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Lure Review

Just How Wild is Willy? G-Ratt's Topwater Walker (continued)

Design/Ergonomics: It's funny, there was a time I'd have thought this bait was quite large. At other times, it's difficult to comprehend that I think of a six inch, two ounce bait as average sized or even small. Then again, ask me to tie on a standard size Zara Spook (4.75" & 3/4oz) these days and I'd likely pass.

The Wild Willy really is a perfectly comfortable sized bait to fish for however long your topwater bite lasts on any given fishing trip. It is available eight standard, traditional colors, but I think my favorite feature on this bait are those rotating hook hangars. They really do make a difference once you're hooked up.

The Wild Willy by G-Ratt Baits retails for just $29.99

Price & Application: When Zander showed me his arsenal of Wild Willy baits, I was a little surprised he had so many. They have the look of a boutique brand bait with a high price tag and while it's not uncommon for Zander to indulge, it is uncommon for him to go overboard on a new bait. That's usually my modus operandi. But then he shared with me the Wild Willy retails for just $29.99, and it all made sense. It's easy to solve that indecision on which color to try when a bait is in the realm of affordable. Just buy them all. It is, afterall, the TackleTour way. I say that tongue and cheek but the reasonable price of these baits does indeed make it easier to put a few in the arsenal to match what the fish in different bodies of water are looking for.

Over the last few seasons G-Ratt has transitioned from primarily offering custom baits to mass produced ones that are not only more affordable but has made it possible to greatly expand their portfolio of bait types and patterns. For example, while I have been fishing the Wild Willy baits Zander has been focusing on the smaller version of the company's signature Sneaky Pete, a smaller 5.75" version called the Pistol Pete. New versions, and so many additional patterns, is made possible with plastic based versions rather than handmade resin or wooden baits.


G-Ratt Baits Wild Willy Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nice looking bait in traditional colors that are well executed. Quality components. It doesn't have the custom bait feel of some of the original G-Ratt baits but they are well made and the finishes are now more detailed as they have moved towards mass production 8
Performance Better suited for calm days, otherwise casts well and relatively easy to work 7.5
Price A great price for a bait of this size and potential. This bait won't be a collectors item like some swimbaits but at this price this plastic swimbait is designed to be fished day in and day out 8.5
Features Rotating hook hangars, reinforced hooks, quality paint finishes, and a soft tail. Even though this is a mass produced bait it does manage to channel some of that custom-bait look and feel 8.0
Design (Ergonomics) A not so big, big bait. Great size for those who want to throw something bigger for the potential payoff, but aren't quite up for throwing something even larger 7.5
Application A very good choice in topwater walking bait when conditions are on the calm side. Good for more than just largemouth and is designed for larger species like striper and pike as well 7.5

Total Score

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:


+ Good size and weight - Doesn't have that custom bait look and build, but it comes in a wide array of patterns and is affordable
+ Rotating hook hangars - A little tougher to cast and work when the wind picks up
+ Strong Hooks  
+ Many patterns available to match the hatch  
+ Reasonable cost  

Looking for a larger than normal topwater plug to throw? The Wild Willy can draw some very big bites!

Conclusion: G-Ratts Bait's Wild Willy is a worthwhile, larger than normal, topwater plug in which to invest. Especially since the cost of investment won't necessarily break your tackle budget, and what you get for that investment is a bait made with some premium components. Rotating hook hangars are always a nice touch on larger baits and the extra strong, sharp hooks inspire confidence. Given the right conditions, the bait is easy to work, but things get a little more difficult once the wind picks up. This is a common malady for walking baits, and put in the time and you will be able to tame the Wild Willy and make it an effective weapon across a wide range of conditions. But if it's a calm day, and you're fishing over a shallow flat, this bait will feel right at home and can draw some very wild topwater strikes!


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