I have been reviewing the Shimano Macbeth 63 Original. This has been a particularly fun squarebill crankbait to test out, as it’s a little bigger than those I typically throw. And, I’ve caught fish on it from swift water to slack, in mud and clear as well as around rock, wood and other cover. We’ll talk details and what makes it unique and of course the testing of this high quality crankbait.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE MACBETH 63
I ordered a couple of these from TackleWarehouse a few months ago, and I’ve been catching fish on them ever since. The first trip I tied one on, I was targeting spotted bass below a dam on the Chattahoochee River. The water was 3- to 6- feet deep with a rock-hard, relatively clean bottom accept for the occasional boulder.
The water was pretty clear, so I tied on the Clear Green Craw, which is a phantom color. I was able to maintain pretty good bottom contact, and caught 4 or 5 fish quickly. The majority of the bites came as the bait would collide with (or grind through) a high spot. This is a super buoyant bait, so anytime I’d pause it, it would rise quickly through the water column. Doing this wasn’t necessary to draw a strike back in the fall. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea in colder water.
I’ve also thrown the Blueback Chartreuse color some in what I would consider more traditional squarebill settings— stained to muddy water around wood. This bait has a slow and nice wobble. The slower you can reel it, the slower the wobble. So, when fishing super shallow, I could creep it along and still get a good kick out of it while grinding the bottom, which produced a bite or two on my last fishing trip in mid-January, when the water temp was 46 degrees.
BODY DESIGN MAKES THE CRANKBAIT
The big, round body of the Macbeth is what’s to credit for its extreme buoyancy as well as it’s slow wobble. Though it’s not much larger than a “normal” squarebill at 2.5 inches, it’s defiantly a lot more plump, and noticeably different along side other squarebills.
The buoyancy of this bait is important. The extra buoyancy not only creates a dynamic action as the bait collides with cover and floats up, but it’s also very helpful in preventing and recovering from snags. Sqaurebills are notorious for digging their bills underneath something and hanging up. By simply dropping your rod tip, this bait will often float free from whatever tight spot it’s wedged itself into. If that doesn’t work, popping the bait undone usually will.
SOLID COMPONENTS ON MACBETH CRANKBAITS
The hooks on the Macbeth are solid. Shimano went with nicely sized, round-bend trebles, which offer a sufficient hookup radius to cover the area of this larger than normal shallow crank. There’s a fixed-internal-weight system that steadies the bait as it swims along. Other than that, it’s a simple but elegant build, as you can clearly see when looking at the Clear Green Craw bait.
This bait has not replaced all others in my tackle box by any means, nor is it really a great all-purpose squarebill But for the shallow water angler looking for something a little different, something that will trigger strikes when the fish are in a bit of a lull, I think this one could be a good addition. I like the buoyancy of it for that reason, and I like that it’s pretty good about un-snagging.
The color options are strong, covering the whole spectrum in 10 choices. For $10.99, it’s a little higher than some, and a little more affordable than others. It’s a bait that’s worth a shot at least, and I have a feeling I might like the smaller 39 and 50 versions even more.