Anytime the water temperatures rise over the 55-degree mark, soft plastics begin playing a big role in my area. I've been catching some really nice bass pitching and flipping lately and I give a lot of credit to the X Zone Lures Punisher Punch Craw. After fishing this bait for the last few months, I've learned a lot about it and have gained a bunch of confidence with it. It has certainly been one of my biggest producers and I wanted to share the good word with everyone.
It has quickly become one of my favorite soft plastics of 2018 and in the next few slides, I'll explain what sets it apart.
Incredibly soft, but plenty durable
It's tough for a plastics manufacturer to strike the right balance between softness and durability. A lot of anglers think those two traits are mutually exclusive, but that's certainly not the case with the Punisher Punch Craw. Its super fine salt-impregnated body is very supple to the touch and underwater, I believe it helps the bass hold onto it a bit longer. They've been biting a little funny lately, so I've had a lot of bites when my rod tip is high; I've been totally out of position. For whatever reason, though, they seem to keep it in their mouths for an extra second or so before spitting it. This has given me plenty of time to drop my rod tip and execute a strong hookset.
I've been pleasantly surprised by this bait's durability, as well. It's no problem to catch four or five bass on a single Punisher Punch Craw and given its $4.99 per pack price point, I think that's outstanding value.
It's a great profile for the heavy cover angler
Although the body is thick and the three sets of appendages add plenty of flair in the water, this bait gets through thick cover without any hassles whatsoever. I've actually been pitching it in some fairly thick shoreline vegetation lately with just a 3/16-ounce weight. That sounds crazy, but there's not much manipulation or weight needed to get this compact profile through the nasty stuff. I don't have to jiggle my rod tip and risk spooking bass, or peg a huge weight on there and mess up my hookup ratio. It slides in and out of the small openings like a dream.
Rig it straight every time
If you look closely at the Punisher Punch Craw, you'll notice a groove running straight down the middle of its underbody. This isn't just for looks. As you're rigging this bait, even if you're in a hurry, this groove helps you rig the bait perfectly straight every time. Careless rigging is one of the most common mistakes I see anglers make when they're pitching and flipping, and this simple idea is a great way to combat the problem.
The claws come alive
This bait isn't meant to kick and make a lot of commotion, because that would make it too bulky for fishing in heavy cover. But I've spent a considerable amount of time testing this bait in shallow, clear water and have noticed that its claws float and give it a very realistic look. When threatened, a live crayfish will raise its claws in a defensive posture and this Punisher Punch Craw is strikingly similar to that natural behavior.
Pairs perfectly with a 4/0 hook
A 4/0 hook is my favorite size for flipping and pitching by far, and this bait marries perfectly with it. There's not a lot of extra plastic for the bass to bite when rigged; when they decide to take a bite, it's nearly impossible for them to avoid getting hooked. For this reason, I've enjoyed a tremendous hookup ratio thus far. It has been really nice knowing that when one bites, I'm going to catch it.
Available at Tackle Warehouse
We're getting into that time of year when the bass will flood the shallows and situate themselves in some of the gnarliest cover on the lake. If you're looking for a compact bait that gets through the junk with ease, I highly recommend putting this bait on your radar. I've gone through several packs and will be ordering more.