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Lure Review


Tempt fish with a serving of Specialty Tackle's Big Bite
 

Date: 11/18/04
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Specialty Tackle
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.75

Introduction:
SpecialtyTackle.com was established in 1996 as an online retailer featuring Japanese market fishing gear and other quality, hard to find products. Over the past few years, they’ve been working directly with Japanese lure manufacturing company, Zenith Lures, to bring to the US, import quality lures branded in their own Specialty Tackle name. Finally, after several years of testing by their own Pro Staff, Specialty Tackle released these lures to the market earlier this year. Among their offerings is a large, shallow cranker known as the Z-Series Big Bite. We got hold of some of the very first Big Bites released this year and put them through the rigors of our TT test.
 

Specialty Tackle Z-Series Big Bite Specifications

Type Crankbait
Depth 3ft
Class Floating, Shallow Crank
Colors/Patterns 9 available
Size 2 1/2" (3/4oz)
Hook sizes 6
MSRP $15.99

   
Impressions:
The Specialty Tackle Big Bite lives up to its namesake - this is a big crank and follows closely what seems to be a trend these days of large bodied shallow crankers. The Big Bite, in particular, is very wide and tall at the head and mid section of the bait, but then tapers quickly and suddenly at the back providing a distinct contour at the rear. There’s a small bump on the head across and between where the eyes are placed almost like an eye socket. These irregularities in the body would appear to serve the purpose of creating more disturbance in the water than a usual, smooth contoured bait while at the same time, not affecting the action of the lure overall.

 

The Big Bite is chock-full of tiny details, including fine contours, an internal rattle chamber and a large lead bearing that serves as both a counterweight during casts and a rattle during retrieves

The paint schemes on the Big Bite are fairly detailed with the patterns themselves reminiscent of Japanese lure manufacturers like Megabass. Internal to the bait, there is a large chamber from the bottom center to the rear encasing a large, single, lead bearing of about one centimeter in diameter. This bearing serves as a rattle and counter balance during casts. A second large bearing sits secured in the front of the bait, down low, to balance the lure in the water helping to keep the nose down as the bearing in back moves forward to the middle of the bait where it rattles away during a retrieve.

The Big Bite comes in many colors, making it possible to utilize in varying applications and conditions

   
Field Tests:
In our lab tests, the Big Bite weighed in at .8 ounces (23 grams), slightly over its 3/4 oz (21 grams) rating. This weight test really has no other bearing than to be certain the rod you choose to sling this bait can handle its significant weight. For our tests, we matched up an Airrus CoMatrix 457 6’6” medium heavy weight rod with a Daiwa Alphas spooled with 15 lb Seaguar Carbon Pro and headed out to determine the appeal of this bait to our local black bass population in Northern California.

Casting:
 
The weight of this lure makes casting a breeze. The only difficulty we found in our field tests was the tendency to outcast our marks because the lure travels through the air so efficiently. An interesting discovery we made while fishing this lure though is the ease by which you can pitch this bait. Normally, the arrival of a crankbait this size is announced by an unceremoniously loud and large splash, but by pitching, one can minimize this clumsy delivery and perhaps entice an otherwise spooky fish to strike instead of run. Even with a 6’6” stick, the Big Bite can easily be made to glide inches above the water to a target forty to fifty feet away. With this lower trajectory of travel, the bait stays out of the wind, can be delivered underneath fish holding structure, and can be placed much more precisely. This is an important advantage to those fishing stickups and laydowns with this bait.

 

We tested the Big Bite in a number of different bodies of water, including the
California Delta

 

Retrieving: The Big Bite is large on versatility as well. Many shallow crankbaits will either foul if retrieved too quickly or not offer enough vibration if retrieved too slowly. This bait accommodates both presentations surprisingly well. Due to its size, our inclination with this lure was to slow our retrieve and let the slow, wide wobble of the bait work its magic. Through experimentation, we were pleased to discover that, not only can this bait be retrieved quickly, it can be ripped beneath the surface to trigger some amazing strikes! As if that weren’t enough, the Big Bite’s angle of retrieve lends itself well to placement and retrieval in the midst of some pretty extreme structure. The head of this lure points down the moment you begin your retrieve and serves as a nice buffer between the number 6 hooks and any branches or other items that might serve as a potential snag. We were able to work this lure through many laydowns and submerged structure with minimal hang-ups, but as an added measure of security, we complimented our stock #6 hooks with LureSaver split rings, just in case! Note that the #6 hooks are smaller than the typical size you might find on a lure of this stature, but the intent here is to provide a measure of weedlessness that an otherwise larger hook might not allow.

 

A surprising number of bass quickly committed to the Big Bite

  

Durability: During our casts, we reluctantly, but intentionally served up these lures to various rip rap and other visible structure to test the baits longevity. The finish of these lures held up surprisingly well and not one of our lures showed any signs of cracking or breaking during these tests. The bills of these baits do eventually show signs of wear when retrieved over rocky surfaces, but that’s to be expected. The hooks provided with the bait are not of any known, name brand manufacturer, but the tips are very sharp and durable after several months of continued use.

 

Structure and fish didn't do any damage to these high quality lures

 
Applications:
Shallow crankers should find solace in this bait. As described above, it can be retrieved at a variety of speeds and lends itself well to otherwise unfishable structure. Of particular importance is this lure’s applicability to shore anglers. Because of its castability and shallow nature, this lure is amazingly effective when fished from shore and because of its weedless nature, it avoids many of the obstacles presented to fisherman when retrieving the lure close to shore. A dedicated shore fisherman can cover a lot of ground using this lure as a search mechanism.

  
Ratings:

Specialty Tackle Z-Series Big Bite Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Specialty Tackle searched long and hard for a product worthy of their name and we think they did a good job. 9
Performance Surprisingly effective, this bait shines in shallow water applications 9.5
Price As with most import tackle, this lure carries with it, an impressive price tag 7.5
Features Feature laden with a moving counterweight for added casting distance, ultra sharp hooks, uncommon contours in the body for added water displacement, quality paint applications and lifelike 3D eyes – stock lure saver split rings at the hooks and an oval split ring to connect the lure to your line would be nice refinements. 9
Design (Ergonomics) Very good attention to detail and 9 (soon to be 11) color choices offer a nice selection to the finicky angler. 9
Application As versatile as a shallow crank can be and effective from both boat and shore make this lure a very intriguing acquisition. 8.5

Total Score

8.75


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Solidly crafted, large body crankbait L A little pricey
J Quality, smaller than normal stock hooks aid in weedless presentations L Smaller than normal stock hooks can affect hookups
J Quality finishes hold up well to abuse  
J Versatility in rate of retrieval  
J Ability to cast and retrieve this lure into thick structure  


Conclusion:
With the success of Takahiro Omori at the 2004 Bassmaster Classic, the crankbait is going through a revival of sorts. From custom, hand carved manufacturers to exotic, foreign market imports, each company has their self proclaimed, unique value-ad feature to this tried and true bass lure. Specialty Tackle is no stranger to any of this. Having featured and continuing to market many of the same lures they now compete against, they know, first hand not only what the professional bass fisherman seeks, but also how the recreational bass fisherman can benefit from a high quality, versatile, feature laden fishing lure. The Z-Series Big Bite is one such offering. Whether retrieved at a slow crawl or ripped just beneath the surface, the strikes this lure elicits are unmistakable. It is effective as both a search tool and a finesse bait and can be fished in both open water or in amongst the branches and limbs of a submerged tree. If your search is for a bait to help revive a little of your fishing confidence, you might do well to sample a taste of the Big Bite.



 

 

 

 

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