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Giving Bass "The Bird" - A New Crawler From Defiant


Date: 9/5/23
Tackle type: Swimbait
Manufacturer: Defiant
Reviewer: Zander

Introduction: Defiant is best known for their soft bodied 210 and 247 trout profiled swimbaits which feature a line-through rigging system. The company has been expanding their product range and last season introduced a range of braided and fluorocarbon lines designed for big bait anglers. This Summer the company launches their first hard-bodied swimbait, a full sized topwater crawler called "The Bird."


Defiant "The Bird" Specifications

Type Swimbait - Crawler
Class Float
Depth Surface - Topwater
Length 6 inches
Weight (measured) 4 ounces
Material ABS - Steel wire through construction
Sections One
Patterns 4 confirmed (Baby Goose, Black Bird, Brown, White)
Features Wire through construction, BKK Spear-21 hooks, replaceable wings, extra set of wings, hand painted patterns
MSRP $99.99

Defiant's first hard bodied swimbait is a topwater crawler called "The Bird"

A Big Bird: The Bird is a full sized swimbait crawler measuring 6 inches in length but looks larger than many other crawlers due to the lure's one-piece design which showcases a profile of a bird from all angles. Unlike many other crawlers that feature random shaped bodies and use wings to generate action and water displacement the metal blades on The Bird are positioned, and profiled, to look like a bird's actual wings.

The Bird features a ABS body with a wire through construction

I first learned about The Bird from Oliver Ngy of Big Bass Dreams fame who was personally involved in the bait's design. Oliver explained that The Bird was first conceived seven years ago when the team was looking at food sources of predatory fish that were underrepresented by various types of lures. Over the span of the last seven years The Bird went through many iterations to create a lure that exhibited the action that the team was going for, as well as generate a strong response from predatory fish. Oliver and the team tested these prototypes on a variety of fish all over the world, including targeting largemouth bass coast to coast in the United States and even seeing how well it could stand up to the viscous strikes of Murray Cod in Australia.

The Bird features beefed up hardware and wings that can be tuned and replaced

The Defiant team took everything they learned from this testing to beef up the lure so it would hold up to abuse of the biggest freshwater predatory fish. This included an internal wired-through construction similar to many saltwater plugs, use of super sharp and durable BKK Spear-21 treble hooks, and rotating hook hangers to reduce leverage and keep fish pinned while reducing hook bends.

A look at the sculpted back of The Bird

Defiant also knows that the number one point of failure for crawlers is the metal wing hardware so they strengthened the connection points on hinges and made the pin design simple to repair or replace. In the event that the wings are bent beyond repair, or lost, each Bird comes with an extra set right in the retail box.

Each lure comes with high quality BKK hooks and two sets of wings

My first casts with the Bird and I was immediately intrigued. I fish crawlers a good amount, and my go to crawler has been both the one and two-piece Monka. The Bird has a much large profile and overall volume than the Monka but it doesn't generate the obnoxious sound or splash that I expected. The Monka puts out a strong clacking squeaking sound in addition to splashes and I describe it as an exaggerated action, basically the bait creates a larger amount of sound and displacement than you might expect in a bait of this size, and this is especially true of the two piece version. 

The Bird is 6 inches in length and a full sized swimbait. Compare the size of The Bird with a two piece Monka crawler

In comparison The Bird generates an aggressive body roll and splashing action that isn't as loud as you might expect from a lure this large. It actually looks and sounds more like what you would expect a bird to sound like in the water if it were struggling, or even injured. I asked Oliver about this more subtle action for a lure this size and he explained that this was exactly what the team was going for.

"With 'The Bird' we wanted to create a genuine profile and action and one of the aspects we targeted was making a lure that was both big and subtle at the same time. This is one of the reasons why the lure is a single piece design," Oliver explained.

Overall The Bird looks and feels like a high quality crawler, and the ABS could easily be mistaken for resin. With the custom painted finishes and somewhat whimsical designs these bait's have a custom garage built feel, and I mean that as a compliment.

The Bird is available in a range of colors that are hand painted

Our Quick Take: After talking to Oliver I started experimenting some more with the various retrieves and have been finding The Bird to draw on both straight retrieves and as a twitch bait. Unlike other crawlers that seem to perform best when retrieved at a certain speed The Bird's large profile, floating design, and more subtle action seems very well suited for both high speed burns or just twitching in place.

The bottom of the lure looks both like a bird and fish belly profile to me. Hook hangers rotate to help keep fish pinned

I like the four patterns that Defiant is launching with, and while I'll probably fish the White most the Baby Goose just makes me smile. The Black Bird looks perfect for fishing in low light, and though the Brown Bird may look the most subtle I trust Oliver when he says "don't sleep on it," as we all know that what fish see is very different than what anglers perceive. This is especially true of topwater baits where the perception of the bait from below is both limited and different. I feel the shape of the bird is instantly recognizable as a bird, but can also mimic the belly of a fish when brought to life with various retrieves.

Stay tuned for a complete review of The Bird this season (Black Bird shown)

Like many of the other anglers that call the California Delta region home I have witnessed bass blowing up on ducklings, demonstrating just how voracious and opportunistic eaters bass are. After just a few casts and observing this new bait in the water I'm looking forward to putting Defiant's "The Bird" on the menu this Fall.

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