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Autopsy Article


TackleTour Autopsy: Picking Apart the Baitball

 

Date: 10/27/14
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Live Target
Reviewer: Zander








Introduction: The Live Target Baitball Series delivers a new class of hardbaits for anglers based on the idea that predatory fish will target baitballs. These lures are more than just a few baitfish painted on a profile of a hardbait and we break out the tools to pick this bait apart to the core.

 


Today's Autopsy? Live Target's Baitball Crankbait, which won best of Show at ICAST 2013

 

Live Target's Baitball Series molds multiple baitfish into familiar hardbait profiles including squarebills, crankbaits, jerkbaits and poppers. These lures are not designed to be a whole school of baitfish but rather a small baitball, one that represents easy prey for predators. Imagine a large ball of bait with hundreds of small baitfish, then a largemouth attacks and they scatter. These individual lures are designed to mimic a small baitball that has instinctively schooled together and is trying desperately to regain the safety of the larger school.

 


The Live Target Threadfin Shad Baitball weighs in at 5/8oz.

 

The Live Target Threadfin Shad Crankbaits pack five 3D baitfish profiles into a translucent deep diving crankbait profile. This lure is 2 1/2 inches in length, weighs in at 5/8oz. and is designed to dive to a max depth of 10 feet. Like the other Baitball Series lures the crankbait is available in a wide range of patterns designed to help anglers better match the favorite baitfish prey found in their local lakes. 

 


The lure emits a subtle rattle

 

The first thing we noticed about the Threadfin Shad when we picked it up was that it emitted a mid-ranged rattle. The lure also exhibited a 3-D look and feel. The baitfish are not just painted to look 3D the actual profiles of the two baitfish on either side extend beyond the traditional crankbait profile and these look noticeably closer than the baitfish that is nestled in the center of the lure.

 


Notice the individual baitfish feature their own 3D profiles

 

The outer finish can be scratched as the paint is on the outside of the bait but the durability was better than we expected. It takes quite a bit of abrasion to remove the paint and small scratches that you will experience in the field do little to distract from the original intended baitball illusion.

 


Time to take this Baitball apart

 

While the lure's finish is quite durable the bill could use some more reinforcement or thicker plastic. We were able to flex this bill with less force than on most crankbaits of similar design, and due to the hard plastic composition when it is stressed too far it will crack. How does this effect the lure in the field? While we haven't broken a lure with direct contact underwater we did crack a bill right off one of our test baits when it clipped the side of a bridge piling in the California Delta.  

 


This is basically a lure within a lure. Inside we find a complete 3D baitfish in the core

 

In the lab under the saw it was relatively easy to cut apart the Baitball, and in the center of the bait we found a complete 3 dimensional baitfish securely locked into place in two points. This center bait exhibits the same quality finish and profile as the outer "lures," and the attention to detail is impressive. Positioned underneath this baitfish are two rattles that are cleverly hidden within the profile of the lower baitfish. These rattles add weight to the lure but do not transfer to the back of the lure to aid in casting. Instead they are designed to add to the retrieve by weighing the belly correctly and add that extra element of sound to the bait. The hooks on this bait are decent, and the realistic look of the bait make it a good choice for fishing in open clear water where visual triggers are important as largemouth are looking to pick apart schools. 

 


In the bottom belly of the weight we find the two weighted rattles

 

This original baitball is now referred to by the company as the "juvenile" baitball as the baitfish within the lure are larger baitfish. This made room for the "Yearling" collection introduced a few month's ago at ICAST 2014. The Yearling takes the design to the next level by packing even more baitfish into the same basic footprint. Each of these lure's incorporates even more 3D-hatchilings, all of which are the same basic size and grouped together to create the appearance of different masses.

 


The inclusion of the inner baitfish gives this innovative lure both added realism and depth

 

In comparison to the Baitball Juvenile crankbait we autopsied which has 5 fish the Yearling has the profiles of 14 hatchlings (7 on each side). The original Baitball may feature less "bait" but because the hatchlings are not as densely packed the incorporation of that center fish provides the appearance of greater depth within the mini-school. We are continuing to test the Baitball Series in the field but Livetarget already deserves kudos for once again pushing the envelope in lure design, and for just thinking out of the box and even taking a chance to engineer a new class of hardbaits.  

 

Looking for the Live Target Baitball lures? Try TackleWarehouse


 

 

 

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