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Swimbait Review

It Is An Obsession, It Is My Obsession, Lanciotti's Psycho Gill Can Be, an Enthusiast Bait Collector's Key (continued)

Castability: Get your combo right and casting the three ounce Psycho Gill is pretty straight forward. In fact, if you're tuned into slinging big baits, this bait is easy to use. If not, it doesn't take long to dial in so long as your rod is built to handle a bait this size. For best results choosing a stick for slinging big baits, select a rod with a lure rating beyond what you need. There are obviously exceptions, but if your bait is right around three ounces, like the Psycho Gill, then a rod with a max lure rating of four ounces or more will be a good choice. Despite ratings, the more your rod strains to cast a lure, the more difficult it will be for you to place the lure where you want it. The struggle will also affect your ability to sling the bait all day. All that aside, for the record, just as designed, the Psycho Gill is easy to cast for both distance and accuracy.

Sometimes, a simple color scheme is best

Ease of Actuation: Once in the water, the Psycho Gill rests in a neutral position with its back just barely out of the water. If you have the patience, letting it sit in place after the cast is a good strategy. This bait can illicit strikes right away even on a dead stick. If you twitch your rod tip, it will walk from side to side like a big cigar bait. However, I prefer to fish this bait is on the simple, no brainer, slow, straight retrieve. Fished in this manner, the Psycho Gill gives off a good size wake, but the trait that hooks you is the way the bait's tail swings back and forth on the surface like a shark tail. This tiny little detail really inspires confidence the bait is about to be crushed.

Zander wearing the fish out with the Psycho. Last season I cannot remember a single day that he didn't have the Psycho tied on and at the ready

On the other hand, if you like crankdowns, it doesn't take much to get the Psycho Gill to swim subsurface. A twitch of your rod tip to pull the head down a little, followed by a faster pace to your retrieve is all that's needed. This will get the bait to swim down to about three feet or so. However, if you adjust your cadence just right, the Psycho Gill will do the deadly dance of swimming just below the surface - the zone where most experienced wake bait fishermen prefer to patrol. Effective in four different methods, this bait is just deadly.

Purple crappie? Sure, why not?

Design/Ergonomics: Specifications wise, the Psycho Gill is a two piece resin bait measuring just over six inches in length. It is also made in a three piece variant, but more difficult to source. The bait's hand poured, soft plastic tail is replaceable and if bought brand new from Lanciotti Lures, the bait comes with a spare tail. Weighing in at just over three ounces, it is, as mentioned earlier, a very easy bait to sling all day long.

Bait Detail : A feature and dimension breakdown of Lanciotti Lure's Psycho Gill as detailed by our Swimbait SkunkWerx division

The bait's hook hangars rotate and are attached to large, sharp, 1/0 sized hooks on both the front and the back. The stock hooks are of the thin wire variety for better hook penetration. If you prefer something more stout, you can easily replace the hooks but keep in mind, heavier hooks may affect the bait's flotation and running depth. There is no split ring at the vertical line tie, but I use a large snap to attach my Psycho Gill for enhanced freedom of movement. The bait performs just fine if you prefer to tie direct.

It's all about that scornful face, full of disdain. I love it!

Of course, we cannot talk design and ergonomics without discussing the signature trait of this bait - its face. No matter the paint scheme, the Psycho Gill's scornful eyes and disdainful grin perfectly embody the feisty nature of a bluegill. It is that dedication to insolence that likely elicits the strikes this bait receives as if to inspire prey victims to try and demonstrate who's the true alpha.

Zander with a fish caught on the Psycho Gill I gifted him, on a rod I wrapped, with a reel I helped to set up with hollow braid plus leader - this is the TackleTour way

Price & Availability: With the majority of hand made, resin baits now retailing for over $200, retail for Lanciotti's Psycho Gill is quite reasonable at around $150 if ordered online, or $140 if purchased in person at a show. The difference in cost is, of course, for shipping. Surprising really, but that's only if you can find the bait at retail. Once obtainable via wait list, that avenue is now closed. It seems the best method to currently find this bait at retail is to attend one of the many shows big bait makers gather and/or be lucky enough to have a local tackle store that has a clandestine connection to Lanciotti. The good news is Lanciotti is working on a website where he plans to offer his baits and other products, like spare tails, more regularly through drops. The plans are to have that up and running before the end of 2023.

The Psycho is an easy bait to sling all day long. The hardest part of fishing this bait is simply acquiring one

I was fortunate to acquire three of the four I've held via waitlist, and one in trade. The secondary market for this bait can be absurd, but if you find the right individual, the fleecing can be therapeutic helping to relieve the stress and anxiety that inspires that "need to have" psychosis. The big bait world and culture is definitely different and easily sucks you in.


Lanciotti Lures Psycho Gill Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality I've had the privilege of owning four of these baits over the course of the last couple of years and consistency bait to bait, batch to batch is top notch 9
Performance This is a four level bait - deadstick, walk, wake, crank - best on a slow to medium paced retrieve 8.5
Price With most garage baits these days cresting $200, the Psycho Gill is surprisingly affordable - IF you can find the bait at retail. Secondary market prices are very inflated with come baits in new or barely fished condition selling for $250-300 dollars 8
Features Stout hardware, quality hooks, replaceable tail, durable finish 8
Design (Ergonomics) Available in two or three piece configs, this bait is the perfect size to sling all day without fatigue and comes in a wide variety of patterns 8
Application When the bass are in the shallows, this bait challenges them to strike. The wake and sound the Psycho makes is very impressive. Zander often remarks how good it sounds during slow steady retrieves and that the Psycho just sounds "fishy" 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:


+ Can be fished four different ways - Can be painfully difficult to acquire
+ Big, but not too big  
+ Patterns are executed very well  
+ That face...  


The actual bait that began this obsession


Conclusion: Want a clue as to the psychosis this bait inspires? After receiving my very first Psycho Gill during the Spring of '21, I noticed Zander practically salivating at the bait. "I want one," he murmured. Acquired in the midst of our Rat Rumble, it took some time for me to finally fish the lure and when I did, I had immediate success. After finally landing a good sized fish for a photo op, I took the bait off and handed it to Zander to quench his desire. The precious bait has quickly vaulted to one of his favorites and he's gone on to acquire other bait profiles from Lanciotti as well. Me? I went on a mission to replace the gifted bait and am fortunate enough to now have three with which to play and I may not be done. The psychosis has been a slow build, but now it is bordering on an obsession. It is an obsession. If it is on your list of baits to acquire, be forewarned. If it is not, maybe, just maybe, you're safe.


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