Gan Craft's Jointed Claw Zepro : A Surface Glide with the Little Kicks
Total Score: 7.53 -
Despite its effectiveness, Gan Craft's Jointed Claw 178 is not an often discussed bait option in swimbait circles. At one time, it was the subject of many "don't tell anyone but..." discussions as a poorly kept secret. Those who have fished the bait know and most are steadfast fans, but for whatever reason, it has remained perched on that imaginary fence of must have baits in the arsenal. Perhaps its taken for granted because it's so easily available, or maybe it's the price point; too expensive for a novice to take a chance, too inexpensive for the serious minded swimbait angler to be bothered.
In 2015, Gan Craft introduced a variant to the 178.
This is the Zepro
Whatever the case, the Jointed Claw has been a favorite of mine for nearly a decade. In 2015, Gan Craft introduced a variant to the 178. It swims on a slightly upward trajectory versus the downward trajectory of the original making it ideal in shallow water situations where the 178 Type F might eventually get hung up. Here's our look at Gan Craft's Jointed Claw Zepro 178.
Gan Craft Jointed Claw Zepro 178
||1.9oz : 55g
||#1 (front) & #2 (back)
The Zepro (bottom) is a tad shorter, and a hair more narrow than
the standard Jointed Claw 178 (top)
At first glance, the Zepro and original 178 appear identical. Closer inspection reveals the Zepro is just a hair shorter (6.75" for the Zepro vs 7" for the original 178) and a hair more narrow (21mm vs 23mm respectively). Otherwise, the baits share the same removable tail, hook sizes, line tie configuration, etc.. Were it not for the clear labeling on the underside of the bait, it'd be easy to mistaken these baits for one another in the bait box.
An even closer look reveals the Zepro (right) has a more
pronounced chin than the standard 178 (left)
Real World Tests: Label me superstitious, but ever since my breakthrough with Megabass's iSlide 262T, I've been very mindful of the combos I choose to throw certain baits. In an effort to leverage as much good karma as possible slinging the Jointed Claw Zepro 178, I matched it up with my Gan Craft Killers Dead Sword paired with a 2016 Shimano Antares DC spooled with PowerPro Hollow Ace (40lb) and a top shot of Sunline Super Natural (30lb).
Rigged and ready to go on board my Gan Craft Dead Sword
The Zepro Way: Descriptions of the Jointed Claw Zepro 178 would lead you to believe it's a waking bait, but really, it's more. Gan Craft engineered this bait with a neutral buoyancy. How that's different from suspending or the mysterious "slow float," isn't clear to me because when I drop the Zepro in the water, it sinks. Slowly, but it sinks. Since its action is described as waking, I'd expect it to float or at the very least, sit just under the surface.
I was surprised by the fact, success with this bait was almost
Conversely, the Jointed Claw 178F really does float. But when you begin your retrieve, the "floating" Jointed Claw goes subsurface only to slowly rise when you stop your retrieve. When you begin your retrieve with the Zepro, its trajectory is upwards, towards the surface. When you stop your retrieve, it sinks once again. When the Zepro is under the surface it slowly sinking, it does so with its nose pointed up, so when you twitch the tip of your rod or turn the handle on the reel, the bait's first move in the water column is up.
Gan Craft includes a snap with all their Jointed Claw baits. I
usually substitute with my own, but in this case, I used theirs
Next: Bringing the Gancraft Zepro to life...