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Lure Review

Looks Can Be Deceiving: Black Dog Bait Company's Lunker Punker (continued)

Durability: With no moving parts, the Lunker Punker's only area of wear is in its finish. Remember, this is relatively heavy wood bait, so casting it up onto shore or into pilings will undoubtedly crack the finish, expose the wood underneath, and open up the bait to all kinds of problems thereafter. This bait does not have the indestructibility of its resin-based competition.


Battle scars after only a couple of fish

Another area of brief concern is in the hardware chosen for this bait - especially the Jr. version. The split rings and hooks are not the most stout we've seen so we recommend changing them out - especially if you're in the habit of tearing up the hardware on your baits. However, I fished the Lunker Punker stock for several months now and have thus far experienced no issues.

Not the most stout split ring or hooks


Effectiveness: I've had best success with this bait on days that were not flat calm. It seems any amount of ripple on the water is better than none, but that doesn't stop me from throwing it just about anytime or anywhere. So far, I've only caught largemouth bass on this bait, but you can rest assured, it will be tied on and ready to go on the deck of my boat when we head out for the fall striper run on the California Delta!


Nope.. still doesn't look like much, does it?

But the sequence of events that officially sold myself, Zander, and Gary Dobyns on this bait occurred during that day on Clear Lake. This was after the big fish, but before the six pounder. I had cast the bait out over a submerged hump. All three of us, at this point, were watching the bait. The water was choppy from wind and wake action of boats passing by. I was letting the bait sit out there, bobbing in the waves as we were discussing Gary's rods. Suddenly, we saw a big green flash as if a fish took a swipe at the bait but missed it. At the same time, we all asked, "did you see that?" We wondered if that a fish or a strange reflection? Gary felt it was a fish and moved the boat so we could get a better view. I left the bait floating in the same spot.

Not without its good points, the Lunker Punker actually does have some nice detailing around the head

As we came around and could get a better look at the Punker, what we saw was directly beneath the bait were four good sized bass, just staring at it. Then, another moved in, and then another! There sat the Lunker Punker bobbing up and down in the waves and about half a dozen bass to at least five pounds EACH were poised directly beneath checking it out. Nervous, I gave the bait a couple of twitches mixed in with some pauses and nothing. They just followed it. I quickly reeled in the bait, made a cast beyond this point and put the bait into a turbo dance when WHOOSH-KERPSLASH! my bait disappeared in a HUGE explosion. Six pounder in the boat, with rod, reel, bait in the hands of Gary Dobyns - I never got that bait back.


But who cares what the friggin' bait looks like when it catches fish like this!

Availability: Just about the time we debuted our article on fishing Clear Lake with Gary Dobyns, the last shipments of the Lunker Punker were leaving Black Dog Bait's warehouse thanks to the buzz they received at ICAST 2007. Shortly thereafter, the full size version became harder and harder to locate until now, at the time of this writing, we understand the great majority are sold out. Heck, I bought three more myself the Monday after our trip to Clear Lake.

Don't let this unassuming look fool you, this bait is b@& a$$.


A new shipment of baits is expected into the warehouse sometime in September with the great majority of these baits already tagged for immediate shipment to stores who have been waiting impatiently for their orders to be fulfilled. Judging by the spike in sales on other products reported as the result of other, similarly successful reviews, this article will not help with the availability of the Lunker Punker.



Black Dog Bait Company Lunker Punker Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This bait could do with a bit more stout hardware - the Jr. version especially 8.5
Performance A perfect score inspired by a multi-big fish day in less than ideal conditions 10
Price Not for the faint of pocket book 7.75
Features Pretty much no nonsense here 8
Design (Ergonomics) So far, only one color to choose from, but we saw SEVERAL new colors at ICAST that hopefully make it into production - regardless, the one color being made is well executed 9
Application Best in non-flat calm days 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Casts like a dream L Stock hardware is a little light
J No joints or tails to worry about breaking L Would be great in more patterns
J Attractive trout pattern L Might be a little hard to find
J Flat out catches fish!  


Conclusion: The only question left in my mind is are you going to be one of those bug-eyed lurkers hanging out at your local tackle shop drooling over the Lunker Punker sitting on the counter, or are you going to be one of the aggressive ones jumping at your chance to hold this unassuming little wonder before the guy behind the counter works it past your grasp and into someone else's?


By the way, it works on the Delta too!


Gary Dobyns repeatedly told me during our trip that when I first showed him the Lunker Punker, he was thoroughly unimpressed. After I tied it on, tossed it into the water, and began my retrieve, he was even less impressed. Nothing in this bait demonstrated to him that it was anything special. Then, on that day, when the bite was tough, I go and land a nearly nine pound bass followed up by that crazy series of events that concluded with the six pounder in the boat. Then Dobyns gave it a whirl and he must have caught at least six other fish in and around that same area - nothing big - but all decent fish. I "lost" that bait somewhere in Dobyns' boat, but no matter, I quickly turned around and bought several more. Is it any wonder why I give the Lunker Punker TT's Editor's Choice Award? Nice job Grant and Jeremy, keep the hits coming!











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