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Lure Review

Cute and Deadly, the BBZ-1 Baby Shad Imitates Baitfish


Retrieve: Once the lure has dropped down to the desired depth anglers can fish the Baby Shad a variety of ways ranging from a straight retrieve, to a jerk motion, or even a pop and stop. When retrieved the Baby Shad accurately mimics the side by side slinking tail action of the larger versions. When retrieved quickly the lure comes up to the surface quickly and it is during shallow water retrieves when we observed the most followers and strikes. At Clear Lake when we saw a lot of Silversides in the water the Silver Fish pattern was absolutely money. In stained water we found patterns like the Blue Back Herring or Citrus Shad that make use of foil exhibited greater amount of flash and drew more strikes.


Most mid sized bass will engulf the Baby Shad but this lure also does catch plenty of small fish as well


Durability: As with many other smaller baits we did catch our share of dinks but this lure is absolutely capable of catching big fish. In situations where there were schools of baitfish I found running the Baby Shad either through or alongside the bait was enough to incite strikes from larger fish looking for easy prey. When a big fish hits this lure it feels more like a “thump” then a “tick” and this is immediately followed by pressure on the line. In most cases the lure is completely engulfed by largemouth and the treble hook is buried in the inner jaw of the fish. This small lure may look fragile giving pause to wonder just how well the hardware can hold up to big fish, but the reality is that the rear three segments really don’t need to be all that robust. The only hook on this lure is attached to the head of the lure which is directly tied to the main line. The finish on the Baby Shad also hold up very well and even the holographic elements, which the company first had trouble with, stays on the lures strike after strike.


The lures not only feature a realistic finish but textured scale, gill, and fin profiles


Price & Applications: The Baby Shad is very easy to fish at multiple depths and when it comes to hard bodied “swimbaits” this little lure offers a great “finesse” option. Bill also fishes the Baby BBZ1 in a double rig configuration using swivels to separate the two baits, with the longest leader attached to the sliding swivel. I tried this technique and caught fish on the Baby Shad that was positioned the furthest behind, on the longer leader. The technique works but does require a little bit of work as the lines can tangle up and it does take longer just to rig up. Personally I prefer fishing the Baby Shad solo with light line with a baitcaster or a spinning setup.


You might need pliers to unhook these completely engulfed tiny swimbaits


The BBZ-1 Baby Shad is good for targeting bass when there are a lot of baitfish in the water and with so many patterns available it is pretty easy to match the hatch. This bait is effective for largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass and can also be employed for targeting rainbow trout with either a straight retrieve or trolled. The Baby Shad may seem expensive at $13.49 each but considering the build quality and attention to detail the price is considered reasonable. The big challenge with miniaturizing lures is preserving action, durability, and detail. In the case of the Baby Shad the company hits the mark in all three of these categories.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

SPRO BBZ-1 Baby Shad Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Though small in size the Baby Shad exhibits a quality construction complete with the details found in the company's larger BBZ-1 lures 9
Performance This swimbait is great for matching the hatch when there are a lot of baitfish in the water. Unlike large swimbaits that naturally cull out small fish anglers will catch everything from dinks to lunkers with this bait 8.5
Price At $13.49 this small bait is not cheap but is reasonably priced when you consider the attention to detail 7
Features The main feature... this bait is tiny. The lure also features excellent patterns to choose from and what SPRO lure would be complete without a Gamakatsu hook? 8
Design (Ergonomics) Not the easiest swimbait to fish with heavier gear and unlike larger swimbaits a finesse rig or even a spinning outfit are preferred to properly cast this small bait 7
Application The Baby Shad is good for both largemouth and smallmouth and can even be used to target schoolie stripers or trout. We found the lure best for shallow and clearer water conditions but the flashier patterns can be used effectively in more stained water 8

Total Score

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

+ BBZ-1 design in a smaller package - Catches a lot of small fish too
+ Great bait when there is visible baitfish in the water - Not good with heavier rods or heavier line, go finesse
+ Strong enough to hold up to big fish  
+ Very detailed  
+ Can be fished effectively with spinning gear  


Conclusion: If you’re looking to build up some confidence on swimbaits it is a good idea to start small, and it just doesn’t get any smaller than the BBZ-1 Baby Shad. This diminutive bait delivers swimbait action in a small package that allows you to finesse bites from both small and big fish. One of the things that I like about this bait is that SPRO didn’t phone it in, the attention to detail is just as impressive as what is exhibited on the company’s larger baits. Just looking at the detailed gill pattern or the semi-translucent tail is enough to bring a smile to any angler. Bill has created a worthy addition to the BBZ-1 family, and while this bait can be described as “cute” this tiny bait is more than capable of taking on big fish.


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