Finesse crankbaits are a hot commodity in the bass fishing world. It doesn’t seem to matter how tough the fishing conditions may beâ bass choke ’em throughout much of the year. There’s something about their tight wiggle and non-threatening profile that produces bites when bulkier lures fall short.
The Strike King Pro Model Lucky Shad interested me at first sight. I won’t go as far to say it was “love” for fear of moving too fast, but its beautiful finishes and streamlined profile did have me licking my proverbial chops. I finally got to test one out recently and it’s proven to be an outstanding little lure when the bite is slow.
In my opinion, there are 4 noteworthy characteristics worth mentioning.
- Casts well
- Unique sound and true action
- Gorgeous colors
- Nice hooks for lighter line
It may be small, but you can launch it
I’ve heard a lot of complaints about finesse crankbaits in general. No one seems to doubt their fish-catching abilities, but it’s not uncommon to hear anglers griping about their lack of castability. This, among a few other reasons, is often why you’ll see folks casting them on spinning rods. Lightweight lures and casting reels don’t always play nice.
Much to my surprise, however, the Strike King Pro Model Lucky Shad casts excellently. Measuring 3 3/4 inches and weighing just 5/16-ounce, I’d certainly consider it a “small” lure, but I haven’t had any noticeable issues making long, accurate casts. Its internal rattlesâwhich I’ll discuss in a secondâseem to aid castability by transferring extra weight to the rear of the lure on the back cast. This allows a 7-foot, medium action rod to load quite nicely, facilitating surprisingly long casts.
Not everyone exclusively uses casting reels, so I made sure to make plenty of casts with spinning gear as well. My advice? Kick it down a few notches before you accidentally fire a Nolan Ryan-esque fastball into the nearest treeâ don’t ask me how I know. But all joking aside, it behaves very well on spinning gear and you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever.
A unique sound with subtle action
This is a really neat design aspect of this crankbait. Many finesse crankbaits don’t have rattles in order to achieve an ultra-realistic profile and sound. But the Lucky Shad has, from the best I can tell, two internal rattles. I didn’t cut it open and look because it’s my only one and I’d rather keep fishing with it, but let’s not split hairs. The free-floating rattles emit a very unique, mid-range sound that’s unlike most of my other plugs.
Due to these rattles, I’ve been able to fish this dude in much dirtier water than I would normally fish a finesse crankbait. They’re not loud enough to where you can hear the lure making its way towards the boat, but they will help bass track it down in fairly stained water.
The Lucky Shad also has a very realistic and subtle swimming action which is tailor-made for tough fishing. I won’t even consider it a “wobble”, but more of a “shimmy” instead. Now remember, I only own one of these plugs, but mine ran perfectly straight out of the package. I haven’t had to tune it throughout my two or three months of fishing with it.
When fished with spinning gear and 8-pound test, it will run anywhere from 8 to sometimes 10 feet depending upon your casting distance and rod angles. I’ve primarily been using it on casting gear with 12-pound fluorocarbon and it seems to most often swim in the 6-foot range.
I’m a sucker for a sexy-looking crankbait. Sure, it’s a confidence deal to some degree, but when you’re in clear, cold water utilizing a slow retrieve, I believe realism makes a tangible difference in your success.
This, my friends, is a darn good looking plug. I’ve been testing the Natural Shad color and it’s one of the better looking crankbaits in my large collection. I’ve also been pleased with the durability of the finish as well. I’ve done my fair share of knocking around with this crankbait and it’s tough to tell by the looks of it. It seems to be quite chip-resistant.
The hooks are sharp
Before I discuss these specific hooks, let’s quickly get some “nerd talk” out of the way. Thinner treble hooks tend to be very sharp because the points’ smaller surface area penetrates the fish’s mouth with less pressure. Although they’re still sharp, thicker trebles sometimes require a bit more pressure to effectively penetrate the fish due to the larger surface area of the points.
With all of that being said, these hooks are very sharp and totally suitable for fishing line up to 8-pound test. Because it’s a finesse crankbait, I can’t help but imagine that’s exactly what Strike King intended. But be warnedâ these hooks will bend on occasion when fished on anything above 10-pound line.
So if you’re one of those anglers who’s allergic to spinning gear, I’d suggest changing to a thicker wire treble. Of course, that’s just my two cents.
Overall, I’ve been very impressed by the Strike King Pro Model Lucky Shad. From now until the spawn is an excellent time to be using finesse crankbaits and I think this one is certainly worth a closer look.