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Lure Review

Imitate Big Forage with the Damiki Gizzard Shad


Date: 2/7/16
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Damiki
Reviewer: Wolbugger

Total Score: 6.96 - FAIR

The classic Zoom Fluke is probably the most popular soft jerkbait on the market, and for good reason. Spastic action, a variety of colors, and an affordable price all make it a top choice of freshwater and inshore anglers alike. Damiki's Gizzard Shad is a supercharged version of a standard-looking fluke-like soft jerkbait. It utilizes a totally different design and shape in hopes of increasing your catch rates. I am a fan (and consumer) of Damiki baits and view them as being somewhat underrated by many anglers. With this in mind, I was interested to see if the Gizzard Shad would be a letdown or yet another great product from Damiki.


Damiki Gizzard Shad Specifications

Type Soft Jerkbait
Length 5.5 inches
Weight 1/2 ounce
Material Soft Plastic
Colors 6
Origin 6
MSRP $6.99 (7 per pack)

The Gizzard Shad comes in a re-sealable plastic pouch.

Quality/Construction: These are some cool-looking jerkbaits since they have a bit more interesting designs compared to a more standard Super Fluke or Bass Assassin style jerkbait. In my three packages all the baits were free of defects and appeared clean and sharp from all angles. Detailing isn't anything extraordinary, but there's a bit around the head and tail sections. The color schemes are simple but appealing.

Spanning 5.5 inches, this is a sizeable soft jerkbait.

Quality Ratings for Damiki Gizzard Shad

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

I tested three colors (top to bottom): pearl white, white silver, and pro green.

Performance: At a stout 1/2 ounce, the Damiki Gizzard Shad is a dense hunk of plastic.  Within my arsenal, I favored fishing it most on an MBR843C NRX coupled with a Steez reel full of 14-pound line or 20-pound braid. For a soft jerkbait casting is easy and some nice distance can be achieved.

A generous hook cavity in the belly is a necessity with a bait this wide.

For the most part I fished these baits either unweighted or on a 1/8-ounce swimbait hook. Unfortunately, I wasn't really impressed by the action either way. These jerkbaits don't dart or glide as fluently as a standard Fluke does, and despite being rigged perfectly straight on the hook they'd occasionally spin or tumble when jerked. On the upside, as the Gizzard Shad sinks it sports a nice Senko-ish wobble all the way to the bottom. Though I didn't specifically fish it like a Senko during testing, you could probably do it and enjoy some good success.

The top features a shallow channel for the hook point to rest in.

The durability of the plastic is a definite high point. It's somewhat firm and doesn't tear very easily. Hooks hold the body very well and the bait won't get trashed after just one or two fish. The eyes are stuck on relatively firm, but they aren't permanent so expect at least one to fall off after some abuse.

The bait is not as stiff as it looks here; it's hanging straight down but the picture was rotated 45 degrees!

Performance Ratings for Damiki Gizzard Shad

Castability (1-5)
Ease of Actuation(1-5)
Quality of Movement (1-5)
Position at Rest (1-5)
Durability (1-5)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

Features: Each Gizzard Shad features a body joint for extra tail action, uniquely-shaped tail fins, a set of stick-on eyes, belly slit, and a shallow channel on the back for the hook point to sit in.

The head features some light detailing.

Design and Ergonomics: The 5.5-inch size is slightly longer than the average soft jerkbait and its height is also increased, too. Although the baits are equipped with a belly slit for easier hook sets, the Gizzard Shad requires a pretty wide hook of at least 5/0 for good hookup ratios.

The tail is small and sports a longer and thicker top fin.

I thought rigging these baits was a slight pain in the rear. Due to the dimensions it's not as easy for me to rig quickly like a chunkier, thinner jerkbait would be. I consistently had trouble getting a firm grasp on the bait and often would accidentally miss driving the hook point through the back channel while rigging.

Design & Ergonomics Ratings for Damiki Gizzard Shad

Bait to Bait Consistency (1-5)
Weight (1-5)
Realism (1-5)
Available Sizes (1-3)
Rating (= Tot/Pos * 10)

It looks like a serious weak point, but the body joint is actually surprisingly strong.

Application: The most obvious application is to fish the Gizzard Shad as a standard jerkbait either unweighted or with light weight. As mentioned earlier, the bait has a tantalizing fall so it would probably work fished Senko-style as well. When rigged with the hook point pushed into the outer skin it can confidently be fished in weeds or around structure.

Another view of the body joint.

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):

Damiki Gizzard Shad Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality For a soft jerkbait the quality is far from dismal 8.0
Performance An attractive action on the fall, but when jerked the action wasn't real impressive 7.0
Price The $6.99 price is considerably more expensive than most but the performance doesn't justify it 5.0
Features Damiki gives you several features in what's usually a simplistic offering 7.0
Design (Ergonomics) Realistic in appearance, but only one size and six colors available 7.77
Application Will be most effective from shallow to medium depths 7.0

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

+ Nicely crafted - Jerking action not as good as cheaper baits
+ Casts well - Price
+ Tantalizing slow sinking action  
+ Durable  

A short stretch of bank produced several nice fish one morning including this respectable bass on the Gizzard Shad.

Conclusion: Soft jerkbaits used to fill a large void in my arsenal, but in recent years I've backed off throwing them so much and now favor soft swimbaits a bit more. Fluke-style baits are indeed still bigtime fish-catchers, and you should always be armed with some during warmer months. Damiki's upsized Gizzard Shads looked quite interesting at first, but after my experience with them I'm not totally satisfied. I'd like to see Damiki tweak them to achieve the outstanding level of performance I'm used to seeing in their other baits that populate my tackle boxes.

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