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Lure Review

Peacock Bass Fishing with the Legendary Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper & Amazon Ripper


Date: 12/12/10
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Luhr Jensen
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.08 - EDITORS CHOICE!

We head to the Amazon to test a number of rods, reels and lures and bring along a legend, the Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper which is specifically designed to take on Peacock Bass. Is this lure’s reputation as a Peacock Bass catching machine more fact or fiction? After three plane and two boat rides deep into the rainforest it only took a few casts to find out.   


Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper Specifications

Type Topwater Plug
Material Sugar Pine wood
Depth 0 ft
Size 5-5/8" and 6-3/4"
Weight 2.4 oz. (6-3/4" model)
Hooks Heavy 3X+ O'Shaugnessy hooks
Colors/Patterns 10
MSRP $9.99 and up


Impressions: The Big Game Woodchopper is a legend among anglers that fish in the Amazon and is designed to entice species that feed on the surface to strike. The bait’s design is rather simple, basically a torpedo shaped plug with a prop on the end and armed with treble hooks. The Amazon Ripper is a slight modification of the original Big Game Woodchopper and features a slightly more angular profile and two props versus one. The Amazon Ripper is designed to be worked the same basic way but emits a higher pitched sound and can be worked a little faster in the water. There is another variant called the "Peacock Bass Special" which we also fished and is a hybrid of both and features a smaller overall body profile than the Big Game Woodchopper but is not as sleek as the Ripper yet has a dual prop design. This lire is designed to be less physically demanding to fish than the other two lures.


The Luhr Jensen Big Game Woodchopper is a classically designed topwater plug

The lures are available in an assortment of patterns, many of which are just as brightly colored as the fish they are designed to target. There are also a number of sizes to choose from and in the case of the Amazon Ripper there are both two hook and three hook versions. Some of the finishes are simple and straightforward like the orange bellied "Rocky" while others are very detailed and look custom painted like the "Speckled Peacock."

The lure is constructed out of Sugar Pine wood and labeled underneath

Real World Tests: I’ve caught Stripers on the White/Red head Big Game Woodchopper in the past but have never reviewed the bait simply because the test wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Amazon. Last week I finally got the chance and was able to put both the Big Game Woodchopper to the test against some Peacock Bass deep in the Amazon Rainforest.

The original Big Game Woodchopper features a single prop on the back


Casting: The full sized Big Game Woodchopper weighs 2.4oz. while the largest Amazon Ripper (612 size) only weighs 2.2oz., both lures are extremely easy to cast, just bring a reel that has plenty of capacity both for those extra long casts and just in case you hook into a big fish. Casting distance is a no brainer and casting accuracy is also very good with these baits.


The Amazon Ripper is a more streamlined take on the original


Though far from finesse fishing an accurate cast down a narrow cut with overhanging foliage or pinpoint drops in between downed trees or flooded mangroves will definitely reward you with more fish. Both the BGW (Big Game Woodchopper) and AR (Amazon Ripper) sail through the air predictably but casting is the easy part...


The Amazon Ripper in "Parrot" pattern

Retrieving: Once the lure is in the water it is time to go to work. Some will argue that there are multiple ways to fish these lures using a variety of retrieve speeds. At home on the California Delta I’ve used everything from a quick rip to a jerk jerk followed by a pause to get Stripers to bite. In the Amazon the guides have only one speed and that is MAXIMUM SPEED. Think pulling as hard as you can and then tack on another 20%. When you do this the lure stops just churning and spitting water and puts out a very audible “choooomph-choooomph” sound that the guides say call to the fish. It works. The minute I started kicking it into overdrive the strike frequency and ferocity quadrupled.

A closer look at the Amazon Ripper's dual bade design which allows it to stir up more water on slower retrieves

The Peacock Bass here like to chase bait and you can see and hear them waking up behind baitfish chasing them clear out of the water. The large baitfish actually resemble the cigar shaped Woodchopper as they flee outside the water, sometimes travelling five to eight feet in an effort not to get eaten.

The Speckled Peacock pattern showcases the Luhr Jensen quality paint finishes

This is the similar to the distance your BGW will travel if you’re ripping hard enough. The guides have a saying here that if your arms and shoulders are not burning your simply not working the lure hard and fast enough. They couldn’t be more right, though you will sweat more than a serious cardio workout you will be rewarded with some of the most intense topwater strikes possible. I’ve never quite seen anything like a 15 plus pound Peacock absolutely crush one of the big baits.

Zander and JIP work out those arm and shoulder muscles fishing the "Chopper"


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