How Much Would You Pay for the Hottest Lure of the Year?

Southern California anglers stand in line and pay inflated prices for a precious few of Nomad’s Madmacs trolling plugs.
nomad madmacs limited purchase
The popularity of the Nomad Design Madmacs with both anglers and resellers has forced many retailers to limit the amount customers may purchase at a time. Jim Hendricks

Angler success catching Pacific bluefin tuna using Madmacs trolling lures from Nomad Design has ignited an unprecedented buying frenzy this season. Customers stand in line at tackle stores and search intently online to snap up whatever’s available.

As demand has grown and supply dwindled this summer, prices have climbed. That’s attracted a fair number of scalpers and prompted many tackle retailers to limit purchases to one Madmacs per customer. That, of course, is if the retailer has any inventory, which is an increasingly rare occurrence.

New Pacific Bluefin Tuna Trolling Technique

At the heart of this Madmacs mania lies the recently discovered effectiveness of speed-trolling for Pacific bluefin tuna ranging from 50 to 200 pounds. The lure comes in sizes 160 (6-inch), 200 (8-inch) and 240 (10-inch), but the Madmacs 200 is the most popular. Anglers troll between 10 to 14 knots with 100 to 200 yards of line behind the boat.

Rarely in the past have anglers caught Pacific bluefin in this manner, and so few were prepared with the right lures once the word got out. News spread like a California wildfire, and Madmacs sales sizzled and quickly sold out at many retailers.

I can attest to the effectiveness of this technique. It works particularly well when there are breaking fish, but they are reluctant to bite, largely because the tuna are keyed into schools of tiny anchovies. However, speed-trolling the deep-diving Madmacs 200 seems to trigger a reaction bite as long as the lure is well behind the boat, clear of the prop wash and running fast.

Price Gouging Plugs

triple priced madmacs
The sudden surge in popularity has attracted the interest of resellers, who are charging three times or more what the plugs typically retail for. Jim Hendricks

Before the mania, the going price for a Madmac 200 was less than $50. But as demand has skyrocketed this summer, I have seen price gougers charging as much as $300, and regularly find E-bay entrepreneurs auctioning off Madmacs 200 lures for around $150. That is, if you can actually find one of these to buy.

Once a Southern California tackle store announces that it has received a shipment of Madmacs, lines often form early outside the shop as anglers jostle to make sure they don’t miss out and can get their favorite color of a Madmacs 200 in anticipation of hooking a hard-fighting Pacific bluefin tuna.

How High Would You Go?

What’s the highest price you’ve ever paid for a hot lure? Tell us how much and which lure in the comments below.