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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage

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Lure Review

Make off like a Bandit with a bounty of strikes (continued)

Retrieve: The Bandit Series 100 gets down between 2-5ft. while the Series 200 dives down between 4-8 feet and the longer lipped Series 300 is capable of diving between 8-12 feet. We were able to achieve the rated depth specs with these lures though the maximum 12 feet diving depth with the Series 300 did require use of lighter line. When at rest the Bandit lures all float up slowly, like Speed Traps these lures can be fished with a stop and go retrieve. Because they float up you can fish them right over grass or submerged wood and pause them in key ambush areas allowing the lure to hold for a second or two longer in strike zones in an effort to force feed them to fish.  


Some of the patterns are very detailed...


All of the baits exhibited a slightly wider wobble than I expected from such a compact lure. Though small in overall size these baits are able to displace a good amount of water and the addition of the rattle is enough to entice big bass to come out and ambush this lure. Of all the sizes I liked the Series 300 the best as I found I could work it in the middle to deep water column.


...look closer and we can see the finish is printed/painted in multiple layers


Out at Clear Lake I caught many bass with a variety of patterns and I was surprised by the quality of the fish the Bandit was able to crank up. These lures may be small in size and while they do catch many single pounders they also drew strikes from four and five pound bass. The key to drawing strikes from these larger fish was matching the hatch. When I found the bait, for example silversides or bluegill, I chose the pattern that best matched the hatch and ran it right through the schooling bait. At times the lure would scare the bait into breaking the surface as it was pulled through and right behind it would be a largemouth giving chase.


The red crawfish proved very good in stained water on the California Delta


Durability: When fishing Bandit crankbaits one of the most effective ways to fish this lure is to deflect it off structure. Throughout our tests the Bandit multi-coated paint finishes held up very well. There was some perceptible scratching on the sides of the baits but the paint didnít chip or flake off any of the patterns. Even after the bill and sides of the lure were scratched they remained fully effective. The Bandit cranks make use of somewhat thin hooks and while they were good for most fish up to three pounds larger fish were able to bend the hooks, we also notices some damage to the hookpoints after snagging with structure. If you are concerned about the hooks not holding up to larger fish we recommend switching them out before they ever get wet.


Though very good for boating a quick limit these cranks are for more than just cookie cutter keepers


Price & Applications: We have already established that these baits are fish catching machines but when you factor in price the whole Bandit value proposition gets even better. The Series 100, 200 and 300 crankbaits all can be bought online for $4.79 each which is just 50 cents more than the aggressively priced Norman N series Crankbaits.


The Brown Craw pattern was great in the clean water of Clear Lake


All of the Bandit lures ran true right out of their packages, this consistency is rather rare in a crank at this price point. After fishing the baits for extended periods a little tuning helped keep them running true but for the most part these lures are pretty maintenance free.


Big fish eat the Bandit Cranks, the key is matching the hatch, which is easy with so many patterns to choose from in the Bandit arsenal


Matching the hatch with the Bandit crankbaits is pretty easy with so many colors/patterns to choose from. The variety of finishes Bandit offers is impressive and some of the patterns are easily recognizable popular patterns while others look like they are hand painted custom colorsÖ.yet each and every one of them retails for the same sub five dollar price.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Bandit Series 300 Crankbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A quality constructed crankbait that is surprisingly detailed for a lure at this price point 8
Performance Very consistent performance, each lure swims true right out of the package, no special tuning is required. The hooks are decent but upgraded hooks can be swapped out to better handle the larger fish which this bait is capable of targeting 8.5
Price A great value that rivals some of the most aggressively priced cranks on the market 9
Features A straightforward design the Bandit cranks biggest feature is the variety of finishes they are available in. There are a ton of patterns to choose from and three different versions allow anglers to fish these baits in a wide range of depths 7
Design (Ergonomics) Though somewhat of a no frills bait some of the patterns offered in the line look very custom. These lures are easy to fish with lighter crankbait rods 7.5
Application These lures are very durable and can be deflected off both soft and hard cover. Great for both smallmouth and largemouth bass in clear and stained water 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Three different diving styles L Hooks could be upgraded to handle bigger fish
J Plenty of patterns to choose from  
J Durability is fantastic  
J Excellent price/value  


Conclusion: There is no shortage of crankbaits for anglers to choose from, so what makes Bandit crankbaits so popular? Start with a clean and simple profile, paint it up with a wide variety of patterns and make it available in three of the most used diving depths and sell them for less than five dollars... that is exactly what the Bandit cranks offer. It took me a long time to try these baits as they are very similar in many respects to Norman Lures but now that I have tried them I definitely will be fishing them more in the future. These baits are consistent performers and are great for boating your limit, but donít count them out when targeting big fish either. Whatever lake or river you are fishing chances are that Bandit has a pattern that will enable you to effectively match the hatch.


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