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Swimbait Review


Sometimes All You Need is a Pistol. The Illude Pistol Gill Glidebait (continued)


Pistol Whip: The Pistol Gill is a relatively compact gill bait, and much smaller in overall dimensions than the Deps Bullshooter, and yet it feels very solid due to the wooden construction. In terms of realism the Pistol Gill is not an ultra-realistic looking bait, like a Sly Guy Lures for example, but more of an angular wooden style lure like a classic Roman Made Negotiator or South.


Detail-wise it exhibits the same type of fun whimsical design as the Rad Rat, towing the line between a realistic profile and exaggerated artistic features. I find that Illude baits illicit an immediate response from most anglers due to these characteristics, and comments usually range from "that's cute" to "that is sick looking!" It is hard not to look at the down turned eye or worried expression on the Pistol Gill's face and not crack a smile.


Cal was able to procure two Pistol Gills in the aftermarket. This is one of the gill patterns he picked up


The attention to detail on this bait is everything you expect from an Illude offering. The carvings to represent fins and gills are deep and distinct, the line tie is a solid ring, the joints are reinforced, and the tails are interchangeable. The Pistol Gill that I purchased features Lendl's natural gill pattern, which is also the most popular pattern for this particular bait, and is similar to the gill patterns on other Illude and Lunker fighter baits. Some other Pistol Gill patterns expose the grain on the Cedar on the sides, putting the bait's wooden body on full display.


I really like fishing the Pistol Gill with a full bodied swimbait rod like the Megabass Orochi XX Leviathan


Casting the Pistol Gill is pretty easy, and while a robust swimbait rod is preferred for fishing this 3oz. bait, utilizing a lighter swimbait stick is certainly possible. I fished the Pistol Gill with a variety of rods, and eventually found that my two favorite rods for fishing the Pistol were the Megabass Destroyer Mark 48 and Orochi XX Leviathan. The Leviathan is rated from 2-8oz. and features a nice parabolic action that is slightly slower, and made it really easy to really whip the Pistol a good distance. Both of these rods are sensitive enough to feel the tight glide of the bait and put the pressure on fish strike and ensuing battle.


Call whips his Pistol Gill on the Delta. Due to the relatively light weight this bait is not tiring to cast all day


When it comes to swimming movement the Pistol Gill has a compact action with a little side shimmy as it turns into each glide. The action is very smooth, and is much more of a tight and fast glide than the traditional S-pattern action exhibited by many other glidebaits. One of the other things you will notice is that it doesn't knock very hard as the two sections swing back and forth as it swims. The reason that the bait feels so smooth as it swims is due to addition of thin silicon "crash" pads that are affixed with 3M backers. These are the same type of pads that are found on some Roman Made baits, including the Mother, and are designed to alter how far the tail section swings, soften the impact, and protect the swimbait joint.


During the Spring and Summer months the Pistol Gill is absolutely deadly


To observe the effect of these bumpers I removed the crash pads on my bait and found the action change was minimal, but difference in feel was noticeable, and felt the knock was a lot more perceivable on brisk retrieves. Fish didn't seem to react very differently to the bait with or without the pads, but I much preferred the smoother retrieve of the bait with the pads installed, and the extra joint protection that they also afforded. To re-equip my bait I ordered a few extra 2mm Crash Pads direct from Illude which retail for $15.00 per pack.


I found there really wasn't any speed at which fish couldn't catch up and crush the bait and it wouldn't wash out even when burned


Pistol Power: One of the main reasons that Gill swimbaits have become so popular is due to their versatility and effectiveness in many applications. Even when there are not bluegill in the water predatory fish often are eager to key in on this panfish sized snack. The Pistol Gill is only available in one size, and Lendl spent a lot of time considering exactly what size to land on. Ultimately he felt that the 5.5" size was the perfect size, and is somewhat in-between the small and large bluegill baits on the market. The Pistol Gill doesn't immediately look as small as it actually is because it has a relatively tall profile at 56mm, and a wide body that measures 28.5mm. It has a more wide profile than many resin based bluegills due to the wooden construction.


In comparison to the Pistol Gill the brand's Lunker Fighters Switchblade is made of resin and able to be produced with a much slimmer profile


While many swimbait anglers put a premium on wooden swimbaits, myself included, it is important to note that one of the benefits of resin based baits is the ability to deliver durable baits with unique actions with a greater degree of dimensions and thicknesses. For example if you look at the Illude Lunker Fighter Switchblade, this multi-piece bait is able to be produced in a variety of sink rates and stand up to viscous strikes while sporting a much thinner, flatter, body construction.


A look at the narrow head design of the Switchblade. Even though the Switchblade is resin it bears the same instantly recognizable airbrush work as the Pistol

Next Section: Drawing Power and Ratings...









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