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Swimbait Review

 

 

MagDraft Part II : We Know It Was You, Freestyle

 

Date: 11/30/20
Tackle Type: Lures
Manufacturer: Megabass of America
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.08 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction: Born from anglers' tendencies to tweak their gear, variants derived from popular rods, reels, and baits are standard R&D vehicle within the fishing industry. One has to simply peruse the number of Vision OneTen variants to know Megabass of America is no stranger to this practice
. The company is at it again, only this time with a soft bait and one that I personally found unexpected. Here's our look at Megabass of America's MagDraft Freestyle.

 


The MagDraft has a new variant, the Freestyle

 

Megabass of America MagDraft Freestyle Specifications

Type Paddletail
Material Soft Plastic
Colors/Patterns 11
Sizes 6"
Scent/Plastic Treatment None
# per package 2
Recommended Hook Sizes Screw-Lock or Jighead: 6/0 - 8/0 : Treble: #2 - #1
Resealable Bag? Yes (clear plastic clamshell)
MSRP $12.99

 

Impressions: The MagDraft Freestyle is a six inch (6") paddletail style bait based off the companies popular MagDraft swimbait. The difference here is while the original MagDraft is pre-rigged with a hook and internal harness, the Freestyle is, well, free of all of that. It is a traditional paddletail swimbait free to be rigged however you choose.

 


The MD Freestyle comes in packs of two with no rigging, so it's free for you to rig how you choose

 

It is available in eleven different colors and features a closed mouth instead of open like the original MagDraft making it easier for rigging with screw-lock swimbait hooks. The bait also has a slit in the belly and a groove at the top to hide the hook point. If you recall our review of the original back in 2017, I was confused on how to fish the original bait because I'm accustomed to fishing pre-rigged swimbaits, especially in the sizes the MagDraft was offered slowly. But the bait was built to be fished at a medium speed retrieve. Strangely enough, if presented to me in the Freestyle initially, I'd have had zero confusion of how to fish the MagDraft.


Success with the MagDraft was instant

Real World Tests: When I first came across the Freestyle, I knew exactly how I wanted to rig this bait. Fresh off a good stint with Owner's Flashy Swimmer, I felt the Freestyle would be the perfect bait for this rig. Rod and reel choice was another matter. This new bait deserved a fresh combo, and with the realization Megabass of America just released some new models for their Destroyer lineup, I ordered an F8-78X Mark 48 and paired it with my Daiwa 18 Ryoga 1520L-CC Crazy Cranker spooled with 50lb Sunline FX Braid.


My rigging of choice was Owner's Flashy Swimmer

 

Rigging: The original MagDraft, of course, comes pre-rigged with a belly hook. It has a realistic head with an open mouth. Megabass changes this with the un-rigged Freestyle variant, closing the bait's mouth and giving it a kind of squared off chin. This very subtle change to the bait's mouth provides for an easy entry point for screw-lock bait keepers like Owner's Center-Pin found on their Flashy Swimmer.


The MD Freestyle is a more traditional paddletail bait with the slit in the belly...

Megabass of America recommends a 6/0 to 8/0 sized single hook for the MagDraft Freestyle, so I rigged it with a 3/8oz, 6/0 sized Flashy Swimmer. One of the reasons paddletail swimbaits are so popular is the ease by which you can rig an re-rig them. Aided by that slit in the bait's belly, the Freestyle is as easy and simple to rig as any other paddletail swimbait product. There's even a slit at the top of the bait so you can punch the hooks tip through the bait (for better hook up percentages) and conceal it at the top (for weedless fishing).

 


... and hook point channel on top.

 

The original MagDraft is available in three different sizes, 6, 8, and 10 inches. The Freestyle is only available in 6 inch. I bring this up because I didn't realize until now that the 6 inch MagDraft actually has a different tail than the 8 and 10 inch. The larger sizes have a squared off tail, but the 6 inch has a more upside down teardrop style tail that more closely resembles that of the MagSlow. The shapes are still slightly different, but the key here is the MagDraft Freestyle can actually be fished fast or slow.


Detailing, fins, etc., are all pretty much on point with the original bait

At slow speeds, the Freestyle's body is still, but the tail flutters back and forth. The more you increase the speed of your retrieve, the wider the tail will swing in the back but the Freestyle's body also begins to wobble. At fast medium-fast to fast retrieves, the Freestyle closely resembles a baitfish in frantic retreat mode.


A look at the Freestyle's tail

Design & Ergonomics: I was able to fish the MagDraft Freestyle on that 6/0 hook and was fortunate enough to land some fish with it, but in hindsight, I think I'd prefer the larger 8/0 style hook. At least if fished on forward weighted swimbait hook like the Flashy Swimmer. The weight on the shank of the 6/0 Flashy Swimmer can interfere with the Freestyle's ability to collapse around the hook. An 8/0 size on hooks with a similar design will just give you more room on this style hook. Otherwise, swimbait hooks with the weight further down the shank should be fine collapsing into the Freestyle's belly.


An often overlooked character of a good paddletail bait is how soft the plastic is... the MD Freestyle is soft, yet durable

Speaking of which, the hook channel in the Freestyle's belly only goes about halfway through the bait's height so we'd recommend taking advantage of that hook channel on the back of the bait and Tex-posing that hook point. Otherwise, it'll take quite the violent hook set to punch that hook point through the bait's back. This thicker area of plastic on the Freestyle's back is a good thing when it comes to durability because a thinner section of soft plastic would enable the bait to tear more easily.


Color patterns are typical Megabass quality

You can of course, rig this bait on a jighead to avoid that potential issue all together, but I have a personal hangup about fishing a bait with two heads. You can also get creative and rig a treble hook in the bait's belly, but then I'd just as soon purchase the pre-rigged 6 inch MagDraft for those situations. The great thing about the MagDraft Freestyle is you truly are free to rig it up however you feel fit.


The MagDraft Freestyle sells for $12.99 for a pack of two baits.

Price & Applications: The other great thing about this bait is the original MagDraft in 6 inch size sells for $12.99 for one bait. The unrigged, Freestyle version in this review retails for the same price, but comes in a pack of two. That's actually reason enough to figure out your own treble hook rigging.


The MagDraft Freestyle is better than the original.

Ratings

Megabass of America MagDraft Freestyle Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Super clean soft plastic swimbait 8.0
Performance Good fast, slow, or any speed in between 8.5
Price Two for the price of one compared to the original 8
Features Slit belly, hook channel on top, reconfigured mouth to accept screw lock rigging 8
Design (Ergonomics) Limited color selection, but the 6 inch size is just right for a variety of rigging options... very good durability without sacrificing action 8.5
Application As good an option as any of the more realistic, paddletail swimbait products 7.5

Total Score

8.08
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
+ Rig it the way you prefer - Limited color selection
+ Swims at all speeds  
+ Can be rigged and fished weedless  

  

Conclusion: When a swimbait product is offered in multiple sizes, my tendency is to always choose the larger size. That was the case when I fished and reviewed the original MagDraft. While the bait fared well in its review, had I fished the smaller size more extensively, I believe I'd have had quite the different impression of that bait. That's because this 6 inch Freestyle is a very fun, intuitive bait to fish.

 


It's not often the sequel to a movie surpasses the original, it's even more rare in a bait variant, but Megabass's MagDraft Freestyle delivers more for less money

 

Even with that realization, the Freestyle is just a better bait than the original not only because you can choose how to rig it but also because you can fish it weedless. This fact alone gives you better confidence to throw it wherever you think a bass may be holding and the ability to fish a bait with the confidence you're putting it in the right spots is half the battle. It's not often the sequel to a movie surpasses the original, it's even more rare in a bait variant. It certainly does not break our hearts to say, Megabass of America's MagDraft Freestyle is more economical, more versatile, and just better.

 

Looking for Megabass of America MagDraft Freestyle baits?

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