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Lure Review

A Different Take on Lipless Technology : The Megabass Vibration-X Ultra

Date: 9/6/06
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.66

Introduction: In a previous article, we shared our thoughts with you on the Lucky Craft LV-500 MAX - a lipless crank that packs a lot of punch. Today, we bring you another intriguing bait from one of Lucky Craft's staunchest competitors - Megabass. Pull up alongside as we share with you, our season long story on the Megabass Vibration-X Ultra.


Megabass Vibration-X Specifications

Type Lipless Crankbait
Depth 12-15 ft
Class Sinking
Size 3" (5/8 oz)
Colors/Patterns Approximately 20 different colors
Hook Sizes #4 front, #6 rear
MSRP ~$22.00

Impressions: Just about every lipless crank out there shares one thing in common - a flattened surface at the top of the head that serves as a plain of resistance when the bait is coming through the water. This bit of resistance is responsible for the tight wobbling or vibrating action of the lipless crank as it is being retrieved. Imagine our curiosity then, when we held our test baits for the first time and noticed a convex surface at the head of these lures.

Introducing the Megabass Vibration-X Ultra lipless crankbait

The subtle differences on this bait do not end there. Looking closely, one notices the body has its own unique touches. The Vibration-X actually has a belly! Not only that, but its gill plates are very pronounced as is its mouth which has a lips resembling that of a carp. The eyes of the Vibration-X, as with all Megabass Lures, protrude from the head in a very life-like manner as well. Not much is lost in the detailing of these lures.

Note the contours in the body of this bait right down to the slight belly


The Field Tests: Off to the California Delta and many of the other bass waters in Northern California we took with our Vibration X tied to 12lb Yozuri Hybrid, spooled on a Shimano Conquest 51, mounted on a G.Loomis MBR843C GLX. We fished this lure from mid-Spring through early Fall and here's what we thought.


Complete test rig for Megabass Vibration-X Field Tests

Rod G.Loomis MBR843C GLX
Reel Shimano Conquest 51
Line 12 lb. Yozuri Hybrid


Detailing on the head of the Vibration-X is exquisite. Everything from the pronounced gill plates to the downward gazing eyes to the fish's nostrils to its carp-like lips.


Presentation: We all know casting with lipless cranks is hardly an issue. In fact, anyone looking to learn how to use a baitcaster should tie on a lipless crank (provided you're on the water!) and cast away! These baits travel like projectiles through the air and the Vibration X is no exception. Where and how we chose to fish this lure, then, might be of more interest. Our primary target, along the California Delta, was the pervasive weeds. We cast and retrieved this bait along the weedlines, through the weed patches, and over, along the top of some of the weed clumps. The Vibration X proved equally effective burning through the water past this structure.


A closeup of the Aka-Tora finish on one of our Vibration-X lures

What took a little practice was pulling this bait over along the top of the weeds and not because the bait isn't capable, but getting it up to the surface after a cast can be a challenge thanks to its rapid rate of descent once it touches the water. To compensate, what we ended up doing was to pitch this lure out on tight line and begin our retrieve the second the bait hit the water. What we were rewarded with, as our bait ticked the top of the weeds was a lot of fish catching action!

Comparing the convex head of our Vibration-X Ultra (upper left) with that of some of the more common lipless cranks on the market today: Lucky Craft LV-500 (upper right); Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap (lower left): Rattlin' Rapala (lower right)


Action: Whether retrieved at a slow pull or rapid burn, our Vibration X lipless cranks demonstrated a very tight wobble typical of other baits in this same classification. What's interesting is, unlike your typical lipless crank, the Vibration X features a natural, rounded head instead of a flat surface. Other baits rely on this area to give them their unique actions - not the Vibration X. Instead, Megabass's lipless crank achieves its tight wobbling action through the subtle curvatures of the baits body and through careful balancing of the internal brass rattles. Thanks to the well balanced nature of this bait, it also sinks in the water column in a very realistic, head down fashion. In fact, many times, after casting the bait in our test pool and letting it sink, we could see the lure standing on the bottom balancing on the bait's would be lips!


Durability on the finish of the Vibration-X is questionable as a few of our baits showed premature wear


Durability: If there's one disappointing factor we found in our Vibration X lures it was in the durability of the finish. A number of our test baits demonstrated premature wear with paint chipping in and around the head. Could this be the result of the more natural shape of this lure's head or a problem with the bonding process during finishing? We sent our baits into Megabass USA for evaluation and they gladly sent us back replacements to re-test. Unfortunately, we encountered similar results.


Another look at the exquisite detailing on the head of the Vibration-X

Effectiveness: Despite the problems encountered with premature wear on our baits, we found the Vibration X to be quite an effective lure in and around any type of weeds. The smaller sized rear treble was effective at reducing hangups while still large enough and free enough to snare those short strikers. In areas of more sparse cover and areas occupied by a lot of rocks, we preferred to make use of other baits like our Lv-500 MAX. The Vibration X just wasn't as effective for us in open water situations.


The Vibration-X features Megabass's exclusive Katsuage hooks with outbarbed trebles

Features: Aside from the plethora of subtle design features already discussed in this intriguing lure, the Vibration X features Megabass's exclusively designed Katsuage treble hooks whose hook points are designed with out-facing barbs. We've yet to conduct an analysis on this particular hook design to discern whether it offers any real advantages or disadvantages to the angler but we certainly appreciate the effort and forward thinking mentality that emanates from the offices of Megabass. These hooks are very sharp and durable.


We barely hooked this feisty bass retrieving our Vibration-X over the top of some weeds in the California Delta.


Megabass Vibration X Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality We found everything, save the finish, to be very good on these lures. The durability of the finish on all of our test lures didn't last all that long once they came in contact with any structure 7
Performance An effective lipless crank, but not effective enough to replace or match our LV-500 MAX 7.5
Price As with everything Megabass... steep price. Its harder to command a premium when there are a lot of good lipless cranks out there 6.5
Features Realistic contours and detailing, quality, sharp hooks, well balanced on descent 8
Design (Ergonomics) Typical Megabass attention to detail, the detail to design on the head is exceptional 9
Application Fish it in and around weeds or use it as a search tool - an effective lipless crankbait 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Highly engineered bait L Questionable durability in the finish
J Easy to fish, easy to cast L Pricey
J Quality hooks L Not as confidence inspiring as the LV-500 MAX
J Unbelievable balance on descent  

Conclusion: For once a Megabass product that does not exude perfection. What is the world coming to? Though our Vibration X receives a good grade for design and reasonable marks for performance, there's no getting around the puzzling premature wear on the finish of these lures. Perhaps the analysis of our test baits back at Megabass USA or Megabass Japan will eventually result in an explanation but perhaps not. We've certainly come to expect more from this tackle manufacturer and together with the steep price tag on these lures, I'm not so sure the Vibration-X Ultra is quite ready for prime time. Certainly, this bait has been in existence for some time, so maybe we're being too harsh. One thing is for certain, it is an effective lure when worked in the ways described above. Will we continue to use these baits? Probably. Will we be replacing any of our LV-500 MAX's with these baits? Probably not.











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