This month, four largemouth anglers fished spinnerbaits on their home waters. All were white with 3/8-ounce heads and Colorado-willow blade configurations. Panelists assessed the lures for hook sharpness, wire quality, balance, durability, and value.
Click an image to enlarge
Outdoor Innovations T-1 Terminator ($7)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (Best of the Test)
The Lowdown: Tough titanium wire is at the core of this bait. The head is chrome colored, and the lower willow blade has a beveled edge. A Sampo swivel and a supersharp Mustad Ultra Point hook finish the bait, with an extra blue-and-black skirt for those days when you’re looking for a change of dress.
Three of the testers agreed that the bait was nearly indestructible and ran true under most conditions. Some noted muted vibration, but only Mike Harris thought it was an issue.
Hits: “The bait always ran true at all speeds. It’s very easy to fish,” says Matt Newman.
Misses: “The chrome plating and head were just not durable,” says Mike Harris.
Contact: 800-944-4766; terminatorlures.com
Strike King Premier Elite Bleeding Bait ($7.20)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The Lowdown: It’s all about the blood trail with Strike King’s red wire and hook visuals. The head is three-dimensionally sculpted and features a red-and-black eye. The skirt is springy and ribbed to excite largemouths.
There was unanimous agreement that the painted bleeding bait hook required sharpening out of the package. John Higgins was convinced that the extra paint reduced the lure’s vibration. That said, there was strong support for Strike King’s dependable design.
Hits: “After catching numerous fish, the bait always ran true and the wire never bent,” says Matt Newman.
Misses: “The lower Colorado blade kept getting hung up on the line,” says Bill Martin.
Contact: 901-853-1455; strikeking.com
McGuinness Fishing Leverage ($7.29)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The Lowdown: The most innovative bait in our test was the Leverage spinnerbait. Its wire-wrapped flexible hook is designed to keep a bass tethered no matter how hard the fish runs and jumps. To keep it from rolling over when it hits rocks and logs, the head has a slightly exaggerated flat outside surface. The Leverage features sturdy hardware, nicely polished blades, and an extraordinarily sharp hook.
This spinnerbait scored well in the innovation category, though only Bill Martin scored it favorably overall. Most of the panel was uncomfortable with the wire hook system and the fragile paint job on the head.
Hits: “Good balance. Hangs on to fish like a vise,” says Bill Martin.
Misses: “The flex wire hook had to be continually straightened when it banged off rocks,” says John Higgins.
Contact: 706-227-2248; bassbait.com
Booyahh Bait Double Blade ($4.70)
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
The Lowdown: Designed with a light .035-gauge wire for stronger fish-attracting vibration, the Booyah has a wide head with a large red-and-black eye. The manufacturer says the blades are “jeweler’s grade” (we think that means real shiny), and the hooks are Mustad’s sharp Ultra Points. The thick skirt includes 55 strands, in case you were counting. Due to the light-gauge wire, the members of the panel agreed that durability was the primary issue with the Booyah. Higgins, Newman, and Harris all loved the way the bait vibrated in the water, yet everyone agreed that it needed tuning much more frequently than the others.
Hits: “The best vibration of the four. I caught my biggest bass on the Booyah,” says Matt Newman.
Misses: “It has a very sharp Mustad hook, but it’s a pretty vanilla bait,” says Mike Harris.
Contact: 479-782-8971; www.booyahbaits.com