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Swimbait Review

 

Fold to Cast Further Ė Shimanoís Armajoint Hard Bodied Swimbait (continued)

 

An added benefit of the ARMA BOOST feature is the baitís ability to collapse when inhaled by a fish. Sometimes swimbaits have so much mass and are so rigid that fish are able to use the baitís own body as leverage to break free during violent head shakes. The Armajointís unique hinge design reduces this issue by collapsing and the baitís integrated hook hangers also enable the hooks to pop loose on strike so that there is additional freedom of hook movement, which also helps keeps fish pinned. This system ensures the bait swims properly without reducing strike to land ratios.

 


The hook hangers help improve consistent swimming action and reduce hook rash


When it comes to retrieves, I found the Armajoint very easy to fish and impart some very interesting and lifelike actions. The biggest weakness of the current bait is that it is only available in a slow float model and is best used in conditions where the fish are actively feeding near the surface, or cruising in shallow water.

 

I found the Armajoint very effective in the Summer and Fall when fish were more active. A sinking or fast sinking model would be a welcome addition and could enable anglers to fish the Armajoint faster, or more like an oversized jerkbait in colder conditions.


Price & Applications: The Armajoint retails for $42.99 which as far as custom swimbaits go is relatively affordable, but when compared with other mass-produced injected swimbaits is priced pretty much in line with the competition. The Armajoint is priced similarly to a Jackall or Megabass swimbait of similar size, and much more affordable than a Gancraft or Deps glidebait. This isnít a surprise as many of these JDM swimbait makers garner a premium due to their proven ability and high demand from swimbait anglers.

 


Durability on this bait is excellent. Even after a lot of use the side of the bait still looks new


Shimano will probably always be known first and foremost as a premium reel and rod maker, but their lures really are worth a look. I find that they often offer some interesting features, and at least a different take on bait designs. Saltwater lures like the Butterfly and Lucanus jigs come to mind, and more recently the Flash Boost enabled World Family of hardbaits provide both anglers and fish with something they havenít seen before. The Armajoint is probably the best example of how Shimano engineers are designing in features that differentiate their offering and give anglers a new weapon in an established lure class. The combination of the ARMABOOST and FLASH BOOST features are something that would be very difficult for custom lure builders to offer, and are actually better suited to a mass produced injected swimbait than a hand carved wooden or poured resin bait.

 


Strike to land ratios on the Armajoint are excellent. Even fish hooked right on the corner of the mouth couldn't shake this lightweight and flexible bait
 

The Armajoint is an effective and fun bait to fish that can be used to target multiple species. The seven-and-a-half-inch size and light weight make the Armajoint unintimidating to throw for even those that are not familiar with fishing swimbaits. Because it does not dive very deep it is best when the fish are aggressively feeding near the surface, during warm months, and targeting fish in shallow water.

 


Shimano has created a cost effective and fun to fish bait that basically has no learning curve


While it is not a traditional glidebait the Armajoint can be fished like a glide and does offer enough versatility that anglers will be able to vary their retrieves and create some interesting actions. Shimano offers just enough patterns to match the hatches from coast to coast, but because semi-transparent bodies are necessary to enable the FLASH BOOST function it is unlikely that patterns like white or bone will be available anytime soon.


When it comes to versatility the Armajoint holds up well to strikes and even after a half season of use the baitís body looks almost new. One of the secondary advantages of the clip in hook hanging system is a reduction of hook rash on the sides of the lure.

 


I successfully melted multiple tails by being careless with the storage. Now I keep the blister the tails came in for storage


The only durability issue with the bait is the electrometric tail which is ultra durable but will react with other plastics if they come in to contact for an extended period. I learned this the hard way when I stowed the Armajoint in a wrap with another bait and found a completely mangled tail when I unpacked the bait a few days later. The good news is that the Armajoint does come with one extra tail in each box. In my haste to stow baits after fishing Iíve successfully melted multiple. To counter this, Iíve started leaving extra tails in the original plastic blisters that they come shipped in.
 

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Shimano Armajoint Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Like other Shimano baits the Armajoint is well built and the quality if the bait is overall very good. The hinge design is clever and durable and the finishes hold up well. Hardware is also good and the bait is ready to go right out of the package 9
Performance The small size and light weight of the Armajoint make it easy to fish for swimbait anglers of all skill levels. The smaller size also makes this bait applicable to fish of all sizes however because there is only one size and sink rate available it is best used when fish are actively feeding near the surface or in shallow water 8.5
Price A very reasonable price for a differentiated bait and inline with the competition. There isn't "hype" on this bait yet so there isn't really a secondary market like we see with DRT, Deps, or Gancraft for example 8
Features Loaded with proprietary features. The ARMA BOOST joint and FLASH BOOST foil really set this bait apart 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) Easy to fish all day on Heavy powered rods. Anglers don't even need a swimbait specific rod to effectively sling the Armajoint 8.5
Application The Armajoint is a good search bait and great for targeting bass and stripers. We would love to see a larger and sinking version so it can be used to target deeper holding fish 7

Total Score

8.41
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:

Plus

Minus
+ Innovative design that really delivers - Only one size and sink action available. Best for warm days or when fish are actively feeding on top
+ Very good use of FLASH BOOST and SCALE BOOST features - Doesn't have the collectability (hype factor) of other JDM baits as it is still a new contender 
+ Strong casting performance provides benefits to both boat and shore anglers making this a great search bait - Need to be careful about the tail coming into contact with other traditional plastics
+ Easy to throw all day and delivers quality glide and twitch action. Can also be burned without washing out  
+ Excellent durability  
+ Reasonable price and great bait for swimbait anglers just getting into the game  

 

Conclusion: Shimano has created a unique and interesting design with the Armajoint. This lure blurs the lines between traditional S-pattern glides and double-jointed tight action swimbaits. The ARMA BOOST joint is very well engineered and not only makes the bait easy to cast but gives the lure plenty of action and also helps keep fish buttoned once they commit. The addition of FLASH BOOST and SCALE BOOST add some realism and flash that further inspire confidence that fish will be able to see and lock onto the bait both when retrieved and at rest.

 


The FLASH BOOST feature can be seen in the head of this lure and because it is larger than previous baits and is fished near the surface it is much easier to observe the pulse


Designed with purpose the Armajoint is easy to cast and very straightforward to fish. I found the Armajoint most effective in the warmer months but the fact that the bait only dives 0-1 feet also limits the lureís effectiveness in conditions where fish are holding deeper.


The Armajoint is also a great bait for bank anglers that are looking to cast further and reach the ends of points or swim over submerged structure that they wouldnít normally be able to reach from the shore. The ability to cast the Armajoint easily even into a headwind makes this a great bait to walk the shore and fan cast with.

 


The Armajoint is an innovative swimbait that addresses casting distance and accuracy in a clever way. More importantly it is easy and fun to throw and catches fish


Shimano has created something quite innovative with the Armajoint and I would recommend it for anglers that are just getting into the swimbait game, as well as those with extensive arsenals looking for an easy to acquire swimbait for fishing in shallow water, or simply want to present a flashier offering to fish that have seen it all. The small size and weight of the Armajoint make it easy to cast all day, and the small profile and injured look of the bait at rest seems to encourage fish to readily take on what they likely perceive as easy calories. I hope that the Armajoint is just the first of many swimbaits from Shimano and Iíd love to see some larger profiles, even a larger Armajoint, and one that is able to dive down to target suspending fish. For now Iím planning on purchasing a few more Armajoint swimbaits for my Spring arsenal, only this time Iíll be more careful about the tail storage. Whether you are looking to target aggressive fish from a boat or trying to increase time in the strike zone when fishing from the bank, the Armajointís clever design will fold to help you maximize every cast.
 

Looking for the Shimano Armajoint? Try Tackle Warehouse

 

 

   

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