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Lure Review

 

Cold Water Cranking Weapon - River2Sea's Tactical Bassin' DD Crankbait (continued)

 

The smaller bait also means that this bait doesn't require a low speed reel with massive torque to wind this bait back. While I could feel the bait vibrating at the end of the line I found fishing the Tactical DD with a 7:1, or even 8:1, ratio reel was not only possible, it was effortless with 12lb. fluorocarbon line. I did find it a bit challenging to get the bait down to the maximum 18 foot depth which the lure is rated at, and definitely recommend fishing with fluorocarbon line, which sinks, and cranking down aggressively the second the lure hits the water. In most cases where we tried to graph the bait it would fish between the 10-12 feet range. It is possible to go deeper with a long enough cast and the right reel and line setup. My personal favorite reels for this bait are the Shimano Bantam MGL HG (7.1:1) and the more affordable Daiwa Tatula SV TW SV103HS (7.1:1). Both of these reels cast the bait plenty far, provide enough cranking power, and line capacity to fish mid sized deep divers like the Tactical DD. 

 


This bait works in deep water and I started cranking up fish in the middle of the lake by mixing up retrieves

 

After fishing the bait is some very cold days I can attest to the effectiveness of the lure. Contrary to what many anglers do in the winter, fish slow, the Tactical DD seems to draw more strikes when the bait is fished fast. I don't necessarily burn it but I found the most success fishing with higher speed reels and varying my retrieves, and mixing in pauses. Sometimes the fish would hit the bait on the pause, and often times fish would hit the bait during a straight retrieve, or even when the lure was diving seconds after hitting the water.

 

I also found that the Tactical DD did seem to draw more strikes than other larger deep diving crankbaits. While action and sound certainly have a lot to do with it I agree with the Tactical Bassin' crew in regards to the effectiveness of the more moderately sized bait.

 

I personally think the smaller size represents easier prey, and fish that are holding deep don't always want to exert the energy required to take on what they perceive as a risky meal. The Tactical DD represents an easy bite-size meal, and I found it effective for targeting fish of all sizes year round.

 


The bane of any deep diver... vegetation

 

Price & Applications: While there are a number of patterns to pick from, and even a few foil patterns, most of the colors look pretty muted and very similar. This was intended as the team wanted to create patterns that didn't scream for attention, they believe that a more realistic pattern is critical in cold water where that last second decision by the fish is key.

 


The team at River2Sea and Tactical Bassin' have created an effective weapon for targeting bass in cold water, but don't reserve this bait just for the winter months it works wherever there is baitfish present... in this case bluegill

 

While the Tactical DD is designed for cold water I found that it was also very effective in warm water conditions, and even during the hot middle of summer months. You can easily employ this bait year round if the water you are fishing is inhabited by baitfish of similar size. The best thing about this crank is that it draws strikes during the winter, when many other crankbaits are simply ineffective.

 


Most of the patterns are pretty muted, and this was intentional as the team wanted to create baits that looked realistic as the fish drew close

 

The Tactical DD retails for $15.99 each, making it the most expensive R2S crank to date, but still reasonably priced when you consider the uniqueness of the bait, and competing lures from other premium hardbait manufacturers. The black nickel R2S hooks are decent, and have held up well, as has the finishes of the baits themselves. My personal favorite patterns are the Natural Gill, DD Minnow, and Ghost Minnow which I found effective in both ultra-clear and stained water. 

 

Ratings:

River2Sea Tactical Bassin' DD Crankbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality River2Sea consistently builds quality hardbaits and the Tactical DD features the same quality we have seen in their previous cranks. Signature elements like the type of plastic and proprietary hooks all can be found on this crankbait 8.5
Performance The Tactical DD is marketed as a cold water crank that can work year round and in our tests we found this statement to be absolutely true. The bait is able to deliver strikes in the cold winter months but can also be effectively used in warm water conditions where baitfish are present. The only time it really isn't effective is when the water is very shallow and around heavy vegetation. I didn't hit as much vegitation as I thought I would in most cases becuase it does take plenty of effort to get this bait all the way down to 18 feet. In most cases I was fishing for bass around the 12+ foot range 9
Price A reasonable price for a quality crankbait. Not too expensive that anglers would constantly fear losing it to snags with structure. Like other crankbaits deflection seems to be followed with strikes so don't be afraid to go deep and vary your retrieves 8.5
Features The reinforced lip design makes this a durable bait, and we didn't have a single lip break in testing. The weight transfer system aids with long distance casting, and the rattle draws attention from far away 8
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to cast and retrieve due to the light overall weight and casting system. Unlike many other deep divers this bait can be cast with normal casting rods and normal lines. While it can be fished with mono I personally still prefer 12lb. fluorocarbon which sinks to aid with a quicker dive rate. The patterns may seem muted, or all very similar, but they are designed with purpose in mind... and they work 9
Application The team designed this deep diving crankbait to be effective for cold water fishing and this bait delivers in this regard. It is also very effective in warm water conditions wherever there are baitfish present, making this a great addition to the year-round hardbait arsenal 9

Total Score

8.66
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
+ Effective at targeting deeper holding fish in cold winter month - Patterns are quite similar (but designed with purpose)
+ Quality construction that holds up well over time - Doesn't get as deep, or as easily, as some other larger profile deep divers
+ Easy to fish with conventional casting gear and high speed reels  
+ Reasonable price  

 

Conclusion: As Fall ends and Winter begins most anglers pack away their reaction baits and tie on their soft bodied swimbaits, tie on their jigs, and break out their NED rigs. While these finesse techniques are effective in the colder months they can also be an exercise in patience. The team at R2S and Tactical Bassin' have done a good job studying bass behavior and created a deep diving crankbait with a mid-sized profile with a strong action and sound.

 

 


There are a number of quality deep diving crankbaits and the Tactical DD is one of the very best when it comes to delivering in tough cold water conditions

 

The result is a cold water crank that represents an easy meal for deeper holding fish, and one that is deadly effective at triggering the feeding response in these bass that normally seem locked up for the season. While designed for winter bass fishing I've found that these baits are easy, and effective, to fish whenever you match the hatch. While there are a number of quality deep diving crankbaits on the market there are few that are quite as easy to fish, and as effective in cold water conditions, and retail for less than 16 dollars a piece, making the Tactical DD an easy pick for our Editor's Choice Award. Simply put, the Tactical Crank delivers in what normally are some of the toughest conditions, and gives anglers a fun and effective tool for targeting bass year round.

 

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