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Swimbait Review


RatRumble : The Waking Dead – Illude’s Zombie Rat (continued)


Ready to Rumble: I purchased a Zombie Double and Zombie Triple directly from Illude, and over the span of this season fished both baits alongside my other Illude Rad Rats, as well as the complete range of other rats in the Rat Rumble. Cal also owns a Zombie rat and I was able to compare notes with him as he fished it alongside the other rats in our “Rat Rumble.” I utilized several of my go-to big rat setups including the Shimano Antares Monster Drive and Daiwa Z2020 paired with the Megabass Onager, Kistler KLX, and Leviathan Omega rods.


One of my favorite rods to fish the Zombie on is the Megabass Onager

While use of a top shot can provide a stealthier presentation and some added shock absorption, I still prefer to fish my rats with straight braid for ultimate security, line float, instant hooksets, and to relish every bit of those epic topwater explosions. My current favorite braided lines for fishing rats like the Zombie include PowerPro SuperSlick V2, Daiwa J-Braid Grand, and Sunline FX2. All of these lines have proved to be strong, reliable over time, and provided plenty of knot strength to not only help boat fish, but secure rare and valuable swimbaits, including custom rats like the Zombie.


A look at both Zombies in the water. Both lures have the brand "Illude" cleverly molded into the back in a scar pattern

Dexterity: The Zombie Rat measures just over 11 inches and weighs in at 3.75oz. which is significantly larger and heavier than the resin-based Gas Rat that came before it, which weighs in at only 3 ounces. In general, the resin versions all weigh in heavier than the wood Illude rats which are born from Alaskan Cedar.


The Zombie features the newer style coffin lip

There are many kinds of rats and when it comes to drawing power in addition to the profile of the bait rats often fall into the knocking or sloshing category, and others are best suited for crankdown. The original Rad Rats are known for their exceptional loud, and high pitched, knock at slow to moderate retrieves. The Zombie does knock but not as loudly as the Rad Rat, and when fishing the bait, I noticed that it seemed to want to dive more than the original Rad Rat. This is due to several factors including the use of Resin versus the high buoyancy of wood, but also the new wider coffin lip design.


Comparing the two different lip types. There is a reason why the original lip is still utilized on the wooden Rad Rat

Anglers that are very familiar with the Lunker Fighter baits know that the smaller Gas Rat can be found with both the original and newer style lip. We asked Lendl to tell us more about the two different lip designs and why the Zombie makes use of the wider lip.

“The new lip design came about after further testing and development of current and new baits. At the time the Gas Rat was our newest offering in the lunker fighters’ lineup. The intention of the bait was not to dive so quickly off the bat but to hold the float for a stronger wake. but we then encountered a few issues with a certain batch. This batch seemed to be more buoyant than that of the previous. The lip was too short and didn’t want to catch or dig and we found it often dragging the body along at certain speeds,” Lendl explained. “Our initial thoughts and parameters on design is typically centered around versatility. We love to create baits that not only excel in a certain area but can be used in as many ways as possible. There are exceptions and cases where it’s almost impossible to create a bait that excels in all categories due to the nature of the materials used to construct the bait and the shape that the particular design is formed into as a final product. For example, the Narle Gerbil often times it will not sit perfectly upright in the water but during final swim testing, it walks extremely well and in many cases it may wake extremely well in addition to its initial design parameters, which is walking and delivering that distinctive clacking noise. Back to the lip. The new lip design allows for the bait to crank and crank well. The narrower section towards the body allows for a tighter action and quicker response and the coffin stretches into the water allowing the bait to dig and so at low and high speeds it responds and stabilizes extremely well.”


A closer look at the scar patterns. These marks now identify the Zombie as a resin bait and give the lure plenty of character

Lendl went on to explain that the older “classic” model lip design is still very good for the wooden baits as the “wood responds so much more effortlessly, so there’s no need for an extended coffin lip design, although, the wood also does respond very well with the new lip design. A lot of development happens when trouble shooting issues and we strive to make some of the best baits out here and are very thankful for the opportunity to serve those who like chuckin’ big rats and such.”


The Zombie Triple has three segments and moves in a more snake like pattern putting out a different, and more rhythmic, knocking sound

The Zombie triple fishes a little differently than the double as it exhibits a more snake-like pattern action and puts out a more rhythmic double knock. Both rats look amazing in the water and really do a good job mimicking much of what anglers love about the Rad and Rad Triple Double. Which action you prefer will really depend on the look and style of rat you personally favor. In general, the two-piece Zombie Double is more of a knock style rat while the Zombie Triple is more of a slosher, but unlike many competing slosh-style rats, it absolutely does have knock of its own.


The Zombie Double yielded more strikes for me but when the fish were aggressive the Triple was deadly

Next Section: Zombie Rat Drawing Power...









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