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Swimbait Review

 


Smelly Rat - It's not Spro's Fault Their Rat 50 Stanks

 

Date: 6/7/21
Tackle Type: Lure
Manufacturer: Spro
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.0 + BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction:
If there's one space a custom, hand built, garage bait cannot compete in, it's in the area of accessibility. A bait, no matter how effective, is really no use to an angler if said bait is not available for purchase, period. Many anglers, and especially those who enjoy tossing big baits, turn their collective backs on baits that are easily accessible and mass produced. Yet, these same baits make it possible for countless others to experience the bite, and often, that bite of a lifetime simply because it was available to be tied to the end of someone's line. In 2014, the big, topwater rat bait became more accessible to the masses with the introduction of Spro's contender to the game. Here's our Rat Rumble look into the Spro Rat 50.

 

Spro Rat 50 Specifications

Type Waking &Crankdown
Length 9 7/8"
Weight 2.3oz
Depth 0 - 2ft
Material Hard Plastic
No. Pieces 2
Joint Style V-Cut with pin & screw eye joint
Bill Angle 70d
Variants Available in three additional sizes: 25 = 5" ; 30 = 6.35" ; 40 = 7.5"
Hooks 2x #1 (Gamakatsu)
MSRP $30.99

 


Introducing Spro's Rat 50 wake bait

 

Impressions & Craftsmanship: Spro's Rat 50 is a two-piece bait measuring just a hair under ten inches from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. It's available in four sizes, but for the purposes of this review, we're only concerned with the largest. While it can be taken for granted on a mass produced bait because the process is "so easy," detailing on the Rat 50 is very good with everything from the hair follicle dots on the bait's nose to the little feet along the body articulated in fine fashion.


Detailing on this bait is excellent, right down to the hair follicle marks on the nose

As with all Spro baits, the Rat 50 is outfitted with quality, Gamakatsu hooks, and what I found most intriguing about this bait is the presence of a knocker in the rear cavity. Grasping the bait in one hand with the hooks secured against the body and shaking it around, you can hear and feel a bearing in the back knocking from side to side. It's the type of sound that inspires confidence in a topwater bait.


The bait's ears are incredibly realistic

Ready to Rumble: As testing for our Rat Rumble progressed through the year, my combo of choice to throw these waking rodents focused in on two candidates. With so many rats to fish, and just two combos dedicated to the purpose at hand during each trip, I separated the baits into two piles and assigned each pile to a combo. Spro's Rat 50 was assigned to the combo consisting of my Evergreen International Combat Stick RCSC-78XH Wakebait paired with the 200 sized variant of my 2020/21 Shimano Conquest DC.


The feet are entirely unnecessary details, but fun nonetheless

Early in the year, I was also testing a few different fishing line strategies, but by the time Spro Rat 50's turn came up, I had pretty much settled on using Seaguar's 50lb Threadlock Hollow braid with a top shot of their Gold Label Fluorocarbon Leader in 25lb. I was going back and forth between fluorocarbon and nylon monofilament with my choice in the latter being Sunline's saltwater Saltimate Nylon Leader Material in 30lb, but settled on fluorocarbon for surer hooksets.


On splashdown, the Spro Rat 50 sits perfectly level on the surface

Dexterity: On splashdown, the Spro Rat 50 floats perfectly on top of the water with half of its body beneath the surface, and the other half exposed. The tip of the bait's nose, its eyes, and ears all sit above the water line but the stock tail actually curls down. I'd have thought the hard, segmented plastic tails float, but I guess not. Whether it makes a difference or not, I'm not actually sure, but I like the idea of a rat tail that floats.


Range of motion at the joint isn't huge, but it gets the job done

Tail issues aside, don't be too hasty to begin your retrieve with this bait after splashdown. Maybe a bass is lurking beneath the surface, just staring at the bait, waiting it to make the first move. Or maybe you want to call to a nearby bass's attention that the bait is there. If you twitch your rod tip before beginning your retrieve, or pause and twitch at any point, the Spro Rat 50 will walk back and forth just like a topwater cigar bait. In fact, it does this so easily, you'd swear the diving bill fell off.


Joint style is pin & screw eye

Yet, the moment you begin a steady retrieve, the bait will snake its way back to you leaving an easily followed wake in its path. Note the tail does follow suit once you begin your retrieve, snaking at the surface behind the bait in a very realistic swimming motion. Back to that swim, if you twitch that tip of your rod again, but this time, continue your retrieve, the Spro Rat 50 will crank down up to a foot or two depending on how aggressive you are with your retrieve. This $30.99 bait does it all!


With a diving bill like that, I'd have thought this bait would be difficult to walk, but it isn't

Next: Drawing power, the stank factor...

 

   

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