Picking Apart Rapala's BX Big Brat Squarebill
Autopsy continued: As simple as crankbait design typically is we always
nerd out when we open up baits and see just what goes into the construction,
weighting, and overall design. The Big BX Brat is basically an upscaled version
of the original with a larger balsa core and integrated belly weight.
Going under the blade
Cracking open the bait reveals the
balsa core and integrated lead balancing weight which aids in casting and
keeping the bait in proper position during retrieves
Another benefit of the balsa core
is the ability to integrate foil in between the layers to add additional flash.
Since the foil is under the copolymer layer it can never be scratched off
A look at the balsa core. This
lightweight heart of the lure gives this silent running lure the buoyancy and
A look at all of the components of
the picked apart Big BX Brat
Real World Tests:
I had ill intentions with this bait from the get go, and at first did not fish it on anything resembling a traditional crankbait setup. Its copolymer outer shell and wood core inspired some unconventional thinking, so for testing duties with this bait, I chose my Kistler KLX7107XXH swimbait stick. Yes, a swimbait stick with a lure rating of 3 - 9 oz no less. During the course of testing that rod for its review, I discovered its ability to cast baits below that 3 ounce threshold - including a crankbait. The BX Big Brat would be the lightest bait I'd ever used on that stick, and even though the review period for that stick was finished long ago, I wanted to see how much abuse the bait could take, so I matched the rod with my Scorpion MGL (8.5:1 retrieve) already sporting a fresh supply of Spiderwire Ultracast (0.248 mm diameter ~ 40lb test), and tied one on to find out.
Those eyes look like they'd catch the attention of a hungry fish
Castability: Zander thought I was crazy telling me that stick is way over powered for a 3/4 ounce crank and normally, he'd be right, but the KLX7107XXH is far more capable than anglers suspect and my strategy was to pull the Big Brat through the weeds, even rip it through if I had to, so I needed a stick that could dish out that abuse. What I found is that this BX Big Brat crank definitely fishes above its weight class. It easily fired off the KLX7107XXH and really felt like a bait well over one ounce in weight. Casting performance like this is crazy for a crank that's essentially made of balsa wood.
The BX Big Brat's diving lip is clear of bubbles
Naturally, I eventually fished the bait on a more standard cranking setup too on subsequent trips choosing my Invoker Pro IVP74MHRC graphite cranking stick (rated 1/4-1oz in lure weight) matched with the same Scorpion MGL. I used the same exact reel and line so the only variable would be the fishing rod. It cast just fine on that rod too, but didn't fire out quite as forcefully nor was it quite as fun to retrieve. In fact, because this is a balsa wood bait and doesn't have an internal balancing system, it can have the tendency to tumble in the air during a cast causing it to foul. Thing is, I only noticed this when I used the bait with the cranking rod, and while it probably tumbled in the air when using it with the swimbait stick too, it never fouled. It seems that extra flexibility in the tip of the softer cranking stick snaps the bait out during a cast in such a manner as to make it spin. Note to self, continue using the BX Big Brat on stout fishing rod to avoid fouling.
This bait certainly works on a conventional cranking setup, but
where's the fun in that?
Next Section: Diving down and the