I’ve become a big fan of prop baits over the past several years. I always had a few in my tackle collection, but it took me a while to fully understand how, when and where to fish them. What were once a few “forgotten” lures hiding in the dark corners of my boat have turned into an important and productive part of my bass fishing arsenal.
For the past month or so, I’ve had an opportunity to test the Black Label Tease Prop Bait that’s actually hand-crafted by 2013 Bassmaster Classic champion Cliff Pace. After using it in several different situations on various bodies of water, I’ve learned a lot about its design, construction and optimal applications.
This lure has several noteworthy characteristics you should know about.
- Sits upright
- Very few tangles
- Walks with ease
- Beautiful color patterns
Its “posture” is ideal
It’s not everyday you hear someone talk about a lure’s “posture” in the water, but it’s a huge factor in regards to prop baits.
When a prop bait is poorly balanced, it will rest on its side. This is a major disadvantage for two important reasons””it looks unnatural and more importantly, it interferes with solid hookups because it puts a lot of wood between the bass and the treble hooks. If a bass attacks it from the wrong side, there’s a good chance it won’t come anywhere near the “business end” of the lure.
Fortunately, the Black Label Tease Prop Bait has proven to be perfectly balanced in the water. It doesn’t matter how hard to twitch it or how long you let it sit””it will always return to an upright position. This gives the bass a clear look at the profile and color pattern of the lure while also ensuring a hookset opportunity on nearly each blowup.
Your line will stay out of the prop blades
Line tangles are a very common frustration when you’re fishing with prop baits. I’ve tried everything I can think of to eliminate the problem but to no avail. Some lures seem to be prone to it and you essentially have two choices: Deal with it or buy a different kind of prop bait.
I can count the number of line tangles I’ve experienced with the Black Label Tease Prop Bait on one hand. When you twitch this lure, it doesn’t move very far””only a few inches. Not only does this allow it to stay in the strike zone for an extended period of time, but it also plays a big role in the reduction of irritating line tangles. Prop baits that move “too” much throughout the retrieve have a tendency to catch on your monofilament line as it floats on the water’s surface.
You’ll also notice the addition of a simple split ring on the front of this lure. This puts a greater distance between your line and the rotating prop blades which also contributes to its snag-free nature. It’s crazy to me how something so simple can have such a big impact on the fishability of a lure, but I’m not complaining. This is truly one of the most tangle-resistant prop baits I’ve had the pleasure of using.
With a little practice, you can “walk the dog”
Whenever you hear an angler mention “walking the dog”, you probably think about traditional walking topwater lures and hollow-bellied frogs. But after a lot of experimentation and hundreds of casts, I’ve actually discovered that this walk-the-dog retrieve is quite attainable with the Black Label Tease Prop Bait.
This lure has an exaggerated rolling action that allows it to dart from side-to-side with minimal effort. I also think that the addition of the split ring aids in this walking action as well.
I’ve had a lot of success with this retrieve for two reasons in my opinion””it keeps the lure in the strike zone even longer and it also “flashes” a lot of color to the bass. I can cast it underneath a dock walkway and by implementing this retrieve, I’m able to keep it under the dock for 10 or 12 twitches. It’s an excellent imitation of a wounded bluegill and it has proven to be equally effective when fishing around mayfly hatches.
Beautiful color patterns
Not only is Cliff Pace a world-class fisherman, but he’s also a ridiculously anal tackle guru””and I say that with the utmost respect. The Tease Prop Bait is a testament to his hours or tinkering and experimentation. The color schemes are flat-out gorgeous.
It’s available in 10 colors and they all have their time and place. Even the generic threadfin and gizzard colors have a unique twist to them. My personal favorites are the Bluegill and Bull Bream colors.
There’s not much else to say about it, really. Just take a quick look at the colors on Tackle Warehouse and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
Quality components hold up well
This lure is made from high-grade balsa wood, which will naturally cause some anglers to question its durability. Yes, balsa lures are not as durable as plastic lures, but the Tease Prop Bait has held up incredibly well throughout my testing.
I haven’t noticed any cracking, splitting or chipping anywhere on the body of the lure. I’ve used several prop baits in the past that have a big problem with bent blades after a few fish catches, but these blades have been surprisingly durable and have kept their shape without any issues whatsoever.
The black nickel treble hooks are also worth mentioning. They’re extremely sharp and retain their sharpness quite well after weeks and months of fishing. You’ll also notice that they have very little flex, which can be a big deal when you’re fighting a 5-pound bass in heavy cover.
Cliff Pace has created a fine prop bait with the Black Label Tease. It has a seductive rolling action, killer color options and excellent components that make any tweaking and modifying unnecessary. Priced at $17.99, you’ll pay a pretty penny for this lure but this is one of those “you get what you pay for” instances in my opinion. I truly believe it’s worth every penny and I’ll be getting more in the near future.