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Lure Review

The i-Slide 262T's Long Journey En Route to Earning Our Ultimate Award (continued)

Now of course, i-Slide wasn't the only big bait I needed to test and write up and with so many experiences with other baits in between, I thought maybe I just imagined that attitude. So I took her out again a month or two later, but had the same result. I didn't understand. That first date had so much potential, what went wrong? Then, somehow it dawned on me. Maybe it was the tail! So what did I do? I ordered another 262T to see how that bait swam fresh out of the package. Yes, the new bait worked better, and I was back on course with the review, but I needed some catches to validate my original impression - that this bait will have no problem getting bit. I slid the replacement bait back into that same big bait box, but this time, I was careful not to put the tail in a position where it would be damaged.

If it's not perfectly straight, the bait will not swim right

It didn't work. Those other baits had it in for the new i-Slide 262T beating her tail up too. So I took to an old school strategy and gave both tails a nice spa treatment soaking them in boiling water for a bit to soften them up, then off to some time between a table and some heavy books to see if that would straighten things out between us.

A look at the Rainbow pattern which features a matte airbrushed-style finish

More new baits came and went, more distractions. The timeline was really getting stretched out here, but I managed to find a time slot for the i-Slide 262T again this time with the reworked tails, and was all anxious at the chance for a reunion. Well, unfortunately, the spa treatment didn't work. Somehow, she was too deeply wounded. Our connection was broken. This time, I took both baits out of my big bait box and placed them in longer term storage. This relationship was taking up too much of my time. I had to move on.

Shadow lines are very pronounced in this color

Fast forward a year, maybe two, in the middle of preparing for an upcoming season of reviews, I finally had the bright idea to contact Megabass of America directly about my difficulties with the i-Slide 262T. They, of course, happened to have some spare tails in stock, so I immediately ordered two replacements so I could once again fish these baits and hopefully reaffirm those early impressions that had almost faded from memory by now.

The i-Slide 262T is a hefty bait that takes a stout rod and some practice to comfortably launch

Castability: I chose, for this most recent go around with the i-Slide 262T, my trusty Kistler KLX7107XXH paired with my Daiwa DEPS DR-Z2020XHL spooled with Spiderwire Ultracast X8 in 50lb test. I tied the bait directly to this line and gave a big heave. The i-Slide 262T is a heavy bait and takes a bit of practice before you can really let go on your casts and get some distance. At least it does for me because I'm fearful of breaking my line on the cast and losing the bait. This was a time I really didn't mind that 50lb Ultracast actually has the diameter of a typical 65 or 70lb braid, because I wanted that extra security around my precious i-Slide 262T.

Hooks are stout, sharp, and require installation out of the package

After a couple of practice heaves, I was able to build up the confidence to really lay into a cast and launch the bait. There are times when the i-Slide 262T will fly straight and true, there are other times it will tumble in the air and all of it relates to how smooth you are in your casting motion and follow through.

My third i-Slide 262T - Tarpon

Ease of Actuation: I am happy to report the new tails were the answer to my dilemma. The i-Slide 262T is easy to work on a steady or erratic retrieve and does all the tricks you want a bait like this to do. Its side to side motion is fluid and wide but the bait also leans into each turn flashing its sides as it swims. In other words, it is not a straight up and down swimmer. Some big bait anglers like this wobble, many prefer the straight up and down swimmers. I throw them all and let the fish tell me what they want that day.

The i-Slide 262T commands a worthy combo. For her, I un-returned my F10-76XBJ Super Red Demon and paired her with my current favorite swimbait reel, a Daiwa Deps DR-Z2020XHL

As it turns out, my first couple of trips back with this bait, the fish didn't want it. I thought it might be the fact I was tying direct with a very colorful braided line and probably not working it fast enough to where the line wouldn't matter. I find the i-Slide 262T swims best on a medium to slow retrieve (granted the reel I was using is a high speed reel too). So, I took the opportunity to re-spool my DR-Z2020 and use it for some new line tests I wanted to conduct. I installed some 60 pound PowerPro Hollow Ace and topped it with a leader of 20lb Sunline Super Natural monofilament.

Fish of similar size to the one on the left are the reason I like to throw baits the size of the one on the right

On our next testing trip, I went through another round of tentative casts before I had the confidence my hollow braid splice would hold up to the abuse of casting the six ounce i-Slide 262T. Then, a few hours into our day, on a particularly distant cast, after the i-Slide 262T splashed down, I gave my DR-Z2020XHL about three or four cranks and BAM! A massive hit! I cranked once or twice more, swung, felt the weight of the fish, and POOF! Nothing. Something in my line failed. I thought it might have been my hollow braid connection, but it was all very sudden and not the sensation I'd expect from a leader pulling out of the hollow braid. It felt like something broke. Dejected, I reeled in my line to find something did indeed break. It was my knot securing the bait to the end of the line. The wounds must have been too deep. My i-Slide 262T had enough and took that opportunity to break things off and leave me. I was sick with grief.

Throw these big baits consistently enough, and you may be rewarded with fish like this instead

Next Section: Vindication and Getting Dialed In...









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