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Swimbait Review


G-Ratt's Signature Glidebait, only Smaller. Match the Hatch with the Pistol Pete (continued)


The Pistol Pete also weighs only half of the Sneaky at only 1.2oz. and fishing the smaller bait with just about any swimbait rod feels like overkill. You can cast this bait very easily with traditional casting rods, and I actually found that rods designed for fishing bladed jigs and jerkbaits suited the Pistol particularly well, and made it not only easier to cast with a simple one handed swing or roll, but also gave me some extra dexterity in which to bring the lure to life.


Once in the water the Pistol Pete also fishes a little differently than the Sneaky Pete. While it is a miniaturized version I found the action to be a little tighter, and it is a little easier to get the bait to dart erratically with rod twitches because it displaces less water.


I also found it very easy to cast the Pistol accurately or into tight spaces around timber


Over the course of the last season and a half I tried many different setups and retrieves and ultimately found I liked fishing this bait best with straight mono in the Spring and Summer, and fluorocarbon in the Fall to help get the bait down a little quicker. The downside of this setup is not having the strength and raw muscle of using straight braid, but with the Pistol Pete I think the added stealth is sometimes worth the tradeoff as this lure can be fished with more finesse than its larger sibling.


Don't sleep on the Baby Bass pattern. I found it very effective a month after the spawn


Using a larger swimbait like the Sneaky Pete acts as a natural culling mechanism at times, with the smaller fish less willing to take on the more substantial prey. However if you fish swimbaits long enough you have no doubt been surprised at the dinks that you will sometimes hook with big baits. Bass are incredibly aggressive and never cease to amaze me by what they are willing to attempt to eat. The same is true about the Pistol Pete. While the average size of the fish I caught were smaller I did catch some really nice fish over the season up to 6lbs. with this bait as well. There are some times, like a month after the spawn, where the fish were just more keyed in on smaller baitfish. It is in situations like this where the Pistol better matches the hatch, and can be even more effective at not just drawing more fish, but also converting larger ones as well.


Similarly to the full sized Sneaky Pete I found the Pistol to be best fished at slow to moderate speeds. There are times when fishing the bait fast is the ticket, but due to the slow sink rate this was usually during the hottest months when the fish were actively feeding on the surface.


Once again proving the moniker that small baits catch big fish the Pistol Pete delivered some quality largemouth for me


Price and Applications: One of the added benefits of going to mass production on baits like the Sneaky and Pistol Pete is the ability to offer many more patterns. There are 14 different patterns available in both sizes, and they range from semi-translucent to multiple fully painted up trout patterns. The Ayu and Bone patterns were some of my favorite, but don't sleep on the Baby Bass either. The Baby bass is a pattern where the Pistol Pete easily outperformed its larger sibling, and it seemed like bass were eager to cannibalize these smaller baits throughout the Summer.


The tail can be replaced if damaged or simply swapped for a different color to mix things up


Retailing for $19.99 the Pistol Pete is reasonably priced, and even cheaper than some premium jerkbaits and large crankbaits. I had one Sneaky Pete where a seam opened up the lure flooded, but never experienced a single Pistol failure. I did observe more hook rash on the patterns opaque patterns but that comes with the territory for most swimbaits, and didn't impact performance. The fish certainly didn't seem to care, and often times my swimbaits that are the most chewed up seem to perform the best. Overall the G-Ratt baits are built pretty tough, and the hardware on the Pistol Pete is also decent. The generic trebles have also held up well, but mostly because they are mounted on a rotating swivel which helps reduce torque and did to a good job keeping fish pinned during battles.


The Pistol Pete is a nice option when there are a lot of baitfish in the water, or you simply need a break from slinging the big stuff all day long


On many swimbaits the rubber tail is the weakest point of the bait, but I've found the rubber semi-rigid tails on G-Ratt swimbaits to be pretty durable. I haven't had a single one tear but the company does offer replacements for $6.49. What I like about this is the option to switch out colors if you want to better match the hatch, or simply give your bait a little more pop in stained water.


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):

G-Ratt Pistol Pete Swimbait Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality If you have one of the original Sneaky Pete resin baits you will want to hold on to it as they still have the undeniable look and feel of custom baits that we love. The Pistol Pete does seem pretty solid for an injected bait and the new finishes are more detailed and diverse. The finishes do rash up after use (more so on the larger Sneaky Pete baits) but this didn't seem to impact performance. Overall build is "good" but does exhibit that mass produced feel   7.5
Performance There are times when a smaller swimbait like the Pistol can actually outperform a full sized big bait. The Pistol is a great option for times when there are a lot of baitfish in the water and while this bait is good for catching numbers don't count it out as it certainly is capable of producing giants 8
Price Retailing for only $19.99 the Pistol is a great overall value 8.5
Features These baits do a good job channeling the original and making the design available in a smaller size. The variety of finishes are great but not as detailed as some competing offerings. The hardware on the bait is also good, and the rotating hook hangers are a great addition, and I like the ability to swap out tails 8.2
Design (Ergonomics) So light and easy to fish that it doesn't even feel like your fishing a swimbait at times. I found the Pistol Pete so light that I had to remind myself to slow down on retrieves at times but it is easy to bring the bait to life with a few light rod twitches. Overall much less intimidating to fish than the vast majority of swimbaits 8
Application Sometimes a smaller bait better matches the hatch. The Pistol is a good finesse swimbait and is not only great for largemouth but particularly well suited for smallies as well. One thing that would be great to see is a faster sinking model to aid with getting deeper, or more aggressive retrieves 8

Total Score

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:


+ The proven design of the Sneaky in a more compact form factor - Finishes will rash up, but performance was unaffected
+ Easy to cast and fish, just have to remember to slow down retrieves - Wish there were more sink rates available
+ Many great patterns to pick from to match the hatch  
+ Great for targeting a variety of fish  
+ Reasonable price for a quality bait  


Conclusion: Swimbait anglers love leaning back and sending those giant baits. I personally relish bombing glides with the hope of a giant rising up for an explosive strike. Putting one of those baits down and opting for a swimbait as small as the Pistol Pete just seems counterintuitive at times. This bait is simply too "cute" to do any real damage!


The Pistol Pete is a "cute" bait that I absolutely learned to respect as it delivered quality fish and there were just times where the bass wanted smaller baits and I was able to finesse the glide a but more to draw strikes


Over the past year I have caught quite my share of dinks on the Pistol Pete but there are also days when I not only got more bites, but the bait delivered more quality fish than larger, and much more expensive custom swimbaits. The ability to match the hatch, or simply serve up easy prey when the bass just want something smaller, is the key to this bait. It may be cute but it is every bit as deadly as its Sneaky sibling, and is worth having in the arsenal simply for the adaptability. Sometimes the little bait really does get the big fish.


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