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Lure Review


Targeting Trophy Bass with the Basstrix Swimbait
 

Date: 11/20/03
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Basstrix
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.0

Introduction:
Swimbaits are all the rage on the West Coast as many anglers are finding these lures exceptionally effective for landing trophy bass, enter the Basstrix swimbait, which is designed to be able to target multiple depths with varying retrieve speeds for monster bass.
 

Basstrix Swimbait Specifications

Type Hand Poured Swimbait
Class Heavy
Material Plastic
Colors/Patterns 5+ available
Size 8inch (6 & 10" also available)
MSRP $12.95

   
Impressions:
Swimbaits like the Basstrix are not miracle baits that will catch huge fish every time you use them. While they definitely are effective at landing large fish they also take plenty of perseverance and commitment from anglers to exercise effectively. Anglers who fish swimbaits are hoping to land a few “quality” fish rather than a large quantity of smaller fish. During tournaments few pros will turn to large swimbaits until after filling the live well with a few fish. Once they have reached a worthy weigh in weight they may then turn to a swimbait for a chance to boat a hawg.

 

Meet the Basstrix Swimbait, featuring attractive hand poured construction

 

There is no one swimbait that can do it all, just like hard baits, each swimbait is designed for a certain range of use. A light swimbait is better suited for shallow clear water, while the mongo sized swimbaits can be used effectively in water as deep as 40+ feet. The Basstrix falls in the medium to heavy category and is useful for targeting mid to deep holding fish. The lure is hand poured and features very nice color and pattern distribution throughout the length of the body. Unlike some other swimbaits which feature numerous protruding fins the Basstrix is more like a silhouette, with small aerodynamic bumps in the place of fins. The lure also features nice holographic eyes which are well beneath the clear surface skin of the lure.

 

The action of this lure comes from it's enlarged knob tail

  

Complete Rig for fishing the Basstrix 8" Swimbait

Rod GLoomis MUR844C (MUSKIE)
Reel Shimano Calcutta 250
Line 20 lb. Trilene Big Game

  
Field Tests:
Swimbaits have proven effective over the entire country, but are so popular in the West Coast thanks to aggressive trout stocking programs in many reservoirs. Bass in these lakes have grown accustomed to ambushing newly stocked trout and have grown quite portly thanks to the constant stocks. I decided to test the Swimbait on two local lakes, one of which was receiving regular stocks of trout, and another which had not been stocked with trout for over a decade.

 

Casting: Casting a heavy swimbait like the Basstrix can do a real number on your arms. Basically acting as a human catapult, your job is to launch these massive lures over the strike zone. This requires a unique setup, that often looks more like a saltwater rig than anything else. I prefer fishing with a rod with plenty of backbone, and a length minimum of at least 7 feet. Longer rods provide more chucking power, but I have found certain species specific rods like the 7 foot GLoomis MUR844C Muskie rod are actually perfect for this application. Next, make sure you have a nice casting reel. I have tried fishing swimbaits with spinning gear, and while it is great for light swimbaits and deadsticking techniques they are absolutely a nightmare when fishing large baits due to the heavy line required. Casting distance rests heavily upon the weight of line you elect to use. I prefer 20lb line for any medium to large sized baits, as the Basstrix will cast reasonably well, and the line offers plenty of muscle for lifting larger fish from all depths.

 

This largemouth found himself hooked on the lip after slamming the Basstrix just 3 feet from shore

  

Retrieving: Just about any baitcaster or conventional reel will be able to work the Basstrix effectively. There is absolutely no need for a high ratio reel, as the key to fishing this swimbait effectively is to work the lure slowly in most cases. When retrieving the Basstrix at high speed the tail whips back and forth nicely, and when lifting the tip and jerking the bait I have noticed that the tail will whip violently, doing a good job of imitating a frightened trout trying to flee.

The Basstrix is a rather heavy swimbait, and thus not the best suited for surface work or deadsticking. The advantage of this lure is that you can effectively use it to target any depth below the surface. In deeper lakes I had success fishing the Basstrix in 10-15ft of water during the spawn, and in water 30+ feet deep during other periods. A great technique for the Basstrix is to find a deep channel, cast as far as possible and allow the lure to fall to the bottom. Once hitting the bottom allow the Basstrix to rest for a minute, then begin a slow retrieve back to your position. You can vary your retrieve with jerks and rests between retrieves. When a big bass takes the lure you will usually know right away, as most fish will try to engulf the entire bait. Unfortunately fish can strike the Basstrix hard, and still only get their mouths around the knob tail. To increase hookup percentage you can add a trailer hook. One trick I learned was to actually tie a treble hook using braided or fused line to the main hook, then insert it into the Basstrix, this provides two hooks near the rear of the bait, and does not inhibit the action of the lure.

 

After months of use the head of the lure began to discolor

 
Durability:
 All swimbaits take abuse, hopefully from the jaws of large bass, but always from contact with structure on the lake floor. The Basstrix features a very nice solid body which is actually above average when it comes to overall durability. I fished with the lure for 3 months and after many fish the lure continues to produce with only minor damage. The notable deterioration included small rips in the plastic where the line ties on, and parts of the lure body becoming hazier with all the contact with water. Neither of these issues seemed to have any negative effect on the effectiveness of the lure.

 

Most bass will engulf the Basstrix as they try to swallow what they thought was just another stocked trout

 

Applications: The key to fishing the Basstrix with success is simply patience. Both patience in committing to tossing the lure for extended periods, and patience when waiting during the retrieve. While it is possible to inspire strikes from bass on the fast retrieve, the majority of large fish will be taken from a slow retrieve, or a sporadic jerk. In very clear water the Basstrix can actually incite strikes from fish that you see protecting nests during the spawn, simply retrieve the lure over the nest and park the bait right on top of the nest area. In some cases the Bass will do it's duty to protect the nest and strike the swimbait aggressively. The Basstrix can be used all year long, but I found that the Basstrix was more than three times as effective when fishing in lakes that benefit from stocking programs, and actually worked well right after the stocking, especially in cooler weather when the stocked trout move up to shallower water.
 

I also decided to take the Basstrix out for a little Striped Bass fishing and found that it worked well during both fast and erratic retrieves as well as hopping along the bottom of the lake. The only down side to fishing with the Basstrix for stripers is that they often hit the lure but failed to hook up.

  
Ratings:

Basstrix Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good build quality and impressive use of colors and patterns in a hand poured bait 8.5
Performance The lure works well and should be used to target big bass at medium to deep depths. You may not catch a lot of fish, but when you do there is a chance it may be a enormous one 9
Price This swimbait is actually quite modestly priced in comparison to other premium hand poured swimbaits 8
Features Not a whole lot of features, just a plain design that works 6
Design (Ergonomics) A solid design that offers good tail whipping action, and a realistic movement when retrieved at medium speeds 8
Application This lure is excellent when targeting bass in lakes that are frequently stocked with trout, and can also be used for striper fishing 8.5

Total Score

8.0


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Nice construction and quality L Tiring to cast all day
J Whipping tail action L Some hazing and ripping after extended use
J Good for multiple depths  
J Reasonable price  
J Multi-species effective  


Conclusion: Anglers who fish the Basstrix should do so with the mindset that you are fishing this lure for the opportunity to land a lunker, rather than limit out on fish. The interesting thing to note is that you will on occasion still catch a dink with this monster lure. Aggressive and inexperienced young bass will often literally bite off more than they can chew, and I have had comical experiences hauling in fish that were barely larger than the lure itself. Fishing the Basstrix takes commitment and patience but is worth all the effort the very first time you hit the jackpot and land that elusive hawg bass. If nothing else, you are sure to get a first-rate workout tossing these weighty lures, and as long as you continue to do so, you will eventually be rewarded.

 

Until next time....Tight Lines.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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