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Lure Review

 


Strike King's Four Wheel Drive : the KVD Squarebill Crank

 

Date: 9/17/19
Tackle Type: Lure
Manufacturer: Strike King
Reviewer: Cal






Total Score: 8.00 - GREAT

Introduction:
When the fish are up shallow and in an active mood, there's one bait that's universally loved by bass fisherman - the squarebill. There's just something about the ability to throw these little 4x4s of the crankbait world up close to shore and driving them through the most rugged of roads all in the hopes of getting annihilated by a hungry bass. Sounds a little sadistic when thought of in those terms really. Today, we take a look at a family of square bills named after one of the preeminent crankbait fisherman in the world. Here's our look at Strike King's KVD HC Square Bill Crankbait.

 

Strike King KVD Square Bill Crank Specifications

Type Shallow Crank
Length 2" - 4.5"
Weight 1/4 - 1 1/8 oz
Depth 2 - 7 feet depending on model
Material Plastic
Colors 19
Hooks unspecified
MSRP $5.99 - $12.99

 


Strike King's KVD Square Bill comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors

 

Impressions: Strike King's KVD Square Bill comes in a variety of sizes so you can match size profiles for what works best in your local waters. Running depths vary a little by size, but not by a lot. KVD won the 2011 Bassmaster Classic throwing both the 1.5 and 2.5, both of which are rated with running depths of three to six feet (3-6ft). The bait also comes in two magnum sizes, the largest of which is four and a half inches (4.5") and one and one eighth ounce (1 1/8oz) in weight.


Some of the baits are made with this kind of this realistic patter reminiscent of the old Rebel Lures Naturelure series

Real World Tests: Not really knowing where to start, I acquired a bunch of these cranks in various sizes so I could experiment with each. I quickly narrowed down my preference to the 2.5 as the size (2.75") and weight (5/8oz) as being the closes to what I usually throw in our local waters. They all feel like they have their time and place really, but the 2.5 is definitely better in tune with my confidence.


Shaw Grigsby prefers the Magnum sizes when hunting for that kicker

Castability: All of the KVD Square Bill Cranks are silent runners so there are no moving parts inside to aid with casting the bait. Nevertheless, these baits cast well and are easy to fire off on targeted casts and about average when casting for distance. There are really no issues with casting this bait.


He managed just that on Clear Lake, CA recently too!

Dive Time: Click your reel over to begin your retrieve and the KVD Square Bill gets right to work diving down. I fished the 2.5 mostly on 12lb Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon so it only got down to maybe four or five feet on my casts. Running depth for this bait is rated to six feet. A depth I'm sure is easily achieved if using eight or ten pound test line.


The bait's bill is literally a square

Hooks for the Strike King KVD Square Bill aren't specified which surprises me. I'd have thought a KVD hard bait would come equipped with Mustad KVD hooks and if so, the co-branding would be quite obvious. I can say the hooks are short shank similar to the KVD Mustads but other than that, I am not sure. The hooks do feature a round bend rather than the kind of wide gap profile of the KVD Triple Grip trebles, but of course, there are KVD Round Bend trebles too.


Hooks are not named, but they do the job

Regardless of the actual hook brand, after a couple of those telltale deflections and you receive that strike, the stock trebles do a good job of sticking the fish and holding on until you get to the boat. I didn't have any issues with hook stickiness or durability, and yes, these baits bounce off rocks, stumps, wood, all very well. I did manage to get hung up a couple of times in a rock pile with some gnarly holes and edges, but nothing a little slack and snap of the line couldn't resolve.


Top view of the bait showing how it bulges out on the sides then tapers to the back in typical crankbait fashion

Design/Ergonomics: While the nineteen (19) available colors are easy enough to sort through and make selections, it's a little dizzying when combined with the size options for this bait. Of course, what bass angler doesn't like options and it's good to know you can really dial in size and depth of this bait that works best for you at any particular time of year on any particular body of water.


This bait may be available in a modest 19 different colors, but it's tough for me to get past red craw patterns when throwing square bill cranks

Price & Application: The standard sizes of this bait (1.0, 1.5, 2.5) are all priced the same at $5.99 per bait. It's not until you move to the Magnum sizes, 4.0 & 8.0, that the prices jump up to $9.99 & $12.99 per bait respectively. The standard sizes are a particularly good value while the Magnums are more average in price given they are not true magnums. The 4.0's body measures just three inches (3") while the 8.0's body measures three and a half (3.5").


Strike King's KVD Square Bill Magnum 8.0 (top) versus Lucky Craft's SKT Magnum MR (bottom)

By comparison, Lucky Craft's SKT Magnum 110MR's body measures four and one eighth inches (4 1/8"), 6th Sense's Cloud 9 Magnum Squarebill's body measures an even four inches (4") and even Strike King's own 10XD, deep diving crank's body is larger at three and three quarters of an inch (3.75") long.

Ratings:

Strike King KVD Square Bill Crank Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A nice little crankbait but lacks detailing of more premium brands 8
Performance Easy to cast and work through underwater obstacles 9
Price The standard size is a really good value 8
Features Silent running, and decent stock hooks 7
Design (Ergonomics) Good choices both in size and color 8
Application An excellent choice for active fish in skinny water 8

Total Score

8.00
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
+ Nicely priced - Magnum sizes aren't true magnums
+ Good color and size options - No KVD hooks on a KVD bait?
+ A true 4x4 crank made for cover  


Strike King's KVD Square Bill is an excellent choice in pursuit of shallow water bass

Conclusion: One of the most thrilling ways to catch a bass is throwing a square bill crankbait up shallow, bouncing it off whatever is on the bottom and feeling a hungry fish slam the bait, then pull your rod sideways. Strike King's KVD Square Bill is an excellent choice in pursuit of these shallow water bass. What I like about these baits is they're available in a bunch of different sizes and colors and it won't break your tackle budget (if you have one) to stock up on the colors and sizes you want. Notice I said "want" instead of "need" because you're going to want a bunch more than you probably actually need, but don't worry, we won't tell.

 

Looking for Strike King KVD Square Bill Cranks? Try TackleWarehouse:

KVD HC Square Bill : KVD Magnum Square Bill


   

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