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Swimbait Review


Illude Lunker Fighters Zombie Gerbil A Deadly Walker


Date: 10/10/23
Tackle type: Swimbait
Manufacturer: Illude - Lunker Fighters
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.66 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction: The Lunker Fighters Zombie Gerbil is a rat-style swimbait that is a resin version of the original cedar-wood Illude Narle Gerbil. The Illude Gerbil is one of the rarest wood rat-style baits, with only a handful of batches ever made. While it's easy to assume that the wood version is superior in every way, there are many interesting attributes that the resin-based Zombie offers, making it both effective and desirable.


Illude : Lunker Fighters Zombie Rat Specifications

Type Swimbait - Wakebait - Topwater walking bait
Length 4.5" inch body, 9" including tail
Weight 3.5 ounces
Material Resin
Sections Two (one flat style joint)
Patterns Custom - Multiple classic patterns and a number of limited edition collabs
MSRP $125.00

The Zombie Gerbil is part of the Lunker Fighters line of resin baits and is based on the Illude Narle Gerbil

Impressions and Craftsmanship: Illude Baits has long been one of my favorite custom swimbait brands. The luresmith behind the brand, Lendl Ha, is not only an extremely talented builder and painter but also an all-around good dude. In the swimbait community, the most coveted grail-class baits include his Rad Rat, available in various sizes and configurations, and the original Narle Gerbil. Both of these lures are hand-carved from Alaskan Cedar. The key difference between them lies in their dimensions, with the Gerbil being shorter and wider, and a flat versus a v-cut joint design.

Comparing the Zombie Gerbil with the wooden Rad Rat

As the popularity of Illude Baits increased, Lendl introduced resin versions of some of his most popular designs under the Lunker Fighters series and created Zombie versions that added to their overall character and made them easier to identify. Resin is easier to manufacture than wood and typically offers greater durability. One of the key benefits of a well-designed resin rat is consistency, a point I explored in detail while fishing with the Zombies over the last two seasons, and in deeper discussions with Lendl.

The Zombie Gerbil features a flat joint versus an angled one

In terms of design, the Zombie Gerbil does not deviate much from the whimsical design of most Illude and Lunker Fighters baits. The Gerbil is perhaps one of the cutest-looking rat-style custom baits on the market, and it's hard not to smile when you see the bait moving in the water. The mere idea of a bass eating a plump gerbil is hilariously awesome.

The Zombie Gerbil is much shorter and stouter than other Lunker Fighters baits like the Zombie Rat

The Zombie Gerbil is a mid-sized floating swimbait measuring 9 inches from head to tail and weighing 3.5 ounces. Each bait comes with a clear lip and is equipped with Gamakatsu hooks attached with stainless steel triple-coil split rings.

The bottom of the Zombie Gerbil is flat

The Zombie Gerbil's tail is the same hand-poured soft plastic rat-tail used on all Illude and Lunker Fighters small-size baits, including the Rad Rat, original Narle Gerbil, Gas Rat, and Diesel Lizard. Each bait comes with three tails, one pre-mounted on the bait, and two spares.

The Zombie features the classic style lip from Illude

Lendl displays his excellent painting skills on the Zombie, and it's evident he has fun with this bait. All the popular patterns are available, including House, PBJ, Speedster Grey, Whiskey, and even Chipmunk. Around Halloween a few seasons back, the Zombie was even introduced with blood splatter colorways, and there have been a number of exclusive collaboration patterns with brands like Bad News Bass and, most recently, Throwback Baits.

Weighing 3.5oz. the Zombie Gerbil is best fished with a Heavy or Extra Heavy swimbait rod

Ready to Rumble: I purchased every Zombie Rat used in this review, two directly from Illude's own webstore, and a few more secondhand on Swimbait Underground. All the baits are very consistent in weight. I've fished these Zombie rats for two and a half seasons using a variety of rod, reel, and line setups. While there are many rat swimbaits I enjoy fishing with a leader, my preferred way to fish the Zombie Gerbil is to tie it directly to 50-65lb. braided line. This makes it easier to impart a quality walking action, which is critical to this bait's design and effectiveness.

Shake the bait and it will clack loudly. Resin sounds different than wood and has a higher pitch, like pool balls colliding

Next Section: The most effective way to fish the Gerbil









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