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Lure Review

 

Fanatik Baits Serves up a Feeding Frenzy with their Larva Plastics (continued)

It wasnít long before I was filling my livewell with quality fish. I was experiencing success with all three baits but I did notice that on colder days with crystal clear water when the bite was tough that the X-Larva easily outperformed the other two baits. The smaller size and more subtle action without the ribs seemed to be the right formula on these days where extra finesse was necessary. On warm days and in slightly stained water the Larva and Dagger performed almost equally, and on some days even out fished a Senko.


Crappie were all over the Fanatik Larva

If I had to choose just one bait out of the companyís lineup to drop shot it would be the X-Larva. This bait is an effective cross between a worm and a creature and though it is small in profile it can draw strikes from big fish. That being said my biggest fish did come on the Larva 3.5Ē bait and I found the bait effective for not only largemouth bass but also Shellcrackers and Crappie. The Larva 1.6Ē size is a downright panfish weapon.


These baits were best fished with spinning gear and light fluorocarbon lines. I had a lot of success with 4lb. Seaguar Tatsu on this Megabass and Daiwa combo

During testing there was one afternoon where I caught more bluegill than I have ever have before on a lake that I routinely fish. There was one moment when I was jigging the drop shot and saw a school of Redear chasing the 2.5Ē Larva up to the surface. The bait was almost too big for the fish but that didnít stop them from them from competing for the bait and it looked like a school of piranha darting around prey. Finally a Redear that was able to get his mouth around the head of the bait crushed it. It was by far the most aggressive that Iíve ever seen panfish swarm on any bait that Iíve ever fished on my home lake.  


Multi-species madness, the Larva delivered Redear as well

Price and Applications: Rigged weightless the baits donít impart a lot of action and while the Fanatik plastics can be fished a variety of ways my absolute favorite has to be with a drop shot rig. This presentation allows anglers to impart a lot of action on the tail section, legs, and ribs of these baits. I caught a lot of spotted bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and redear sunfish. Another application that seemed to work is using these baits as a trailer on finesse jigs or even swim jigs and vibrating jigs.


My biggest fish came on larger original Larva baits

In terms of durability the Fanatik baits also rank quite well, and while they are not the most durable baits they are able to last through a few fish each before the head tears through. The silicon used in the baitís manufacturing holds up well to strikes and it is the smaller fish that nip at the appendages that seem to do more damage to the bait than largemouth that simply suck the entire lure in on strike.


Through thin the tails stayed intact. The silicon used to make these baits is soft and elastic

In keeping with the companyís original goal of making their baits accessible Fanatik lures come 8 per pack (2.0Ē size) or 4 per pack in the largest 3.5Ē size and retail for only $3.99 each. While already popular in Europe Fanatik is just starting to ramp here in the Americas so the best way to obtain the baits is directly from the manufacturerís own online store.


While the Larva and X-Larva are my favorite Fanatik baits the Dagger also proved effective

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)

Fanatik Larva Plastic Bait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A quality bait that features details like ribbing and thin appendages that return to shape on pause. These baits are well designed and well constructed 8
Performance These baits flat out catch fish, and I was surprised by how effective they were across a range of different species. The smaller sized proved to be deadly for panfish and even incited a bluegill feeding frenzy. Crappie and Redear Sunfish also fell prey to the dragonfly larva imitator 9.5
Price $3.99, a very reasonable price per pack 9
Features The main features are the profile, scent, taste, and excellent thin tail that quivers with the slightest movement 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to fish a variety of ways though best fished finesse. Drop shot proved to be our most effective technique 8
Application Great for a variety of species and the smaller and thinner X-Larva delivered on days where the bite was tough 9

Total Score

8.66
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

+ Larva baits are good for a variety of species - Good durability but violent strikes, especially from small fish, can tear the bait depending how it is rigged
+ Able to be fished a variety of ways, though dropshot was most effective during our tests - Still relatively hard to source in US
+ Works when fishing is tough, even in cold and clear water  
+ Smaller Larva and X-Larva baits are deadly panfish weapons  
+ Reasonable price for an effective bait  

 

Conclusion: Throughout testing strike to hookup ratio was very good, but this is usually the case with a dropshot rig. It is difficult to say just how much the scent and taste attributes of these baits play into attracting and getting fish to stay hooked up but I can confidently say that it certainly didnít hurt.

 


Fanatik Larva baits were a good option on cooler days when the bite was tough

I feel the biggest attractors on these baits are the hybrid dragonfly and nymph profile and that super thin vibrating tail design. When it comes to attracting a wide variety of sunfish Fanatik has the entire formula well dialed in.

The original 2Ē Larva continues to be a fish catcher but it is definitely worth trying out the other sizes on your local body of water. For me the X-Larva was the top performer in quantity while the larger Larva bait delivered the most quality. In terms of patterns the green and purple patterns performed the best, but like all baits matching the hot colors on your lake will be key. Fanatik has a lot of baits in their lineup but the Larva and X-Larva are my favorite. It is easy to see why the brand is so popular in Europe, as these baits are very effective at drawing strikes from so many different kinds of fish. The Larva Series baits offers American anglers a different profile, and new weapon in which to target largemouth and panfish. The baits are so effective that Iíve burned through all my test lures, something that I canít say about many of the baits that we test, and Iím keen to reload just to see if I can draw another fanatical panfish feeding frenzy.

Looking for Fanatik Baits? Try the Fanatik Online Store


 

 

 

   

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