (boxing). By increasing the length substantially we gave the plug a lot more stability at extreme speed. The technique when fishing a surface lure extremely fast in very calm or glassy conditions has proven to be very effective. For the GT’s and really big tuna we had to make very special adjustments to the 5oz version to give it the action that it has which is a very good replica of a fleeing garfish.
PS – This is a fantastic teasing lure to draw large predatory fish in close to a boat or the shore for fly fisherman.