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Complete list of all current ICAST 2014 coverage
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First look inside the new Curado I baitcaster
 


 


Lure Review


A new Swimbait entry, the Flex Phantom from Strike Pro (continued)

 

Casting: The Flex Phantom’s three sizes each casts differently due to both the length of the lure as well as the sheer weight. The smallest size weighs in at only 3/4oz and casts much like a mid sized crankbait. The medium size is 4 ¾” and weighs 1 1/8oz and casts like a large jerkbait, and is both easy to fling far and accurately. Only the largest 6 ¾” size actually feels like a swimbait on the cast, as it weighs a total of 3oz. Still at 3oz. this bait can be cast by most stout rods, and a true swimbait stick is not necessary though it is desirable just in case you get into a really big fish and need the head turning power.

 


All sizes come with one hook positioned right above the tail

Retrieve: The Flex Phantom is all about the retrieve, and it is here that the lure truly starts to separate itself from what is already out there. If you are a Lucky Craft fan then you’re probably thinking this tail has been played out with the Live Pointer, but the Phantom jointed tail really does come to life aided by the realistic tail fin.


The lure's are feature the signature of Strike Pro's corporate president Michael Tsai

All three sizes swim slightly different, and the bigger the lure the more aggressively the lure snakes side to side, and when we say “snake” we mean it. This isn’t one of those swimbaits that swims in a lifelike manner, this lure is about triggering strikes. The tail screams look at me as it waves back and forth not in a solid motion but a snaking action that starts at the middle of the lure and moves all the way down the lure’s segments as it is retrieved through the water. As the lure rocks side by side it actually flashes thanks to an internal flash strip in the center of the lure's head.


This multi jointed tail is very flexible and uses a patented "Bicycle Chain" construction which proved to be very durable

Our first strike on the Flex Phantom came on the mid sized Phantom 130 on Lake Pardee. In the ultra clear water at Pardee I could see the Phantom slinking back to the boat over a rocky point when I saw a fish dart in right behind the lure no more than 15 feet from the boat. The smallmouth was about a two to three pound fish from my vantage point, and it came in fast and made a solid hit right on the tail section of the lure, I set and the fish was gone. Without any hook on the tail the fish really has to T-Bone this lure and attacks from the rear can result in short strikes. All of this was played out for me in the crystal clear water at Pardee. I also wondered if the result of the mis-strike would have been different if the fish had been a largemouth, as the smallie probably couldn’t get his mouth around as much of the lure. Nonetheless a second hook would have made the difference.


The diving lip hangs right below the front of the lure rather than underneath the head like a wakebait

I hoped that my next strike would result in a positive hookup, but I didn’t get any other followers at Pardee. The next trip took us to Clear Lake where I fished all three sizes. I spent a little over an hour tossing the Phantom 170 alongside docks and over points without so much as a follower. The lure was able to entertain however and even when you are not catching fish it is hard not to be amused by the energetic tail whipping retrieve. I started playing with the retrieve, burning it and slowing it down and even jerking it with short rod pops more like a jerkbait. The Flex Phantom may be named Flex for the lure’s tail but that Flex can also stand for “flexible” retrieve. This is one hybrid lure that can be fished like a swimbait, crank, or jerkbait. On pauses I found the lure would actually dive down and even turn quickly to the side.

 
When retrieved even at low speed the Phantom's tail "snakes"

Next Section: Will a big fish take notice?


 

 

 

 

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