Tackle Reviews

Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait

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While sunny skies make it tough for many avid anglers to concentrate at work during the week, I’m actually the exact opposite. When I look out my window and see cloudy and breezy conditions, it takes a lot of self-control to not go fishing. Why, you ask? Because it means I can go throw reaction lures and get my palms rubbed raw.

Even after the bluegill finish their spawning rituals, you can still have an incredible day of fishing by targeting their shallow dwellings this time of year. For the last several weeks, I’ve been having a ton of fun dissecting these areas with the Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait in overcast, nasty conditions. I’m relatively new to the Hildebrandt line but I’ve been really pleased with my experience thus far.

There are four reasons this is one of the better spinnerbaits I’ve used in quite a while.

  • It has a lot of lift
  • Thin, durable wire
  • The skirt stays in place
  • Ready to fish without modifications

Bulge it with ease

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The bluegill on my home fisheries remain in super-shallow water throughout the large majority of the summer. These areas can be difficult to target with reaction lures because they’ll churn the bottom too much, creating an unrealistic trail of sediment. So a few weeks ago I decided to try the Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait. I was really impressed by how efficiently I was able to cover very shallow water.

The Colorado and willow leaf blade combination provides a lot of lift throughout the retrieve, allowing me to “bulge” it just underneath the surface when fishing around grass lines, small feeder creeks and underneath dock walkways. I’ve really enjoyed not having to burn it to keep it high in the water column—a nice, steady retrieve with a 6.4:1 gear ratio is all that’s necessary. You could probably get away with an even lower ratio, too.

Although I’ve caught several nice bass using a steady retrieve, I’ve experienced even better results with a stop-and-go retrieve. I’ll make a long cast, crank my reel handle approximately five times and let the spinnerbait fall a few inches. Whenever I do this, the skirt flares excellently and seems to draw great reaction strikes from nearby bass. The blades of the Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait spin effortlessly, so even when I kill the action for a second or two, the blades keep spinning as it falls.

Thin wire that keeps its shape

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Many spinnerbaits tend to aggravate me. I can catch plenty of fish on ’em, but I feel like I’m constantly reshaping the wire after bites or even hard collisions with cover. I’ve always just figured it was part of the game when fishing with thin-wired spinnerbaits.

With that being said, I’ve been extremely happy with how well the Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait maintains its original shape. I fish spinnerbaits like I fish squarebill crankbaits—I slam ’em into dock posts, knock the blades against blowdowns and run it into anything I feel can elicit a reaction strike. I’ve put this thing through the wringer and haven’t had to tinker with it yet.

When I’m fighting a bass, I have noticed a little flex in the wire when it gets close to the boat, but it actually “snaps” back into position whenever I unhook the fish and relieve the pressure. Instead of the usual “bend, test cast, retrieve, repeat” routine, I’ve been able to make another cast quickly without any hassle.

The skirt stays put

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Whenever you’re fishing a reaction lure close to the water’s surface, you can expect to get some insane strikes. Something about it just drives ’em nuts. But when you get these strikes on many spinnerbaits, you’re left repairing the skirt for several minutes. We’ve all done it—trying to thread every skirt strand back through the band while absolutely dying to make another cast. It’s no fun!

Fortunately, the Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait’s silicone skirt is very durable and requires very little, if any, attention after aggressive strikes. It pulses wonderfully throughout the retrieve and I haven’t seen any signs of ripping or tearing whatsoever.

Open the package and go fishing

A lot of my buddies love to buy five different spinnerbaits and take ’em all apart to make one “perfect” spinnerbait. Maybe I’m just not cut from the same cloth, but I don’t have any interest in all that. I’d rather find a spinnerbait that encompasses everything I’m looking for so I can avoid all the hassle.

This spinnerbait is ready to fish straight from the package. It has a very compact head molded from bismuth, a very strong, sharp hook, a lifelike skirt and Sampo ball-bearing swivels. I’ve thrown spinnerbaits all my life and I don’t really see any need to replace any of its components. I’m sure some folks will simply because they enjoy it—and that’s totally fine—but I’ve had plenty of success keeping it just the way it is.

In dirty water, I tend to use a lot of soft plastic trailers with my spinnerbaits. It adds a bit more bulk and I feel like it makes it easier for the bass to locate. I’ve really enjoyed using this spinnerbait’s grub and trailer keeper located behind the skirt keeper. Whether I get a short-strike or accidentally dive bomb a cast, it keeps my trailers securely in place. Sure, it’s a fairly small feature, but it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Whether you’re a boater or a bank angler, I suggest taking a closer look at the Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait. If you like to focus on fishing instead of tinkering, I think you’ll really like it.

The Hildebrandt Okeechobee Special Spinnerbait is available at TackleWarehouse.com.