There isn’t a better time this year to throw a squarebill crankbait. As the baitfish are making their way to the backs of creeks right now, the bass aren’t far behind and a well-placed crankbait can be an incredible option to catch both numbers and size.
This past year, I was introduced to a company called Nomad Design. Very well known for their saltwater lures, they recently entered the bass fishing market and my gosh, they make some really high-quality lures. My wife and I randomly walked up to their booth at the Bassmaster Classic because I liked the look of their squarebills and lipless baits, so since that day, I’ve been testing a bunch of their stuff to see if it’s something our readers might like.
The latest test subject has been the Nomad Design Atlas Squarebill Crankbait. I’m a total dork when it comes to cranking and I’ve been a bit frustrated in recent years because it seems like most squarebills come out of the exact same mold. They might work just fine, but I don’t like to throw the exact same thing every other guy is throwing; I like my presentation to be a little different whenever possible.
If you’re a crankbait nut like me, I absolutely suggest giving this one an honest try. Hang with me for a minute or two and I’ll run through what I like so much about it.
The Nomad Design Atlas Squarebill is ready for battle straight from the package
If you asked my wife, she might tell you I’m a bit grouchy at times. She’s probably right but I’ll be really honest with you… I get really grouchy when I take a lure out of the box and it’s equipped with bad hooks and hardware. Like you, I work hard for my money. I don’t want to spend a bunch of cash on a lure that I have to tweak before my first cast.
Thankfully, the Nomad Design Atlas Squarebill is an absolute workhorse from the minute you take it out of the box. The split rings hold up really well to bass and pesky hybrids and stripers and the hooks are incredibly impressive. This squarebill comes equipped with BKK treble hooks and as I type this sentence, my left thumb knuckle is still bleeding because I hooked myself while taking these photos. If a bass even tries to sweep at this lure, these hooks are gonna stick ‘em. I’m a huge fan of these treble hooks and I’m really impressed that Nomad Design decided to use a high-quality hook on this particular bait.
This is the most durable crankbait I’ve tested in recent memory. I’ve talked at length recently about the importance of the bill-to-bait connection when you’re choosing a squarebill crankbait. These lures are made to collide with cover but my gosh, it doesn’t do you a bit of good if the bill separates from the body after a few hard crashes. This is supposed to be a four-wheel drive bass fishing lure, so in my opinion, it needs to be tough.
I really like the durability of this crankbait thus far. The bill holds up excellently to riprap, dock posts, stumps and laydowns and the body of the plug resists hook rash and excessive teeth marks like a champ. So for $11.99, you’re getting a shallow-diving plug that’ll probably outlast most of your other shallow squarebills.
Deflects very well
Having tested hundreds of squarebills in my career, I can definitely say that some of ‘em have to be babied throughout the retrieve. Some float quickly but dont deflect well and vice versa… it’s actually a pretty complicated testing process at times.
The Nomad Design Atlas Squarebill Crankbait, however, knocks off cover very well which minimizes snags and increases reaction strikes from nearby bass. Like any other squarebill in the world, you can just reel it as fast as you’d like and expect it to come through all kinds of cover. But if you want to get to shallow bass in fairly thick, hard cover, don’t be afraid to pick up this plug and feather it through the thick stuff. It’ll come through most cover with ease.
Pretty color selection
Obviously, based on these photos, I’ve been throwing the Red Craw color throughout my testing because I’ve been on a really good rock bite for the past several weeks. As the fall continues to progress, however, I expect that bite to die off a bit and transition into a solely baitfish-oriented patterns. That’s when I’m going to switch to the Tennessee Shad, Threadfin Shad and Sexy Shad patterns offered by Nomad Design. These color schemes look outstanding and each one is coated with three final coats of super tough clear resin on the exterior, which helps ensure the vibrant colors will last for hundreds of fish catches.
The bottom line
I had never heard of this brand until I was walking around the Bassmaster Classic expo. Don’t let your unfamiliarity mess with your head on this one; Nomad Design is going to turn some heads in this industry. If you like to fish a bunch of shallow, grungy cover and move fast, I strongly suggest giving this one a shot. You’ll quickly become a fan.