Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bandit Lures Crankbaits - The Right Choice

If you have read some of my blog articles you will know that I'm a jig man.  I love fishing jigs all year and switch between a standard jig, swim jig and football jig depending on the time of year and the conditions.  Even though I'm a jig man first and foremost there are times that fishing a jig just won't get you bites.  So I do carry an assortment of other types of lures whenever I hit the water.  Conditions change and when they do the type of bait needed to catch bass also changes.  Now the storage on my boat is limited so I carry only the baits that I have 100% confidence in catching bass.  When it comes to Crankbaits the only ones I carry are made by the Bandit Lures company.

Now I do have to admit that it had been a number of years since I'd fished any baits from Bandit.  I threw them a lot in the 80s but then I started to focus on jig fishing.  Recently I had been carrying a few different brands in the boat just in case the jigs or worms didn't work.  Those were what ever cranks were available at one of the local shops and none of those shops carried Bandit. Now what changed recently was I found out that Bandit was looking for Pro Staff.  Memories quickly returned to me of the days when Bandit Crankbaits had been my Go-To for filling out my limits early.  That gave me the time I needed to focus on getting that one or two big bites during the rest of the day to anchor my limit.  So when the chance to be a part of their Pro Staff came I jumped at the opportunity.  I am not only pleased but very proud they excepted me on their team. There were two main reasons why back in the day I felt Bandit Cranks were so much better than others on the market.  First off their baits had the right movement in the water to trigger strikes.  That movement combined with perfect sound from the rattle chamber seemed to draw strikes time and time again.  I was really hoping they hadn't changed their designs much over the years as I waited for my new Bandits to arrive.

I received my fresh allotment of baits just last week and it didn't take long to realize that if they had changed any it was for the better.  The biggest problem I had was selecting which colors I wanted.  That was one of the first positive changes I saw, they had so many awesome colors it was hard to pick.  I did select 6 different colors that I thought would work in the waters I fish mostly.  I got 2 of each color in the 100, 200 and 300 series baits for a total of 36.  When they arrived I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

The finish on these new baits was remarkable, and most importantly was the sound from the rattle I remembered was still there.  These baits were the same top notch quality I had remember from back in the 80s and that is something you just don't see from every bait company out there.  Some of them have skimped some on the quality to keep their prices down.  Well for me I'd rather pay for high quality and then some cheap junk.  I'm not saying that Bandits are more expensive, they will compete with the prices of any of the name brand products out there, but they have retained their quality at the same time.

Now it wouldn't be a good product review if there wasn't some testing involved. So this past weekend I headed out to Lake Fayette County to give them a test.  I had a pattern on Fayette that had been working awesome.  I had been fishing swim baits on under spins in the morning on the main lake points up near the grass. I had caught a bunch of good fish doing this over the past couple of months.  My son and his friend were joining me and so I rigged them both with the swim bait/under spin combo, while I was going to be throwing a 100 series Bandit in Chartreuse Shad.  We pulled up on the point and went to work.  It didn't take long for the Bandit 100 to strike and it was a beauty of a first fish too, ss you can see in the picture on the left.  This wasn't the 100's only victim either as I had 3 fish in the boat while the boys hadn't gotten their first hit.  It didn't take long for me to switch them to 100s of their own.  Over the next hour we boated more bass that we could count.  None of them were as good as that first one but we did put some 3 and 4 pounders onboard.  Had this been a tournament, I would have been limited out before 8:00 in the morning.  Even better I would have had a bag that pushed 20 pounds and a great kicker already with 7 hours to improve.

Now once that morning bite ended I did go to the next pattern that had been working for me which is fishing football jigs on the steeper drop offs along the points.   Now Sunday was a little different than my previous trips as the wind was really blowing.  Though I caught 3 really good fish to cull my bag that would have upped my overall weight to 25 pounds or more, the boys were having problems.   The wind was making the back of the boat swing and they just could work their baits as effectively as I was.  Frustrated my son put down his jig rod, removed the 100 on his crank bait rod  and tied on a 300 series in Chartreuse Shad.  Two cast later he was boating a very chunky 4 pounder.  His friend also went with a 300 and started to catch fish as well.  Not to ruin their fun, I stuck to the football jigs, and continued to catch some good bass but the boys were each catching 2-3 to my one.

We called it a day about 1:00 pm as it was just too hot to stay out on a day of pleasure fishing.  However the testing of my Bandit Crankbaits had been accomplished.  After what the boys did out deep, I'm pretty sure when the morning shallow bite ended we could have gone to 200 series Bandits, moved out a little deeper and continued to catch bass.  Would I have improved my bag like I did with the football jig, I don't know but I do know I have my opening act back in the game plan.  My tournament planing will be shifting back to what it was in the 80's with using Bandits to get that limit then breakingout the jigs to finish off my bag.  Keep an eye out too as I'll be fishing in the Bayou Bassin' League Championship this coming weekend on the San Bernard River.  Most of the time my crankbait rod is in the rod locker for those just in case times, but not this weekend.  This weekend it will be up on the deck with a Bandit 100 tied on and ready to go!!

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

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