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Yo-Zuri Ebi Q

When squid jigs were still in their infancy in the early 2000s, the Yo-Zuri Shrimp Hunter came out and changed the game forever. It was different from any squid jig on the market and not only did it look amazing with its prawn imitation aesthetics, it caught more than anything else available at the time. It’s still sought-after by collectors and anglers who swear by its effectiveness. It was so popular in Australia that it took years for Japanese squid jig manufactures to educate anglers that squid jigs were designed to imitate fish, not prawns, and that the Shrimp Hunter was an exception.

I’ve often heard it asked why some squid jigs look like prawns, and catch squid even if there are no prawns in areas such as Port Phillip Bay or Western Port and many other popular areas that squid inhabit. First off, there are shrimp of some kind in every saltwater environment; and the second – and main – answer I give is that like any animal, feeding habits are instinctive. Cephalopods will eat anything, and if southern calamari got big enough, I bet they’d eat people.

Ebi Q

The new Yo-Zuri Ebi Q is the 2020 version of the Shrimp Hunter, a prawn imitation that is advanced in every way imaginable. Available in sizes 3.0 and 3.5, the Ebi Q is based on Yo-Zuri’s sister company’s successful Duel LQ Lens, which we reviewed a few years ago. The main feature both share is an inner reflective sheet available in four highly reflective colours of Marble, Aurora, Gold and Red. This is an extremely effective design that reflects light efficiently and with dramatic effect. The various coloured cloths over the jig allow the sheet to shine through but are also highly durable and painted with detailed colour schemes and contrasting patterns – some are luminous and some are UV, which is marked on the packet. Prawn-style beady eyes adorn the head to further push the prawn aesthetic, but the stand-out feature is soft plastic prawn legs and a coloured skirt like you’d find on a spinnerbait.

Duel/Yo-Zuri have already featured the multiple legs under the body and many other companies have copied this design, so using a skirt was an interesting take on a prawn imitation, and one that shoots for impressionism over realism. Like most lures, impressionism achieves better results than the latter.

On The Water

The Ebi Q sinks with outstanding stability, a feature you’d expect from a brand like Yo-Zuri, and importantly the skirt does not impede the lure’s action on the retrieve. Aggressive rod jerks will see the Ebi Q hop like a prawn and sharper, shorter jerks will have it darting like a fish.

We were sent a single sample about five months ago, before the full production run hit our shores. The first day of testing started quite slowly and I thought, “This is a good time to try that new jig”. On its first cast it caught a small calamari, followed by a huge cuttlefish, then multiple large calamari, another smaller cuttlefish, an octopus, and an arrow squid, before I lost the jig to a snag. To say the results on that first test were exceptional would be an understatement. I waited a while for more as we were very excited by how effective it was and wanted to test it further.  By the time I received my next batch, months had passed and I was between boats. So, on my recent trip back out I put it to the test, in the same area in Port Phillip, with similar conditions. I started out with one of my favourite jigs and the morning was slow, but as soon as I tied on the Ebi Q, it kicked off into a hot session where I quickly caught my bag limit. I went out again the next day and landed two cuttlefish and eight great-sized squid. The results have been exceptional.

Why?

It’s fair to come back to the question of why a prawn imitation is so effective in areas where prawns aren’t overly prevalent. I believe in the case of the Ebi Q it’s a few things – first and foremost it has a stable sinking posture and a great retrieve action, and there is no substitute for these two factors in a squid jig. The second is that reflective inner sheet, which is very effective as you can see from the images. The third is the skirt; as the jigs sinks, the skirt fluffs out and makes the jig look larger and more noticeable from a distance and this is why I think on three occasions now the Ebi Q has instantly drawn squid in. It’s also something different and new. I believe the skirt may make the jig look like fish that inhabit the same areas as squid such as the red mullet, a fish with whiskers that’s a common prey item of calamari. At the end of the day, who cares, it works and works well – I’ve done the testing for you, and I highly recommend you head out and buy a few. The colours that worked best for me were KVSL, LFM and NLM.

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