Illude Lunker Fighters Zombie
Gerbil – A Deadly Walker
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.
a number of
The Zombie Gerbil is
part of the Lunker
Fighters line of
resin baits and is
based on the Illude
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
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
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
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
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
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
Next Section: The most effective way to fish the Gerbil