Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Lure Review

Small in Size, Big in Stature, Bull Shad Swimbats' New Balsa Bull!


Date: 4/23/14
Tackle Type: Lure
Manufacturer: Bull Shad Swimbaits
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.4 - GOOD

How many of you bass fishermen recall that singular or even handful of baits you used to fish and were so effective but are no longer made? You know the one - that wooden crank or hand pour worm, or what about that very special topwater bait that seemed to get them every single time? Oh, if you watch carefully enough, sometimes that bait will pop up on that auction site, but it always goes for some insane amount of money because you're not the only one trying to relive the nostalgia of that special little lure.

Bull Shad Swimbats' newest lure is hardly big in size...

I know what some of you less than nostalgic personalities are thinking, "If it was so popular and effective, how come they're not making it anymore?" All we can say is stuff happens. Products get taken for granted and don't sell as well as they should, companies lose financing or even interest, others get bought out and then product lines, no matter how popular and successful get changed. Nothing lasts forever. It's part of the reason why we exist as TackleTour - to spread the passion and appreciation of the tackle.

.. but if you're familiar with its origins, this bait is certainly huge in stature.

Usually several decades need to pass before that nostalgia kicks in for a bait, but our story today begins in the 1990's. The bait we have in mind was responsible for several wins in one of the toughest bass fishing tournaments in North America - The U.S. Open. The ultra clear waters of Lake Mead present a challenge each and every year to anglers hoping to raise that trophy, so for a singular bait to enable multiple wins is almost unheard of. It inspired a following that to this day has anglers searching fervently for a suitable replacement.

Presenting Bull Shad Swimbaits' homage to an iconic lure, the former Ichiban Minnow/Balsa Pro is back as the Balsa Bull!

Well, search no more. Thanks to Bull Shad Swimbaits, this bait is back, readily available and from what we understand, is as close to the original as it gets. Here now is our look at the reincarnated Ichiban Minnow/Balsa Pro, known today as Bull Shad Swimbait's Balsa Bull.


Bull Shad Swimbait's Balsa Bull Specifications

Type Cigar
Length ~4"
Weight 1/2 oz
Material Balsa Wood
Hooks #4 Mustad KVD Black Nickel
Available Colors 2 - Lightning Shad & Shimmer Shad
Origin Made in China
MSRP $29.99


Quality/Construction: Traditionally, our quality and construction investigation into a product is a surface inspection. We look very closely at a product's finish looking for inconsistencies in the paint, do a visual inspection of the hardware, tug at all the potential failure points and run our fingers along seams and joints to determine quality of craftsmanship.

We cut this bait open to inspect the manufacturer's claim of an internal wiring harness because we wanted to see what this looked like in a balsa bait.

The Balsa Bull is a different animal. This bait was painstakingly reversed engineered from a few remaining originals, so we took a different tactic in our investigation of this bait's quality and construction evaluation. We autopsied it. However, understanding the delicate nature of the bait business and out of respect for the expense Bull Shad Swimbaits incurred to recreate this little wonder, we will not show the guts of the Balsa Bull.

We can confirm this bait does indeed have an internal wiring harness, but out of respect for the manufacturer, we won't divulge the exact details. What we can show you are the multiple layers that make up the bait's finish.

Instead what we will do is confirm that this bait is indeed made of wood and Bull Shad Swimbaits did well to incorporate an internal wiring harness that should hold up extremely well to any abuse a fish might attempt to incur on this bait. The hooks and split rings will give out before that harness does.


Quality Ratings for Bull Shad Swimbait's Balsa Bull

Finish (1-5)
Detailing (1-5)
Hardware (1-5)
Craftsmanship (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

We fished this bait on a rather unconventional setup taking care of two tests at the same time.

Performance: I fished the Balsa Bull on a rather unconventional rod. Megabass's F5st-611X7 Bearing Down Type X is a heavy powered rod - not exactly the type of stick you'd think to fish with a half ounce walking bait. But what makes this stick unique is it has a that finesse, stinger tip found in Aaron Marten's favorite drop shot rod, the F4st-69RSDti Hedgehog Evoluzion. This stinger tip is for strike detection, but what it does to the X7 Bearing Down is extend the rod's utility to fish baits like the Balsa Bull! I matched this rod with my Daiwa Pixy SPR spooled with 30lb Sufix 832 topshotted with 10lb Sunline Supernatural clear nylon monofilament.

In the water, the Balsa Bull sits almost perpendicular to the surface.


But pop your rod tip to get it moving, and it swims with ease.

Next Section: Cast that Balsa Bull









Copyright 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy information