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Lure Review

Never Judge a Book by its Cover, the unassuming Jackall Crosstail Shad (continued)


Durability: The Crosstail gets a lot of bites, there were times in the winter where I got bites even before the drop shot weight hit the bottom. While many bites is good they do take a toll on this bait. I found that I would catch a lot of dinks as this lure is so small and is often assaulted by juvenile bass.


...underwater the lure seems to come alive


That isnít to say that you canít catch big fish with this lure, but you definitely have to deal with a lot of small bites in the process. Catching smaller fish can be fun but losing lures quickly is a pain, not to mention expensive. Sometimes fish would short strike and peel the lure right off the hook, but most of the time the lures were lost when trying to land fish or they broke the surface with head shakes.


A look at the Superpin-Tail shad in deep water


Very rarely would the tail section of the lure become damaged, it is in the head where the bait is rigged that the lure would rip. In our field tests I was averaging about two fish per bait, and would often use the trolling motor to turn the boat around and quickly pick up baits that were shaken off. Even when the head is torn you can quite easily rig the bait a few more times in different sections of the head, and though a little thrashed these recycled lures still remained deadly effective.


Pro Angler Cody Meyer has some Crosstail Shad in special patterns


Price and Applications: While the bait actually proved to be good in stained water it is absolutely deadly in crystal clear water where other lures often lose effectiveness. I have fished it side by side with many other custom handpours and time and time again the Crosstail seems to be as good as or better than everything we pit it against. In Jackallís own lineup the Superpin Tail shad is unquestionably the more attractive and more realistic looking bait and while it also proved effective for dropshotting the straightforward looking Crosstail Shad outfished it in every single one of our logged field tests.


A few weeks ago we fished with Cody and he demonstrated his drop shot technique with the Crosstail Shad


The Crosstail Shad come in packs of eight and retail for $4.99 a pack, and at 62 cents a lure they are rather expensive, and certainly too expensive to lose on a single fish, especially if that fish happens to be a dink. Though simple in design the finishes of these baits are impressive and the colors are very appealing (now only if I could my hands on some of Codyís special morning dawn stash). While not cheap these lures are absolutely worth the investment if youíre looking for a quality drop shot bait that is good for extreme finesse situations.


These days I pack plenty of bags Crosstail Shad baits when I know I will be dropshotting


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):

Jackall Crosstail Shad Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Crosstail Shad is a beautifully designed bait that makes use of hand pour techniques to create unique sheens. 8.5
Performance The Crosstail Shad is very simple in design and while it pales in comparison to other baits like the Superpin Tail when it comes realism it is absolutely phenomenal in a wide variety of situations beating out many other drop shot baits when it comes to effectiveness in ultra clear water 9.5
Price There are many cheaper drop shot baits out there but the Jackall Crosstail Shad is worth the money 8
Features Though straightforward looking the bait does have a beauty all its own when you look at the colors and the magic is all in that tail design 8
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to fish but also easy to lose. These baits come off a lot when fish head shake or when trying to land fish, luckily they float 8
Application The Crosstail Shad is easily one of my favorite drop shot baits and is great in both shallow and deep water and performs when the bite is tough 9

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ A sleeper bait, the Crosstail is so simple yet deadly effective - Not cheap (but a lot cheaper than the Superpin Tail Shad)
+ The tail design really makes this lure quiver - Lose baits to head shakes and when landing fish
+ Exceptional action in the water when held still and twitched  
+ Great in both stained and crystal clear water  
+ An excellent finesse bait that works even when the bite is tough  


The Crosstail Shad may not look like much but it is absolutely deadly in a wide range of situations, when fished still or with a little twitch this bait comes to life and draws plenty of strikes


Conclusion: It is so easy to simply walk past the Crosstail shelf and mistake it for yet another typical hand poured plastic, as this bait is so simple in design and doesnít have a lot of shelf appeal from first glance. In contrast Jackallís Superpin Tail Shad looks much more lifelike and yet it is the Crosstail that we found to be the superior lure when it came to drawing strikes. The action of this lure in the water trumps realism and the Crosstail delivers both quantity and quality even in deep clear water. The tail design is the secret sauce that makes this straightforward bait so lethal. The Crosstail Shad may not look like much but there is no doubt that fish like what they see, and both weekend warriors and tournament anglers can depend on this lure to deliver even when conditions are tough, making it a worthy recipient of our Editors Choice Award.


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