Impressions: The Panther Martin Mark Drag is a brand new addition to
their ever-growing series of lures. The Mark Drag consists of four classic Panther Martin
blades sporting holographic patterns. The blades are held inline via a 30 inch coated wire
which is rated at 22 pound test. At each end of the wire there are rugged snap swivels
that will provide easy and quick changes when needed. In addition to the
inline trolling blades, the Mark Drag comes with Panther Martin's deadly
Vivif swimbait that we reviewed at
the beginning of last year. To put some distance between the last blade and the
Vivif, an additional 8.5 inches of wire, in conjunction with another snap
swivel, connects the inline blades to the swimbait.
for Mark Drag Tests
Scotty Electric Propack 1116
Daiwa Southern California Special|
lb. Stren High Impact|
Field Tests: The Mark Drag is a very versatile rig to run. It can be fished
for many species of fish including blue fish, salmon, trout, halibut, stripers,
albacore, pike, and much more. To test this new Panther Martin trolling combo we
put it up against striped bass, salmon, trout, and halibut in the Pacific.
The attractive blades are great
for salmon trolling
Performance: With the assistance from our handy Scotty downrigger we
put the Mark Drag to the test. As we began to lower the downrigger we noticed the
blades immediately started to spin and the Vivif came to life with superb tail
kicking action. The optimal trolling speed determined during our tests was right
around 3 mph,
well within the recommended range described by Panther Martin of 2 to 4 mph.
The Panther Martin holographic
blades are very eye-catching especially when light reflects off of them, notice the beads that are in place to help
the rig maintain a smooth rotation, and they are also an added attractant.
For most of the fishing we used the complete Mark
Drag rig which includes the Panther Martin Vivif swimbait. The results were
outstanding. By using a Garmin fishfinder we matched our trolling depth to the
bait, and were able to pick up fish. No fish can ignore
an easy meal, and the Mark Drag blades and swimbait combination seemed to do a good job at
mimicking a small school of bait. With species such as halibut, where the
fish won't swim a great distance to take its prey, the spinning and thumping
blades do catch their attention and rigs trolled at the same depth with the Mark
Drag had a 30% higher strike ratio than our normal rig with the same swimbait.
baits is easy with the secure clip, you can even run live-bait if you choose
Even though the Mark Drag comes with a Vivif, you do
have a choice not to use it. Detaching the swimbait is quick via a snap swivel,
and attaching your own choice of lure is just as easy. For example when we fish
the Salmon opener we chose to apply the attractive blades but attached a
purple haze Hootchie to the rig instead. The blades did the job at luring the salmon to come
closer to take our lure. While about 80 percent of the anglers that day got
skunked, we have to thank the Mark Drag for our two successfully landed salmon.
The performance of the new Panther Martin Mark
Drag is splendid, but there was one thing that can be improved on this rig. A
snap swivel is used to connect the short 8 inch wire to the lure directly. This large swivel is
brawny and required for larger species, but it's a bit too large for undersized
lures or with fish that have superior vision and spook easily. A change in this part of the
combination will surely improve the realistic appeal and action of the Vivif
Rugged components are used
throughout the Mark Drag
Durability: The Panther Martin Mark Drag combo held up nicely
throughout our tests. The wire, blades, and swivels were all quality components
and requires a quick rinse after each use to keep them as good as new.
The swimbait withstood the offshore conditions as we expected because it's the exact same Vivif
we tested in the past. We are pleased to see that this trolling rig was
able to deal with such a wide variety of species without suffering any damage
from the fish or austere saltwater conditions.
Anytime you troll, this combo can
be used to increase your chances at landing more fish. These two Halibut fell victim to the Mark Drag as we bounced the Vivif swimbait on the sandy bottom
Application: The Mark Drag is a deadly combination when trolled. It can be
used for all types of trolling applications when targeting a wide range of
freshwater and saltwater game fish. Though not strong enough for large hard
hitting tuna, the
Mark Drag can be used for species ranging from immense East Coast stripers to
whopping Pacific Halibut.