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Swimbait Review

Elusive No More : SPRO's KGB Chad Shad 180 (continued)

Reel Choice: For a reel, you don't really need anything too large. Any 150 sized reel that can hold enough length of your preferred fishing line is fine. In my case, I kept it all in the SPRO family making use of their new Vortex-E casting reel in a 7.3:1 retrieve ratio. Note, this is a 100 sized reel, so if you want to do the same, you need to be comfortable with using braid or a braid plus leader line strategy. Otherwise, you want a relatively fast reel when tossing glide baits - or at least I do. Depending on how you work the bait, there can be a lot of slack line situations with glides, so something with a relatively good amount of line pick up is preferable.

The bait comes with a bare line tie (no split ring). I fish it with a snap for easy color changes

Line Choice: I am comfortable with a braid to leader connection and in the case of these tests, spooled the Vortex-E with a healthy supply of Sunline's FX2 braid in 50lb topping the braid off with a leader of 18lb Sunline Shooter. I like a quality fluorocarbon leader with my glide baits because the fluoro has a negative buoyancy (tends to sink) helping to keep the line angle low and mitigate those instances where the steeper angle of a line that tends to float will pull your bait up.


Castability: Rigged up and ready to go, the Chad Shad 180 is a very easy bait to cast especially with the rod and reel combo I was using. Those unfamiliar with baits of this size will require an adjustment period, but this bait is far easier to sling and cast all day than a more traditional sized big baits. Note that although the Chad Shad 180 is made of ABS plastic, the internal weights are fixed, so there is no sliding weight mechanism to aid in casting. A nice, easy, smooth casting motion is recommended to avoid instances of your bait tumbling through the air and potentially fouling your line during the cast. The bait's hooks are far enough apart from one another to foul.

Swiveling hook ties

Rate of Fall: This is really where I wanted to compare this bait to the original resin because resin baits. Individual hand tuning of resin baits can result in very slow and enticing rates of fall. Just the same, the ABS Chad Shad 180 is weighted to fall perfectly parallel at a rate of about one to one and a half seconds per foot. A slow sink resin bait is usually somewhere around one foot per two seconds. The Chad Shad 180's rate and position of fall is very good for an ABS bait.

Like all baits by SPRO, the Chad Shad 180 comes with Gamakatsu hooks

Ease of Actuation: Click our reel over to begin your retrieve and you'll be happy to know you can make this bait dance any number of ways. If you prefer to chop your retrieve, the Chad Shad 180 can do the erratic. If you like to wind and stop, the Chad Shad 180 can do the glide off to the side. If you prefer to just wind at varying speeds, the Chad Shad 180 will swim slow or fast. Just like the reputation of the original bait, the Chad Shad 180 will do it all and is an excellent bait to use whether you are new to the big bait game or a seasoned veteran.

Size is 1/0 on the front and back

Design/Ergonomics: The Chad Shad 180 is also equipped with all the goodies like rotating hook hangers, genuine Gamakatsu branded hooks, and a mass production variant of the popular brush fiber tail. It's a semi-soft plastic tail shredded to resemble brush fibers, but all one unit and slid into the back of the bait. This tail unit is glued in and no spare is provided in the packaging, but if SPRO were to offer spares - especially in different colors - that component may prove more popular than the bait itself!

The tail looks like it is made to slide out for easy replacement, but in practice, it felt like it might be glued in. If it does slide out, it's no where near as easy as other baits whose tails can be swapped

Otherwise, the one big advantage this bait has over its original resin counterpart (besides availability) is the fact it can be produced with translucent or "ghost" patterns. Resin is a solid colored material where as ABS plastic is clear, making such patterns possible. This is the one clear advantage any mass produced, ABS based big bait has over any resin bait.

SPRO retails their KGB Chad Shad 180 for $59.49

Price & Application: The SPRO Chad Shad 180 is on the pricier side of a mass produced, ABS plastic swimbait, but still far more affordable than what most hand built baits are going for these days. $59.49 is the retail price of this bait - less than some JDM baits of similar material, but more than some of the even more accessible mass produced glide bait options out there today.


SPRO KGB Chad Shad 180 Glide Bait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Despite the massed produced nature of this bait, it still has some hand built characteristics 8.5
Performance Very easy to cast and fish, and surprisingly versatile 9
Price A very fair, and good price point 8
Features Quality hooks, rotating hook hangars 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Available in a modest number of colors, but a good size and weight to fish all day 7.5
Application If you're looking for an accessible, shad profile glide bait, this one is difficult to ignore 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!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:


+ Nice size and weight to fish all day - Tail is not easily removable, nor are there spares in the packaging
- Now everyone who wants it can get one - Now everyone who wants it can get one (doesn't have the exclusivity or collectibles of the original)
+ Can be fished a variety of ways  
+ Gamakatsu hooks and rotating hook hangars  
+ Availability of translucent or "ghost" patterns  

Now that availability has seemingly caught up with demand, it's time to load up and get to catching!

Conclusion: There are purists in the big bait world that will never touch an injection molded ABS bait. There are others in conventional circles that scoff at the idea of spending $200 or more on a bait you have to refresh your social media feed not just daily, but by the minute, just to have the chance at purchasing. SPRO and KGB Swimbaits have come together to quell some of that madness by building a bait that blurs some of those lines. Purists will still avoid it. Budget minded anglers will still find it too expensive. However, those of us in the middle, who understand both perspectives but really just want to catch fish, now have the opportunity to fish a bait design and profile that's been, at best, elusive. Now that availability has seemingly caught up with demand, it's time to load up and get to catching!


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