Keith Baker Lures - NSW

                                          *Banner Image - Very rare Keith Baker 'Kra-Bob' with segmented nippers and belly eggs
Keith Baker  began making lures in the early 1980's when he lived near Armidale. After moving to Ulamambri in the 1990`s Keith started producing  the 'Kra-bob' under the name 'Mambri Lures' which can be found on a white card. Keith never gave away the rights to any of his lures, only the right to copy them - the 'Kra-bob' has been copied several times for commercial gain. Keith literally made dozens of different minnow styles as well as his most commonly recognised crayfish imitations. 
Most of Keith`s lures have a full wire harness, placed in a groove and then filled with Araldite.  They are first undercoated and primed by dipping them in very thin clear coat until the timber is completely sealed. Very few have painted eyes although there are a few examples in the 1980's. All his lures were carved with a Victorinox budding knife that Keith called 'Victa'. Old 'Victa' was retired in 2012 and only a handful of specials have been done since by 'Victa 2'. Keith mainly used Radiata Pine (his preferred timber) however some specials and nudes are of  Australian Red Cedar &  White Beech. Considering the continued rise in prices for any Keith Baker lures and the worth of an original 'Kra-bob' in the modern collector market,  keep in mind that Keith was paid between $5- $8 for each lure he carved.
The photo below was posted on the Lure and More forum by Rob Gaden after visiting Keith while making his 'Bakers Dozen' sets to commemorate the 'Kra-Bob' creations. This was the last time Keith used 'Victa'.
The above photo shows an amazing collection of Baker 'Kra-Bobs' that was posted on the Lure Lovers forum in 2012. It includes an enormous 'Kra-bob' compared to some smaller cousins. Considering all Baker 'Kra-Bob' lures start with a timber blank below it is incredible what Keith could do with an old Victorinox budding knife which were originally used  for grafting in the horticultural industry.

 

The following lures show variations and different models of the Baker 'Kra -Bob' - the most recognised of all Keith Baker creations.
The photo below shows some variations and sizes. The largest lure on the left is 17cm long while the smallest which does not have articulated claws (also shown above) is approximately 5-6cm.
(Below) The original Mambri cards after Keith started selling lures from Ulamambri
Fluted Bib model (below) - Standard Bib (above)
(Below) This lure was uncovered at Lure and Fly Expo in 2016 and has a clover shaped bib which is the first seen. This lure is a smaller sized model Baker Kra-Bob
The Mambri Feathered Kra-Bob Lure:
The feathered Kra-Bob is perhaps the rarest of all Keith Baker Kra Bob lures. It is reported that there is possibly only 6 in total out there in collector hands - the lure pictured right was posted several years ago to prove that they exist along with the two examples below. Only the future will tell how many turn up.
The Fish On Tackle Mambri Lure:
The Fish On labels are extremely rare. It  was the name of an old Tackle Shop that packaged the lures themselves and the lure was called a 'Mambri Lure' which was hand written on the header as shown.
The photo below was shown on the Lure Lovers forum by Barry Cross and is the best comparison of the packaging that will contain timber Keith Baker Lures.
Other Keith Baker designs:
Although Keith is best known for his amazing carved yabby creations and the lesser known 'Mambri Lure', he also made a wide range of critters that resemble fish, minnows, cicadas, grass hoppers and bugs. Many are not named and are experimental however Keith did replicate his favourites.
The lure below was discovered and identified at Expo 2017 as a large Keith Baker model
This lure was sold on Ebay in early 2018
The Gremlin or 'Jesus Critters':
Another of the lures that Keith had been making since the late 1980's was the 'Jesus Critter' as shown in the following variations.
Keith made this model in a number of sizes with both dolls eyes and pin eyes with lots of variations.
The Baker Flopy:
The famous Rublex Flopy was one of the most popular lures imported into Australia in the 1960's and 70's. The soft plastic model caused a revelation in bass lure fishing and it also created alot of Flopy fans. Keith was one of them . . . this lure was posted on the forums a couple of years ago and is the only example that has emerged although there are more out there in collector circles.

 

The Baker Min Min:
Another lure that Keith highly regarded was the original Downunder 'Min Min'. The early shape was changed but Keith captures the true lines of the early shape with some experimental bib shapes and patterns.
More Keith Baker lures that sold on Ebay in early 2018
Some with frog spot and trout spots.
Keith Baker 'Nude' Lures - The Final Carvings:
Towards the end of Keith's carving days before the retirement of 'Victa' and with the popularity of clear coated or 'nude' lures, there were a number of very special lures produced. These lures were part of the final lures carved by Keith c. 2012 and were documented on the now defunct Lure and More forum by Rob Gaden from RMG Lures.
Pictures tell the story - nothing more can be said to describe the extant of Keith Bakers carving skills. The man is a genius.
Some very realistic grass hopper creations
Part of the final lot after retirement of 'Victa'
The letter below is dated 1994 and discusses a lure order but also explains how the lures are constructed with a through wire harness.
'My first glimpse of Keith's lures was in a fellows tackle box at Windemere Dam about 18-19 years ago (1992), the fellow (I think his last name was George?) Was a travelling rep from Dubbo and he was showing Keith's lures around too shops for him. I remember being in absolute awe of what was in that box. A famous old blues musician tells a story of when he was younger, that he was offered a lesson on playing slide guitar off an elderly blues player. The old guy had a medicine bottle that he used for slide, after listening too him play, he got up, handed him his brand new shop bought slide, turned and walked away. He was asked why he did leave? and he answered "I could not compete with that, so best to just walk away. I felt a little of that looking into the box. Keith later contacted me about making his bodies quicker, out of wood I had nothing to suggest but put him in contact with Lively Lures, that's when the fella who's name escapes me??? Bought the rights to the Baker Cray'
PS: Some of the lure shapes in that box, I kid you not! Have never been seen, ( by me at least) on any lure sites. Paul Kneller'