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Lure Review

Good things come in small packages : Specialty Tackle USA's Flagship Bait, the Junior-D

Date: 8/02/05
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Specialty Tackle USA
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.75

Introduction: In November of 2004, we introduced you to Specialty Tackle USA's "Big Bite," a large bodied, shallow crankbait, and noted how this US vendor has been working with Japanese lure manufacturing company Zenith Lures to bring to the US, import quality lures branded in their own Specialty Tackle name. The flagship of this line is the Junior-D, a small bodied, deep running crankbait that, until now, was a well guarded secret amongst tournament pro's and a few, well informed, recreational anglers.

Specialty Tackle Junior-D Specifications

Type Crankbait
Depth 10-12 ft
Class Floating, Deep Crank
Size 2" (1/3 oz)
Colors/Patterns Approximately 21 different colors
Hook Sizes 6
MSRP $15.50


Impressions: Upon first inspection the Specialty Tackle Z-Series Junior-D looks pretty much like any run of the mill, small crankbait you might come across in the tackle store shelves. Its unimposing 2" body does not call to it much attention and the finishes on the lure, though very detailed at close inspection, are not overwhelming at first glance. What's hidden inside this little gem is the same active ballast system that makes the Big Bite such an effective bait. Only in the case of the Junior-D, this far casting, deep thumping, tight wobbling action is presented in a pocket-sized profile that fish can't seem to resist.

Some of the subtle, well crafted colors of Specialty Tackle's Junior-D

Field Tests: We tied our Junior-D baits to the end of 12lb Yozuri Hybrid, spooled on a Shimano Conquest 51, mounted on a one-piece Kistler Helium 7'6" medium action rod and took to our local bass waters for several months of testing.

One of our Junior-D baits mounted on a Kistler Helium He76MC. Note the reinforced diving bill for added durability.

Casting: Like its larger bodied brother the Big Bite, the Junior-D casts wonderfully thanks to the large, single lead bearing that constitutes the internal ballast system. With the aid of this bearing, that shifts the center of gravity of this lure to the tail end during casts, our Junior-D easily sailed beyond our intended target time and time again. This easy casting performance coupled with its small profile makes the Junior-D a superb search bait.

The Junior D's easy casting performance can be attributed to a large, single lead bearing that shifts during cast and retrieval

Retrieving: The Junior-D dives down immediately once you start your retrieve. Its tight wobbling action can be felt through your rod as it swims. Though not as weedless as the square billed Big Bite, we found the Junior-D had a similar feel to it as it came through the water. When you shake it in your hand this feeling is reinforced as the large, single bearing gives off a sound that is quite unique among baits this size. Where most small cranks that have sound producing capabilities possess, inside, many smaller sized bearings and beads, the Junior-D's single bearing gives off a more ominous thumping sound that just adds to the overall vibration of the lure.

Another photograph showing the large bearing shifted to the back of the lure

Of the three Junior-D's we acquired for testing, only one needed some fine tuning adjustments to run true and these were very minor adjustments. Our guess is the d-ring may have been nudged during packaging, but once corrected we had no further issues.



After several months of use, this lure shows little sign of wear


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