By Walker Smith
If your favorite lake isn’t covered in ice right now, chances are the fishing is pretty tough. The bass are sluggish, their metabolism is at a crawl and their feeding windows are miniscule. Despite their lethargic behavior, cold water crankbait fishing remains a great way to catch huge wintertime bass. To make the most of his winter cranking, Elite Series pro Russ Lane has developed the Spro Fat Papa 55 with a few specific characteristics in mind.
• Unique sound
• Tight wiggle
• Sharp hooks
Spro’s hard baits have long been known to cast like a rocket and the reputation holds true for the Fat Papa 55. The internal rattle not only serves as a major fish attractor—it also creates a weight transfer system, allowing you to cast the 1/2-ounce bait much longer than most crankbaits the same size.
I’ve been testing the bait a lot recently and have found the castability extremely helpful. In windy conditions, it’s helped me increase my casting accuracy when targeting specific wood cover, such as deeper stump fields and trees. Many cold water crankbaits are notorious for being difficult to cast, but the Fat Papa 55 makes efficient casting easy again.
So the internal rattle helps it cast well, but what’s it sound like? The sound the Fat Papa 55’s lead rattle emits is certainly distinctive, to say the least. While many crankbaits sound like a tin can of BBs rolling around in the water, this crankbait has a unique “thud” to it. Cold water fishing and dirty water often go hand-in-hand and the sound of the Fat Papa 55 draws attention to the bait without over-doing it and spooking wary bass.
During my testing of the bait, I’ve become a big believer in its sound. After repeated casts to a deep stump flat without any bites, I threw the Fat Papa into the same area and caught a nice 4-pounder. Fishing is about differentiating your presentation and this crankbait does just that.
The Fat Papa 55 has a tight shimmy to it throughout the retrieve. Big, wide-wobbling crankbaits have a tendency to spook cold water bass, so Russ Lane developed this bait with cold water fishing in mind. Although its tight action helps catch more bass, the Fat Papa 55 still has a wider body than most cold water crankbaits. Many fisheries tend to get muddied up in the winter and the wide body gives the bass a bigger profile to hone in on.
Throughout all of my testing, this crankbait runs true while occasionally kicking sideways from time to time. It’s hard to find a crankbait with a straight, yet erratic action, but the Fat Papa 55 is the best of both worlds.
Some of the hooks that come stock on crankbaits are awful. They’ll catch a few fish, but will crumble like tinfoil shortly after. Continuously replacing hooks on new crankbaits is not only a hassle, but it can also get expensive in a hurry. The Spro Fat Papa 55 comes with no. 4 Gamakatsu treble hooks right out of the package. These hooks not only grab ahold of big bass with ease, but they also allow the bait to run correctly while not tangling.
I’ve hooked some pretty acrobatic fish with the Fat Papa 55 recently and haven’t lost a single fish yet. After fishing the bait around thick cover with numerous fish catches, the hooks are still sharp as a razor. If you fish crankbaits a lot, you’ll find this to be a huge convenience.
The Spro Fat Papa 55 is an awesome little crankbait that not only catches fish, but also sets itself apart from others in a variety of situations. Until the bass start moving up to spawn, you’ll find a Fat Papa 55 on my front deck.
To check them out, head over to TackleWarehouse.com.