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Lure Review

Shallow Crankin' With the ABT X-2 Square Bill (continued)

Retrieving:  When it came time to see how these cranks performed on the retrieve, I was pleasantly surprised.  They give a very pronounced wobble that is easily felt all the way back to the rod with mono or braid.  Even a very slow retrieve produces an enticing action.  The square bill and fat body deflect off cover sharply, a great attribute to trigger a reaction strike.  While you shouldn't be afraid to throw square bill cranks around cover, just always keep in mind that no crankbait is truly snag resistant, these included!

The small, square bill deflects off cover well.

Tracking during the retrieval was straight and true.  Since the models I tested were floaters, stopping the retrieve allows the bait to slowly float up.  When the retrieve continues, they the X-2 goes right back to it's straight path.  Even when absolutely burning the bait on a 6.4:1 ratio reel, it stays totally true and never rolls over or planes to the surface.  Though I rarely fish these baits in that fashion, it's good to know if you are accustomed to fishing KVD fast!

I found myself reaching for the Sexy Shad color most often for this very reason....it catches lots of fish!

Durability:  A particular shallow diving crankbait that was extremely popular years ago (and still is today) used to catch me a good number of fish, but the durability was a serious problem.  I recall one day while fishing the California Delta breaking 3 of them in a single day.  2 when they struck against rocks on a cast, and once while slapping weeds off the bait!  While that day 12 or so years ago is still pretty fresh in my mind, I'm happy to report that history didn't repeat itself with the X-2 square bill.  Despite slapping weeds off, cracking against rocks, and even being purposefully stepped on, no abnormal durability issues were noted with the eyes, body, hooks, or bill.

The “line tie” that the split ring attaches to is a nice stoutness and seldom needed tuning.

Price & Applications:  At a price of $7.69 on TackleWarehouse.com, this is a pretty good price for such a quality square bill.  Sure there are some cheaper shallow crankbaits, but there's also quite a few that are priced much higher than the X-2.  You should not be left unsatisfied after shelling out the money for one of these, and you may even wonder why you spent so much on those “other” cranks in the past.

The belly of the baits are finished without sloppiness.

 This is a shallow crankbait, so versatility isn't it's strong suit.  This is obviously not a bait you can go out to 30 feet of water with and fish very effectively.  It's true environment is around shoreline cover and structure, and it fishes these areas with great productivity.  Around docks, piers, stickups, brush piles, and weed lines are just a few spots where this bait will really kick some Bass.

A nice solid fish came to hand while cranking rip rap.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

ABT X-2 Square Bill Ratings  (?/10)

Construction/Quality These baits don't have the ultra high end finish of a jdm crank, but they do possess appealing, quality coloration.  All around the bait has a quality look and feel with no “rough around the edges” issues. 8
Performance I found the performance to be excellent.  They tracked true at all speeds, and deflected off cover with a minimum of hangups.  Oh yeah, they caught Bass too! 9
Price A quality bait for a very fair price.  I think they could even charge another dollar for these.......but let's hope they don't follow this advice :) 8
Features Some nice features but nothing extraordinary.  I really appreciate the proper hook size the most! 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Nice shape, and the size should appeal to both small and large fish.   The weight makes it easy to cast even in the wind. 8
Application A square bill crankbait is not an extremely versatile bait, but for shallow or suspended Bass it's a solid pick. 7

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Quality bait - Not a real versatile type of lure
+ Attractive colors  
+ Very fair price  
+ Tracks very well  
+ Nice stock hook size  


Conclusion: Growing up in northern California, I consider some of my top “confidence techniques” to be deep water fishing with jigs and plastics.  With that said, if there is a shallow reaction bite going, I'm all over it!  Nothing beats running down a bank target casting and getting slammed by a nice Bass.  The ABT X-2 square bill is indeed a smart choice for this style of fishing.  With it's quality build, colors, and great tracking qualities, it will undoubtedly put fish in the boat for you.  It fishes very well around rock, wood, grass....you name it.  The ABT X-2 square bill most definitely fits the bill for your shallow cranking needs!


Looking for the ABT X-2 Crankbait? Try Tackle Warehouse










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