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Lure Review


A Realistic Critter Crank unlike any other, the Bettencourt Rodent
 

Date: 4/14/04
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Bettencourt Baits
Reviewer: Zander






Total Score: 8.50

Introduction:
Quite unlike any bait anglers have ever seen, the Bettencourt Rodent is a unique blend of a surface bait and shallow diving crank. This frighteningly realistic lure certainly has the stuff to turn angler's heads, but can it garner the same attention from bass?
 

Bettencourt Baits Rodent Specifications

Type Unique Crankbait
Material Wood, Fur
Colors/Patterns 1 available (Natural Brown)
Size 5 inches
Weight 7/8 oz.
Hook VMC #1 3x
MSRP $22.95

   
About Bettencourt Baits: Bettencourt Baits is an up and coming manufacturer of unique baits that are the sole creation of Nathan Bettencourt. Nathan has a background in both traditional lure

building and fly tying and has merged these two skills together to create a lineup distinctive lures. These lures are far from conventional, and rely on triggering characteristics not found on other lures. To this day, each and every lure is still built one at a time, all by hand. Lures can be customized to the extent of having the lures personalized with custom paint jobs, lure modifications, or even personalized with your own name. For more information about Bettencourt Baits go here.

 

The Bettencourt Rodent is the most realistic looking rodent bait we have ever tested


Impressions:
Yikes...was the first thing I said when I received this lure. The Bettencourt Rodent is the most realistic rodent bait I have ever seen, bar none. This incredibly convincing bait looks like a stuffed rodent, and the details in construction are impressive all around. From the matted fur, to the beady eyes, and leathery tail...this lure can easily fool anglers, let alone bass.

 

While not a scientific test by any means I decided to have a little fun with the Rodent and put it on the pull out keyboard of one of my fellow editors (whose name I won't mention). When he walked over and pulled out the keyboard drawer the rodent rolled forward, and he literally jumped 3 feet back in alarm. After I collected myself and stopped laughing I proceeded to examine the lure's fish catching attributes. Designed like a square billed crank this lure is still rather light for its size, and is constructed from a combination of wood and fur, with high quality VMC hooks attached to the bottom of the rodent's body. I was eager to see how easy it was to move the rodent through the water in a lifelike manner, and whether fish would respond favorably to it.
 

In the water the lure appears to take on even more volume and seems to come alive with each jerk of the rod

  
Field Tests: To test the Rodent I head out to two local bass lakes, one of which had very clear water, and another which was much greener with vegetation and heavy weed growth. While most anglers agree that Bass eat rodents, they certainly are not a everyday menu item for most largemouth. Would bass, many of whom potentially have never set eyes on a mouse or rat, still assail this lure?
 

Complete Rig for testing the Rodent

Rod Kistler 7' Crank Bait Composite
Reel Shimano Chronarch 100A
Line 10 lb. Trilene Big Game

  
Casting: The Rodent is a lot lighter than it appears to be, but still casts well with 10lb line. I was able to chuck this creation a good distance, as well as accurately lob the Rodent to the outskirts of the weed line and structures. I can't tell you how many other anglers on lake stopped to look and ask exactly what the heck I was throwing. One thing I particularly liked about this lure was the position of the hooks. While wide enough to extend properly when the lure is used, they rest completely under the body of the Rodent, helping prevent unexpected hang-ups when my casts were off target. While the larger 7/8oz Rodent will certainly be easier to cast farther than with the smaller 3 inch model, you can always compensate with a lower setting on cast control or by switching to a lighter line. Though we do recommend fishing with 10-12 lb line with this lure, as you wouldn't want to lose it, or the big bass that attempts to rob you.
 

The Rodent comes armed with two VMC Treble hooks mounted on the underbody

  

Retrieving: All the fun begins when you start to retrieve the Rodent. This lure will float when at rest and can be fished slowly across the surface. It is realistic in action, and by twitching the line you are able to make the Rodent appear to struggle to stay afloat while remaining in a fixed position. The rodent can be jerked to make splashes like a plug, but for the most part it runs quite silent. We would like to see an option to add a rattle, to add the element of sound as another possible trigger.

 

This lure is not relegated to surface duty, and with a fast retrieve it will dive just over two feet. It runs with slight rocking motion, and can actually be burned across the water to try and generate reaction strikes. The ability to fish multiple strike zones is a big plus, and allows anglers quite a bit of freedom when it comes to drawing bass out from over and around nearby structure. Just like with normal shallow diving cranks, be patient and vary your retrieve, often a pause in the bait action will be enough to trigger a strike.

 

The vital question is how well does the Rodent work? Surprisingly well actually. Bass, especially bigger ones will explode on the Rodent. The majority of all our strikes came either at the surface, or slightly under the waterline after the bait came in contact with structure. Perhaps the bass are attacking this realistic looking threat, or simply preying on what they view as a hapless creature swimming for its life. In any event when Bass commit to the Rodent it is quite a spectacle. One minute you are watching the Rodent skirt across the surface, then a sudden splash results in a fish dragging the Rodent underneath the water.

 

A second after the splash strike a medium sized bass pulls the Rodent down

 
Durability:
 I have fished other hair type lures and found them difficult to take care of. They look good new, but once used a few times they became matted and discolored. The Rodent held up well and after field tests continued to look agreeable. While the hair may look tangled after use, once in the water the Rodent looks and performs as good as new. At first I was concerned the thin leathery tail would break off, but the tail is constructed of a strand of leather and has proven to be quite hard-wearing. The only tip here is that with all fur based lures, allow the lures to properly dry after use, rather than just stuffing them back into a enclosed tackle box. A little extra care will go a long way in keeping the lure looking like a healthy critter.

 

The realistic looking Rodent can help draw curious bass out from structure, or is lethal when the topwater bite is hot

 

Applications: The design of the square bill actually makes it possible to fish the Rodent around heavy structure without it hanging up every other retrieve, thanks to its slower dive. With practice this lure can be fished in close quarters of nasty fish holding tree limbs and Tules. I view the Rodent as a good Big Fish lure, while it doesn't catch large numbers of fish, the majority of fish that did commit to the Rodent were quality ones. When the topwater bite is on the Rodent can be more effective than traditional buzzbaits and plugs on lakes where fish have already grown weary of traditional tactics. Finally, this is a must have lure for toothy gamefish anglers that pursue Pike or Muskie, as these big fish are at the top of the freshwater food chain, and won't hesitate to engulf this fuzzy morsel.

  
Ratings:

The Rodent Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Rodent is top notch quality and the time that goes into the production of each and every lure shows through in the detail. This lure is real enough to scare up some serious fish 9
Performance The lure performed best in and around structure in shallow water. While the Rodent can be retrieved like a diving crankbait, the majority of our strikes were topwater takes. This is a good lure to target big fish over quantity of fish 9
Price The Rodent is handmade and is expensive at $22.95 for the larger sized lure. But anglers must remember that like a fly this lure was hand tied. This lure is for those anglers willing to pay a premium for a handmade and customized lure offering 7
Features A nice design with a very realistic look and feel. Nice fur, eyes, and even a realistic tail. The only option the lure lacks is a rattle option 8
Design (Ergonomics) A quality overall package that is easy to fish both above and below the water. Anglers that know how to fish cranks and plugs will have no trouble adapting to this lure 9
Application A good lure for targeting big bass. Can be fished slowly at night for big bass too 9

Total Score

8.50


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Unique design L No rattle option
J Realistic look and feel! L You have to pay more for handmade lure
J Exclusive handmade quality  
J Can be fished multiple ways  


Conclusion: Sometimes it takes a new unique design to scare up those big fish on highly pressured fishing locales, and the Bettencourt Rodent is just about as distinct as lures come. Nathan Bettencourt has personally put together a quality handmade lure. A lot of attention and detail goes into the construction of each and every one of these lures...and it shows. Trust me, if this lure looks real enough to spook one of our Editors, it is capable of deceiving bass. This amazingly lifelike lure looks and moves like a living breathing rat taking a dip in the water. If you are targeting big bass, or are looking for a flexible new topwater alternative the Rodent is certainly capable of getting bass to commit.
 

Until next time....Tight Lines.



 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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