It’s officially fall and that means it’s topwater time for most of us around the country. Everything from buzzbaits to buzz toads, hollow body frogs to wake baits and poppers to walking style topwaters work well this time of year. For today’s review, we’re going to be looking at a lure that falls into that last bucket of baits, the Xcite Heckler.
The Xcite Heckler is a 5-inch, 3/4-ounce walking style topwater. It’s geared towards targeting bass that are relating to shad, herring, bluegill and other baitfish, with a whopping 16 color selections to choose from that provide a bait to match almost any hatch. In addition to mimicking various types of forage well, there’s a paint scheme for any water color or weather condition too.
Built with three #4 Mustad Triple Grip hooks, the Heckler is loaded for bear… or at least big bass. There are two schools of thought on a topwater bait this size: two long shank round bend hooks or three short shank EWG (extra wide gap) trebles. Xcite went the three-hook route, spacing the hooks out perfectly so that they won’t foul on one another but still come close to touching to cover as much of the bait as possible.
The Heckler has a distinct sound signature, thanks to a rather unique combination of rattles. There’s a large metal ball bearing loaded in a chamber in the tail of the bait. This gives off a methodical knocking sound as the bait is walked back and forth. But there are also three small glass beads contained in the head of the bait. These roll around constantly and add a more subtle but crisp sound to the Heckler.
DIRECT LINE TIE
There is a direct line-tie eye at the nose of the bait, atop a slightly concave and slanted mouth. Some companies incorporate a split ring here, to make it easier for the bait to walk side to side. However, this added weight at the front can be just enough to throw off the balance of the bait and make it dig into the water as it’s fished. The Heckler walks really easily without the split ring, so there’s no need for one. Though you can tie a loop knot still if you’d prefer a little more range of motion.
Most of these baits have solid paint jobs, while five of them have at least somewhat translucent paint schemes. These latter colors have holographic, prism elements incorporated into the build of the baits. What appears to be a foil or film in the lure’s center reflects light in brilliant colors at certain angles, much the same way a fish’s scales would. This added touch of realism really makes the color selection that much more dynamic.
This is the first Xcite Baits hard lure I’ve had the opportunity to test out, and I have been very impressed. The overall quality and attention to detail is right there with other leading manufactures. The wide range of color selections, dual-rattle system and incorporation of quality Mustad Triple Grip Trebles are the three things that really standout about this bait.
The Heckler is extremely easy to walk and sits horizontally in the water, with its nose up just a little. A well-balanced bait like this creates a more realistic presentation, as compared to a tail heavy bait that stands more vertically in the water column when it’s paused or walked slowly.
At $14.99 this is a fairly pricey bait in comparison to some others that share its same basic profile. But it’s more affordable than other high-end baits as well, kind of falling into the middle of the pack price-wise. Considering the attention to detail and craftsmanship of this lure, the Heckler is worth a shot for the topwater enthusiast. Find the Xcite Heckler at TackleWarehouse.com.