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Lure Review

SPRO Chug Minnow, a harmonious blend of a popper and a spook...generates good top water action

Date: 3/20/02
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: SPRO
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.58

Introduction: SPRO combines the elements of a popper and a spook to create a new top water lure that darts across the surface from side to side while spitting water, and entices bass from the depths below.

SPRO Chug Minnow 35 Specifications

Type Modified Popper
Depth Top water
Size 3 1/2 inches.
Rattle Yes
Colors/Patterns 8+ colors available
Weight 3/8 oz.
Hooks Gamakatsu
MSRP $9.99

Impressions: When I first set eyes on the new SPRO Chug Minnow 35 I found myself immediately admiring the level of detail in the lures finish and quality of construction. Since SPRO began producing lures they have become well known for producing some of the most high quality products in terms of design and construction. With close examination of the Chug Minnow you will understand why...simply put, SPRO spares no expense and uses only the best components in their products.

The Chug Minnow 35 comes in a variety of colors, all with a thick solid clear coat for protection. Colors mimic young fish species like baby bass, shad, and perch.

The Construction:
Innovation is a characteristic that you will find in this years lineup of SPRO products, and the Chug Minnow is no exception. Rather then just introduce a traditional popper design with new colors SPRO creates a lure that has a movement and sound unseen before. SPRO accomplishes this with a unique shaped head quite unlike the standard concave wide mouthed popper. The Chug Minnow features a open ported head that affects movement by channeling water to the side of its head behind lifelike gills while spitting water. To ensure solid hook-sets the Chug Minnow utilizes extra sharp Gamakatsu treble hooks. The Chug Minnow is coated with a thick protective gel coat and has a pair of bulging holographic eyes. To top it off SPRO includes rubber hook protectors that shield the hooks from scratching the lure, tangling other cranks in your box, or accidentally hooking anglers.


The Chug Minnow comes with rubber hook protectors that work well

To completely test the Chug Minnow we tested the lure in various conditions over a 15 day period on 2 lakes, both when the top water bite was on and off. We also compared the Chug Minnow in terms of action and feel to traditional poppers.


The Chug Minnow's most unique feature is it's head design which is able to create a spitting action while moving water along the side of the lure behind lifelike gills


The Initial Cast: The Chug Minnow casts nicely thanks to a complete weight of 3/8oz. The line is tied directly in the mouth of the Chug Minnow and immediately after the cast the Chug Minnow always rights itself and is ready to be retrieved. Interestingly when the Chug Minnow is at rest in the water it doesn't lie flat like other poppers but rather stands at a 30 degree angle dangling both hooks downward.

At rest the Chug Minnow stands at a 30 degree angle and with a slight jerk the mouth slams the water surface in a forward-downward action

The Sound: In our test we cast and retrieved the Chug Minnow at varying bursts of speeds then did the same with traditional poppers. We all have heard the "pop-pop" of a traditional popper as it surges forward. The Chug Minnow makes a completely new noise that sounds more like a "swish-swish," as it is pulled forward. In addition this is combined with a quick rattle from a bead inside the Chug's body. While we found the traditional poppers to be louder, the Chug Minnow definitely makes a more realistic sound, similar to panicking baitfish breaking the surface.


Doing our best to capture a strike on camera, this largemouth comes up and behind the Chug Minnow to snatch it up as it is momentarily resting between retrieves

The Retrieve: Pulled in short bursts and at varying speeds the Chug Minnow does a much better job of imitating realistic fish movement then traditional poppers. It darts back and forth and spits water forward and along both sides of its body. The result is a realistic impression of a struggling baitfish. What attracts the bass is a combination of the realistic sound, movement, and cornucopia of activity on the surface. As the Chug minnow is retrieved it displaces and stirs up more water then traditional poppers. Bass are often drawn to discreet splashes, and the Chug Minnow does a good job of making soft splashes and ripples on the water's surface. Also unlike poppers that surge forward and seem to rest after the initial "pop" the Chug Minnow can be drawn for extended distances similar to a buzzbait running across the surface, then stopped to rest.


The Gamakatsu hooks are extremely sharp, making almost every hit a successful catch


The Rundown: We found the best time to fish the Chug Minnow was in warm weather, when fish are active near the surface. When the top water bite was off the Chug Minnow had the same success as a traditional popper...almost none. But when the top water bite was on the Chug Minnow had noticeably better success then our traditional poppers at drawing strikes (about 20% more). This may be because the Chug Minnow is new, different, and makes a sound bass just haven't encountered before. In addition the more realistic design of the Chug Minnow may appeal to bass.


We found that almost all strikes on the Chug Minnow occurred when the lure was at rest between retrieves. Rarely would a bass strike the lure as it was being pulled forward. Most likely the Chug Minnow draws the attention of the bass with its unique spitting action and becomes an easy target to the bass once stationary. The less aggressive the bass, the longer we recommend allowing the Chug Minnow to rest between retrieves. Overall we got a good amount of action on the Chug Minnow, and thanks to the extra sharp Gamakatsu hooks, every time the lure was hit the fish made it into the boat.



SPRO Chug Minnow 35 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good construction, and good choice of high quality hooks 9
Performance The Chug Minnow performs well and was a bit more productive then traditional poppers 8
Price A premium price for a lure, but you are definitely getting a unique product packed with high quality components 7
Features Feature rich as a top water lures comes. Innovative design and handling of a proven lure makes the Chug Minnow appealing to wary bass 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) A unique design that works. the inclusion of hook protectors is a bonus that actually does add value to the Chug Minnow as it is virtually problem free when tossed in a busy tackle box 9
Application When the top water bite is on the Chug Minnow works well. this lure is good for freshwater and brackish water 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great new design L Price
J Gamakatsu hooks!  
J Spitting action  
J New sound  
J Hook protectors work  

Conclusion: While the Chug Minnow isn't the cheapest top water lure, it is definitely one of the most new and exciting twists on proven poppers. Watching a top water lure get inhaled by a charging bass is one of the most heart stopping sights to bass fisherman, and the SPRO Chug Minnow is able to achieve a great deal of action with a combination of unique movement and sound thanks to a complete rethinking of traditional popper design. The Chug Minnow works well when the top water bite is on, and thanks to top notch materials like Gamakatsu hooks almost every strike is a fish on. The Chug Minnow is a pleasure to fish, and has effectively blended the best of both poppers and spooks to imitate baitfish, and draw more top water hits.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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