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Swimbait Review



When You Wish Upon A Dream - Smash'em


Date: 3/25/22
Tackle Type: Lures
Manufacturer: Dream Smasher
Reviewer: Cal



Total Score: 7.92 - GOOD

If you're a big bait fanatic, colder water temps does not necessarily signal the time to switch to more conventional baits and techniques. In fact, soft bodied swimbaits are effective year around, but many require the ability for you to slow down, and then, slow down even more. Admittedly, throwing big, soft bodied swimbaits is not one of my favorite ways to hunt for those green, brown, or spotted bass. However, during the Fall of 2020, a relatively new company reached out to us with the request to send us some baits simply to check out and let them know what we thought. This happens more frequently than we let on because not all of these interactions end up with a published review. However in this case, from the first time I swam one of their baits, I knew it was just a matter of time. Introducing Dream Smasher Swimbaits.


Dream Smasher Swimbaits Shad & Gill Specifications

Type Wedge Tail
Material Soft Plastic
Colors/Patterns Gill = 3 : Shad = 4+
Sizes Gill = 4" : Shad = 6"
Rigging Gill = TopHook : Shad = TopHook & Weedless
Weight : DSS Gill Med Sink = 1.4oz : Fast Sink = 1.7oz
Weight : DSS Shad (tophook) Med Sink Only = 2.7oz
Weight : DSS Shad (weedless) w/o hook = 2.3oz (1/2oz 10/0 Owner Beast recommended)
MSRP Gill = $23.99ea : TopHook Shad = $24.99ea : Weedless Shad = $29.99 per 2 pack

Introducing DreamSmasher Swimbaits's DSS Shad

Impressions: Dream Smasher Swimbaits is a company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota making quality soft plastic swimbaits. Their signature bait, the six inch, DSS Shad, is based off a design developed by legendary lure designer Bob King. King is the mad scientist behind the creation of the Stanley Wedge Tail and many other baits marketed and sold by other companies. Dream Smasher acquired this and many other original King creations in 2012, then went to work putting their own spin on these proven designs.


The DSS Shad is available pre-rigged with a custom harness, top hook configuration...


The DSS Shad is available in two configurations, pre-rigged with a top hook, and a slit belly weedless where the angler can choose their own rigging technique (Dream Smasher recommends a half ounce, 10/0 Owner Beast Hook). The pre-rigged shad features the company's own internal harness design. Hardware that is shared with their DSS Gill Bait. From there, the baits' soft plastic is described by the company as a special, internally developed formulation providing buoyancy without the need for an internal flotation device.

... and a slot belly, weedless configuration

Real World Tests: There were a few but my primary combo of choice for our tests with Dream Smasher Swimbaits was a new stick from iRod, the IA784C-H Crusher Croaker matched with Daiwa's new 2021 Zillion. The iRod Crusher Croaker was designed as a frog rod, but with that extra-long, 7'-8" length, and a lure rating of up to three ounces, the big bait crowd has been quietly buying this stick up to fish smaller swimbaits, so I thought I'd give it a go. For fishing line, I used both 20lb and 14lb Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon on the Zillion.

 Recommendation for rigging the weedless variant is a 10/0 Beast style hook


Ease of Rigging : Following the manufacturer's recommendation of using a half ounce, 10/0 Owner Beast Hook, rigging the slit belly weedless version of the DSS Shad is very straight forward. I did not experiment with alternative rigging options like running the line through the bait's nose to the belly for a bottom hook rig and actually fished this version sparingly.


A look at the open slot belly


There's a channel at the top for your hook point


My primary interest with this bait was testing the pre-rigged, top hook version to see how well that internal harness performs. For this option, obviously, there is no rigging requirement. Just tie it on, toss it out, and crank it back - slowly.


The bait's belly rigged with a hook


The hook easily pops out above when you swing


Quality of Movement : That is the key with any soft plastic swimbait equipped with a wedge tail - how slow can it go. This tail design on both profiles of Dream Smasher's baits (the shad and gill) moves at all speeds. There's even a subtle wiggle as the bait is descending in the water. Pick up the speed of your retrieve and the bait shimmies with a very lifelike swim mimicking a fish trying to escape a would be predator. It does not burn out at medium to fast retrieves, yet the tail still moves when fished super slow. It is ideal in this respect.


The bait's body tapers down quickly at the back towards the tail


Position at Rest : Drop either of the pre-rigged, top hook Dream Smasher profiles to the bottom and thanks to the perfectly balanced combination of the soft plastic's buoyancy and design of that internal harness, the bait will sit on its belly on the bottom. In fact, the gill is designed to sit with its head down and the tail up as if its feeding off something on the bottom.


A look at that wedge


The weedless shad variant does not exhibit this behavior. Rigged with the recommended half ounce swimbait hook, it falls over on its side. If rigged with an unweighted swimbait hook, the shad will still sink and fall on its side once it hits the bottom. I was actually hoping to discover the unweighted shad would make a potentially deadly topwater bait, but it needs a weight of some sort on its belly to act as a ballast for it to swim right. Maybe a wrap or two of lead tape around the hook shank will do it, but I didn't take the experiment that far.


DreamSmashers also makes a gill profile

Hook Up Ratio : I'll be the first to admit soft bodied, wedge tail swimbaits equipped with the jig style hook are probably my least favorite type of big bait to throw because they usually require a slow, methodical approach and lately, I just don't have the patience. But if I have to grind, I will get in the proper mindset and grind. The issue is, I can slow myself down, and slow myself down some more, but when that thump-thump finally comes and I swing, I expect to get that fish in the boat. For whatever reason, soft bodied, wedge tail baits with a single, jig style hook do not afford me the best chances of converting those hits.

The gill features a flattened area just under the chin enabling the bait to sit up on the bottom with its head down as if it were feeding

Not all the criticism falls to this style of bait, however. Part of the equation with any bait, but soft plastic swimbaits especially, is using the right rod and reel combination. Case in point? While iRod's IA784C-H Crusher Croaker is just about the perfect stick with which to cast the DSS Shad, but when it comes time to convert hits with this style bait out at the end of a long cast, it doesn't have the right taper. Given how easily the rod handles this bait on a cast, the thought it might not set up fast enough for me to get a good hookset didn't even enter my mind. That is, until the first solid hit with the bait.

Otherwise, the DSS Gill features the same wedge tail design

Next Section: Smash those fish...









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