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Lure Review

Look What's Been Hiding in Our Tackle Box: The Megabass X-80 Trick Darter

Date: 9/10/08
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.83
+ Editor's Choice!


Introduction: Tucked away in the Megabass lineup of lures is a relatively small little minnow bait known as the X-80 Trick Darter. So small is it, by bass standards anyway, that it sat in our review pile relatively unnoticed for the better part of a year. As fate would have it, once this little bait found its way to the top, well, you know how it goes. Here's our story on yet another jerkbait from Megabass.

Megabass X-80 Trick Darter Specifications

Type Jerkbait
Depth 4-8 feet
Class Suspending
Size 3-1/8 inches / 3/8 ounce
Colors/Patterns Approximately 17 different colors
Hook Sizes #6 front and back
MSRP $18.70

Impressions: The Megabass X-80 Trick Darter and it's twin sibling, the Rocket Darter both measure right around three and an eighth inches - a size that is easy to overlook when you're accustomed to tossing jerkbaits that are four inches or more in length, and overlook them we did. Zander had the Rocket Darter in his tackle box for a good six months before I ordered my Trick Darters, and my Trick Darters sat unused for a good three months before an occasion presented itself where I thought to tie one on.


Introducing the Megabass X-80 Trick Darter in Elegy Bone

The Field Tests:
That day came on a late Fall afternoon on Folsom Lake, California. We headed out for a quick trip on the water not really looking for anything other than some action. In the morning of that same day we had a tough time finding the bite and most of what we did find were undersized bass. This time, my buddy and I headed straight for the rip rap structure of the dikes. The water was very clear here and we could see down at least 10 to 15 feet.


A top view reveals a pretty much prototypical minnow type bait

but one that measures in at just barely over 2 inches and three-eighths of an ounce


Keeping in mind what we had found earlier in the day fishing finesse plastics, I decided to change things up this time around. I pulled out my G.Loomis BCR802 GLX baitcaster paired with a supertuned Daiwa Pixy (or as the T3 Crew refer to it, a Pixilla) spooled with 10 pound test Sunline Shooter FC, cut off the finesse worming rig and tied on an X-80 Trick Darter. Not the most ideal setup for this bait, but it was what I had at the time.


A look that says "bite me"

The underside of this particular color is all chartreuse

I cast the Trick Darter out, gave it a couple of jerks, and paused. A lot was going through my mind on that pause as I was quite impressed by the bite this bait had in the water when I tried to jerk it. The resistance it provides really belies its size! I kept a close eye out for my bait in the water to see if could see it. A couple of more jerks and there it was. I paused again. The bait was super still and down at least six feet - maybe eight. It even runs deeper than I thought it would and it suspends perfectly still. Another twitch and off it darted about 3 feet off to the side. Wow.

Small baits tend to attract a lot of undersized fish - the X-80 Trick Darter is no exception to this rule


I quickly reeled the bait back in and made another cast. Twitch, twitch, pause. FISH ON! Of course, it was a dink. Another cast, another couple of twitches, another dink. This is why I resisted using this lure to begin with, but of course, this is what we'd been catching all day anyway, so really there was no great surprise.


The X-80 Trick Darter features the Katsuage outbarb hooks

A peak at the X-80 Trick Darter in Twilight Chartreuse


A few casts later, a few more twitches, another long pause, and fish on again! Oh wait! This one was better! MUCH better! The line started peeling off my Pixilla as my BCR802 doubled over. This could be a monster, but wait, I've felt this battle before. As the fish dove down under the boat I knew what I had. This had to be a nice spotted bass and when it rose to the surface, I just nodded my head. She weighed a good four pounds - a really nice spot, but for a second there, I thought I had set into one of those first fish, big Megabass fish - something akin to a seven pound or greater largemouth. Those spotted bass are really something.


This was another hot color on that very same day on Lake Folsom

Note the two small scars this bait suffered during battle


After we took a quick picture and released our prize for the day, I decided to switch things up yet again to see how the action might be with some other jerkbaits. I tied on a Lucky Craft Bevy Shad, a Megabass Vision 95, and a small O.S.P. jerkbait called the Asura. No luck with any of those baits, so I tied the X-80 Trick Darter out once again, made a couple of twitches, paused and BAM! Another good fish! This one turned out to be a three-pound largemouth! Now we're talking!


A close-up of the biggest scar

A better shot of the X-80 Trick Darter in Twilight Chartreuse

I didn't tie on another bait the rest of the day and ended up with about half a dozen good sized bass. Nothing to top the 4 pound spot, but a few really good two and three pounders to keep things very interesting between dinks. The key, really, was in the pause. This bait is just deadly on the pause and can be kept there for almost an eternity thanks to the way it just hangs there in perfect suspended animation.


For some reason, not quite as mean or challenging as the Elegy Bone


Ratings (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Megabass X-80 Trick Darter Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A solid small to mid-sized jerkbait 8
Performance Crazy on the jerk, deadly on the pause 9
Price A bit costly given its size but reasonable for Megabass! 7
Features Multi-way moving balancer system (Patent Pending), Katsuage Hooks 8
Design (Ergonomics) Designed to mimic a shad more than a minnow, the X-80 TD, has a lot of subtle contours and detailing 7
Application A jerkbait for all seasons 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J A bait that's effective all year long L Small baits attract a lot of small fish
J Very lively darting action L As with many Megabass lures, some colors are harder to find than others
J Pause it, and HOLD ON!  
J Stock hooks are very sharp  


But Twilight Chartreuse got the prize of the day, this nice 4lb spot!


Conclusion: Since those fateful few hours on Lake Folsom, I've thrown the X-80 Trick Darter with continued success. I've yet to top that four pound spot, and since these days I tend to throw 8 inch rather than 8 centimeter baits, it's getting more and more difficult to find time, once again, to fish one of my new found favorites. As for those Rocket Darters in Zander's tackle box? I think they're still buried as I've yet to share my success with the Trick Darter, but I have a sneaking suspicion, after this article is published, that sinking version of this same bait will find a way to float to the surface in more than just one tackle box. For now, the X-80 Trick Darter has earned this editor's "Choice Award!"

Want to try the X80? Check out Tackle Warehouse.











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