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Swimbait Review

Feeding that Big Bait Obsession with Gan Craft's Jointed Claw 303 R-One (continued)

Castability: On paper, Gan Craft's Jointed Claw, at nine and a third ounces (9.3oz) seems like a heavy bait. But tied to the end of the combo listed above, it's actually quite an easy bait to cast and fish. I've always found the Jointed Claw in its 178 and 230 sizes far more manageable than baits of comparative size. That probably has a lot to do with its mass produced, injection molded body, but just because a bait leans towards mass production, does not mean it's not worthy of fishing. In fact, that's quite the contrary with Gan Craft.

With a properly powered rod, casting the JC 303 is relatively easy

Ease of Actuation: The Jointed Claw 303 has a very familiar swim reminiscent of its 178 and 230 siblings. The manufacturer does a remarkable job of keeping this bait profile consistent no matter the size.

On a steady retrieve, the 303 will swim from one side to the other in a very wide sweeping motion leaning into the turn with just a little bit of body roll on a steady retrieve. If you decide to mix it up with some stops or pulls with your rod tip, it will dart even further out to the side and then stop and suspend perfectly as you pause.

Hooks from one of my Deps Slideswimmer 250s on an early production model of the JC 303 feel a bit small

My standard method of working glides, but especially big glides like the JC 303 is a simple, steady retrieve. I'm a little lazy in that regard and prefer to let the bait do all the work. Note, this isn't effective with all baits, but it works for me with the Jointed Claw series. I'm too adept at getting the bait to foul on my line when mixing in twitches, pauses, and other erratic behavior.

Just because the bait is huge doesn't mean you still can't get numbers!

A point of disdain with a lot of big bait fishermen and the Jointed Claw seems to be the quality of the bait's hooks. Most choose to swap these hooks out. I fished the JC 303 stock and had no difficulties with hook ups other than the fact all the fish I seemed to catch were way smaller than I expected given the size of this bait. So yes, throwing this bait all day does not mean you'll blank if there are no monstrous fish around because smaller fish will hit this bait too.

Tail design is consistent with the smaller variants of the Jointed Claw

Design/Ergonomics: As mentioned earlier, Gan Craft does a remarkable job keeping this bait consistent through its many different sizes. What I like best about these baits is their size to weight ratio compared to other bait options of similar length. It's most notable in the 230 and now 303. For their relative length, these baits are really easy to throw.

Including the ability to remove the tail during storage or simply to replace

At 12" in length, some may find the JC 303 rather daunting thinking there are no fish with the audacity to hit a bait of this size swimming in the waters where they fish. Thing is, I've yet to catch a fish over four pounds on this bait and have caught several in the three pound range. Talk about audacity!

Every hit I get on the JC 303, has me thinking the fish is going to be huge, but so far, it's just been kind of status quo. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bait to throw if number of catches is your game, but if you want to increase your odds at catching a personal best, the JC 303 is a wonderful bait with which to build your confidence in slinging an oversized bait while at the same time maintaining that potential that next hit will accomplish your goal.

Gan Craft's Jointed Claw 303 is a legitimate big bait that carries with it a big price tag of $250

Price & Availability: Gan Craft's Jointed Claw 303 is a legitimate big bait that carries with it a big price tag of $250. It is available intermittently and does not appear to be on as frequent a production schedule as the smaller variants of this same bait. Not all big bait fishermen are keen on baits this size, so I'm sure demand simply is not as high. In fact, when I acquired this bait, there were none to be had in the usual online retailers. However, as of this writing, there were several in stock at TackleWarehouse, so perhaps availability is on the upswing.


Gan Craft Jointed Claw 303 R-One (Shaku One) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Simple but clean and very refined 9
Performance Surprisingly easy to cast given its size and very easy to work given the right setup 9
Price This is a big bait with a big price tag 6
Features Stock hooks worked well for me but most will want to swap them for something else. Tail is removable for storage and replacement 7
Design (Ergonomics) Very good size to weight ratio 8
Application A very good open water glide when you want to show them something larger than normal 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:


+ Very good size to weight ratio - On the pricey side
+ Easy to work - Not always easily available
+ A true big bait with JDM refinement - Colors options seem limited

Gan Craft's Jointed Claw is available in a size to instill confidence in fishermen of all levels of obsession

Conclusion: There's little to no argument fishing big baits for largemouth bass is addicting. There's just something thrilling about fooling a fish with an oversized bait. But as with any addiction, you can become synthesized. The more you fish these big baits, the need to move up in size to receive the same thrill on each hit increases. It's as if Gan Craft's Jointed Claw series was developed with this very journey in mind. Hooking you with the diminutive 70 and 148 sizes while fueling you with success in the 178 and 230, then taking you over the top to that point of no return with the 303. A big bait fishermen could persist on this bait alone and do very very well. That is, if you consider obsessing over big baits healthy.


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