Latest News

New Post Notification

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email. This is not associated with our monthly newsletter subscription contest. Sign up for the newsletter contest here

Category Archives: Product Reviews

MattLures is at it again and this time he has created one of his best hard resin bass swimbaits to date. The new MattLures 7″ WakeBait bass weighs in at 2.5 ounces and was built to trick and catch the big ones!

MattLures WakeBait

Company: MattLures

Bait: 7″ Bass WakeBait

Swim Style: S-Motion/Surface Wakebait

R.O.F.: Floater

Composite: Hard Resin

length: 7″

Weight: 2.5 oz.

Speed: slow-medium

Custom Paint: Yes

Hinge: Yes

Hinge Style: Drop Pin/Screw Eye

MSRP: $59.99

MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

Test driving new lures is always a blast for me and this new MattLures wakebait bass was awesome. Believe me these pictures don’t do this paint job justice, it is just incredible how life-like the paint job looks on this swimbait.

MattLures WakeBait Bass

This is by far one of the best bass wakebaits on the market. I found at a slow to medium retrieve this swimbait had an incredible surface waking action, the top of the tail just slightly stuck out of the water while the first section of the bait ran just under the surface and stays very straight.

Mattlures WakeBait Bass

This three piece bait has plenty of flexibility to help it wake and having the first section being half of the baits body length gives the Mattlures Wakebait Bass great stability in the water so the last two sections can go to work and wake the surface.

MattLures WakeBait Bass

 

MattLures worked really hard to make a new joint system for his wakebait bass that has concave sections where the following sections will fit inside and what I really like is how he painted the sections all the way around giving the wakebait a life-like look as the sections move.

MattLures WakeBait Bass

I still can’t believe how real the paint job looked, its detail is awesome especially the pelvic fins and the head and body markings, he even added a splash of gold in the paint to highlight the green. MattLures has really been paying attention to detail over the years. When you run your finger along the sides of the bait you can feel the scales as well as the lateral line I was very impressed with this.

MattLures WakeBait Bass

MattLures WakeBait Bass

 

I have always been a huge fan of eye sockets that  tilt downward and  that is exactly what MattLures has done by tilting the eyes down and using a signature real-life MattLures eye.

MattLures WakeBait Bass

MattLures used a super strong material for the tail that you can stretch all you want and not rip it, he also made it with a two wood pin system that you can remove if you needed to replace the tail.

Wakebait Floater

As you can see by the picture above the MattLures Wakebait floater just sits under the surface, it is a very buoyant lure.

The WakeBait will come in four colors; light bass, dark bass, striper, and smallmouth and will be officially released later in the year, but if you pre-sign up at http://www.mattlures.com you can get on a waiting list to be one of the first to drive this new Mattlures 7″ Bass WakeBait.

Pros: Very well built durable bait from the internal rigging harness to the tail, MattLures has designed a new almost unbreakable resin that should give these swimbaits years of life. Also I like how all the fins were built to take plenty of abuse, there not built to thin very thick and durable and the paint job looks incredible!

Cons: The bait was built to be a wakebait with basically one speed, I found I wanted to rip and jerk the bait sometimes but it did not respond very well to that technique, but with a slow-medium retrieve it swam exactly how it was designed.

                            MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

As a fan of natural looking swimbaits and receiving a a package of Jackall Swimming Ninja G-90’s in baby bass, and bluegill colors I was excited to get a rod and hit the water to try them out.

Company: Jackall

Lure: Swimming Ninja G90

Lure Type: Soft Plastic

Colors: Baby Bass, Bluegill

Weight:  3/4″

Length:  3 3/4″

R.O.F.: Slow Sinking 6′-8′ on steady retrieve

Bait Swim Style: Kick Tail

Body Style: Natural Look

MSRP: $14.99

MLO Rating: 4 out of 5

Jackall has made some really nice lures over the years and once again with their Swimming Ninja G90 series of small small life-like swimbaits they paid attention to detail with natural fish imitation colors, which for someone who is fishing clear waters with small bluegills, crappie, or baby bass this is a must have bait.

Swimming Ninja G90

Jackall’s packaging has a clear plastic clamshell system that is handy if you want to store your bait after use to help keep the tail straight and the paint from getting scratched.

Baby Bass, Bluegill

For my Swimming Ninja G90 field test review I fished the Baby Bass, and Bluegill colors which really looked natural when I took them out of the package. Jackall offers six colors in the Swimming Ninja G90; baby bass, black crappie, baby bass, spawn gill, bluegill, and thread fin shad, something for everyone.

MLO

Here is a underwater picture where you can really see the colors stand out, in my opinion Jackall did a very good job with the real-life imaging on the swimbaits, they looked very life-like in the water with the Baby Bass looking very realistic.

MLO

The rod used for this review was a Dobyns DX 744, and a Shimano Calais reel loaded with 12lb. Maxima Flouro-Carbon line. The lake was Lake Jennings Ca. the structure fished was rock ledge drops, small submerged trees, and weed edges.

MLO

A top view of the Swimming Ninja G90 shows lots of scale pattern detail along with the eyes, gills, and pectoral fins protruding off the bait giving it a real-life look from the top and bottom view angles.

MLO

The tail of the Swimming Ninja G90 is very interesting, it is an upside down boot tail that swam nice in the water. It did not kick hard where you can feel it thump through the rod, it is a very subtle kick tail that is all about the flash. In the clear water the Swimming Ninja G90’s tail looked very natural.

MLO

I was very impressed with how the Swimming Ninja G90 sat up on the bottom. it is a very well balanced swimbait that looked very natural in the water like a feeding fish on the bottom. I was surprised that there was an eyelet on the bottom of the bait for a added hook I did not feel that this bottom eyelet was needed at all in such a small swimbait.

MLO

On my very first cast of the Swimming Ninja G90 Baby Bass color I got hammered, I had followers on almost every cast, the real-life color really tricked the bass, and I liked the size, and shape of the swimbait and so did the bass.

MLO

Towards the end of my six hour field test review the bass were still showing how much they loved the bait. I found that as soon as I starting fishing some new structure that the fish were all over the swimbait especially around rocks, or weeds. The Swimming Ninja G90’s that I used were all 3/4oz. and using them with 12lb. flour-carbon line I found the swimbait to run at a depth of around 6-8 feet on a slow steady retrieve which is exactly how I used them around the weed edges. And with the hard bottom areas of the lake I was letting the swimbait fall to the bottom with a lift and fall back to the bottom type retrieve to get some bass to bite.

Pros: Very realistic looking swimbait, worked great in clear water, had a good size, and shape. After hooking a dozen fish the hook point, and barb still looked  sharp and the hook body was not bent out of it’s original shape.

Cons: The imaging on the outside of the soft plastic swimbait really took a beating and started tearing after a few bass and seemed to lose it’s effectiveness. I did not feel there was a need for the added eyelet on the bottom of the Swimming Ninja G90.

                                  MLO Rating 4 out of 5

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

Do you need an extra boost winding in your next big fish or crankin your favorite bait? Well a new company on the scene called Hawgtech has just what you’re looking for!

Hawg Tech Carbon Fiber Reel Handles

While talking to Steve Parks at the Strike King Booth during ICAST I ran into the guys from Hawgtech. We struck up a conversation and that’s when I found out about their after- market reel handle. Mike Slipy (co-owner) pointed out it’s not your everyday handle, it’s manufactured from carbon fiber plate stock then CNC (computer numerically controlled) machined to produce this high-tech handle which virtually fits all baitcasters. Carbon fiber is 5x stronger than steel and is extremely light; you’ll also notice that the handle is longer giving you more leverage. Also unique are the cork grips which give you a nice soft feel and are light as well. The Hawg Tech handles were easy to install, be sure you look in the small built-in box for the new hardware.

Easy Installation

After using the handles on my Revo SX and Shimano Castaic for just one session I knew that these handles were going to be a great addition! Here’s a couple of nice fish I caught while putting the new handles through their paces, loved the feel and extra leverage.

      

Hawg Tech is up and running they’re officially open for business. Check out their website and the FaceBook page as well.  

Here are the spec’s:

  • Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber reel handle.  25 grams.
  • 94mm length for maximum cranking torque (typical = 80-90mm)
  • Four ball bearings for optimum smoothness.
  • Cork grips provide attractive, comfortable cranking
  • Premium components:
  • 3k, twill carbon fiber
  • highest grade cork available.
  • ABEC5, stainless steel bearings
  • T6061 aluminum.
  • U-40 sealant and bond epoxy.
  • ReelX lubricant

Pros: Light weight, strong, comfortable, extra leverage and stylish

Cons:  The hardware was somewhat hidden.

Two thumbs up review…..

Until next time, Stay on Em !

 

Danny Barker

I’m a Calif. transplant living in Ocala, FL. I’ve lived here for the last 6 years. My home town of Sacramento/ Folsom, Ca is where I lived for 40 years. Some of the best bass fishing in the country with the Delta, Clear Lake, Folsom and tons of other outstanding water. I write/moderate for a cool website called the Unemployed Fishing Club Unemployed Fishing Club, I’m also a writer/ Field Editor for North Central Florida Fish Explorer.com. Looking forward to contributing to MLO. Look me up on FaceBook too !

Facebook 

Jerry Rago, of Rago Baits is at it again with his latest creation, the Weedless Mini a 5 1/2″ swimbait. I have had this bait for about a month now and have tested it at three different lakes where I abused it as much as possible.

Rago Weedless Mini

Company: Rago Baits
Lure Type: Hand-Poured Weedless Swimbait
Length: 5 1/2″
Weight: 1.2 oz (with no hook)
R.O.F.: Depends on weight added with hook
Colors: Six standard Colors
Hook: Not Suplied
Tail Design: Boot Tail
Lure Speed: Slow-Med. Retrieve
Custom Paint: No
MSRP: TBD
MLO Rating: 4 out 5

I have been personally using Rago Baits for well over 10 years and in that time have seen Jerry Rago create some really awesome hand-poured swimbaits. He has a knack for being able to pour colors that are consistent and very clean. If you take a close look at  some of Rago’s clear baits you will not see lots of bubbles in the plastic or other imperfections Rago Baits hand-poured swimbaits.

Dobyns 795, Shimano Anteres

The rod used for this review was a Dobyns 795, reel was a Shimano Anteres loaded with 15lb Maxima flouro carbon line. Lake Poway, Lake Otay, and Lake Dixon in San Diego California were the field test review lakes.

Side View of the Rago Weedless Mini

This small 5 1/2″ weedless swimbait fits right into my game plan I love to use weedless swimbaits that I can fish where some of the big bass are hiding. I testesd this Rago weedless Mini design in tules, light brush and some sunken trees, where I had very little issue with the hook coming out of the bait and sticking into any structure. I did have some light grass get stuck on the nose of the bait from time to time but nothing a good rip of the bait couldn’t remove. Rago Baits is not supplying a hook with the Weedless Mini to try to help keep the price down. So I used an Owner 5-0  1/4 ounce weight hook, it fit perfect in the Weedless Mini and got the swimbait down to about 7′ of water on a slow retrieve.

Bottom View of Rago Weedless Mini

There is a small pocket at the bottom of the bait just under the head section where my weighted hook fit perfect inside of. The pocket did a great job of hiding and holding the weighted hook in place while casting and also on the retrieve back to the boat.

Top View of the Rago Weedless Mini

A top view of the Rago Weedless Mini shows lots of real-life detail like the pectoral, and pelvic fins sticking out.

The Rago Weedles Mini

The side view of the bait shows another life-like view of all the fins. With some small swimbaits when full fins are added it interferes with the swimming action, but I did not find that to happen at all with the Rago Weedless Mini, it was a very smooth swimming bait that swam very straight in the water, very life-like.

Pros: I caught quite a few fish with the mini on a slow to medium retrieve where the bait ran at around 5′-8′ feet with the weighted hook that I used . And if I gently pulled the swimbait through any structure I got my bait back 90% of the time. It also casted really good for such a small full fined bait, even when the wind picked up it flew straight in the air, no tumbling.

Cons: I did have some issues with the the hook staying weedless after catching around a half dozen bass, a little swimbait glue fixed that issue quickly. I also had a few issues with the hook staying in the mouth area, once again a little glue solved this issue.
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

What a HOT, Humid day on the water today in North Central Florida! After my morning coffee wore off around noon it was time for something else to pick me up. Here’s where the folks from Reel Adrenaline Energy Drinks come into play. Reel Adrenaline Energy Drinks may be the first custom designed energy drinks specifically for fisherman.

I met Stephen Fill along with Amber Block at ICAST where they introduced me to their new product and gave me a few samples to review. Stephen stated that the drinks have B vitamins, taurine (organic acid involved in muscle and eye function), caffeine, glucuronolactone (derived from sugar), sucrose and glucose (sugars), it’s offered in two named versions: Big Game and Light Tackle.

The light indicates the sugar free version. Both are citrus flavored, with the regular version having 112 calories and the sugar free version having just 5 calories. The drink was designed for the fishermen in particular, but also divers, surfers, snorkelers, boaters, and others who love the water now have a tasty flavorful drink.

I’ve always loved the taste of lemon/lime and the drink reminded me of it. Next time you’re on the water and need a refreshing boost check ’em out.

Here’s the website link, or you can follow them on Facebook.

Pros: Great way to stay alert on the water, refreshing taste

Cons: Still a little hard to get, but they’re working on getting some distributors lined up!

Two thumbs up Review!

until next time…..”Stay on em”

Danny Barker

I’m a Calif. transplant living in Ocala, FL. I’ve lived here for the last 6 years. My home town of Sacramento/ Folsom, Ca is where I lived for 40 years. Some of the best bass fishing in the country with the Delta, Clear Lake, Folsom and tons of other outstanding water. I write/moderate for a cool website called the Unemployed Fishing Club Unemployed Fishing Club, I’m also a writer/ Field Editor for North Central Florida Fish Explorer.com. Looking forward to contributing to MLO. Look me up on FaceBook too !

Facebook 

Wow, once again I got to field test a lure for a product review that was just incredible. Here in San Diego during the hot summer months almost all of the lakes have weeds in the shallows where you can toss a hollow-body frog on them. We also have lots of tules in our lakes which we normally just flip a jig or a senko at. But today when I field tested this new lure, Flip in The Bird, I had to retrain myself to just toss the bait at the tules and let it sit. Holy cow! I was very impressed that it got blasted on the first half dozen flips. Even in open water, just letting it sit, it got blasted. From only three hours of field testing I ended up with over 20 bass and only lost a few. It was an incredible experience with a new bait and technique for using it.

Company: Flip in The Bird

Product Color: Red Wing Black Bird

Style Lure: Topwater

Weedless: Yes

Hook Brand: Unknown

Length: (3″ Body)(Tail 1″)(Wings 1′-2″)

Weight: 5/8 oz

Colors Available: 9

MSRP: $11.99

MLO Rating: 5 out of 5

 

When I first got my Flip in The Bird in the mail and opened it, I was not sure what to think. I have thrown many frog imitations and it’s mid-Summer when the bass are in full gear, hiding and ambushing around the weeds, trees, and tules.

There is some good information on the package to take note of. It has a reminder to visit the Flip in The Birds website for instructions on how to trim your bird’s wings as well as some tips on where and how to work this lure.

At first glance of the bait out of the package, I could see it was different from any other hollow-body topwater lure I had used before. The main difference is the body shape and where the wings and tail tassels are placed that give this bait a whole new profile for hollow body imitations.

The body has an imitation feather look to it that really stands out when you first look at the bait.

Even the belly of the bait had bird feet imaging on it which looked very life-like.

The rod used for this field test review was a Dobyns 764 and the reel was a Shimano Core filled with 50lb. Power Pro Braid w/10′ Flouro Carbon leader. The lake was Dos Picos in Ramona, California and conditions were perfect for field testing a weedless hollow-body bait.

After tossing the Bird on the weeds in the shallows and getting a few bass, it was time to start fishing the bait in the places it was designed for like right next to the tules and around the trees.

Flip in The Bird looks awesome in the water; it’s exactly what a small bird looks like when it’s stuck on the water. I did not trim the wings of the lure before my field test review and this needs to be done to give the wings a more natural look.

There are two grooves where the hooks ride in to help keep the Bird weedless.

From the front of the Bird you can once again see the real-life detail with the yellow eyes.

The Flip in The Bird has an exclusive lever-action hook system, which I found to work just fine with the hollow-body lure system.  

I did find that the eyelet of the Bird pulled out about 1/8″ after a cast and pointed downward a bit making the bait walk on the surface of the water during a slow retrieve.

Flip in The Bird has some very realistic bird imitations to try which is awesome if you’re fishing a lake that has baby birds nesting close to the water and you’re looking to match the hatch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bass jumping out of the water trying to catch a bird close to the surface.

Pros: It is a very realistic looking lure with a great weedless hook system that did great for my field test review. I found the Bird to be very durable after catching over 20 bass. The tail and wings were still intact and the hooks did not bury into the sides of the bait. Also, I was very impressed with how well the bait flew in the air on each cast.

Cons: After a one day field test review I could not find anything wrong with the Bird. This was a first for me.

MLO Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

One of the best parts about overnight camping, at least for me, is waking up in the great outdoors with the sounds and smells of nature serving as your alarm clock. A fresh-brewed cup of coffee sends that experience into something on par with a spiritual event. Of course, coaxing a good cup of coffee out of your standard camp coffee makers can be a bit of a hassle. If you do find a coffee maker that actually brews a good cup of coffee it is usually too bulky to bring along on a backpacking trip or hike.

Not so with the GSI Outdoors Personal JavaPress.

In addition to brewing a perfect cup of coffee, the nesting feature makes this a very space and weight efficient coffee maker and mug combination for 1-2 people to use while camping or backpacking.

Company: GSI Outdoors
Product Name: Personal Java Press
Gear Categories: Personal, Portable, Hiking, Camping, Gourmet Backpacking, French Press Coffee
Material: BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene
Capacity: 20 fl. Oz.
Weight: 10.8 Oz.
Dimensions: 4.30″ x 4.20″ x 6.10″
Colors: Clear w/Blue Insulating EVA wrap or Smoke w/Maroon Insulating EVA wrap
Features: 20 fl. oz. Carafe w/Lid, Insulating Sleeve, Patented Plunger Mechanism, Separate 17 fl.oz. Mug, Insulating wrap, Sip-it Lid
MSRP: $29.95

Pros: Separate mug and carafe eliminates over-brewed, muddy coffee produced by most personal French Presses. Split-ring plunger design virtually eliminates coffee ‘blow-by’ for the most flavorful, mud-free coffee. Nesting, insulated mug includes Sip-It Lid and is made of lightweight, shatter-resistant, BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene. Insulating EVA sleeves on mug and carafe remove easily for cleaning.

Cons: The lid for both the cup and the press excel at keeping heat in without taking up space, but fail at preventing spills and allowing access for pouring or sipping.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5

This article features work from several MLO staff writers. Some provided the research, others testing, and others editorial contributions. Articles that do not have one specific writer will feature the Staff Writers byline to prevent confusion about the contents origins. If you have any questions about the content, please email us at editorial@mikelongoutdoors.com! We’d be happy to hear from you.

Every now and then I use a bait and get a smile on my face, and that is how I felt when I was field testing the Koppers Live Target  3 3/4″  Bluegill Wakebait.

Company: Koppers Live Target
Lure Type: Wakebait
Model: BGW95T
Length: 3 3/4″
Weight:  1 3/8 oz
Colors: Metallic/Gloss and Natural Matte
Bait Swim Style: Side to Side
Hook Style: Exposed Treble Hooks
Hooks: Daiichi
Hook Size: #8
Custom Paint No
Lure Hinge: Yes
Number of Hinges: One
Hinge Style: Screw Eye
Lure Speed: Slow to Medium-Fast/ Rip & Jerk
Depth Range: 0′-1′
MSRP: $12.49
MLO Rating:  4.5 out of 5

The lake I chose for this field test review was Lake Jennings Ca. it was mid-summer and there were bluegill in the shallows everywhere, so I knew this was going to be a fun field test for a shallow running bluegill imitation lure.

Dobyns 795, Shimano Scorpion Anteres Reel.

Equipment used for this field test review was a Dobyns ML795 rod, a Shimano Scorpion Anteres reel, and 20 lb. Maxima flouro carbon line. I went a little heavy with the equipment on this trip due to all the weeds that were in the shallow water, and after hooking and landing over 30 bass up to 6 lbs it was the right choice. I really pulled hard on a few of the larger bass that took me in the weeds, but afterward upon close inspection of the Bluegill Wakebait the hooks, split rings, and eyelets all looked as good as new.

Live Target Bluegill Wakebait

The color I tested was a Metallic/ Gloss which is a great color in slightly stained to stained water which was exactly what I was fishing in at Lake Jennings. Once again I felt Live Target hit a home run on the bluegill imaging it looked great in the water and the fish seem to like it too. As the sun set and water got a little darker the bass were still finding a killing the Bluegill Wakebait, I could see the flash of the bait in the mud-lined edges of the lake and that is where some of the bigger bass bit for me. So all in all the gold color I felt was really a good idea for this style lure. There is also some steel balls inside the bait to give it some added noise to call up the big ones.

Bluegill Wakebait two piece lure

The Live Target Bluegill Wakebait is a two piece bait which I found did two things, one gave the lure a tight S-swimming motion during the retrieve, and two a little sound in the water and thump you can feel with your rod tip. When the wind died I could hear the two body sections hitting together on slow surface waking retrieve.

Blugill Wakebait (front)

There is a bill on the Bluegill Wakebait so if retrieved at a medium to fast speed it will get down to around one foot of water, which was perfect for the shallow Summer conditions I was fishing. The Bluegill Wakebait looks really good at a very slow retrieve with the lure body staying around 85% under the surface and creating a subtle V-wake, but I found on the field test that I could rip the bait then pause, and let it rise for a few seconds and start the rip and jerk process all over again. This technique is what I caught almost all my bass on during the field test.

Picture of the life-like eyes

 

The eyes on the Live Target Bluegill look real from all angles and really finishes off the life-like appearance to this bluegill imitation.

Belly shot.

Every angle you look on the Bluegill Wakebait  you’ll see life-like imaging even on the belly it has pelvic fins added.

 

Pros: A great lure right out of the package, very life-like, having a joint really gives this lure more action and noise in the water whether fishing it slow, fast, or ripping and jerking. The imaging looks really good the just enough gold but not too much for stained, or dirty water. Very durable finish, i hit the shore a few times and hooked lots of toothy bass and the bait still looked good as new. An old school touch the package comes with some instructions on how to use the Bluegill Wakebait. The Live Target Bluegill Wakebait  just flat out got the job done for me on test day.

Cons: The eyes needed to come out just a little it has a bit of a dying sunken look. After a ten hour day of abuse and catching lots of bass, I found two piece joint to have opened up slightly, it had more rotation than when I first started using it. The package says the bait weighs 1 3/8 oz., but when I weighed the bait I found it to be only  1-0 oz.

 

     MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5 

 

 

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

The Boze Sumo Frog is a lure that I’ve been using for well over ten years so doing a review on this topwater frog is easy to do with all the time on the water with this lure. The one thing that has always been consistent with the Sumo Frog is the material it is made with, it is a fairly thick soft pliable rubber that really stands up well to years of fishing and tossing it up on the bank continually to get that silent entry onto the weed cover. It also stands up well to all those real toothy home-guard bass that attack it violently over and over on almost every trip.

Boze Sumo Frog Color Green Menace

Company: Boze

Product: Sumo Frog

Style Lure: Topwater

Weedless: Yes

Hook Brand: Owner

Length: (2.75″ Body)( Legs 3″)

Weight: 5/8 oz

Colors: 12

MSRP: $7.89

 

The Sumo Frog was designed in a way to give you one of the best hook ratios of any weedless frog on the market today this is in part due to how the back of the body curves just in front the points and barbs of the Owner hooks and with light pressure from the bass’ mouth will expose these hooks for a good hookset. I had very little problem with weeds getting hung on the hooks.

Sumo Frog

The weight on the bait is lead and over time will wear down, especially if your in a boat and casting and hitting the shore quite often. I have plenty of frogs that over time will lose around 1/8oz from the lead weight wearing down, one remedy I’ve for this is adding a little liquid vinyl before each trip, or some JB Weld from your local hardware store, both will help keep the Sumo’s weight as good as new.

Rear of the Sumo Frog 3″ Legs, Hook, and Weight

Sumo frogs are one of the few frogs that come with extra long legs 3″, this is nice and makes bigger profile on the thick weed matts, and if you want more of an open water swimming frog you can trim the legs down to help give the Sumo Frog more side-side swimming movement.

Shimano Core 100MG, Dobyns 764 Champion Extreme

The rod I used for the Sumo Frog review was a Dobyns 764 Champion Extreme, reel was a Shimano 100MG, and line was 50lb. Power Pro Braid. Lake Jennings Ca.was the review lake there was just enough weeds to test the Sumo Frog effectively.

Color, Brown Menace

I was very impressed with how the Sumo Frog sat in the water with the rear of the frog submerged and the distinct eyes up  and out of the water. This is a very natural look, almost exactly how a real frog sits on top of the water.

Sumo’s Low Profile

The Sumo Frog is one of the flatter frogs on the market today and this helps to create some drag on the surface of the weeds, and nice swooshing sound to call up the big bass.

Sumo Frog Top View

As you can see by the picture above the flat low profile diamond shape of the Sumo frogs body really gives the lure a very natural look on the water, as well as out of the water.

Pros: The Sumo Frog was an easy bait to use right out of the package, nothing fell off or broke, no adjustments were needed just tie it on and start casting, and with its weight of 5/8oz it was very easy to make long cast. The Owner hooks are very sharpe and really compliment the Sumo Frog. The legs are 3″ long and are very easy to replace. After days and days of use the Sumo Frogs body kept its shape, and that was a pleasant surprise.

Cons: The Sumo Frogs lead weight did scratch when it hit the shore and over time will cause the lead weight to lose its original weight and losing weight made the bait hard to cast in the wind. The hole where the hook goes into the bait on the bottom of the frog, after multiple bass catches started to open up and let more water into the bait making the bait sink. The paint job never seems to last more than one trip before it starts to literally disappear right before your eyes, part of this is due to touching the bait with your fingers repeatedly to squeeze the water out of the body cavity.

Overall Rating on the Sumo Frog 4 out of 5

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

Columbia Custom Tackle has built the next generation of custom swimbait storage boxes with the 6″ swimbait box and the 11 1/2″ swimbait box. The 6″ swimbait box has the ability to hold up to 14  six-inch or smaller swimbaits while the 11 1/2″ swimbait box has the ability to hold up to seven 11 1/2″ or smaller swimbaits.

The boxes are made by Plano and modified into the custom swimbait boxes by Columbia Custom Tackle.

The Plano boxes are waterproof models with custom black gorilla hand latches that keep these boxes sealed until you’re ready to open them.  Inside the boxes, you’ll notice a hard, steel bar that runs inside a hard, plastic sleeve with snaps and vinyl-coated wires for swimbait attachments. The 6″ box has eight snaps and six wires which can accommodate bait with eyelets or line-through swimbaits.

Company: Columbia Custom Tackle
Box Type: Swimbait Box
Material:  Impact-resistant polypropylene
Box Capacity: 6″ swimbait Box 14 baits / 11 1/2″ swimbait Box 7 baits
Color: Clear w/Black Latches
Water Resistant: Yes
Box Size: 13″L x 7 3/4″ W x 2 1/2″ deep
MSRP: $34.99
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Close up of Columbia Tackle Box Snaps & Wires

Snaps and wires to hold your swimbaits in place in the 11.5″ box

The Swimbait boxes are modified with a threaded bar which can be removed so the snaps and wires can be adjusted to add more or less.

The black hinge latches are some of the best ever put on a lure box. They latch easily and stack and store with ease in a boat or a storage cabinet with a notch built into the box to make it easy to grab and carry.

Columbia Tackle Boxes Removable Gasket

Removable red water proof gasket in the lid of the box

The Columbia Custom Tackle swimbait boxes hold plenty of baits in place while keeping them dry and it is easy to take the holding bar out to add snaps or wires.

Pros: These swimbait storage boxes are waterproof, with some of the best latches available on a lure storage box, and the threaded lure holding bar is very easy to remove and realign with the removal of one threaded nut.

Cons: Your lures can move around a lot and tangle, but a quick fix is to add a little foam to the underside of the lid which will help keep the baits in place.

Mike Long

Mike Long, is well known for monster bass, like the 20.12 oz largemouth bass taken from Dixon Lake in 2001. That fish put him at number ten on the world record list, but it wasn’t his only large fish. He is among a handful of bass fisherman with hundreds of fish over 10 lbs to his credit.

When we got our hands on the first batch of Koppers Live Target Bluegill Crankbaits (model#BG57M102) we could not wait to tie one on and start testing them for this review. At first glance, the lure looked like a piece of art. It doesn’t match your everyday crank bait; it has a metallic gloss bluegill color which really stands out in your hand and looks even better in the water.

Company: Koppers Live Target
Lure Type: Diving Crankbait
Model: BG57M102
Length: 2 1/4″
Weight: 1/4 oz
Colors: Metallic/Gloss and Natural Matte
Bait Swim Style: Side to Side
Hook Style: Exposed Treble Hooks
Hooks: Daiichi
Hook Size: #6
Custom Paint: No
Lure Hinge: None
Number of Hinges: None
Hinge Style: None
Lure Speed: Slow to Medium
Depth Range: 5′-6
MSRP: $11.49
MLO Rating:  4.5 out of 5

From the tip of the bill to the end of the bait it is  3 1/2″  long and weighs in at a 1/4 ounce. It is a very narrow, prolific style crank bait that measures only a 1/2″ wide. This gives the lure a very tight side to side swimming action in the water. The lure is a medium-depth 5′-6′ runner with one ball inside that gives the bait good balance in the water and really helps in casting this small crank bait. It really worked well with slow to medium retrieve with a 2-3 second pause when hitting the top of structure and it also loved to be rip and jerked with a pause thrown in. After our MLO buoyancy tank test we found the lure to rise rate of 3 seconds per foot which is a very good medium buoyancy for such a small narrow crank bait.

The two colors I tested for the Koppers Live Target Bluegill crankbait review were the Natural Matte Blugill and Metallic Gloss Bluegill. Both stood up very well over many days of fish catching and rock hitting during retrieves and we barely noticed a scratch on the baits. Live Target also put a realistic 3D eye on the lure which really tops it off and gives it a life-like natural look.

Pros: A very realistic look and medium buoyancy really makes this crank bait unique for it’s size. I did have to use lighter gear and lighter line but it’s just all around a very durable fun fish catching bait in clear water.

Cons: After days of testing I could not find anything wrong with the bait except it’s weight; it is very light.  When the wind blew made it very hard to cast. Other than that, it’s a very solid bait for its size.

MLO Rating was a 4.5 out of 5

This article features work from several MLO staff writers. Some provided the research, others testing, and others editorial contributions. Articles that do not have one specific writer will feature the Staff Writers byline to prevent confusion about the contents origins. If you have any questions about the content, please email us at editorial@mikelongoutdoors.com! We’d be happy to hear from you.

Decoy , the maker of the 5″ Hydra Tail, has made a swimbait that looks awesome in the package and even better when it’s in the water. It is a soft-plastic swimbait in the shape of a small narrow fish with a beautiful soft plastic paint job that comes in 16 different colors.

Company: Decoy
Lure Type: Soft Plastic Swimbait
Bait Swim Type: Kick Tail, Hydra Tail

Weight: 1.2 oz
Custom Paint: Yes
Lure Hinges: None
Number of Hinges: None
Hinge Style: None
Lure Speed: Slow-Medium
MLO Rating: 3.5 out of 5

These Decoy Swim Baits are single hook baits with an eyelet on the bottom of the bait where a treble hook could be added. I found with the small size there was no need for a second hook. To give the bait some of its real life-like look it has dorsal, pectoral, anal, and adipose fins in the swim position which really gives the bait an awesome look and does not inhibit the swimming motion of the bait at all. The tail is a new Hydra Tail design that has a very subtle and natural side to side kicking motion with a slight figure eight motion. I found the Decoy swimbait wanted to be retrieved between a slow to medium speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The head has many fine details in the gill plate and mouth areas which is rare for such a small plastic bait and it also has a very realistic 3D eyeball.

I have been using the Decoy swimbait for well over a year and have found it to be a very good bass catching bait in clear water. The size and incredible paint jobs seem to be the major reason for this, but with the bait’s subtle kicking tail I have not had the same success in dirty waters.

If you want a good swim bait for your umbrella rigs for some larger bass the Decoy Swim Baits are a great choice.

Pros : It has a very realistic scale pattern and gill plate detail and the 3D tear drop pupil gives this bait life. Along with the incredible paint jobs this is one of the most realistic looking soft plastic baits on the market.  Hooking up with all sizes of bass was not an issue at all, so there is no need for a second hook.

Cons : This bait was built to be a realistic looking slow kicking swimbait for clear water fishing and is not as effective in dirty water. The paint jobs are incredible but not as durable after a few catches but a little clear smelly jelly smeared on the sides of the bait helped the paint last a little longer.

MLO gave this bait a 3.5 out of 5

This article features work from several MLO staff writers. Some provided the research, others testing, and others editorial contributions. Articles that do not have one specific writer will feature the Staff Writers byline to prevent confusion about the contents origins. If you have any questions about the content, please email us at editorial@mikelongoutdoors.com! We’d be happy to hear from you.

The Bull Shad Swimbait is a hard plastic handmade swimbait that is an S-motion swimming lure. It has three joints and four sections that are hinged with a screw eyedrop pin method. It comes in  5″, 6″, and 8″ lengths and monster 9″ models that weigh from 5-9 ounces.

Company:  Bull Shad Swimbaits
Lure  Type: Hard Resin Swimbait
Bait  Swim Style:  S-Motion Swimmer
Hook Style: Exposed Treble Hooks
Custom Paint: Yes
Custom Paint By: Bait Werks
Lure Hinges:  Yes
Number of Hinges: Three
Hinge Style: Screw eye, drop pin
Lure Speed: Slow to Fast
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5

 

ORIGINAL BULLSHAD MSRP
5″ Bull Shad $50.00
6″ Bull Shad $55.00
8″ Bull Shad TBD
9″ Bull Shad $80.00

 

Bait Werks Paint Price
5″ Bull Shad $65.00
6″ Bull Shad $75.00
8″ Bull Shad TBD
9″ Bull Shad $100.00

As for eyes, the Bull Shad Swimbait has a hard plastic 3D round pupil eye which sticks out just enough where a fish a can see it from almost every angle. I have put well over a year on a few Bull Shads and have not had a single problem with any eyes coming off the bait, which is often a problem with many swimbaits. The Bull Shad has a very life-like textured  scale pattern in the standard paint version, but with the Bait Werks painted version that textured look is reduced due to the paint.The Bull Shad has a very unique tail with micro fibetts added and is trimmed to look like a fish tail. This bristle-style tail gives the bait low-resistance in the water while swimming and provides a very life-like appearance and in my opinion this really separates this S-motion swimbait from all other S-motion style baits.

When it comes to flexibility, all sizes of the Bull Shad bend at a right angle.

This right angle produces a good medium S-motion swimming ability which is really good at a steady retrieve, or if you want to rip and jerk the swimbait. I found the floating models to have a really good surface S-motion and a little joint movement sound which is nice to help call attention to the swimbait.

Bull Shad hires Bait Werks to do their custom paint jobs and they produce a very life-like appearance.

 

Another good feature of the Bull Shad is the hook eyelets. They are swivels that will turn a full 360-degrees which helps keep the hook set while twisting and turning during a fish battle.

The Bull Shad is made in floater, slow sink, and fast sink. The ballast system is very consistent and all the baits I used fell at the correct rate which was a pleasant surprise.

Pros:  It is a very durable bait with no joint issues or eyes coming off and the bait has no issues with the ballast system. Upon inspection, the weights inside the baits were measured properly and were placed precisely where they needed to be and I had no issue with the lead coming out while fishing. The dorsal fin, which is the only fin that protrudes upwards on the bait, does not inhibit the hook set ability in any way. Hook eyelets were wired in and very strong.

Cons:  The eye is plastic and did get scratched up from fish teeth and hitting shorelines on casts. The eyes have a slight sunken eye look because they don’t come out far enough.  The microfibetts tail does not hold up very long or keep its original shape  if not stored properly and  it is very difficult to change it out. On the custom Bait Werks paint jobs some of the body sections hit each other while swimming, which may chip the paint.

Overall MLO gave the Bull Shad 4 out of 5 rating.

This article features work from several MLO staff writers. Some provided the research, others testing, and others editorial contributions. Articles that do not have one specific writer will feature the Staff Writers byline to prevent confusion about the contents origins. If you have any questions about the content, please email us at editorial@mikelongoutdoors.com! We’d be happy to hear from you.