Strategic Angler Naia in GT mouth

Strategic Angler Naia – What makes it so good?

The Strategic Angler Naia. The latest sinking stickbait to come out of the Strategic Angler stable and it’s a beauty! Take my money!

Released early this year, I’ve been hearing a lot about this lure even during its prototype stages.

The subtle but clean hits on lure design innovation makes this a must try on your upcoming trip. Potentially a must have for your saltwater lure bag.

Will it be as iconic and popular as the Mikros, Walker, and Espada from the same stable?

When allowed to sink, it flutters seductively on the fall, often getting hit then and there even before you impart any action on it.

First Impressions

From front to back, this lure easily checks all the boxes you’d expect to find in a specialized custom high-end lure.

The colors and finishing are nice and shiny, plus there is a thick topcoat to protect the paint underneath.

Might last a few fish before getting scarred and scratched up but hey. I don’t mind battle scars as they prove that the lure works.

Strategic Angler Naia under black light

The UV coating makes it look really cool when under a UV light. Great for your display case.

This coating doesn’t make it glow in the dark but adds a hint of illumination when worked in the water.

From the overall build quality, materials, finish and even to its variety of swimming actions it can do this lure looks pretty complete.

Let’s dive into the specifics.

Size

The Naia will only be available in the 180mm size option. A medium sized lure I find suitable for all kinds of saltwater predators from giant pelagics, tuna, Giant Trevally and even smaller reefies.

It weighs in at an average of 120g naked or without a hook. Perfect weight for bombing those long casts.

Designed for multi-species fishing, I believe it has the perfect size and weight for all around stickbaiting.

Build and Construction

Strategic Angler Naia prototype see through

Similar to all her older brothers, she is built with a super tough resin body, housing a partially front weighted 2.4 mm thick x-heavy wire inside.

Picking it up and inspecting it up-close, you immediately notice the great workmanship and quality.

A solid feeling lure all around with a strong thru-body wire construction for a solid connection with the fish.

Rigging Options

Designed as a horizontal sinking lure, a tail hook is the only hook rigging option.

Having only a tail hook is a bold but admirable shot at innovation. Merv opted to omit the belly loop to allow a more rhythmic side to side cadence as it sinks.

This may deter some of the dual-treble guys at first, but the swim action benefits certainly outweigh the downsides of having just one hook at the tail.

The recommended treble hooks sizes are 3/0 to 5/0. And for singles you can use 7/0 to big 12/0 hooks.

And the Naia is also just the right size for it to be rigged with a single tail hook anyway as it gets itself fully engulfed most of the time.

Jimmy Sow of the Genghais with a GT caught with a Strategic Angler Naia

As you can see, it didn’t have any problems with this nice GT.

Casting

Strategic Angler Naia Gold

An average weight of 120 g, and having a slim and sexy body shape, this beauty can fly.

With recent reports on its extremely good castability, my claim can be easily backed up.

This is a horizontal sinking lure, so it will sink steadily and slowly but I won’t recommend to use it in super shallow water around heavy structure.

When allowed to sink, it flutters seductively on the fall, often getting hit then and there even before you impart any action on it.

This leads us to the swimming actions and techniques that this lure is designed for.

Action

Walk the dog – possibly the most popular way of working a stickbait, the Naia works well with a rhythmic slow short sweeping pulls for an alternating zigzag swim.

Short and quick sweeps of the rod create a fleeing baitfish action that is just eye candy for saltwater predators.

Wobble – A slow and steady retrieve with the rod tip low will create a slow side to side wobble effect. The action imitates a relaxed cruising baitfish unaware of its dire fate.

Mixing in the occasional twitch makes the Naia come alive, adding the extra seduction sometimes necessary for a follow to turn into a strike.

Flutter – Allowed to sink, the free falling Naia flutters seductively on the drop. Depending on the hook size you use, the sink rate varies, but according to the website information, expect an average sink rate of 2 feet per second.

Cast this beauty amongst a feeding school of tuna and just let it sink. Can you imagine the take?

Price and Availability

Strategic Angler Naia

This is a handmade and hand finished lure that takes tons of time to make. Expect to pay a premium for this beauty as it screams custom.

Different dealers with different color options have different prices due to order quantities, location and customized finishes.

I’ve seen some of the “basic” colors go for US$110 and custom colors go up to US$140 in the US.

Wait til you’ve seen the latest “squid” colorway and packaging. It’s a treat!

Head over to the Strategic Angler Instagram page  to see the rest of the custom colors Merv has been working on.

Make sure to check with dealers close to where you are for availability.

Verdict

Strategic Angler really did a good job with the Naia.

Merv changed things up in the already saturated lure market by going tail-hook only, paired with its “easy to work” variety of swimming actions.

Like I mentioned before, the Naia checks all the fundamental boxes to become a great multi-species stickbait.

It is versatile and beginner friendly, which will eventually cause an increase in demand.

The limited availability and price may not allow it to break the mainstream but lures of this caliber deserve to be in the high-end tiers anyway.

For sure an easy lure to recommend to friends and clients. An exceptional lure that can be fished effectively by anyone in all skill levels.

It is just a matter of how you can get your hands on one. Or a few.

Make sure to check out the Strategic Angler website for more details of Naia and have a look at Merv’s other iconic lures available.

Special thanks to Han Soh, Jack Ong, and Jimmy Sow of the Genghais for the personal feedback, photos and reviews on the Naia.

Most of the details listed above were based on their recent use of the lure and this review wouldn’t be accurate if not for their honest feedback.

Will you be getting yourself a Naia soon?

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322

or you may also contact us through our website at https://www.oceanbluefishing.com/enquire

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Strategic Angler Naia – What makes it so good?

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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