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Lure Review


Caught Between a Crank and a Lipless Bait : The Lucky Craft Moonsault Crankbait

Date: 9/24/06
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Lucky Craft
Reviewer: Cal





 

Total Score: 7.91

Introduction: In our continuing effort to uncode all that is Lucky Craft, we bring to you, the latest in our tests of baits this tackle giant has to offer. Today, we take a look at their Moosnault crankbait: a bait with the profile, features, and behavior of a standard crankbait, together with the noise making ability of a lipless crank. Not for the faint of heart, the Lucky Craft Moonsault crankbait may very well be the definition of a power crank.

Lucky Craft Moonsault Specifications

Type Crankbait
Class Floating
Size
Weight
Depth
Hooks
CB-001
2"
1/4 oz
surface
#8 front & rear
CB-50
2.25"
5/16 oz
1.5 feet
#8 front & rear
CB-100
2.25"
3/8 oz
3 feet
#6 front, #8 rear
CB-200*
2.25"
7/16 oz
6 feet
#6 front & rear
CB-250*
2.5"
1/2 oz
6-9 feet
#6 front & rear
CB-350*
2.5"
1/2 oz
12 feet
#6 front & rear
Colors 7 different colors
MSRP $15 - $16
* Models evaluated for review


Impressions: Seemingly always on the cutting edge of lure design, Lucky Craft has combined, in their Moonsault series of baits, the best features of both a standard and lipless crank. The result is quite astounding. Hold any of these baits in hand, shake them around, and sure enough, you can hear all the different beads shaking about inside. There's no doubt these baits make more noise than a standard crank and we were anxious to try them out on the water to see if the combination was indeed worthwhile.


Introducing Lucky Craft's Moonsault Crank (Model CB-350)


As with any Lucky Craft bait purchase, however, first we had to decide on the color palette that would adorn our tackle box and surprisingly enough, instead of the over forty different color patterns to choose from as with their Flat CB series of baits, the Moonsault baits are available in only seven different colors! Even then, each of the seven look so good, it was difficult settling on just two or three!

 

One thing we love about Lucky Craft baits is their on-bait labeling


The Field Tests: Fishing cranks this year has become a favorite technique thanks in large part to my Megabass F4-610GT3 Shiryu and Conquest 101DC combo. My appreciation for this combo just grows with every outing. It was a no brainer to pull this combo out when it was time to tie on a Moonsault for testing.

 

Complete test rig for Lucky Craft Moonsault Field Tests

Rod Megabass F4-610GT3
Reel Conquest 101
Line 12 lb Yozuri Hybrid


The CB-350 comes with a very long bill for deep diving action
 

The American Shad finish is just a site to behold


Casting/Pitching: Over the course of several months, I acquired four different sizes of the Moonsault Crank but only actually fished three of them. Each of these three, the CB200, CB250 and CB350, were a breeze to cast with our Shiryu/Conquest 101DC combo. The internal rattles help to counterbalance the crank and shift the weight to the forward portion of the bait during casts so that presentations can be made accurately and with distance. The installation of our LureSaver split rings did not interfere with the operation of this bait either, so it was easy to cover a lot of water very quickly with this bait.


Up close, the coloring and markings of this finish make it look like a Tuna more than a baitfish!


Retrieve: These baits waste little time in getting down to their maximum running depths and produce a good amount of vibration once this goal is met and they're being worked on their way back to the boat. This vibration is important in helping you to detect strikes or that "something's different" sensation that eventually translates into the idea that "I better set hook"!

 

More markings reminiscent of a Tuna


While heavily marketed as a cross between a standard and lipless crank and obviously loaded with more than a standard rattle system as compared to other crankbait of similar ilk, I found the noise created by the Moonsault cranks I acquired was not really close to that of any lipless crank I had, and most of my lipless cranks are Lucky Craft LV-500MAX cranks at that! Perhaps I slow my retrieve too much when the bait is close to the boat to notice the sounds the crank may be capable of but I just did not feel that big of a difference from other cranks with the bait in the water.


Here, in Ghost Shad and held up against the sky you can sort of see the many chambers within the bait housing all the different noise making beads


Weedlessness: Each of the three models of Moonsault cranks I acquired had a fair amount of buoyancy to help get out of snags within rocks and all were fair at avoiding them in the first place. Nothing extraordinary nor problematic here though I do recommend some type of self releasing split rings if you choose to fish these baits in any type of flooded or fallen trees. You can never play it too safe when trying to protect your $15 - $16 investment in these cranks.

 

After just a few trips out and with zero degree of torture testing, the finish on our Aurora Craw CB-200 began to flake off inexplicably

 

This battle scar was after catching a healthy 3lber


Durability: As you can no doubt see in the photo's above, the finish of the more metallic/reflective color patterns is very fragile and easily chipped off. We did not have to subject our Aurora Craw Moonsault crank, above, to any kind of harsh torture test to acquire the battle scars shown. All we did was fish it and the finish began to flake off. For such a high priced crank, this is disappointing to say the least. On the other hand, the hooks and body of the bait held up very well with no premature cranks, leaks, or broken hooks.

 

A look at the factory hooks attached via a LureSaver split ring (aftermarket)

 

One last look at the incredible detailing of the American Shad pattern


Application & Effectiveness: I found the Lucky Craft Moonsault Crank easiest to fish over shallow, semi-barren flats, over rocky points, and in coves that did not have too much wood or other potentially snaring obstacles. As mentioned earlier, the baits are only fair at avoiding ensnarement, so, for the most part, I was fishing it with this in mind. It is certainly effective at triggering strikes which makes it a lot of fun to chuck and wind. I did find, under pressure bit situations, the bait seemed less effective. Perhaps the noise of the bait is a factor after all?


There's no doubt the Lucky Craft Moonsault is an effective crankbait
 

Ratings:

Lucky Craft Moonsault Crank Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The body and hardware of the bait are solid, the finishes, not so much 7.5
Performance A very active, quick diving crank 9
Price A bit of a premium when you consider all the new baits out there at the same or lower prices 7.5
Features Most notable are the internal rattles, besides that the lure features a very attractive (yet somewhat brittle) finish 8
Design Pretty much a standard round billed crankbait (aside from the rattles). The bait is well designed but certainly not revolutionary 7.5
Application Wonderful around points or across shallow flats as a search tool 8

Total Score

7.91

  
Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quick diving action L A bit pricey
J Ultra Sharp Hooks L Reflective finishes are not durable
J Solid construction
J Non-standard rattles  

    
Conclusion: 
Another solid bait from Lucky Craft. While we remain somewhat skeptical of the marketing claims on the Moonsault Cranks, there's no arguing the bait flat catches fish. The finish could be tougher, and throw in some standard, factory installed lure saving type split rings and we'd be even more excited to fish this crank. Maybe a square billed version to fish in and around flooded trees? Never quite satisfied are we? If you're looking for a mainstay crank, or just your first Luck Craft bait to try, the Moonsault is deserving of some serious consideration. Best in open water, but definitely somewhere you can get it down and dig into the bottom, we had great fun chucking this bait and will no doubt, continue to do so.

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