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Lure Review

he CL8 Bluegill & Crappie are More than Just Swimbaits for the Spawn (continued)


Retrieving: Though only four inches in length the CL8 Bluegill has three sections connected by stainless steel hardware. Even with a slow retrieve the Bluegill will swim enticingly putting out a lot of tail swinging action, the side by side slinking is less subtle than I expected and rather than being super realistic the aggressive slinking action immediately draws attention to the bait. Smaller fish will follow this bait and I was surprised how many dinks no more than 8 inches in length would even try and take on this bait, it just goes to show how much bass like to munch on bluegill as well as how aggressive these predatory fish are.


The bait's body slinks back and forth aggressively when retrieved, there is a lot of movement for such a small swimbait


The smaller treble hook on the bottom of the bait makes it possible to stick fish, even smaller ones, once they make contact with the bait. The treble hook is connected to the bait with a rotating swivel that is integrated into the lure. This prevents fish from using the bait’s own body as leverage in an effort to shake the hooks, it also makes the hooks less prone to damage from torque.


Another nice detail is the integrated rotating treble hook design


In the lab we put excessive pressure on the joints and found that rather than break the semi-hard body of the bait would actually flex slightly to further absorb the torque. The tail section of the bait will flip either direction so that fish more easily fit the entire bait in their mouths. I found most of the larger fish would get hooked by the top hook or both hooks while all the smaller fish were stuck just with the smaller hook as they rarely would get their mouths all the way around the bait.


This bait is great for targeting mid sized fish


In the Delta I caught just as many largemouth with the Crappie pattern as I did with the Bluegill finish. My guess is that the baits also do a good job mimicking other types of sunfish that bass routinely prey upon. The CL8 Bluegill will draw more strikes than many other swimbaits mainly due to the lure’s smaller form factor which opens it up to strikes from smaller, yet equally aggressive, juvenile fish. That isn’t to say that this isn’t a good bait to target big fish, especially during the spawn, but this does make this a very good lure to tie on if you are looking for numbers and want more action.


Get over here!


Durability: The CL8 Bluegill has a more mass produced feel than some of its bigger siblings but the bait held up very well through a few months of use. There was some damage to the tail but none of the fins separated from the body and the paint finish proved to be extremely durable, while there were noticeable scratches on the finish after a few weeks no paint flaked off the body of the test lures whatsoever. 


The fins are soft yet durable


Price and Applications: CL8 Swimbaits are not cheap but are reasonably priced when compared with other boutique big baits. The CL8 Bluegill is the most affordable bait in the company’s lineup and retails for a very reasonable $28.99 each. This small swimbait is a good one to cut your teeth on if you are new to hard bodied swimbaits and is not intimidating to cast or retrieve.


A head on look at the Crappie


If you are going to only get one lure I would recommend the slow sink models which sink pretty fast already. The slow sink models with .8oz. while the fast sink models are only .1oz. heavier. By going with the slow sink model anglers have a little more flexibility to fish slow when targeting shy fish. The Bluegill swims enticingly to incite strikes but is also an excellent bed bait. During the spawn bass lock onto the Bluegill quickly when it is swam by their territory and can even be successfully jigged aggressively near their nests. During these situations when the lure is really tight within structure that the treble hook can hang up. Luckily for anglers removing the treble hook is quick and easy and the bait can easily rest right on the bottom without hanging up.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

CL8Bait Bluegill Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The CL8 Bluegill is well constructed and makes use of quality hardware. It feels a little less solid than some of the company's other baits but the slightly soft body actually makes it harder to damage this bait 8
Performance We caught more small fish with this bait but there is no doubt that it will catch big fish, especially during the spawn. This is a good bait for those just getting into swimbait fishing as it is undemanding on gear and your casting arm and is easy to fish all day long 8.5
Price The Bluegill and Crappie are reasonably priced for a boutique triple section swimbait 8
Features The CL8 Bluegill's top features include a extra treble hook on a swivel and a quality joint system that enables the lure to swim aggressively and collapse when fish try and engulf the lure 8
Design (Ergonomics) This bait is easy to fish, simply cast, wait, and retrieve. Watch out when retrieving in thick structure as the treble hook will hang up. For heavier structure it is easy to remove the treble hook. You don't need a heavy swimbait rod to toss this bait 9
Application This bait is great during the spawn but can also be used year round in water where bass prey on sunfish. The lure gets a lot of action and can be used for targeting aggressive smaller fish 9

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:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Very easy to fish, a great swimbait to get started on - Treble hook makes this bait easier to snag up around certain types of structure
+ Draws strikes from both big and small fish + If you only want big fish this is one swimbait that draws strikes from both big and small fish
+ Can be fished on lighter gear  
+ Very durable, swiveling treble design helps keep fish pinned and the treble hook in good condition  
+ Reasonable price  


Conclusion: A lot of times when anglers think swimbaits they immediately think “big,” and that means big baits to target big fish. There are times when big fish will readily hit smaller baits, and nothing pisses off a lunker like a bluegill invading their nesting zone. It is times like this that the CL8 Bluegill is a great choice, but to reserve this bait just for the spawn would be a mistake, as this small bait can be used to draw strikes year round.


The CL8Bait Bluegill is good for so much more than fishing the spawn, and proved to be an excellent lure for targeting fish in and around shallow structure


Fished alongside structure or swam in open water the CL8 Bluegill and Crappie’s slinking action successfully garners attention from bass and is petite enough to draw strikes from smaller fish making it a good swimbait to fill the livewell, or tie on for anglers just starting to dabble in swimbait fishing and need a lure that they can build their confidence on.


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