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Lure Review

Storm's Wildeye Shad swimbait is tough on saltwater fish but easy on the pocket

Date: 10/14/04
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Storm Baits
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.00

Introduction: For many anglers it is as if the powerhouse that is Storm just came out of nowhere. It seems like every tackle store you go into now has a rack full of yellow packaged Storm products. The parent company that has elevated Storm to a new level is actually Rapala. While the new packaging and advertising looks like a million bucks, anglers are often genuinely surprised by the low prices the products bear. We take a look at the increasingly popular Storm Wildeye swim shad, to see just how well this lure really measures up in terms of quality and value.


Storm Wildeye Swim Shad Specifications

Material Lead head encased in plastic body
Length 6 inches
Weight 2 3/8oz
Hooks VMC Hooks
Diving Depth Any
Colors/Patterns 7+ Available
Color tested Rainbow Trout
Additional Features WildEye, holographic slash foil
MSRP $3.99 (4 per pack)

Impressions: The swimbait craze has caught on, and big bassers and saltwater anglers alike from the Florida flats to the California coast exploit these big soft baits for just about any aggressive big fish capable of engulfing these sizeable lures. While fishing smaller swimbaits is easy, there are three challenges often associated with tossing their bigger siblings. These include the need for bigger rods and heavier lines, the durability of the shad bodies, and the high cost frequently associated with soft plastic bodies and quality jigheads.


Introducing the very aggressively priced Storm Wildeye Swim Shad Baits


The one area where I was a little disappointed was in the "Wildeye" itself. As a primary selling feature, and namesake, behind this lure I expected some genuinely lifelike 3D eyes, but what I found were black eyes so deep in the face of the lure that they looked glazed. There are definitely some quality issues here because some of our Rainbow pattern lures had the eyes set so far back or misaligned that we couldn’t even see the eyeball, but when we examined Mullet and Sardine patterns the eyes looked superb and were all properly positioned within the raised PVC.


Complete Rigs for Storm Wildeye Swim Shad Tests

Rod Lamiglas G1303-T & GLoomis MBR783C
Reel Shimano Calcutta 250
Line 18 lb Trilene BG & 20lb P-Line Spectrex

Real World Tests:
In the past we have field tested a number of distinctive swim bait offerings, but the majority of our tests focused on the lure’s effectiveness targeting largemouth bass. We decided it was time to choose a swimbait that could be applied to supplementary saltwater applications. While just about any swimbait can be used in saltwater fishing, they are often expensive and are much easier to damage and even lose on the sea floor in comparison to most freshwater fishing circumstances. We decided to subject the Storm Wildeye Swim Shad to the harsh rocky sea floor in pursuit of some quality Vermillion and Green Rockfish.


Casting: Casting big swimbaits with small medium bass rods has always been a challenge, and many anglers fishing for big bass have often used heavier tackle to be able to catapult these lures a sufficient distance. When fishing for rockcod I often enjoy fishing with bass tackle, simply to intensify the entire experience. When fishing for rock fish in shallow water the ability to cast accurately and far afield can help you entice fish holding in and around the rocky structure. In these cases a longer more full-bodied rod will help make flinging the swimbaits painless. The Storm Wildeye is one of the lighter swimbaits, mostly due to the fact that the lead jig is actually fully encased in the slender PVC body. There is no way to change a head or hook in the Storm. Most anglers will find that the Wildeye casts easily with just about any medium combo.


Notice the internal jighead, but the Wildeye on some of our lures was a bit disappointing


Retrieve: Casting is secondary to action in saltwater applications because you will regularly find yourself in water deeper than 40 feet, and dealing with some drift. You can be very effective just tossing the lure the opposite direction of your drift and retrieving it back, or if you wish to risk snags you can always cast your lure out and allow it to sink to the bottom, then let the drift take you and drag the Wildeye over the rocky bottom, lifting your rod to cause the lure to bounce up and down just on top of the sea floor. Keep your lure moving up and down, because simply dragging the lure often results in the hook being buried into the rock or vegetation, and cavernous snags are always frustrating.

The large paddle tail generates a sweeping side to side motion with a moderate retrieve

The larger and heavier 6” Wildeye sunk quickly headfirst which is exactly what you want when targeting bottom species. You want to enter the target zone as quickly as possible so that when you see those jagged outcroppings on your electronics you can get down fast enough to hit them. The lure swims with a wide side to side motion and while the tail on the Wildeye isn’t as rubbery as some competitor’s lures the large knob displaces enough water to generate a convincing action. One very nice touch is the insertion of a holographic sheet under the PVC body. This creates a 3D effect giving the lure more volume and a fish attracting flash as the lure swims back during the retrieve. The 3” and 4” lures are light enough to fish slowly, and will not dive right away if you pause between retrieves, but the heavier 5 and 6” lures will plummet right away, so a faster retrieve is vital to maintaining a realistic action.


Overall, the lures performed well and many rockfish species jumped at the chance to wolf down these lures. Catching a rock fish on a swimbait is very different than hooking one on a vertical jig. You will feel more of the fight, and rather than hauling the fish vertically the fish will often swim side to side in a effort to shake off, which makes for a very thrilling experience. Because the lure bears a single hook rather than a treble it is easier for fish to break free, so make sure to keep constant tension on the fish and work him in rather than muscle him like you often would with a metal jig.


Underwater the lure seems to glow thanks to the inserted hologram film


Durability: I recommend fishing the Wildeye with spectra braided line rather than mono for three reasons. First, the braided line will transfer vibration from the depths a whole lot better so you know when you are suspended or actually bouncing on the rock-strewn bottom. Second, braided line is a great deal more durable and as the Wildeye navigates the sea floor your line is sure to come into contact with sharp potentially line weakening structure. During our field test we ran both 18lb Mono and P-Line Spectrex, both lines took on heavy damage one foot above the knot. The difference was that the mono line snapped when we applied pressure, and even through the outer layers of the Spectrex began to fray it still held when we applied 20lbs of counter pressure. The third reason is simply added capacity. Because braided line is so much thinner in diameter you can hold a lot more line on smaller reels and keep your rockfish tackle simple and light, while still possessing the ability to put lures down deep when the opportunity presents itself.


After six rockcod trips the lures that hadn’t been lost to snags had endured many fish strikes and hours of rough bottom dragging. To my amazement no part of any of the undersides of PVC bodies were slashed or severed after contact with structure, only one of our test lures actually lost a tail, and it was to an unfortunate surface attack from a juvenile Ling. The PVC plastic that makes up the Wildeye Shad is durable and includes an added blocking agent, and since the hard lead head is buried within the lure this bait isn’t subject to the same chipping and paint damage that many other inserted jig heads exhibit. The VMC hooks on the Wildeye are excellent, they are sharp, rust resistant, and are long-lasting.


Fishing for Vermillion with swimbaits is one of the most exciting ways to land these rock dwellers


Price: I wouldn’t consider the Wildeye lures the most refined swimbaits in term of shape or pattern, but the cost of a pack of these lures is well below the vast majority of competitor offerings. At a price of 3.99 per pack of four 5” or 6” lures, these baits are a real bargain! We are talking a dollar a piece, which is less than the cost of the jighead or shad body alone on many other swimbaits. Many other hand poured baits in this size class. I tend to lose a lot more swimbaits in the ocean than in lakes, simply because I find myself in situations where I cannot manage to free yawning snags, and running lures over rocky bottoms does a real number on jigheads. The Storm Wildeye swimbaits are ideal for these marine undertakings because of their low cost and guarded internal jighead.

Storm Wildeye Swim Shad Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Storm Wildeye shad baits are well built but there are some quality control issues. The "wildeyes" on many of our test lures were hard to see or so far back in the PVC body they couldn't even be seen. But we did like the overall durability of the lure and the holographic insert 7
Performance Performance was good, and the lure proved it could survive a lot of abuse. While the tradition jighead plus shad body gives anglers more freedom the Storm shads are easier to use. Some of our lures did not swim absolutely straight, but for the most part performance was solid 8
Price Here is where the Storm picks up a few points! At only 3.99 per pack of 4 large baits this is an incredible value! 9.5
Features There are few features here other than the moderate wildeye and holographic insert. If the quality could be improved on the 3D eye it would make for a much more attractive overall product 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) The design of the Storm Wildeye shad finds the middle ground. While not exceptional in detail it isn't bad either. You sacrifice the freedom of mixing and matching heads and bodies but gain increased durability with the protected lead jighead. Overall a easy bait to fish with 8
Application This lure can be used in both fresh and saltwater applications, but the low cost of ownership makes it possible for all anglers to use this lure without fear of losing a costly swimbait. Some freshwater anglers will still prefer a inserted jighead for more realistic features 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Easy to employ on multiple applications L Detail in design
J Durable! L Actual Wildeye quality control
J Sharp durable VMC hook  
J Great Value!  

Storm has a saying “always think like a fish no matter how weird it gets.” The Storm designers must know what fish yearn for, because the Wildeye swim shads appealed to a variety of freshwater and saltwater game fish in our tests. While not the most refined swimbaits in terms of design details, the Wildeye shad baits are durable, and a fantastic value when you consider each one of these 5 and 6 inch lures cost just a dollar a piece. The durability and low cost per lure make the Wildeye an excellent lure to use in marine applications where the harsh saltwater always does a real number on your tackle. Costing less per pack than a single premium swimbait you won't be cursing nearly as much when you lose a lure to an unexpected snag. The Wildeye also saves you time and trouble on the water since no jighead rigging is required. If you are looking for a lure that offers equitable quality, ease of use, and an overall superior value, then appraise these lure offerings the next time you pass one of the towering yellow Storm racks at your local tackle store.









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