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Lure Review

Jackall’s Gantarel Effectively Mimics Bluegill and Panfish


Date: 11/11/15
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Jackall
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.81 - EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction: Ever since Shimano and Jackall partnered together we have seen a flurry of new introductions from the team of products that are designed with the refinement and quality that Jackall is known for, but also created specifically to address the applications and fishing techniques preferred by domestic anglers. Swimbaits definitely fall in this category and the newest offering from the brand is the Gantarel hard bodied bluegill. This plastic bait is as feature-rich as swimbaits come and is designed to be fished a variety of different ways in any body of water where bluegill or other similarly profiled sunfish are preyed upon.


Jackall Gantarel Specifications

Type Swimbait
Length 6-1/2 inches
Weight 2-1/2 ounces
Material Plastic
Sections Three (Two Joints)
Patterns 8
MSRP $36.99

Impressions and Quality: While officially billed as a 2015 Bassmaster Classic release we got our first look at the Jackall Gantarel a few weeks earlier at La Perla Ranch in Texas where Shimano unveiled the bait to a group of outdoor journalists. My first impressions of the bait were very positive and I was very impressed with the detailed finishes on the baits. The patterns are very lifelike and there are four different bluegill patterns for anglers to select from as well as a shad, carp, golden shiner, and baby bass design.

The Jackall Gantarel features a great profile and extremely realistic finishes (Ghost Gill pattern shown)

The Gantarel is a mid-sized swimbait at 6 ¼” in length and yet it doesn’t weigh all that much at only 2.5 ounces. Besides the slick looking patterns the other things that immediately will stand out to anglers are the protruding fins and dressed hooks. There are other bluegill style swimbaits on the market and many of them have that custom made look and feel. The Jackall Gantarel on the other hand, like so many other Jackall baits, is an exercise in precision and consistency.

The Gantarel is available in translucent and opaque finishes

Quality Ratings for Gantarel

Finish (1-5)
Detailing (1-5)
Hardware (1-5)
Craftsmanship (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Real World Tests: Unlike other baits that make it through our lab process before hitting the water I fished the Gantarel minutes after seeing it for the very first time in Texas. I was able to speak to the Shimano product managers during the two day event to learn more about the bait. When I returned home we received a sample bait in every pattern from Ariel Biley, Manager at Jackall, and was able to put the Gantarel through all the paces on our home water of Clear Lake and the Dirty D.

Does your favorite lake have resident bass and sunfish? The Gantarel is great for matching the hatch

Casting: The Jackall Gantarel doesn’t look like a very large bait but it weighs in at 2.5oz. so it helps to have a rod that has some backbone to effectively cast and work this bait. Lighter swimbait rods rated up to 3-4oz. are ideal but I found heavy rated casting rods and flipping sticks could also handle this bait reasonably well. Unlike many other 6 inch plus swimbaits the Gantarel will not do a number on your casting arm and shoulder, and can be fished all day with relative ease.

The Gantarel can be fished with lighter swimbait rods with ease

Performance: While most swimbaits are simply cast and retrieved through the strike zone the Gantarel can be fished an entirely different way as well. The bait features a second line tie under the chin that allows anglers to add a dropper weight for slow sinking presentations. This allows the bait to be retrieved slowly at much lower and exacting depths, or even fished suspended in place.

The triple sectioned bait features 3D fins

The ability to fish the Gantarel in a vertical configuration broadens the range of capability and applications that the Gantarel can address. When I was fishing the bait at Clear Lake I was retrieving through clear shallow water when I saw a nice fish dart out at the bait only to turn around. After two more retrieves I could see her turn to look at the bait but she clearly wasn’t going to commit. It turned out that the fish was pretty locked on a bed and no matter what we tried with conventional retrieves she wasn’t going to bite.

The hooks are on swivels to help keep fish pinned

After ten more minutes we knew that if we were to throw in a plastic we could get the fish to bite, but we decided to mix it up a little but by utilizing the second line tie under the chin on the Gantarel by adding a dropper weight. Rigged in this configuration the Gantarel is able to fished in a vertical manner, with the bait basically acting as a big drop shot.

A second line tie enables anglers to add a dropper weight to fish the Gantarel deeper

I was able to position the Gantarel right on top of the nest and by jigging the rod the Gantarel looked like a bluegill literally hovering and pecking at the center of the nest. It didn’t take more than thirty seconds for the fish to have seen enough, and she hammered the Gantarel, hooking herself in the process.

The Gantarel's main line tie also has a swivel to minimize line twists

While the vertical presentation is a nice option I still found during tests that I fished the Gantarel as a traditional swimbait around 90% of the time. During normal retrieve speeds the bait dives down to around 2.5 to 3 feet and delivers a smooth S-pattern swimming motion. If you work the rod tip with a sharp action you can get the lure to swing to the side aggressively, and with just the right amount of pop the Gantarel will turn nearly 180 degrees. The lure performs best in clearer water but I was able to draw strikes in stained water as well. Though designed for ripping green lips this bait also proved to be a decent lure for targeting striped bass, and the lure’s construction was able to stand up to the 20-25 inch schoolie stripers we caught during this test.

Performance Ratings for Gantarel

Castability (1-5)
Ease of Actuation(1-5)
Quality of Movement (1-5)
Position at Rest (1-5)
Durability (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

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