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Lure Review

A Tale of Two Baits, Bettencourt Baits' RealFish Shad & Real Snake (continued)

Action: As expected, this is really where these two baits shine - in the water where it counts. The Shad comes in two models, a sinker and a floater and Nathan Bettencourt can custom tailor the sink rates on this bait to your needs if you so desire. Because the bait is lipped, it stays down in the water column and really shimmies and shakes on its way back to the boat. The fins on this bait really come alive in the water as well as this bait truly fulfills its "Real" moniker.

And in the water, the head section holds relatively steady as the back sections move in an s-like fashion.

I found that I preferred fishing the sinker versus the floater more simply because I was wanting to get the bait down deeper in the water to where I felt the fish were versus forcing the shallow bite. The floater will dive to about three or four feet depending on the length of your cast and retrieve speed. Suspend dots work great on both versions to get the bait down faster and further should you decide to try and fine tune it on the water.

The Shad, meanwhile, comes alive the second it touches the water with its fibrous fins taking shape.

The snake looks less real in the water until you start swimming it back to the boat. It has a real nice slithery action though I found myself wishing it had a more tapered finish at the back like a real snake. In hindsight I should have tried gluing a piece of plastic worm to the back of the bait to see how that might have worked, but of course, the fear is it will affect the swimming action of the bait which is really superb. The realism in this bait is all in its swimming motion since it does not have any fins or complicated paint schemes to "come alive" in the water.

A close up look at the single, heavy duty hinge holding the Snake pieces together.

As with the Shad, the Snake baits are all initialed by Nathan Bettencourt.

Components: Both the Shad and Snake baits come equipped with #2 VMC Big Game Hooks which held up fine during our course of fishing the baits. A switch to your favorite brand of hook would be a rather simple process if you were so inclined, and I doubt it would affect the action of either bait very much.

Both baits feature #2 VMC Big Game hooks

Application & Effectiveness: I fished the Bettencourt RealFish Shad baits in the same manner I would any shallow to mid-depth running crankbait in and around docks and amongst rock piles in some of the clearer reservoirs of Northern California and was met with reasonable success.

One last look at the subtle, realistic paint scheme on the RealFish Shad.

The Real Snake can be used in any topwater wake bait situation you prefer but is a lot of fun to try and get under docks and slowly crawl back out but given its gangly nature, it was difficult, at times, to deliver a precision cast under the docks with this bait.

Strikes on the snake are inspiring!


Availability: Bettencourt baits in general, are well distributed and easy to find at some of your favorite tackle shops, however, the RealFish Shad and Real Snake might be a bit harder to find. But not to worry, if you're interested in these baits and can't find them at your favorite tackle shop, you can always order direct from the company's website at bettencourtbaits.com.



Bettencourt Baits RealFish Shad Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A well made bait though the fins are a bit clumped together 7.5
Performance Excellent swimming action 9
Price Reasonably priced for a limited quantity, hand made bait 8
Features Decent components 7
Design (Ergonomics) Realistic profile and finish 8
Application Works well fished just like a crankbait 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Realistic size and profile L Some will not care for the VMC hardware
J Excellent action in the water  
J Good natural finish  



Bettencourt Baits Real Snake Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A well made bait 7.5
Performance A believable swimming motion 7.5
Price Pricier than one might expect 6
Features Nothing extraordinary here 7
Design (Ergonomics) Looks better once you get it swimming in the water 7
Application A good topwater wake type bait 7.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Realistic action in the water L Not very inspiring out of the package
J Easily manageable size weight L Pricier than one might expect


Conclusion: One has to admire the time and dedication Nathan Bettencourt puts into each of his creations. They are certainly not common designs and the fact he makes each bait himself, often times on order, gives you a real connection to the product versus picking something mass produced up off the shelf at the tackle store.


If we had to pick one, it would be the RealFish Shad, but they are certainly two different types of baits and as is the TackleTour way, we didn't choose - we have both!


Of the two baits reviewed here, I felt more at home with the RealFish Shad simply from the perspective I've fished other baits like it before. The Real Snake is fun to watch in the water but takes a little adjustment throwing because it is so long and so light. Get it in the right situation though, and boy, the strikes are inspiring. Looking for a couple of baits your buddy isn't likely to have for the upcoming big fish season? You might want to check out these products from Bettencourt Baits.










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