Crankin' With the ABT X-2 Square Bill
Total Score: 7.91 -
It's tough to
argue against the effectiveness of crankbaits. From deep and shallow runners to
lipless baits, they are effective to some extent all year long and in pretty
much any water clarity imaginable. While in my past I tended to fish plastics
more than anything else, the last 5 or 6 years I've really started throwing a
lot more crankbaits, particularly the lipless and shallow diving variety. Even
when Bass are in a negative mode, these baits can often trigger a reaction
strike that other baits just can't produce. Though there is a huge variety of
shallow running crankbaits available, a few of the ones I've used have exhibited
some less desirable qualities.
The ABT X-2 Square
Bill in it's stock packaging.
California, ABT lures' X-2 series of shallow square bills are new offerings in
the crankbait world. Based on visuals alone, these baits look clean and
attractive. Will they prove to be a standout, or just get lost in the jumble of
other products out there? Let's find out, shall we?
Quality colors were
evident on our test baits.
Impressions: I received 3 of the floating X-2's for
testing in the Creek Craw, Sexy American Shad, and Sexy Shad colors. Before
even taking the baits out of the packaging, they have a very clean appearance
overall. The colors are sharp and precise. There is also a bit of a scale
pattern to them for added realism.
The Sexy Shad color is great for stained waters.
At 2.5 inches in length,
these are a great all around size that appeal to both small and bigger fish.
The structure is a typical shallow crankbait composition, with a round, stubby
body. Combined with the plastic square bill, it helps the bait to ricochet off
cover and reduce snags. The internals house a ball bearing chamber in which the
rattles are audible without being obnoxious. I tend to think that some baits go
a bit overboard with the loudness of the rattles at times, but these keep it
more low key.
Yours truly holding up my
favorite color for the local lakes: Sexy Shad.
One aspect I really
appreciate about the X-2 square bill are the hooks. Some crankbaits out there
either have one, or both hooks that are too small. The X-2 utilizes #4 VMC
hooks that are sized right and are pretty strong. They are a thicker gauge than
those found on some baits, which is a necessity here since you often fish square
bills around shoreline cover and structure.
The body profile
is a typical roundish shape.
Testing the ABT
X-2's occurred on my local southwest Florida lakes. They were thrown around rip
rap shorelines as well as small areas of cover and structure. 12 and 14lb mono
were the favored lines, although 20lb braid was used as well. I loved fishing
the baits on 2 rods, the G. Loomis CBR845 Crankbait series, and a 13 Fishing
Envy 7'3” medium.
The profile of the
X-2 square bill from the top.
There is not a whole lot to talk about in regards to casting the X-3 square
bill, because it is done so with ease. The weight of the bait allows it to be
cast easily, even into a headwind. Whether your preference is a specified
crankbait rod or a more general purpose stick, something with a medium power
handles these baits nicely.
Cranking around some small patches of grass.
Next Section: It is all in the retrieve