Mattlures Cranks It Up With Their Latest Masterpiece: Their Hard Bluegill Series of Baits
Total Score: 8.83 -
EDITORS CHOICE AWARD!
Introduction: Our fondness of the Mattlures product is well documented in both our October 2005 review of their soft plastic Baby Bass series as well as our April 2007 review of their Ultimate Bluegill swimbait. In fact, it looks like every two years we cycle around to a new product in their lineup to sample and test. Well, that review cycle has come around once again so what could Mattlures have out now, in 2009, to wow and
surprise us? How about their first official foray into the hard bodied swimbait market? Introducing our review of the Mattlures Hard Bluegill Series.
Mattlures Hard Bluegill Series Specifications
Floater (F) & Sinker (S)
5 3/4inches : F = ~1.7oz : S = ~1.8oz
4 standard, more in development
Impressions: Of course, the fact that Matt Servant was venturing into the hardbait market came as no surprise to us as we were forewarned of this event at ICAST 2008. However, at that event, what he showed us was a prototype baby bass bait he had been working on. Come the fall of that same year, Matt had taken a slight detour to cover a niche he already dominates in the soft bait side - the bluegill.
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In hindsight, it seems quite fitting that Servant would select the bait profile that really started it all for him, and as those who have been keeping track know, we already thought very highly of his Ultimate Bluegill soft bait. So to say the detailing, craftsmanship, and finish of his hard bluegill series is phenomenal, we mean to emphasize this point by saying these baits simply blow away anything Servant has produced before. It's not just in the baits' profile, but the actual finish of these baits is simply out of this world. Of course, what shows in the packaging does not necessarily translate into fish-catching action in the water. So does the Mattlures Hard Bluegill series of baits have what it takes to coax bass into striking? Let's find out.
The Field Tests: Initial field tests with the Mattlures Hard Gill bait were actually conducted during our trip to DreamLake, Alabama where the bait was viewed upon by resort owner Chad Bracknell in amazement with regard to realism, but skepticism with regards to fish catching ability. Apparently, DreamLake had not been introduced to the big bait phenomenon just yet.
realism of these new
baits from Matt Servant
Coming in at just under two ounces for both the floating and sinking version of Mattlures' Hard Bluegill, these baits are hardly cumbersome to throw. What's more, given their relative light weight, you can throw them on just about any heavy to extra heavy powered bass stick regardless if the stick was designed for big baits or not.
Ready for action at DreamLake, Alabama.
Case in point, during our trip to DreamLake, while Shimano had on hand, several Crucial swimbait rods, I fished the Mattlures Hard Bluegill both on those rods and on one of their 7'2" heavy powered Cumara sticks. Paired with any of their newer reels like the Citica, Curado, and even the prototype new Chronarchs and using a gentle lob cast, this bait is very easily presented.
purveyors of DreamLake lodge were skeptical the MattLures Hard Gill would be
effective on their fish.
That's not to say this bait is too light for your prototypical swimbait rod either. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, my dedicated combo for this bait since returning from DreamLake is a Mattlures 77/711 Heavy powered rod paired with a Daiwa Pluton 200H. The Mattlures Hard Bluegill bait is very easy to cast with this combo as well.
quickly removed all
Action: Since this bait is a three piece design, it is easy to assume its action is the same as that of a bait like 22nd Century's Triple Trout. But while the Triple Trout swims with a relatively wide s-pattern, Mattlures' Hard Gill has a much tighter motion that really resembles a fleeing bluegill. Of course, pause your retrieve and feed the bait some slack line and it will do the 180 degree turn so many big bait chuckers seem to covet.
Check out the amount of disturbance this little big bait can create!
Even more exciting is the action of the floating version of this bait. When retrieved at slow to medium speeds, it has the action described above, but when retrieved at faster speeds mixed in with some twitches and pauses, the bait darts around wildly mimicking a panicked baitfish not knowing where to flee to get away from a predator. With some practice and a variation of your retrieve, you can also get this bait to pop and dance like a spook-type bait.
From its shape, to its finish, to its intricately carved details, this bait and each one of its copies are masterpieces in their own right.
There is also a limited run billed version of this bait that, if you're lucky enough to get one, has a more exaggerated action than that described just above with the floating model. The wake and popping action of this bait is just a degree more extreme than the standard floater, however, get this bait while you can as once the initial batch is gone, Mattlures will no longer be offering this version of their Hard Gill.
Servant even goes so far as to paint in the would be exit hole on every single bait.