Just How Wild is Willy? G-Ratt's Topwater Walker
Total Score: 7.83 -
It's rather fun having a fishing partner that's addicted to new tackle as you are.
Often discussions among our staff around the bass boat as we're prepping our tackle typically begins with a little show and tell session. "Hey, have you seen this yet," or "Oh man, I was thinking of getting one of those to try," might as well be printed on our t-shirts we repeat those phrases so often. During one of our latest exchanges,
Zander showed me this lure he acquired offered by G-Ratt Baits. He had several, so it wasn't difficult to sneak one to the end of my line to try out. Introducing the Wild Willy.
G-Ratt Baits Wild Willy Specifications
||Polymer (hard plastic)
||Rotating Hook Hangars, Silent
The G-Ratts Wild Willy is a top water plug measuring six inches and weighing about two ounces (2oz). It's a hard plastic bait, but does not have any moving parts inside so it runs silent. It comes with 3x strong hooks of an unspecified brand that are attached to via rotating hook hangars. Instead of the usual, oversized cigar shape of a Spook like bait, the Wild Willy has a shape reminiscent of an old favorite, the Lunker Punker.
Introducing the Wild Willy by G-Ratt Baits
Real World Test:
Speaking of old favorites, I just so happened to have with me at the time of the Wild Willy's test, my first generation Edge Rods Black Widow 806-1 cranking stick. This is an eight foot rod built on a North Fork Composites LMH blank featuring a triggerless reel seat, spiral wrapped titanium framed guides with SiC inserts, and is rated for up to six ounce baits. For these tests, it was home to my 2018 Daiwa Ryoga 1520L spooled with 60lb PowerPro Hollow Ace and a 20lb Sunline Supernatural leader.
The Wild Willy is a six inch, two ounce topwater plug
Castability : The Wild Willy is a silent bait so there are no internal weight transfer systems to aid in shifting momentum to benefit casting performance. Of course, this is a 2oz bait so it doesn't take much to get it going. However, despite its streamline shape, the bait does have relatively tall, flat sides, and once in the air the wind can influence its trajectory.
It's a thin bait, not without shape, but still relatively flat on the sides
Ease of Actuation : Once splash down has been made, there are a few ways to get the Wild Willy moving. I tend to fish these baits with the standard walking action using a series of downward twitches with alternating turns of the handle to take up slack. The Wild Willy, however, can also be fished with long, sweeping pulls of the rod similar to a rip bait. This will cause it to kick out to one side or the other in a wider gliding motion similar to the Punker.
Hooks are unbranded, but sharp and strong
Quality of Movement : There's a third dance this bait
can do but you need to find the right cadence. If you twitch the rod quickly and
are more aggressive taking up the slack, the bait can walk and roll side to side in response to the faster
rod tip movement. When conditions are windy it is more difficult to make this
happen but when the surface is smooth you can definitely take advantage of this
more aggressive retrieve.
The Wild Willy floats at rest in a neutral position
Position at Rest : When the Wild Willy is at rest on the surface of the water, it sits in a perfectly neutral position. Topwater walking baits that have this neutral buoyancy tend to be a little more
challenging to work when the surface of the water isn't flat calm.
It just takes time to really
develop a feel for how to best work this bait, and what will be most effective
for your particular body of water. Sometimes the fish want a more subtle waking
action, sometimes they want the aggressive glide. The Wild Willy can do both
once you dial in your retrieve and specific rod tip action.
Rotating hook hangars are always a welcome sight on larger
Section: Taming the Wild Willy...