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Swimbait Review


The Sleeper Assassin of Cl8Bait's Rodent Squad : Water Vole


Date: 6/22/21
Tackle Type: Lure
Manufacturer: CL8Baits
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 8.08 - GREAT

It feels like yesterday when we first met Clayton Bryant of CL8Bait at Bass-A-Thon 2008. Back then he was the new builder on the scene and now, over a decade later, he's a seasoned veteran builder. I hate to think what that means for me, but in any case, when Bryant caught wind of our Rat Rumble, he immediately signed up to participate. In fact, he was so enthusiastic, he sent a hit squad of rodents each with their own personality. Before we zero in on the specialist for this assignment, let's take a look at the crew.


Cl8Baits's hit squad of rodents from left to right, Mighty Mouse, Water Vole, Baby Possum, Baby Muskrat. Missing here is the full size Possum


Baby Possum: Cl8 Bait's Baby Possum (and the larger Possum) is the veteran of company's rodent lineup having been around since the their inception. This thirteen and a half inch (13.5") long bait with a body of six inches (6") has recently been updated and is built with a new, mysterious, synthetic compound for better durability. The Baby Possum is available in six different patterns and in waking or crank down mode. The original Possum is available in just one color and is designed as a wake bait only.


Bait Detail : A feature and dimension breakdown of the CL8Baits Baby Possum as detailed by our Swimbait SkunkWerx division


Mighty Mouse: Where the Possum baits are big and traditional in size and composition, Mighty Mouse is like the scout of CL8Bait's rodent squadron. It's a single piece bait with a body measuring just two and quarter inches (2.25") long but an overall length of 6" if you include the tail. It is available in five different colors and is designed as a fun little wake and search bait you can just cast and crank all morning or evening long.


Bait Detail : A feature and dimension breakdown of the CL8Baits Mighty Mouse as detailed by our Swimbait SkunkWerx division


Baby Muskrat: If CL8Bait has all purpose rodent, that would be the Baby Muskrat. Measuring just 6" from tip of nose to tip of tail, this two-piece rodent has a very traditional shape but can be fished on a standard, heavy powered rod because of its size. Crank it slow, and it wakes, twitch your rod tip while at the same time reeling in and you can get the Baby Muskrat to crank down. It is a very capable, easy to fish rodent profile bait for those who don't want to bother with up sizing their tackle.


Bait Detail : A feature and dimension breakdown of the CL8Baits Baby Muskrat as detailed by our Swimbait SkunkWerx division


Water Vole: Speaking of not needing or wanting to upside your tackle, if you're keen on the idea of a rodent-like wake bait but would rather not ruin your shoulder or back trying to launch a four or five ounce lure across the lake, the last member of CL8Bait's rodent squadron may be the bait for you. The Water Vole is a topwater rodent measuring just under four inches (4") in body length and just under eight inches (8") from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. It is designed as a pure wake bait and after a few months of throwing big, heavy, rat baits, this little guy held a strange appeal to me. It is the Water Vole that I chose to move forward with for this review.


CL8Baits Water Vole Specifications

Type WakeBait
Length 8"
Weight 1.1 oz
Depth 0-2 feet
Material ABS Plastic
No. Pieces 2
Joint Style V-cut (reversed)
Bill Angle 80 degrees
Variants 5 Colors
Hooks 2x #4
MSRP $21.99


Introducing Cl8Bait's Water Vole


Impressions & Craftsmanship: CL8Bait's Water Vole and the afore mentioned Baby Muskrat are actually new additions to the family. Both were introduced in 2020. The Water Vole is a two-piece bait made from ABS plastic with a pin and screw-eye type joint. The bait has articulated whiskers, a reverse-v cut joint with a pin and screw eye hinge, swiveling hook hangars, and a soft plastic, worm-like tail attached to the body via a surface mount, center-pin like screw at the back of the bait's body. It has all the features of a full sized rat, but just in a smaller profile.

The Water Vole comes complete with articulated whiskers

Ready to Rumble: The great thing about Cl8Bait's Water Vole, as mentioned earlier is you do not need a dedicated swimbait stick to fish this bait. A flipping/punching rod or really, any properly rated heavy powered stick will do. When it was time for the Water Vole to see some action during our rumble, I just so happened to need some baits with which to test Legit Design's WSC68XXH-5 Big Bait Special travel stick. This is a stick designed for big bait duties but with ergonomics focused more on the travel aspect of the stick more-so than big bait duties. As such, it makes a wonderful rod for not-so-big baits up to about four ounces in weight.

Most rat bait enthusiasts looking at Cl8Bait's rodent squad will opt for the full sized Possum or its offspring, the Baby Possum (pictured here)

The Water Vole was a good bait to test this stick's lower end limit. Paired with my 13 Fishing ConceptZ SLD spooled with a fresh supply of 50lb Seaguar Threadlock Hollow Braid and a top shot of Sunline's 30lb Saltimate nylon monofilament leader material, this entire combo was a bit overkill for the Water Vole. So just because I mentioned you don't need to fish this bait on a heavy duty, swimbait combo, keep in mind, that's kind of what I ended up doing anyway.

This bait certainly has its appeal, but the Water Vole caught our attention out on the water

Next: Working the Water Vole and Drawing Power









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