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Swimbait Review


Megabass's Unheralded Spark Shad Swimbait (continued)


Position at Rest : Kill your retrieve and when rigged in the manner I outline above, the bait doesn't just drop head down towards the bottom. It actually swims down at an angle with the tail kicking the entire way. Of course, this is also true after splash down from your cast, so this bait is working for you the second it touches the water. Once on the bottom the bait does nothing, so when you feel you've hit maximum depth, it's best to either pop the bait back up or begin your retrieve.


A better angle showing the rigged Gamakatsu option with the hook's tip in perfect alignment with the Spark Shad's top edge


Hook up ratio was surprisingly good

Durability : As mentioned earlier, the Spark Shad's plastic is very soft, but it does typically last through a few fish before needing to be replaced. The realistic eyes can and will fall off eventually, but it usually takes some doing, or a spell of extreme heat, before that occurs. Results will of course vary depending on the fish you encounter but remember, this is a soft plastic bait, so it will not last forever. On the plus side, if and when the eyes do fall off, it'd make it easier to rig on the Body Balance Swimbait Head.

The bait's head after a handful of fish. Worn, but still very fishable

Design & Ergonomics: The Spark Shad is made with a slit in the belly to aid a little with weedless rigging, but that slit is not nearly as deep as the MagDraft Freestyle. I find the depth of the Spark Shad's slit more like a suggestion than a real commitment. The thickness of the bait from top to bottom doesn't really call for a particularly deep slit anyway. There is no channel at the top of the bait to conceal the hook point which is probably why most seem to fish this bait with a jighead or on an umbrella rig. It is definitely why I didn't think to fish it on a weighted swimbait hook right away.

Back end of the bait is very flexible

The soft plastic material making up the Spark Shad is actually infused with both salt and organic shellfish and baitfish powders only adding to the bait's draw to would be predators. I'm sure the salt content also has a lot to do with how the bait performs as it is descending in the water column.

The tail is reminiscent of the MagDraft Freestyle

Otherwise, Spark Shads are packaged in a molded plastic shell backed by cardboard. I suggest keeping these baits in their original packaging as much as possible to keep the tails from getting kinked up or otherwise deformed. Something that surprised me is there are twelve colors/patterns from which to choose. This is more than its sibling, the MagDraft Freestyle, which is only available in eight.

The smallest size can be fished as a drop shot bait in a pinch

Price & Applications: Megabass's Spark Shad retails for between $7.99 to $9.99 per package depending on the size that interests you. The number of baits per pack also vary with size. Apparently there was a seven inch version available briefly, but that option has been discontinued for now - at least in North America. Effective fished as a school of baitfish on an umbrella rig, the Spark Shad is equally effective, if not more so fished solo on a weighted swimbait hook. The smallest size can be fished as a drop shot bait. I tried it, but lost patience because I have a difficult time fishing anything other than a finesse worm on a drop shot rig.

Megabass's Spark Shad retails for between $7.99 to $9.99 per package depending on the size that interests you


Megabass Spark Shad Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Spark Shad doesn't really look like much out of the package, but the baits are very consistent 8
Performance Very surprising how stable the bait is and how easily that tail kicks. Hook up ratio is excellent. 9
Price A more affordable option compared to the MagDraft Freestyle, but of course, it's also smaller 7.5
Features The scent and salt infused soft plastic really enhances the bait's appeal to would be predators 8
Design (Ergonomics) Good selection of colors and sizes though I wish they'd bring back the 7" 8
Application Can be fished in a variety of ways - as effective as any paddletail swimbait product 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:


+ Good at all speeds - What happened to the seven inch size? :(
+ Excellent hook up ratio without sacrificing too much in durability - Eyes will come off after extended use or multiple strikes but bait still performs
+ Good variety of sizes  
+ Versatile in the ways you can rig it  


Conclusion: It never ceases to amaze me the amount of tackle I have sitting by the way side waiting for an opportunity out on the water. Having been at this for almost two decades now, I should also realize there are some products you can't just tie on, toss out, and crank up. As simple as they may seem to be, the majority of soft plastic baits require some forethought to tap into their full potential. Paddletail swimbaits are the epitome of this requirement. Subtle, fish enticing action can be unlocked if you just take a little time to think about how to fish a bait.


I caught a fish on my very first cast with the Spark Shad and from there was surprised at the bait's effectiveness


That's what happened with me and Megabass's Spark Shad swimbait. The bait's flat top duped me into just throwing it on a jighead, tying it on and tossing it out. I found it uninspiring in that configuration. It wasn't until later I took the time to look at the bait and try a weighted hook instead of a jighead - potential unlocked. I caught a fish on my very first cast and from there was surprised at the bait's effectiveness. So much so, it may have supplanted the MagDraft Freestyle as my preferred weedless paddletail swimbait. One thing is for sure, it has certainly won this Editor's Choice Award.


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