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Swim bait Review

RatRumble : Narrow Gate Baits's Affordable and Accessible WOOD Rat (continued)

Drawing Power: Speaking of sound, the constant through all the variants of this bait is their knock. Typical of a wooden wake bait, Narrow Gate's rat makes a distinct knocking sound that, together with its sloshy swim, is very effective at calling out would be muggers. It's almost as if it's chanting, nah nah nah-nah nah, daring a hungry, angry fish to strike, and we all know bass rarely let dares of this nature go unanswered.

The soft plastic tails are attached via a recessed, center-pin type screw at the rear

If you stop your retrieve and wait for the rat to settle, then twitch the tip of your rod, the Narrow Gate Rat will pivot from facing one side to facing the other with very little forward movement. Snap the tip of your rod again while at the same time reeling the slack and you can get this rat to crank down just beneath the surface. This is a versatile bait with several ways to trigger a strike.

Fur tails, on the distressed finish variant, are tied to a screw eye at the back of the bait

Vitality: After fishing these baits over several trips, I began to fine tune certain aspects to get even more performance out of them. With the distressed variant, I ended up removing the natural fur tail and replacing it with a soft plastic worm. The fur tail has a cool, natural appearance when the bait is sitting still or worked in a walking action, but doesn't have enough mass to swim consistently when waking which is what I want.

Hooks are very stout and the split rings are likely sufficient, but I upgraded mine with Owner HyperWire rings

The next thing I did was replace the hook attachment split rings with some spare Owner HyperWire rings I had on hand. The stock rings, while probably sufficient, felt a tad light on a bait this robust. Also, since I typically use a snap with my big baits, I removed the split ring at the line tie to help avoid any interference the ring might have with my snap.

The distressed finish is my favorite

While I was replacing those split rings, I also swapped out the dressed trebles with standard hooks to see if there was a difference in how the baits performed. Turns out without the drag of the dressed treble, the baits were easier to walk and had a tad more wiggle to them on a slow, steady retrieve. But what I discovered, after swapping out those dressed trebles is the hooks had more of a tendency to foul on the cast. Granted, the stock 2/0 hooks are quite large and a pair of 1/0s would probably suffice on this bait, so switching to smaller hooks could help minimize this occurrence, but I did not take my fine tuning that far.

Bait Detail : A feature and dimension breakdown of the Narrow Gate Baits Rat as detailed by our Swim bait SkunkWerx division

Price & Availability: As mentioned earlier, making baits serves as a creative outlet and distraction for Luker. Following suit, he does not have a wait list and does not have any real, planned schedule for release of his baits. The best way to order a bait at this time is to simply reach out via Instagram and if he has the bandwidth, he'll make you one or a few to order depending on your needs. The key here would be patience because all indications are, once this becomes less about sharing his passion and more about making baits out of burden, Luker will move on to a different hobby.



Narrow Gate Baits Rat Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A little raw, a little rugged, a bit unrefined, but perfectly rodent-like 7
Performance A very good combination of slosher and knocker 7.5
Price A very affordable, accessible, wood rat option 8
Features Solid hooks, different lip options, easily replaceable tail 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Three different trim levels and finishes from which to choose 8
Application A very solid topwater rat option for daylight or night fishing 7.5

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:


+ An affordable wood rat! - Stock split rings can use an upgrade
+ Knocks like a wood rat should - Hook placement or size could use further refinement to minimize fouling
+ Different trim levels and joint/lip options  
+ Good hook up ratio  

It sounds like an oxymoron, but Narrow Gate Baits's Rat is an actual, accessible, affordable wood rat alternative

Conclusion: If there's one thing that's become immediately apparent during our Rat Rumble, it's the fact nothing knocks like a topwater rat made out of wood. Rats made out of resin are creeping out of every bait maker social media outlet there is, but wood rats are a commodity. Most are prohibitively expense, and if not, they're simply inaccessible with wait times in excess of a year. That's if you can even get on the wait list. The second hand market for the popular wood rats gets more outrageous with each passing season. Then there's this rat by Narrow Gate Baits. It likely won't win any beauty contests nor is it likely to develop that fervent following of say, Illude's Rad Rat, but what it has over almost any other wood rat on the market is accessibility and afford ability. How long will that last is difficult to say, so if you're in the market for a wood rat that's a little unrefined, but wakes and knocks like a good wood rat should, I suggest you reach out to Narrow Gate Baits as soon as your budget allows because rat season is now in full effect.


Ready to Rumble with the Narrow Gate Baits Rat?

Reach out on their Instagram for ordering options









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