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An Affordable Alternative For Those Not Quite "Sold" On the Price of The Swimbait Craze: The Spro BBZ-1 (continued)

Stop & Go: Vary your retrieve, and the real fun begins. As with the Rago Baby Tool, if you pause your retrieve, and give the bait some slack line, it will turn around as if to stare down any would be pursuers. Give the tip of your rod a quick jerk, and the BBZ-1 dashes away as if in panic mode. Pause and feed the bait some line in freespool, and you re-initiate its death spiral descent into the depths. We're finding half the fun with swimbait fishing is seeing how well you can make the bait dance, and the BBZ-1 performs some interesting dances!


The BBZ-1 comes equipped with heavy duty Gamakatsu hooks. This bait was also outfitted with some Ultimate LureSaver split rings to ensure we did not lose it before our evaluation were complete

If there is one criticism of this bait, it is the rather wide and gaping joints


Durability: Through approximately three months of fishing, our Spro BBZ-1's showed more wear and tear than we expected out of a hard bodied swimbait. The finish of my Matte Trout version already shows good wear at the joints, and in the middle of re-organizing my baits, I found my silver colored BBZ-1 was missing a fin. I'm not quite sure where this happened since the first thing I did before fishing any of these baits was to pull at all the soft plastic appendages to make sure they were glued properly. Zander had a similar experience on a bait he purchased two months after mine. Otherwise, the stock Gamakatsu hooks and other hardware have held up fine. We also haven't had any problems with the soft tails of these baits though we're sure they'll need to be replaced at some point.


A close-up look at the joint construction of our BBZ-1

Each bait is labeled for easy reference


Application: As with most large swimbaits of this type, the Spro BBZ-1 comes in three different models: a floating model for surface presentations; a slow sink for shallow to mid depth conditions; and a fast sink model for when the fish are holding deep. Thanks to its relatively low price, it's quite easy to purchase one of each model to cover the entire water column but we only chose one, the slow sink model, as we felt it would prove the most versatile of the bunch.


The BBZ-1 rests on the bottom with a head down angle to mimic a feeding trout

Another look at the BBZ-1 at rest in the bottom of our test tank

Replacement Parts: Judging from our results, if you fish the BBZ-1 for any length of time, you will probably need a set or two of replacement fins. Despite their seemingly solid connection out of the box, we had two baits whose fins fell off for no apparent reason. These parts should be available readily from Spro, but two messages submitted within a week of one another to the company through their website contact form proved fruitless. Not the type of support we expected from a company like Spro. Our suggestion, if you find yourself in need of replacement parts, is to check with your local tackle shops to see if they can hunt them down for you.



Spro BBZ-1 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A fairly well constructed bait though the durability of its finish and fins is questionable 7
Performance We liked the knocker in the tail section but felt the swimming motion at medium to high speeds could use a little tuning 8
Price No arguments here, perhaps the most affordable bait in its class 8.5
Features The soft fins are an interesting feature along with the knocker in back 9
Design (Ergonomics) An already familiar design with nice finish options 8.5
Application Three different models to cover the entire water column 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Relatively Affordable L The soft fins need a better attachment method
J The Matte Trout finish is unique L Finish could be more durable
J We liked the knocker in back L Availability of replacement parts is questionable since Spro did not return our inquiries
J Soft fins make sense  

Another successful swimbait fish.. this is addicting!


Conclusion: So the results? No double digit lunker bass on the Spro BBZ-1, but a few fish to about five pounds including the one pictured above. As for the comparisons to the Rago Baby Tool, there's no denying the similarities are there, but they are different enough in the way they perform in the water and the way they hold up over time to consider them different baits. It's almost like comparing a factory built fishing rod to a custom built stick. Both have their place and benefits, and everyone will have different reasons for making their decision when choosing between the two. Though certainly no where near as refined as the Baby Tool, the benefit of the BBZ-1 is for those who want to sample the swimbait market, but aren't quite ready for the investment of the hand carved, hand built, and hand painted works of art the likes of Rago and a few others are still producing. While I would never consider the BBZ-1 a replacement for my Rago Baby Tool, I do appreciate not having to worry, too much over losing or even breaking it. Its durability is questionable, but the bait catches fish, and that's what it's all about!











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