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Lure Review


Keep it in motion...the NetBait Paca Craw


Date: 4/16/06
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: NetBait
Reviewer: Cal



Total Score: 7.83

Introduction: Here at TackleTour, we receive word of new and exciting products from any number of sources including local tackle shops, our readers, the tackle manufacturers themselves, and members of our ever growing discussion forum. One such team member, Dan Greene out of Warner Robins, Georgia, whispered in our ears early in 2005 that he'd found a "new" plastic bait that is an absolute thrill to use and has been especially effective for him, fish have been literally jumping onto the end of his line to get a taste. Had Dan caught lightning in a bottle? We decided to take a look ourselves as we acquired a few bags of his wonder bait, the NetBait PacaCraw.

NetBait PacaCraw Specifications

Type Soft Plastic Tube / Craw Imitator
Size Baby - 4" : Standard - 5"
Colors / Patterns Close to 40 Colors
Number per Bag Eight
MSRP $4.99

Impressions: Netbait has been in existence since 1997 when Ken McNauhton established the company following in his father, Braxton's, footsteps. Together, father and son, designed the Paca Craw and released it to the general public in the year 2000. The allure of the Paca Craw is two fold: it is a soft plastic tube craw with very large claw-like appendages that twirl in a buzzbait fashion under the water: second is the unique composition of the plastic NetBait uses which consists of salt, anise, and pork fat specially formulated to make fish hang on to the bait longer once they've taken it into their mouths. True to billing, when we opened our first bag of Paca Craws, the scent was intense...to say the least.


The NetBait PacaCraw: Note the oversized claws


The Field Tests: We fished our PacaCraws on a number of different rods, reels and lines before finally settling on one of our test combos for the final stretch of evaluations. This combo is a Japanese market Shimano G4 paired with a Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai and 14lb Berkley Fireline.


Complete test rig for NetBait PacaCraw Field Tests

Rod Shimano Scorpion G4 1683R
Reel Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai
Line Berkley Fireline 14lb Test

Versatility: Probably the single most attractive feature of the PacaCraw is its versatility. You can fish it alone either weightless, texas rigged, or tipped on a jighead, or as a trailer on a jig, spinnerbait, or buzzbait. It can be drop or split shotted, carolina rigged, or retrieved across the surface as a buzzbait. The possibilities are almost endless. For our tests, we fished the PacaCraw three ways, texas rigged with a 1/4 oz bullet weight and 4/0 Sugoi EWG hook, tipped on a 1/4 oz Critterbait flipping jighead, and as a trailer on our jigs.

The PacaCraw resembles many plastic craw trailer baits, but the differences here lie in the size of the claws, the tube construction of the body, and the special composition of the plastic itself


Casting/Pitching: The PacaCraw casts and pitches as well as any plastic bait made today. Though the main body is hollow, the bait is of substantial enough weight to make for easy casts either with or without the assistance of added weight. The majority of our presentations with this bait were made pitching into weed pockets and up next to and into visible structure.


The Paca Craw's appearance underwater

Presentation: Fished with at least a 1/4oz weight, the Paca Craw's claws twirl in the water on descent and anytime the bait is in motion. The action is so pronounced, it fishes more like a twin tail grub than a craw imitation bait. However, the large, flat surface area at the end of the Paca Craw's claws cause more disturbance in the water than your typical twin tail grub.


An area of disappointment with this bait, we discovered, was on the pause of a hop and skip type retrieve. When at rest for any period of time, the Paca Craw lays down flat devoid of any claw waving action - something we come to expect on a conventional craw imitator bait. The attraction of this bait is definitely built into a power fishing mode of retrieve rather than a slow, methodical finesse presentation. On a steady retrieve with minimal pauses, we found strikes from aggressive bass were quite violent which made fishing it all the more fun!


The Paca Craw is best fished on a steady or constant hop and skip retrieve. Once paused, the claws go limp and the bait falls over


Weedlessness: The weedlessness of the Paca Craw, as with most any soft plastic bait is directly dependent upon how it is rigged. With the hookpoint buried into the body of the lure or skin-hooked, the Paca Craw is very weedless. A Tex-posed or fully exposed hook point presentation is less so. Interestingly enough, we found, on occasion that the claws of our Paca Craws would latch onto a branch or tulle stalk interrupting an otherwise safe getaway from abandoned presentations.


The rear cavity of the Paca Craw is hollow much like a tube bait


Durability: We found the body of the Paca Craw to be extremely durable even after a couple of hookups. The bait does tend to get chewed up at the base when employing bait keeper systems like that of the Critterbait Critterkeeper. However, in standard texas rigged applications, the Paca Craw's body holds up extremely well. Unfortunately, what we did encounter were several occasions either on slight hangups or small fish nipping on the bait where our Paca Craw would come back with a claw missing. There's a relatively small amount of plastic holding the claws of this bait to the body. This thin connection helps the claws to spin in their enticing fashion eliciting strikes from aggressive fish, but is also a weak point in the design enabling the loss of a claw or two on retrieve.


One of our discarded Paca Craw's with a missing claw suffered when the bait became entangled in a patch of Tulle stalks


Availability: Though available for several years, the Paca Craw has not yet gained widespread distribution. For more information on this bait and to search for a possible vendor near you, we recommend visiting the NetBait website here or visit their new distribution partner, AlabamaLakes.com.



NetBait PacaCraw Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solidly crafted/molded. While the body is very durable the connection to the claws is one area where the lure could use a little more reinforcement. We believe this could be done without altering action too much 8
Performance Kept in motion, the Paca Craw is relentless. At stop, though, the bait just lays down. We would have loved to see a more realistic presentation in between retrieves 7.5
Price About on par with most plastic baits 8
Features A special formulation of plastic for built-in scent attractant and oversized plastic claws 8
Design A nicely detailed soft plastic bait though the connection of the claws to the body could be reinforced slightly 7.5
Application A very versatile soft plastic bait that can be fished many ways. There are also many colors to choose from. This is one bait where the majority of our strikes took place with the lure in motion...so keep it moving! 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Built in scent L Claws tear off too easily
J Lively action L No action to the bait on a stopped retrieve
J Effective as a trailer or as the main bait  
J Fun to fish!  


Kept in motion, the Paca Craw is like an underwater buzzbait eliciting monstrous strikes


Conclusion: Out west, when we pull out our plastic baits, it usually means slow down time. Hence, it took us a little while to get the hang of the Paca Craw - a bait that is best fished in motion. Once we realized this attribute, and tailored our presentation to suit the bait's strengths, we discovered how fun it is to fish the this bait. Make no mistake about it, the Paca Craw is a power fishing plastic. Hits came on the fall or during our retrieve and when they did occur, there was little doubt. Bass strike the Paca Craw hard and thanks to the built in scent and hollow body, they hold onto them long enough for you to get an effective hookset. Our primary complaint was the delicate nature of the claws and how easily they broke off. Nevertheless, if you're looking at rigging versatility in a plastic bait and a bait you can fish quickly in search of bass, the Paca Craw may be just the bait for you.











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