Crank It Up! : Berkley Fishing's Comprehensive Dredger
This, of course, is not insignificant because the
sooner your bait is in proper diving position, the sooner it will reach maximum
diving depth putting it in the strike zone for longer periods of time. It's all
about efficiency and the Dredger does a really good job of getting down as soon
as you begin cranking the handle of your reel.
The baits' diving bills are not very long.
One of the selling points of the Dredger is because of its smaller profile when compared to other deep diving cranks, it's easier to pull in the water. This benefit really is for the larger sizes of this bait and certainly the 25.5 is an easy bait to pull in the water but I was also using a low gear ratio reel in the Revo4 X Winch (5.4:1) made specifically for this application.
I did not test the Dredger with higher gear ratio reels, but even so, I can just tell the Dredger is an easier bait to crank than say Strike King's 10XD.
But they do have good width, and of course, that little
wafer of a weight.
Actual diving depth of the cranks was a little difficult to gauge given my funky choice in line. I normally fish cranks with straight up 10lb test nylon monofilament or fluorocarbon. I had the Revo4 X spooled with 50lb JBraid because my intent was to use that reel for some big bait action too. My leader of 10lb Sunline Sniper was about twenty feet long so I don't think the thicker and more buoyant braid had much effect on diving depth, but it is important to note.
The smallest Dredger is a good choice for skinnier water.
To get a handle on the actual diving depth of the Dredger, I only really tested the 25.5. Diving depth of the smaller sized lures simply doesn't concern me as much, but when you're targeting twenty feet (20') or below, you want a bait that you can rely on hence the 25.5. I asked Zander to find a spot where I could dredge the bottom in roughly 20' of water so we headed to a submerged point that extends into the body of the lake we were fishing.
This bait is rated 8-10 feet but I fished it
slowly in depths as shallow as 5'.
The depth on the front and back finders ranged from seventeen to twenty one, so we were in the right range. I made several long casts with the Dredger 25.5 and felt like the bait was hitting bottom on most of these casts. Thing is, even when it does, if it does, the resistance of this bait is not very noticeable. The only thing that changes is the feedback in the rod. You feel just a bit more vibration.
You can get a better sense of the 8.5's diminutive size here.
After about half a dozen casts, I was ready to get back to our spot and fish, but Zander mentioned he marked a couple of fish, so I tried a few more casts just to see if any of them would bite. On about my fourth or fifth cast after Zander's alert, my rod loaded up. I swept the Veritas VTSCW-76-6 to the side and was rewarded with an unexpected catch! About a two to three pound bass.
Along with the different size options, Berkley offers the Dredger in 28 different, detailed color schemes.
Design/Ergonomics: Berkley's Dredger cranks have a very unassuming profile that's kind of elongated. They come with realistic 3D eyes and very good, detailed paint schemes. The hooks are branded under Berkley's own name and they work, but if this is a bait you're going to use long term, we recommend swapping them out - especially on the deeper diving versions. You really want proven hooks when dredging the depths for a bite because the fish have a lot of time and room to dance around and throw your bait.
All six sizes retail for the same price of $8.99.
Price & Application: In this day where we hardly blink an eye anymore at crankbaits and other plugs priced between $12 - $20, and hesitate only slightly at others priced between $20 - $29 each, it's both surprising and refreshing to find a bait with as many size and depth options as Berkley's Dredger retailing for just $8.99. Of course, I remember when that was considered a lot for a crank and I had to save up to fill out my arsenal of Rapala Shad Raps that cost about that much. Today, anything under $10 is considered a bargain, but I digress. Not only is the Dredger priced right, but with 6 different sizes from which to choose, you can fill out your entire arsenal with this bait and efficiently target depths anywhere from skinny water all the way down to twenty feet plus.
Really nice finishes and profile
Casts really well and dives efficiently
A bargain by today's standards
Decent hooks, internal rattles, weighted diving bill
A host of colors and sizes from which to choose
The stats say 8 feet as a starting depth but I fished the 8.5 effectively in 5 feet of water. You can cover a lot of the water column with this bait in its different sizes
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
| + Very affordable crankbait
|| - Hooks could use an upgrade
|+ 28 different and detailed colors
|+ Efficient diver
|+ Easy to cast
Congrats to Berkley Fishing on the Dredger Crankbait's TackleTour Best Value Award.
What's left to say when you find a bait that is affordable, made in sizes to cover just about every depth you'd want to fish, is available in twenty eight different, detailed color patterns, casts well, dives efficiently and so on? The only thing I can find to criticize about this bait is the hooks with which it is supplied. Most serious anglers will swap these out no matter what their baits come with anyway. In this age where the $25 plug is the new $15 plug, finding one as versatile and effective as the Dredger for under $10 can only mean one thing. That's right, Berkley Fishing's Dredger Crankbait has earned TackleTour's Best Value Award!
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