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Swimbait Review

Bull Shad Swimbaits Enters the Premium Market with their Shad Glide (continued)

Castability: Bull Shad Swimbaits's Shad Glide, like the majority of their baits, is a very reasonable size and weight. Tipping our scales at just three and a half ounces (3.5oz), it's a very easy bait to launch, and as my choice in combo demonstrates, you don't need a real heavy duty setup to do so. On splashdown, the bait sits perfectly neutral in the water and sinks enticingly slow. There is a weight cavity in the front portion of the bait where you can insert weighted bearings in order to tune this rate of fall if you choose. Simply remove the connector pin with a pair of needle nose pliers to gain access. I didn't feel this need and mostly fished the bait stock.

Separating the two pieces reveals a weight cavity in the bottom of the bait's front section

Ease of Actuation: Once in the water, a quick twitch of your rod tip reveals a bait that will dance from one side to the other quite readily. On a steady retrieve, the bait is somewhat unremarkable. Yes, it swims from side to side as you'd expect, but the rate of travel from one side to the other isn't very far. You need to work this bait to unlock its secrets. By that I mean mixing in erratic stops in your retrieve and quick twitches of your rod tip. If you do that, the Bull Shad Glide will dance, dart, slide, glide, and move in an unpredictable manner much like an injured or dying fish.

A look at the bait's back end

Fished in this fashion, the Bull Shad Glide inspires a lot of confidence in your ability to get bit. After witnessing the swim on my first few casts, Zander even exclaimed from the front of the boat, "that thing is going to get crushed." Three casts later, as I was working the bait past an emerging weed bed, his prediction came true and a fish nailed the bait. The stock Mustad KVD Triple Grips did a good job of holding on to the fish and the added benefit of rotating hook hangars on this bait only added to my chances of landing it. I've gotten quite adept at dropping fish next to the boat this past year, but fortunately, I was able to land this one for the photo op.

Bait Detail: A feature and dimension breakdown of Bull Shad Swimbaits's Shad Glide as detailed by our Swimbait SkunkWerx division

Design/Ergonomics: The bait tested here is the original, eight inch version of the Shad Glide. Bull Shad Swimbaits has also recently announced a new, nine inch version launched at Swimbait Universe's Gathering 3, an event similar to Toxic Day 3 here on the West Coast, but held in Lanexa, VA (40 minutes outside of Richmond). As it stands, the original eight inch is a very easy bait to cast and fish for extended periods. The added bonus of being able to open the bait up and adjust its rate of fall by inserting bearings or whatever manner of weight you want is an unexpected benefit.

As a sidenote, Bull Shad Swimbaits has partnered with Catch Co. to produce this three and a quarter inch, ABS plastic version of their original bait dubbed, the Baby Bull Shad

Price & Application: Bull Shad Swimbait's 8" Shad Glide retails for $170 on the standard finish bait and $210 for the baits featuring HD finishes (by custom painters). These prices are another indication the Shad Glide is on another level compared to the original crop of baits by this manufacturer. As a quick sidenote for those concerned about the rising prices of premium baits, I'd like to point out Bull Shad Swimbaits has partnered with Catch Co. to produce the Baby Bull Shad, a three and three quarter inch version of Bull Shad Swimbait's original four piece swimmer. This bait is made of ABS Plastic and priced at only $14.99. So now with this collaboration, the company's original baits, and the newer Shad Glides, Bull Shad Swimbaits is offering baits in several different price brackets for every level of involvement. They've come a long way since the original Bull Shad days.


Bull Shad Swimbaits's Shad Glide Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Still somewhat rough around the edges, but a definite step or two up from what we're accustomed to seeing from this manufacturer 8.5
Performance Perfectly balanced to sit in a neutral position while at rest with very good action on short, choppy retrieves 9
Price Another thing we're not accustomed to seeing from this manufacturer... premium prices! 6.5
Features Rotating hook hangars, weight chamber, soft plastic tail, realistic eyes, fins, and gills 8
Design (Ergonomics) Once considered big, 8" is just average in the big bait world. This bait is also relatively light and very easy to fish all day 8
Application Very effective bait in the top 6-8 feet of the water column 8

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:


+ Good size and weight - Cost to acquire is high compared to other baits from this manufacturer
+ Rotating hook hangars - Availability is very limited
+ Customizable weight chamber  
+ Nice balance between the company's signature rough look and better detailing  


Conclusion: To say the market for swimbaits has exploded over the last few years is an understatement. Not only do popular baits sell out in the blink of an eye during drops, but the secondary swap meet market of buying, selling, trading baits is literally a 24/7 affair held virtually over social media outlets. Trading activity is reminiscent of collecting playing cards only without the stats. While buying and selling is like a hot real estate market with bids coming in over asking. Fortunately there are no piles of paperwork to sign or that lengthy escrow process. However, the way things are going, financial institutions may want to look into the viability of creating loan program. Some baits would make awfully fine collateral.


The Shad Glide from Bull Shad Swimbaits is my new favorite lure of theirs


Bull Shad Swimbait's Shad Glide is a player in this secondary market, but more importantly, if you can get your hands on one, it's an effective bait should you choose to actually fish it. At a size that was once considered overwhelming and ridiculous, the Shad Glide is actually very easy to throw.


The bait does take a little effort to work because you need to be actively erratic in your retrieve, but once you get your cadence down, the bait really comes to life. Stop your retrieve and the bait continues its lifelike appearance with a perfectly level suspend. It's an overall level of refinement that's a testament to how far the company has come. In fact, of all the baits I've had and fished from Bull Shad Swimbaits, their new Shad Glide is now my favorite.


Availability of the Bull Shad Swimbaits's Shad Glide is limited

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