A Bait that Defies Categorization : Megabass of America's Vatalion
Dive Time: Here's where things get interesting with the Vatalion. Naturally, due to its size and shape, the bait is
labeled as a "swimbait". But two-piece swimbaits are naturally assumed to glide from side to side on the retrieve - the Vatalion doesn't do that. Instead, what the Vatalion behaves like is a big, overgrown, two-piece lipless crankbait.
The fish's gill plates have a sculpted quality about them.
Look at it. The bait's line tie is located on its forehead above its eyes and the forehead is a relatively wide, somewhat flat surface - just like a lipless crank. It's an L.O.U.S. (lure of unusual size) lipless crank style! Or is it? Lipless cranks are meant to be cast out and either burned back to your positioned or yo-yo'd off the bottom. Well, the Vatalion floats and I suppose it can be retrieved at a fast pace, but really, where this bait shines is on a slow retrieve with little pauses and stops in between.
Detailing extends to the underside of the Vatalion's head.
When retrieved in that slow, erratic cadence the bait kind of wobbles and swims in a very tight "s" pattern. But when you pause, it kicks off to one side or the other, stops, then starts to float up. There's hardly a rhyme or reason to the bait's movement and it's this erratic behavior that somehow, someway, triggers bass into striking. My first thought when seeing this bait swim in the water beside the boat was total skepticism, but then after about my fourth cast, a fish nailed the bait. Then after about the fifth fish, the Vatalion won me over.
Our only complaint? These hooks are a little thin and lack durability.
Design/Ergonomics: For the uninitiated, the Vatalion will feel like a big bait. It sits securely in our L.O.U.S. classification of baits where I certainly think of it more like a lipless crank than I do a
bona-fide swimbait. It's heavier than normal at 1 3/8 ounces, but not very cumbersome to throw on any rod rated up to at least one ounce in lure weight. The BXC71MHF handled this bait very easily. My only criticism really is about the bait's hooks. Typical of Megabass, the Vatalion hooks are thin wire and the rear treble hook on my bait did straighten out after a handful of fish.
The Vatalion retails for $29.99 and is available in seven different colors.
Price & Application: Right now, the Vatalion is available in seven different colors and retails for $29.99. Where I found most success with this bait was retrieving it nice and slow over submerged weedbeds where you have about two, maybe even three feet of water above the top of the weeds. I'm sure it'd be equally successful over submerged rock piles or over the top of a point or submerged hump. Basically any structure that is just under the water's surface.
The Vatalion is an exquisite looking bait and pretty much flawless out of the packaging
We liked it best at slow speeds with stops and pauses mixed in here and there
More like a typical Megabass bait although still somewhat less than we might have expected given the bait's size
Internal rattles, crazy detail in the mold and paint scheme, but thin wire hooks
Hopefully Megabass of America extends the color palette to some more matte or even translucent finishes
When the water gets skinny, this bait has the ability to attract strikes
: 2 =
poor : 3
: 4 =
: 5 =
: 6 =
fair : 7
= good :
: 10 =
Pluses and Minuses:
| + Super easy bait to throw despite it's larger than normal size
|| - Hooks are thin wire and not very durable
|+ Very uncomplicated bait to work - just use a slow retrieve and stop every now and then
||- There are times I wished the bait suspended rather than float up
|+ Perhaps not a lifelike accurate representation of a panfish, but very realistic nonetheless
This bait would look mighty fine on the shelf.
Although I do approach each and every product I fish with an open mind, sometimes - and especially with baits - I have more optimism that some products than others that they'll allow me to catch a fish. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't very optimistic about the Vatalion. After learning that the bait doesn't glide from side to side and that it's really more of an oversized lipless crank than a true swimbait, the first thing that popped into my head was this is just a highly detailed, abstract interpretation of a panfish that'd be better off sitting on my fireplace mantle than tied to the end of my line.
But it looks even better in a fish's mouth.
Fortunate for the Vatalion and myself, I had an opening in my "products to test" box shortly after receiving it from Megabass of America, so just to appease my need to perform my due diligence, I tied it to the end of my line that day out on the water with Shimano of America Corp., and gave it about a dozen casts to show me what it was about. Well, it didn't take that long before that first fish unexpectedly slammed the bait, then again, and again after that. Was it just that day or was there really something about this bait?
The Vatalion proved this skeptic wrong big time.
It happened again on subsequent trips with the very same bait and as I continue to learn this bait and grow more confident throwing it, the Vatalion continues to perform and catch fish. The only thing that has slowed this bait down for me are its thin wire, stock hooks. I still find the bait a bit funky and it's a little weird that it doesn't fit neatly into a bait classification, but then that's part of the Vatalion's charm. It looks like a glide bait, behaves more like a lipless crank, yet you fish it like a 3-piece, and oh yeah - it floats! It's a bait that defies description but has earned a spot as this Editor's Choice.
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