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Lure Review

Get Real, Koppers Live-Target Smallmouth Cranks


Date: 12/21/09
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Koppers
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.06 - GREAT

When it comes to realistic looking hardbaits Koppers ranks high on the short list. With an incredible attention to detail the company has expanded their offerings beyond crawfish and shad to both smallmouth and largemouth cranks. We study the smallmouth crankbaits which were introduced early this year, and see just how well this lifelike bait can deceive predators.

Koppers Smallmouth Bass Large Deep Dive (SMB82D) Specifications

Type Crankbait
Class Moderate diving crank
Material Plastic
Colors/Patterns 2
Weight 1/2oz
Size 3 1/4"
Diving Depth 6'-5'
MSRP $11.49


Koppers introduces smallmouth bass crankbaits, the company has since introduced largemouth bass versions as well

Mouse over the TackleTour 3DVR window to view the product in three dimensional view

Impressions: Most anglers will take a crankbait out of the package it came in and start fishing it right away without so much as a second thought. The Koppers Live Target Smallmouth Bass is so finely detailed that it is hard not to take a moment to rotate the lure in hand to examine all the infinitesimal details. Koppers has built up a reputation for designing and manufacturing some of the most realistic looking hardbaits on the market and the company has essentially gone from just three lures to a complete spectrum of offerings. What ties all of these lures together? It is the fact that these are among the most realistic looking hardbaits that both anglers and fish have ever seen.


There are two finishes, the natural matte (top) and the metallic (bottom)


Koppers Live Target lures employ a combination of strike triggering elements to draw fish, and are designed to be extremely realistic to help anglers “match the hatch.” This design philosophy is based on studying the behavioral patterns of predatory fish very closely, something Grant Koppers personally engages in. Koppers explores why some gamefish strike baits with ferocity while others simply trail it with curiosity. They state “It’s all about feeding patterns and behaviors. When gamefish are not aggressively feeding, triggering strikes can be more challenging. Since the predator is approaching the target slowly, it has the opportunity to study the subject and can become wary of man-made characteristics.” The Live Target lures feature a lifelike appearance and motion that matches the gamefish forage base.


The lure is finished with translucent gloss effects to give it a more lifelike appearance


The Year of the Crank just wouldn’t be complete without a look at one of the company’s baits, and we turn now our attention to the smallmouth bass. Found in greater numbers in colder weather Smallmouth are commonly found in lakes and rivers throughout Eastern Central North America. Though found in much greater numbers in the East Smallmouth also inhabit lakes and rivers in Oregon and Washington and can even be observed in some parts of the Northern California Delta region here on the West Coast. Even though they are a popular gamefish in their own right, juvenile smallies are often preyed upon by other Bass, Walleye and Pike.


Here we hold the shallow diving version, the deep divers have much longer protruding lips


Real World Tests: To test the Koppers Smallmouth Bass we headed to Lake Berryessa and Clear Lake in Northern California as well as the uppermost region of the California Delta where smallmouth can be found in the river system. Berryessa is home to smallies near the river mouth and spotted and largemouth bass throughout the lake. Because the Koppers are designed for “match the hatch” situations we intentionally targeted areas where we knew smallmouth and largemouth commonly come into contact with one another in the first portion of our field tests and in bodies of water that is totally devoid of smallmouth in the latter part of the tests.


Notice how the dark lines extend into the fin to give the appearance of a translucent fin, now that's detail!


Casting: Once we stopped examining all the intricate details on the Live Target Smallmouth Bass we finally tied it on our Cumara test rig and started our cast tests. We fished both the 2.75” and 3.25” versions and found the larger version casts slightly farther due to the increased weight. The 2.75” shallow diver weighs 5/16oz. and the deeper version weighs 3/8oz. while both versions of the 3.25” lure weigh in at 1/2oz. We found that we were able to cast the lure in light to moderate wind without issue. This is made easier with an internal weight transfer system that features a metal bead that travels down the lure during the cast. Not only does this system increase overall casting distance but it also helps the bait travel in a more predictable arc for more precise casts.


Red gills are painted into the side and bottom of the lure



Next Section: Time to retrieve and see what happens









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