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Lure Review

Son of a Mother, the Roman Made Negotiator Swimbait

Date: 6/6/12
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Roman Made
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.16 - GREAT


Introduction: If you are a trophy bass hunter chances are you have heard about Lake Biwa in Japan. It is here that Manubu Kurita utilized a Roman Made “Mother” swimbait to catch the previous Lake Biwa record bass then went on to catch the world record tying monster with the same bait series. The “Negotiator” is a smaller version of the Mother, and is designed to impart the same type of action with a lure that can be used for a wider range of bass, not just the biggest baddest lunkers.


Roman Made Negotiator Swimbait Specifications

Type BigBait
Depth Sinking
Weight 3oz.
Size 7"
Colors/Patterns Albino, Ayu, Chiayu, Trout, Okiwamesu (and many more in Japan)
MSRP $84.99

Compared to the Mother (top) the Negotiator (center) and Trick (bottom) are tiny

Impressions: To call the Mother intimidating would be an understatement. Let’s start with the price, each Mother retails for just over 400 dollars each! Each Mother is hand crafted, hand painted and even hand tuned right next to Lake Biwa in Japan. Unlike most swimbaits including the company’s own “Trick” series which features two treble hooks traditionally mounted on the underbelly of the lure the Negotiator features a channel that is carved out of the top of the lure to accommodate a double stinger rig with one hook positioned above each jointed section.

The Negotiator features a single joint

The Mother is 12” in length and weighs in at a whopping 10.5oz. (imagine what casting that bait all day will do to your arms and shoulders) in weight, suffice to say you need a serious swimbait rod to effectively toss one of these big baits. The Negotiator is designed to be much easier to manage and is 7” in length and only weighs in at 3oz. total. Compared side by side the Mother Custom absolutely dwarfs the Negotiator in size but when it comes to quality of finish both lures showcase the same detailed design and artistry.

All the Roman Made swimbaits have a distinct flat profile

Real World Tests: I have been fishing the Roman Made Trick swimbait for a few months now and first purchased this and a Mother Custom from Tackle Warehouse. I was excited when I found these baits for sale here in the U.S. and learned that David Swendseid, who also works for Jackall, was responsible for helping make them more available stateside. The fact that U.S. anglers have access to this bait is huge for big bait enthusiasts. I packed my existing Roman Made swimbaits for our trip to El Salto and when David heard that I was heading down south he overnighted me a Negotiator custom.  

The Trick features two joints and delivers a more traditional snake like swimming action

Casting: With swimbaits like the Roman Made Trick or Negotiator I prefer to fish with hollow braid top shot with a fluorocarbon leader or straight fluorocarbon in extremely clear water or when fish are very spooky. With either of these setups the Negotiator is an easy swimbait to cast. It has a compact body that is evenly weighted due to the wooden construction and both long distance and short controlled lob casts are easily done with a light swimbait rod or even a heavy flipping stick. 

Cal grabs the Negotiator and ties it on for a test drive

Retrieve: When we started fishing at El Salto on Day 1 Cal checked out the box of swimbaits that I had packed and immediately saw the Roman Made Negotiator. Being fanatical about swimbaits he asked “are you going to have the cahones to throw that here?” Before I could even reply he had reached in and proceeded to tie it onto his casting rig. Within the first 30 casts he had a 3lbr in the boat. He cut off the Negotiator and handed it back to me and joked “well we know it works, now can we catch bigger before we lose it?” At El Salto the bass eagerly bit on the bait during slow retrieves, when slowly moved across the bottom or when the retrieve was varied.

The face of the Negotiator

Anglers that have fished baits like the Gancraft Jointed Claw or River2Sea S-Waver will immediately recognize the side to side gliding pattern this double jointed swimbait delivers. This action is very different than the triple jointed Roman Made Trick Swimbait which showcases a more traditional slinking straight return action. The Negotiator delivers a tighter more controllable action than these other single jointed baits and a simple pause or pop of the rod is enough to get the bait to turn or even spin around aggressively. When it comes to consistency and control for sight fishing this wooden swimbait is probably the best that we have ever seen.

The Negotiator features a channel on top of the lure...

Price & Applications: Up until very recently Roman Made baits, while very popular in Japan, have been hard to come by here in the U.S., most baits were imported or even hand carried back by hardcore big bass hunters or equally passionate JDM lure collectors. With expanded distribution now reaching U.S. shores the baits are now starting to become available here, albeit in limited quantities and at only select retailers/e-tailers. Each bait is still custom made by hand in the same factory near Biwa. So rare are these lures that I feel a little torn fishing them, out of fear of hanging up and losing them to some dark underwater grave. But to not fish these lures would be a shame, and to truly appreciate just how good the craftsmanship really is you have to see just how tantalizing the lure swims.

...which holds the free swinging stinger hooks

Next Section: Can the bait "Negotiate" El Salto?









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