Smaller trailers don't gain as much notoriety, but sometimes there's a need for something more subtle, and dare I say it, finesse. Reins is a soft plastic bait company out of Japan with an interesting take on soft bait profiles. They have a craw trailer that I've been fishing for a while and is the subject of today's article. Introducing Reins's Ax Craw soft plastic trailer.
Shows you how long I've had this bait, it used to be
called the Ax Claw
Impressions: The Ax Craw (formerly the Ax Claw) from Reins is available in two sizes, three and a half and four inches (3.5" & 4"). Out of the package, the 3.5" feels more like two and a quarter or three. It's a very compact bait with two claw like appendages, and four smaller ones (two on either side of the body) back towards the tail.
The ribs extend from each side, all the way around the
The bait's body is partially covered in rings, or in this case ribs and the claws have diagonal lines on their surface. They are packaged in a resealable bag that includes some type of fish attractant scent or at least one to mask that of us humans.
Claws are attached on either side of the bait, not
extended from the head
Real World Tests: My primary use of the Ax Craw has bee on the back of smaller jigs to complete my finesse jig offerings. I've also fished them solo rigged with a pegged bullet weight and worm hook, on the back of underspins and as a drop shot bait. Thanks to its size, it can be used any number of unconventional ways you might not fish a standard trailer bait with traditional size and bulkiness.
Rigged in atypical fashion on the back of an underspin
The Ax Craw's front appendages (the actual claws) are not attached out of the package so there's no option to keep them together. When fished on the back of a jig, the flap up and down in unison very well, but occasionally, one claw or the other will flap around as if waving hello to any fish watching. If you swim that jig back, the claws will flap around rather randomly - sometimes in unison, often times not, usually resembling a person doing the rope workout with alternating arms.
The claws don't have tapered ends for swimming, but the ribs
along each claw catch enough water to make the claws swim
What I like best about this bait are the ribs on the compact body. While not as effective as those found on something like Missile Baits's D-Bomb trailer, the ribs on the Ax Craw can catch air, but they also present a softer texture to the fish without having to make the bait's plastic too soft. This helps to increase durability and give your bait a better chance of lasting through more than just a couple of bites.
The bait's claws have pretty good durability
Along those same lines, the bait's claws are attached in typical fashion, via a small soft plastic cross section at the shoulder, but they hold up relatively well. It takes a good tug or a very aggressive bite to pull the Ax Craw's claw off.
If you want to try the Ax Craw as a drop shot bait, tie on a
straight shank worm hook and thread the bait onto the hook like this - it
will last longer
Design & Ergonomics: The Ax Craw's color palette is limited to eight (8) colors all but one of which are somewhat basic. Reins has never been one to dizzy us with an array of cool or intricate color patterns rather, their preference is to deliver solid designs in proven patterns.
How much do we like this bait? This much!
Price & Applications: Price per package of Ax Craws ranges from $6.79 to $7.79 depending on the size with each pack containing six baits. That makes these little finesse trailers over $1.00 per bait. That's quite the premium to go finesse with your trailer.