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Lure Review

Revisit an old friend, the Kastmaster, perhaps the most versatile lure ever created 

Date: 3/05/03
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Acme Tackle Company
Reviewer: Nature Boy

Total Score: 8.83

Introduction:  The Kastmaster has been around for decades, and for good reason, its a proven fish catcher. Its simple, yet deadly design has not been modified since its conception in the '50s. Its basic function, to mimic the actions of an injured baitfish, make it equally effective for both fresh and saltwater fish, and can be cast, trolled, or vertically jigged. The ability to cast the Kastmaster long distances and cover large areas of water continues to make the Kastmaster the lure of choice in many situations for trout.  

Kastmaster Specifications

Type Spoon
Material Solid Brass Construction
Colors/Patterns Many to choose from
Weight 1/12 - 4 oz.
MSRP $1.99 - $9.99

A closeup of a 1/8 oz. gold Kastmaster


Impressions: The Kastmaster's solid brass construction and aerodynamic design definitely make it live up to its name as a true distance caster. Its solid brass construction also ensures that it will never corrode, bend, or break. It also retains its luster even after repeated exposures to salt water. The only qualm I really have about the Kastmaster is its hooks. They usually are not very sharp out of the package, but that can easily be remedied by a hook sharpener, or by replacing the hook with a similar sized Gamakatsu treble hook.    



The Kastmaster stock treble hook 

Real World Tests: The Kastmaster can be used to attract a variety of fresh and saltwater fish, but it is probably used most commonly while fishing for trout.  The 1/12 oz. and 1/8 oz. sized gold versions should be found in any trout fisherman's tackle box.  The 1/12 oz. is especially effective for backcountry trout fishing, and wild trout will often attack this lure with a vengeance. The sheer flash and realistic swim pattern of this traditional lure has been copied, modified, and re-invented by many...but the Kastmaster continues to demonstrate its staying power.   




The Kastmaster comes in a variety of patterns and sizes 


Casting: The single greatest advantage of the Kastmaster is its ability to be casted great distances. When fishing for trout, a 1/12 oz. Kastmaster paired with 2 lb. test line and a flexible rod can easily be cast 50 feet or more. When using the 1/8 oz. Kastmaster, 4 lb. test is usually a perfect match for in terms of castability and durability. Unlike with spinners, the Kastmaster's action does not induce line twist, which is a refreshing change for those who frequently get bird's nests in their reels from using spinners.   


Retrieving:  There are several ways to retrieve a Kastmaster, and depending on the conditions and type of water you are fishing, different strategies may be used. The standard retrieve is a slow, steady retrieve, with the rod tip pointed down towards the lure. When fish are aggressive or in a large school, they will usually eagerly strike this tempting offering. When fish are more finicky or less active, an erratic, jigging retrieve is often effective. This involves holding the rod tip high, and retrieving at a steady pace, periodically jerking the rod tip back to induce a "death spasm" to the supposedly injured baitfish (Kastmaster). Fish will often strike right after this jerk, while the spoon is dropping. 


A side profile of the Kastmaster, a shape which gives it its deadly attractiveness 

In addition to presentation, it is important to present the lure at the right depth/speed. Another advantage of the dense design of the Kastmaster is that it sinks rapidly, and can be effectively fished at deep depths. It is also important to vary the speed of the retrieve until you start eliciting strikes.


Lake fishing technique:  Large lakes are where the Kastmaster really shines. The ability to cast this lure tremendous distances gives you the opportunity to cover a large area of water very rapidly. This is usually the first lure I pull out when fishing an unknown lake, and I fan cast with it until I start getting into fish. I typically let the lure sink for about 5 seconds before beginning the retrieve, unless I know that the fish are topwater.  The jigging technique is especially effective in lakes, and you will often see a fish follow your lure almost to the shore.  


River fishing technique:  In rivers, Kastmasters also be quite effective when the flows are slow and the water is deep enough. In rivers, the most effective technique is to cast the lure upstream, and retrieve it slightly faster than the current,trying to hug the bottom of the river as closely as possible. Of course, this will result in a lot of snags, which is why you should determine the depth of the water beforehand, and vary your retrieve accordingly.       


Durability:  The solid brass construction, and dearth of complicated moving parts make the Kastmaster virtually indestructible. I have managed to break one, by casting it under a bridge (and having it hit the bridge), but that was more due to human error than to poor design. If you can manage to keep your Kastmasters away from snags, these lures can easily serve you for a lifetime.   



Kastmaster Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Made of solid brass and retains luster even after many trips, although is not completely indestructible 8
Performance Mimics an injured baitfish better than any other spoon on the market.   10
Price Competitive with other similar spoons, though the larger ones can get pricey.     7.5
Features Comes in a multitide of sizes and colors.   8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Same proven design for the past 50 years.   9
Application Perhaps the most versatile lure ever created.   10

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Durable L Hooks need sharpening
J Cheap  
J Great action  
J Extremely versatile  

Conclusion:  A proven design that is still as effective now as it was 50 years ago. Its simple, yet efficient design makes this lure extremely versatile, and it can be used for almost any type of fish.  Its solid construction ensures that you'll be able to use it for many years of hard fishing, unlike many other lures where you need to worry about the paint chipping or the blades rusting. This is my personal favorite lure, and probably will be for many years to come. It has caught me more fish than probably all the other lures I have combined, and is the first one I usually pull out of my extensive tackle box. A few of these proven lures belong in every serious trout fisherman's tackle box.   










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