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Lure Review

A Diminutive Jerkbait That Packs a ZING! The Megabass Live-X Margay Stepcat

Date: 3/16/08
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 6.83 - FAIR


Introduction: Minnow type baits have been a mainstay in the anglers' arsenal for decades. These elongated plugs, also referred to as jerkbaits, come in a variety of lengths targeting many species of fish. For the most part, the smaller sized versions are best served up on spinning gear. This was true of the Megabass Live-X Smolt we reviewed during the Spring of 2006. Today, we look at a slightly larger cousin of the Live-X Smolt, introducing the shallow running, suspending Margay Stepcat, a small jerkbait built to be thrown on casting gear.

Megabass Live-X Margay Stepcat Specifications

Type Jerkbait
Depth 2-3 ft
Class Suspending
Size 2 1/2" / 1/4 oz
Colors/Patterns Approximately 12 different color patterns
Hook Sizes #6 front and back
MSRP $20

Impressions: No matter how small their baits, Megabass just seems to have a knack for detail. It shouldn't have been surprised then, after receiving my Stepcat that anything should be different, but for some reason, the addition of that clear plastic fin on top of the bait really sets off this little wonder. Whether it is truly functional or not, it is definitely a feature that sets this bait apart from others of similar size and really adds a unique flair and appeal, typical of what we've come to expect from Megabass's baits.


Introducing the Megabass Margay Stepcat

The Field Tests:
Since it is clearly stated this bait is intended for light baitcasters, I took out my G.Loomis BCR802 GLX and paired it with my Daiwa Liberto Pixy to put the Stepcat through its paces. I spooled the Pixy up with 10 pound test Sunline Shooter FC and was ready to roll.


Complete test rigs for Megabass Live-X Margay Stepcat Field Tests

Rod G.Loomis BCR802 GLX
Reel Daiwa Pixy
Line 10lb Sunline Shooter FC


Even at this diminutive size, the Stepcat is loaded with realistic detailing

Minnow shaped baits are effective with many different species of fish


Casting: As advertised, this 1/4 oz jerkbait was quite easy to cast on my Daiwa Pixy and G.Loomis BCR802 combo though if I were to fish this bait for a truly extended period of time, because of its size, I think I would still opt for spinning gear instead. The "moving balancer system" in this bait is, at the very core, simply an internal bearing or two that shifts on cast to move the bait's center of gravity. While the inclusion of this bit of engineering definitely benefits this lure, unless you have the proper baitcasting setup to cast light baits, it can still prove a challenge casting the Stepcat.

The Margay Stepcat features an abbreviated bill for ease of casting

The Margay Stepcat in GG Trout pattern|

Retrieving/Action: Fished in the clear waters of Folsom Lake, California, I was surprised by the Stepcat's extreme darting action at each twitch of my rod tip. This thing will literally zing forward and to either side on each small twitch of the rod tip. Pause your retrieve on slack line, and the Stepcat stops dead in its tracks, suspending perfectly still, or so it seems. Resistance in the water while employing a twitching or jerking retrieve is very minimal, so again, the need for a rod with a very soft tip cannot be emphasized enough, otherwise, you will lose touch with this bait in the water very easily.

The Stepcat features a rather eccentric, articulated top fin that one has to guess, acts as a rudder to keep the bait swimming true

Another look at the exquisite GG Trout pattern

On initial entry into the water, the Stepcat begins a very slow, head down sink. It was difficult to gauge neutral buoyancy as this varies with water temperature, but the bait will sink beyond six feet of water if you wait long enough. Depending on how much line you move with each twitch of your rod tip, and how much slack you give the bait on your pauses, the Stepcat will do everything from walk the dog under water, to dart and pause side to side, to turn 180 degrees from its retrieve position. The action of this little bait is truly astounding.


As with all Megabass baits, the Stepcat comes equipped with quality hooks

The Stepcat's top fin is its most pronounced feature


Effectiveness: While this bait is crazy with action, unfortunately, it is still a small bait. As such, when fishing for black bass, it has a tendency to get you on a really good dink bite. On the other hand, given its size, I imagine this bait could be deadly for just about any species you pursue including wild trout. While small for bass, it's a good, universal sized baitfish.


The baits we tested were vintage 2005

The Stepcat features a typical, slender width of other baits in this classification


Weedlessness & Durability: I fished this bait mostly over and around submerged rock piles. Due to its suspending nature, when fished in and around potential hang ups, snags are very likely, so proceed with caution. I ran into no premature wear of the bait's finish, but this could be due in part, to the bait's diminutive size. It's so small, fish tend to inhale it rather than strike the body in an effort to stun it before eating.


The GG Trout pattern is a very prismatic finish

One last look at our Stepcat in GG Trout, now equipped with Ultimate Luresaver Splitrings


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):

Megabass Live-X Margay Stepcat Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Another top-notch bait from Megabass 8
Performance As lively an artificial bait as I've used, but as many times is the case, smaller baits often catch smaller fish, which is exactly what happened to us 6
Price As with all things Megabass, costly to acquire, especially when there are a lot of new baits coming out that sport premium quality design and features 5
Features Moving point balancing system, ultra-sharp hooks, and an external keel in the shape of a fin 8
Design (Ergonomics) Despite its size, still a very detailed bait 8
Application A reasonable size and comes in multiple patterns for many different species of fish 6

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

J Fantastic, random swimming action L Small baits tend to catch small fish
J Wonderful finishes L Priced at almost $10 an inch.. ouch
J Very good suspending bait  L Can still be a challenge on baitcasting gear.


Not a lunker by any stretch of the imagination, but still great catching fun on light gear


Conclusion: While certainly not a substitute for the difficult to acquire and madly popular Vision 110 by same manufacturer, the Megabass Margay Stepcat has its own intrinsic value. Certainly, if fish catching fun is what you're after and not necessarily the biggest possible limit, the Stepcat can deliver. Potentially a great bait for many different species of fish, the side stepping, crazy underwater action of this bait cannot be denied. I'd still recommend using your favorite spinning rig rather than trying to throw this bait with casting gear, but it can certainly be done and more easily than other baits I've used. The difficulty of course, comes in windy conditions where this bait becomes increasingly difficult to cast. Whichever setup you choose to employ, rest assured, the Stepcat is a fun sling and zing bait.










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