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Lure Review

Shellcracker [shel krak-er] - noun : Redear Sunfish : see also BlackDog Bait Company

Date: 9/17/08
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Black Dog Bait Co.
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.12 - GREAT!


Introduction: Last year, we brought you our review of Black Dog Bait Company's newest, at that time, bait, the Lunker Punker. The Punker actually leap frogged the original bait from this manufacturer that was in our review queue. Today, it is time to rewind a bit and bring you our thoughts on the bait with which Black Dog Bait Company launched their company. Introducing the BDB Shellcracker.

Black Dog Bait Company Shellcracker Specifications

Type BigBait
Depth 0-4 feet
Class Floater & Sinker
Size (Weight) 5 1/2inches (~2 3/4oz)
Colors/Patterns 2 standard, more in development
MSRP $50

Impressions: Though I've been tossing big baits for some time now, when I first held a BDB Shellcracker in my hand more than a year and a half ago, I had a difficult time getting my mind around a fish actually being able to engulf this bait. The reason for my quandary is the relative round profile of this bait. It's rather easy to envision a bass or striper attacking a trout or minnow profiled bait because of their more slender profile, but bluegill and other similarly shaped sunfish just seem counter intuitive. Certainly, baits with these types of profiles work, but until you get that first hit, sometimes, it's just difficult to have the confidence the hit will come.


Introducing Black Dog Bait Company's Shellcracker


The Field Tests: Having fished this bait for about the last year and a half and through the entire course of our swimbait rod wards, I've had the opportunity to toss this bait on a variety of different rigs. My two favorites are the Evergreen Balista and Megabass White Python.


Complete test rigs for Black Dog Bait Company Shellcracker Field Tests

Rig One Rig Two
Rod Evergreen International TJMC-74XXX Balista Megabass F7-76RDti White Python
Reel Shimano Calais 201-5 Daiwa Ito Monoblock 100XRL
Line 20lb Sunline Shooter 19lb Sunline Defier

Casting: I prefer these rods for this bait because they both have relatively soft tips that load up nice and easy for casting and while the Balista is a bit more moderate than I'd like for a bait of this size, as long as you're mindful of this characteristic, you can compensate when setting the hook and battling the fish. The White Python, on the other hand, has just about the perfect combination of tip plus backbone for the Shellcracker.

Rigged and ready to go


The Evergreen International Balista was but one of many sticks we fished this bait on over the course of the past year and a half 

Regardless of your choice in rods, however, the Shellcracker itself is an easy bait to throw and sails through the air with minimal resistance thanks to its weight. It's light enough to cast overhand but especially easy to whip around in a sidearm loop cast and fire into tight quarters.

Casting the Shellcracker is a breeze...

Action: Another area where a soft tipped rod really helps with this bait is while working it. Most anglers will probably retrieve the Shellcracker with a slow and steady constant retrieve just waking the bait along the surface (the floating version of course). But where this bait seems to draw more strikes is when worked with a popping retrieve similar to how you might work the Punker. With a few quick jerks of one's rod tip, the Shellcracker performs an enticing dance on top of the water and the softer your rod tip, the more easily this dance is worked.

...overhand or sidearm casts are both equally effective

Note the bubble trail behind the bait created after several pops of the rod tip to make the bait dance.

The sinking version of this bait moves through the water like an injured fish sort of laboring through its swimming motion. It is best worked relatively slow as it has a tendency to rise in the water column if retrieved too quickly. We get word from Black Dog Bait Company that they are working on a billed version of this bait that can be retrieved slow or very fast and will probably prove even more deadly than the original sinking version. ETA on the "Bill-Cracker" is the last quarter of 2008!

Remember, this is a wood bait - check out the detailing around the head...

...and the nice, lifelike eyes.

Next Section: Applications and Effectiveness









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