Not all bass go deep in the summer. Whether you’re capitalizing on bream beds or shallow cover adjacent to deep water, it’s a killer way to catch some really big, warm water bass. I got my hands on a SPRO Baby Fat John 50 at a writer’s conference in April and I’ll be totally straight and to-the-point—this is one awesome crankbait for the 0 to 2-foot range. I’ve been fishing with it a lot and there are 4 things I absolutely love about it.
It hunts on a straight retrieve
It’s very rare that a baitfish swims in a straight line. When a big bass is hot on their trail, they’re going to dip and dive every direction to elude it. SPRO and John Crews developed the Baby Fat John 50 to mimic the natural, erratic action of a shad and they did an outstanding job.
When you retrieve this crankbait, the first thing you’ll notice is its intense vibration. Despite its compact profile, it will rattle your arm all the way to your elbow. As you wind it in with a steady retrieve, it also “hunts”, kicking out sometimes a foot or more from its original course. Don’t get me wrong—every one I’ve thrown runs very true, but its wandering action is incredible.
If you hit a piece of cover with it, it kicks out violently for a couple cranks of the reel handle before straightening itself. Even better, you can burn the Baby Fat John 50 and it doesn’t spin out and lose its action.
Many small crankbaits will catch a lot of fish, but it’s tough to make them last. The SPRO Baby Fat John 50 has held up very well to countless fish catches and heavy cover collisions. To date, I have not chipped the paint, bill or finish on any of mine.
The durability of the Baby Fat John 50 has allowed me to fish around really nasty cover without worry. The most productive days I’ve had have been fishing it around thick blowdowns near bream beds, and I was able to plow it into branches and stumps without any loss of structural integrity.
This crankbait also excels around shallow rock. Its high-quality paint job maintains its shine, even after grinding it against shallow riprap during shad spawns.
Comes stock with sharp Gamakatsu hooks
A lot of crankbaits you buy come with lousy hooks—you might as well roll up a piece of tinfoil and use it to hook the bass. The SPRO Baby Fat John 50 comes with ultra-sharp Gamakatsu hooks, which saves you time and money by not having to use different hooks.
The treble hooks don’t tangle when fished erratically, they don’t hook on the bill of the bait and they won’t wrap up in your line while casting in windy conditions. They simply do what they were designed to do—hook and hang on to big, fat bass.
Casts a mile
Continuing with the well-known castability of their hard baits, SPRO designed the Baby Fat John 50 to cast a really long way. With an internal weight-transfer system, the bait loads nicely on the back cast, allowing for both long and accurate casts.
I’ve covered a lot of water with this crankbait in windy conditions and it doesn’t spin, helicopter or tangle. It flies totally straight, making it a great selection for fishing windblown shallow cover.
Making roll casts with the Baby Fat John 50 is a breeze. This is an ideal crankbait for target casting to shallow cover because of its accuracy and 3/8-ounce profile. It’s very easy to make a subtle entry when fishing for spooky, shallow bass.
I’ve wanted to write this review for a long time because I’ve been so impressed by this crankbait. Mark my words—it will be tied on to one of my cranking rods at all times this summer and fall. If you like throwing a crankbait, get your hands on a Baby Fat John 50. You’ll love it, too.
Review by Walker Smith