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Swimbait Review


RatRumble : The Waking Dead – Illude’s Zombie Rat


Date: 9/6/21
Tackle type: Swimbait
Manufacturer: Illude - Lunker Fighters
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.91 - EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD

Introduction: It has been almost exactly one year since I wrote about the Illude Rad Rat, a lure I called “my favorite topwater custom swimbait,” and the very bait that made me fall in love with fishing custom rats. Since that time my collection of rats has grown significantly, and yet my affinity for the Rad has not diminished, which is on clear display with the amount of rash that can be found on that original bait. Over the last year I have also tried to bolster my Illude arsenal and started delving deeper into the brand’s other resin baits from their Lunker Fighters line, including the similar profiled resin Zombie Rats. While it easy to assume that the Zombie is simply a resin variation of the Rad this undead bait’s unique waking behavior, performance, and origin might just surprise you.


Illude Lunker Fighters Zombie Rat Specifications

Type Swimbait - Wakebait - Topwater or Crank
Length 6.25 inch body, 11.5" including tail
Weight 3.9 ounces - measured
Material Resin
Sections Two (one joint), the Zombie Triple has three segments and two joints
Patterns Custom - Multiple original patterns and many custom built to order
MSRP $137.00


Time to take a look at the Lunker Fighters Zombie Rat from Illude


Impressions and Craftsmanship: From Spring through Fall there is rarely a time when the Illude Rad Rat isn’t rigged up and ready for battle on my boat. While I love the Rad Rat it is still a challenging bait to acquire, and the two that I own are heavily scarred from use. As Illude baits have become increasingly popular over the last few seasons the owner of the company, Lendl Ha, has vastly increased the number of resin bases offerings in the company’s Lunker Fighters’ lineup. While these are still Illude baits when designated as a Lunker Fighter it essentially means that the bait is constructed from resin, versus wood.


The Zombie in retail packaging

All the various sized wooden Rad Rats and Triple Double (three piece double sized rats) are extremely coveted by swimbait buffs and creating resin versions of these baits makes them more readily available to a larger number of anglers. We will delve deeper into the differences between the characteristics of the wood and resin baits, but let’s first explore the origin of the Lunker Fighter Zombie Rat.


The origin of the Zombie goes back to resurrecting one of the company's wooden Rad Rat baits

The name of this bait is very fitting as the original Zombie rat was made of wood and was a Rad Rat that was literally resurrected from the grave.

“How the zombie rat actually came about was after working on a batch towards the final stages of shaping I found one with a very bad crack in the wood. I thought how can we salvage this? Its easily trash but maybe we can still use it,” Lendl explained. “So, I put it aside after shaping it. And as I was carving the facial features. I though how can we bring this back to life. I started carving away and thought bringing something back to life from the dead, really fitted with being a zombie and that’s how it came about.”


Comparing the profile of the Zombie (left) with the Rad Rat (right)

While there are some Illude zombie wooden rats in circulation the current Zombie Rats, and subject of our review, are now solely constructed out of resin. The Zombie design helps anglers quickly identify that these are indeed Lunker Fighters, and there are both a two piece and three-piece versions. The Zombie Rat more closely resembles a traditional Rad Rat while the Zombie Triple is basically a resin version of the Rad Rat Triple Double. Both Zombie rats feature whimsical designs and finishes complete with multiple scars, and “Illude” carved across the back. If anything, the Zombie triple is even more “zombified” as it is completely devoid of eyes.


The Zombie Double (left) and Zombie Triple (right), notice how the Zombie Triple has scar marks in place of eyes to further distinguish the bait

Like other Illude baits that came before it the designs and finishes on these baits are immediately recognizable and bear signature elements that the brand is known for including designs that are not hyper-realistic in nature but more whimsical in design, and feature some of the most artistic, and refined, airbrush work in the industry. To say that Lendl is a master at layering color with the airbrush would be an understatement, as his baits exhibit exceptional depth and detail, as well as some of the best color blends and textures out there. As an example, scales on his gill patterns are extremely detailed with multiple layers, and skin on his lizards looks believable. Some of Illude’s most popular Rad colorways like White, Chocolate Milk, and PB&J are all available on the Zombie Double and Triple.


The Chocolate Milk colorway ready for battle

Next Section: The waking dead is ready to rumble...









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