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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage
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One for the Enthusiasts: The Shimnao Antares A70 Baitcaster with MGIII

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Small but Mighty, the Megabass Dark Sleeper Swimbait
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SOLID! The Shimano Bantam MGL Baitcaster
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Selecting the right Rod, Reel, and Line for Your Walking Bait Arsenal
 


 


Lure Review


Here to Challenge Your Imagination : Megabass of America's Garuda (continued)

Castability: The Garuda is equipped with internal rattles that are located in the bait's head. These rattles are not significant enough to change the bait's center of gravity nor are they really located in the right spot to affect casting distance if they were. After all, the bait weighs over four ounces, so any type of moving balancer system would have to be pretty significant to affect this bait's trajectory.


The components I used to test custom configurations for my Garuda

Because the bait is so heavy, all it really requires to launch is a rod that can handle its heft and a smooth casting motion. Casting the Garuda is not an exercise in finesse. It's a good thing the bait's 3-pieces are connected, because it does tend to flail a bit during a cast. Perhaps my smooth casting motion just needs work.


First up, instead of relying upon a single, straight shank top hook, I disemboweled this frog bait

Dive Time: Once the Garuda splashes down, you'll discover it is a floating bait. If retrieve slowly, or with your rod tip up, it will wake on the surface just like it appears it was designed to do. Drop your rod tip so the angle of your line is more parallel with the surface of the water and the bait dives without hesitation. I knew this was what the bait was going to do, but I still wasn't ready for it. It looks like a typical wake bait so for some reason, I had that stuck in my mind.


Just like that! Was it that easy?

When you drop your rod tip, the Garuda doesn't just swim a foot or two under the water like most wake baits that dive. It genuinely dives down to the point, depending on water clarity and how far your cast is, to where you can't see the bait anymore. In this mode, the bait feels a lot more like a big, sloppy, inebriated squarebill crankbait.

Well, if you're lazy like me and just used extra split rings, yes. But long term, this could prove a little clunky
 

Dive Weights: On that subject of fishing the Garuda like a big, sloppy, inebriated squarebill crank, I was really anxious to experiment with weighting this bait via that loop on the underside of the diving bill. I pulled out my terminal tackle box and selected an Evergreen International branded snap (very much in the same design as VMC's Crankbait Snaps) and my precious Reins Slim Tungsten Drop Shot Sinkers.


The top hook, magnetized channel is actually a bit narrow for a frog hook, but I scraped either side with a razor blade to make the channel wider

I consider these drop shot weights precious because I really like their elongated teardrop design and the loop at the top of the weight. These weights don't have that pinch connector to grip your line so you either have to tie these weights directly or make a simple loop at the end of your line and slide the sinker through. Anyway, assuming you have the right size weight, that connection loop on the weight makes them perfect for the job of weighting the head of your Garuda.


In the end, I still could have shaved away more material, but you get the idea

I started with the lightest weight I had in this style, one sixteenth ounce. I just looped the weight onto the snap and attached it to that discreet little spot on the Garuda. I dropped the weighted bait next to the boat to see if there was any difference in the Garuda's posture. None. I cast it out a little way and worked the bait. I couldn't discern any difference so I started over.


The hook swings freely even with double split rings

This time, I attached a one eighth ounce (1/8oz) sinker and repeated my tests. Floating next to the boat, the Garuda now demonstrated a pronounced head down position. I cast the bait out, let it settle a bit, then began my retrieve. The bait immediately dove. Adding weight definitely prepares the Garuda for dedicated duty deeper than it normally runs. The tail still wants to float, so it is swimming with a head down, tail up posture.


Here's a look at that loop beneath the diving bill for the attachment of weights

What makes this even more intriguing is while you can certainly get the Garuda to swim deeper than normal with the weighted head, the real key is you can get it to dive at its normal depth at much slower speeds. This keeps the bait in the strike zone for longer periods of time increasing your chances to get hit.


I used these drop shot weights by Reins to test things out

The next natural question was how much weight is too much. At half an ounce the bait will still just barely float at the surface. At this weight, the bait sits almost straight up and down with its tail being the only thing breaking the water's surface. You can still work the bait like a crank, naturally, but that position makes for an intriguing deadstick posture too.


The Garuda will float, head down in this manner until about a full ounce of weight is added. Then it will finally begin to sink on its own

To go heavier, the only real option I had on hand for testing was a generic, one ounce, flat circle sinker. Attaching this weight to the Garuda's head turned it into a sinking bait. Once it hits bottom with this weight attached, a slow retrieve really doesn't do much. However at medium speeds or faster, the Garuda still swims. The awkward thing is that weight swings around underneath the bait and will likely cause issues with hookups. Unless of course, you remove the trebles and install the top hook rigging option.


But with the head weighted down, the bait is much more susceptible to getting mired in weeds

Next Section: Alternative rigging and weighting options...

   

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