One of my all time favorite swimbaits is a Huddleston Deluxe 6″ weedless swimbait. It is a great little swimbait for working through rock piles and submerged brush. So when I heard Huddleston Deluxe was coming out with an 8″ weedless swimbait, I was very excited to get my hands on some and try them out.
Bait: 8″ Weedless
Color: Holdover Trout
Weight: 4.7 Ounces
Hook: 8/0 Black Nickel
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5
Ken Huddleston the mind behind Huddleston Deluxe is master craftsman who always pays close attention to nature when designing lures. I have been fishing Ken’s lures from the beginning and have always been amazed of what he has been able to design with soft plastics, so when I heard the 8″ weedless was available I knew it was time to get my hands on a few and go to work.
The color I used for this review was holdover trout, it is a color I really like for dingy off colored water and when fishing deeper waters during the middle of the day. Once again the Huddleston paint job was top notch one of the best soft plastic swimbait paint jobs available on the market today.
Huddleston uses a monster 8/0 black nickel hook that is super strong and sits in custom weedless slot that is a 1 1/2″ long, a 1/4″ deep and 1/8″ wide. I found with the four baits I tested that it was very important to inspect the area around the hook to make sure it is clean, and clear so the hook will sit in it properly. Also inspect the hole around the hook, when pushing down on the plastic in front of the hook where the hollow air cavity is it should move up and down freely. With the custom hollow air cavity I found my swimbaits swam better when this cavity did not fill with any water. I recommend adding a little vaseline, or Smelly Jelly around the hook hole at the bottom of the weedless slot and also on the slot edge, this will help some with the hook barb catching on top of the swimbait and plug up the hole around the hook helping to keep the hollow cavity full of air during the swimbait retrieve.
In the picture above you can you can see how the hook pops out when the hollow air cavity is pressed down.
This hole between the pelvic fins is connected to the hollow cavity in front of the hook and is the air release port for the hollow cavity when the swimbait gets bit. This was a very well thought out design, but always check to make sure this hole is clear of any debris.
One big change in the weedless version from the original is where the eyelet is on the weedless 8″ Huddleston. The eyelet is in front of the swimbait near the nose and is turned horizontally. In order to have the air cavity built into the swimbait the hook had to be lower in the harness thus coming out in front of the swimbait. I am a huge fan of a weedless swimbait having the eyelet directly in front of the bait, it helps to get better leverage on the swimbait when it gets stuck on the bottom and that is exactly what I found with the weedless 8″ Huddleston it was very easy to get out of trouble when crawling it slowly on the bottom through the rocks.
I am a bottom crawling swimbait lover so I always look for a swimbait that will sit naturally on the bottom and not fall over and The Huddleston 8″ swimbait does everything I like in a bottom crawling swimbait and I especially like how the tail will slightly rise when the swimbait is paused. And when the swimbait is slow crawling along the bottom the tail will be allowed to kick unobstructed.
I found that the Huddleston Weedless 8″ Swimbait swam a little different from the original 8″ Huddleston. Out of four baits I tested I found the tail of the swimbait did not kick the same as the original 8″ swimbait.
Side by side comparison of the new 8″ weedless with the original 8″ swimbait you can see a few subtle changes like in the girth of the swimbaits and the length.
Holding the new Huddleston weedless swimbait up against the original you can clearly see the girth differences as well as the added 1/4″ length in the new weedless swimbait.
Pros: I was very impressed with the weedless system there was alot of thought put into this design and the air cavity for the the weedless system was a highly effective bladder that really helps this design swim naturally. The paint job is still one the best of any soft swimbait available on the market today. The swimbait is by far more flexible than the original 8″ Huddleston.
Cons: I wish the bait had a larger tail, I felt the the bait lost some tail kick from the original and a larger tail would help. You will need to clean the paint off the hook and after a few catches the barb ocassionally got stuck on top of the bait tearing the paint, I found a little vaseline, or smelly jelly helped this some.
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5