Soft plastic pitching and flipping baits aren’t necessarily the most exciting things to read—or write—about. I totally get it. So when I put together a review on something like this, it’s simply because it works. Hang with me for a second, because this particular bait is worth a few minutes of your time.
I’ve been tinkering with the Gene Larew Rattlin’ Crawler for quite a while now and it has been catching ‘em in some pretty tough conditions. It’s working in both shallow and deep water, so I think a lot of anglers will be able to put it to good use.
First things first: The rattle
The Gene Larew Rattlin’ Crawler is a hollow-bodied soft plastic craw imitator that comes with a rattle inside. You don’t have to mess with anything; the rattles are already inserted and each bait is ready to go straight from the package.
These rattles are the Gene Larew Glass Bass Rattles and they’re made from premium Pyrex with a large metal bead on the inside. Their sound is much different and much louder than any other glass rattle I’ve used thus far. Gene Larew actually started selling them separately after the unique tone of the Rattlin’ Craw created so much demand from anglers.
This rattle sits in the mid-section of the Rattlin’ Crawler’s body, so it doesn’t interfere with any hook rigging procedures, regardless of your preferred technique or hook style. I was a bit worried at first that they may fall out after extended use, but they’ve actually stayed in place quite easily and for many fish catches.
The rattles are loud and have a very deep tone to them—I would best describe it as a “clacking” sound instead of a true “rattle”. They have certainly seemed to attract a lot of attention from the bass, because I’ve even been able to get bites while using a green pumpkin-colored Rattlin’ Crawler in muddy water. It was pure experimentation for the purpose of this review and the fact that it worked was pretty darn impressive.
Whether you shake, drag or swim this bait, the rattle will emit lots of sound even with the slightest movement. I tend to rely on the Rattlin’ Crawler most often when I’m fishing off-colored water. Just like crankbait fishing, any added sound gives a bass a better opportunity to track and attack it.
That’s what Gene Larew calls the oversized claws on this bait. This bait was clearly designed to displace water and attract a lot of attention to itself. These big kick pads certainly help the cause.
In regards to pitching and flipping, the claws kick like crazy as the bait falls to the bottom on slack line. They’re positioned fairly close to the body, so penetrating heavy cover hasn’t been much of an issue throughout my testing. It’s not my first choice for tricky skip casts because these claws will catch some water on long-range skips. For short-range pitches and light skipping, the flat body seems to negate the large claws, making it a suitable selection.
This bait also pairs wonderfully with a swim jig or a Biffle Hardhead. You’ll be able to feel it kick while you’re reeling it on the Hardhead and when you swim it close to the surface on the back of a swim jig, you’ll notice a nice bubble trail that has impressive drawing power.
I’ve also been experimenting with using the Rattlin’ Crawler as a topwater bait. I still haven’t figured out the perfect hook to use for it, but it will entice some pretty impressive blow-ups. I’m not saying it should replace any of your toads, but you can certainly try swimming it on top and expect some success.
I’m very pleased with how well these baits hold up. As I mentioned earlier, the rattles stay secure inside of the Rattlin’ Crawler and the plastic can withstand several fish catches without any re-rigging.
Fortunately, the claws are pretty meaty and the bass with very rarely rip one of them off of the body. Considering these baits come pre-rigged with rattles and are priced at $5.49 per 6-pack, I believe anglers will appreciate their value.
This bait is certainly worth a try, especially if you frequently fish stained to muddy water. I still can’t get over how loud these rattles are and to be honest, I’m probably going to order some separately to see how I can modify some of my other soft plastics.