Msg 1 Posted: 01:02 PM 07/12/13 (CST)
From Upper Midwest Swimbaits|
Product Review: MattLures Strong Perch
Well folks, he's up to it again! When Matt Servant contacted Upper Midwest Swimbaits and asked if we wanted to check out a new hard bait he designed for us swimbaiters, here in the Midwest and on the East Coast, we were more than happy to oblige.
Any one that has been following Upper Midwest Swimbaits knows that MattLures are staples in our swimbait boxes. MattLures maybe most famous for the Hardgill or maybe even more famous more for his Ultimate Gill, but swimbait anglers in the Midwest have to take note that MattLures possibly has the most diverse swimbait line in the industry. Just visit Matt's website and you will see every size swimbait from 4" to 13". You will also notice that Matt has strived to produce lures that very closely mimic virtually every forage base in our country, from bullhead to trout to ciscoes, carp, crappies, walleye, shiners.. if you can think of it, he's probably got it. MattLures Swimbaits have some of the most realistic paint jobs in the industry, both in his soft and hard bodied swimbaits. Each bait that leaves his facility is hand painted, one by one, by Matt.
Both sizes of the new Strong Perch.. and a Hardgill for size reference. Top is a Male Bluegill Hardgill, middle is a 6.75" Natural Perch floating wake bait. Bottom is a 6.5" White Perch slow sinker.
As is the case with all of Matt's products, these baits have been meticulously hand carved by the master himself, to discriminating perfection. At first glance, you might think you're looking at the well known and time tested Hard Perch series that has been available for a few years, now.. upon closer inspection its obvious to see that these baits have been improved in almost every way imaginable. The resin that the body sections are made of is bulletproof, the joints are machined to perfection, the motion is very clean with absolutely no play, yet have an unparalleled range of motion and free movement. You will notice that an extra hanger was added to the tail joint, which has really helped to stabilize the movement of the bait. The clear coat is also very thick and durable, even as compared to his previous baits..
Take note of the degree of attention given to the scoop in front of the first joint and the dual hangers at the tail joint.. a few small details that translate to very fluid, uniform swimming movement.
The billed perch pictured has caught over fifteen fish (in just 3 hours on the water), including three nice sized northern pike with notoriously large, sharp teeth, and was also bounced off of (and tangled up on) several docks as well as banged off of rocks and hung up in a tree. I am very tough on my equipment and tackle, and really did just about everything that I could to damage this bait and still, it shows exactly ZERO wear. The split rings are nearly indestructible and the big nasty Owner ST41 treble hooks speak for themselves.
6.75" Billed Floater, Natural Perch, after catching upward of 15 bass, 3 pike and bouncing off of several docks, boat lifts, rocks and some trees. Unbelievably tough!
6.5" Slow Sinking White Perch.
The Strong Perch series baits are also slightly smaller than the original Hard Perch, and will be available in two sizes (6.5 and 6.75 inches), three sink rates and multiple color patterns. The 6.75 inch models will be available with or without a wake bill and comes in Walleye, Bright Perch or Natural Perch (pictured) patterns. The 6.5 inch model will come in White Bass, Yellow Bass and White Perch (pictured) patterns and will be available only in an un-billed version. The reason for the difference in lengths of these baits is to closely mimic the exact profile and body shape of the specific species that the color schemes are meant to represent, however the action is virtually identical from one size to the other, and looks as much like a real living thing as any artificial bait I have ever seen. At roughly 2.5 to 3oz, depending on your sink rate, this is an easy casting bait that can be thrown all day long, on just about any MH-H baitcasting tackle with a moderate taper, without ever feeling fatigued. The Strong Perch, like most all of Matt's baits, will swim flawlessly at any speed, and I mean ANY speed... and I've yet to see it roll to one side. If that bait has any forward movement whatsoever, even if you don't feel it in your rod tip, it is swimming.
This is the rig I was using in the cast to catch video demo that follows.. A 6.75" billed floater, which displaces A LOT of water, and is my preference for dirty or stained water. Typically considered a topwater bait, I fished it on a swimshot rig with a teaser weight consisting of a 1oz. shakey head football jig (hook removed) with a 2"paddle tail.
Since we received these baits from Matt, I have been just a little more than under the weather with a laundry list of ailments, and really only had one chance to get out on the water. That was a three hour outing that I did, against my better judgement, this past Saturday, July 6th. I spent the first hour and a half pounding the shallows, catching a few pike and banging my Strong Perch off of every piece of cover imaginable. Having caught no bass, I was beginning to question how it was that such a well put together bait with such a realistic appearance and swimming movement could possibly not drum something up. Then I made my way onto one of my deep rocky spots, where I didn't suspect there to be any fish at all, and I quickly found out why I wasn't catching fish... they simply weren't shallow. I tied up a swimshot rig and crawled the billed Strong Perch over rocks in 14-20' of water and had immediate success. I opted for the billed version because it displaces more water than the other, so in dark or stained water situations, or maybe windier situations, it may be more prone to getting bites. Also it stops dead in its tracks when you stop retrieving, which can be a good thing. On the other hand, the un-billed version has a little more residual movement on the pause, and is a little more responsive to twitching movements, which can also be an advantage in certain situations. Anyhow, in the last hour or so of fishing, the Strong Perch produced upwards of 15 bass for me, all between 3.5 to 5 pounds, and many instances where I caught 3 or more on consecutive casts. Not too bad for Central Minnesota. Here are just a few clips from that night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YIlSlUs96jE - fixed link - WebDude
Simply put, the Strong Perch is a very well put together, tight little package that you can count on to get bit day in and day out. I tried to go into this review with an objective mindset and all intentions of providing constructive criticism to the manufacturer, but there was nothing that I could find about these baits that didn't exceed my expectations. T\he only thing I could even consider changing is the name. I might have just called it the Perfect Perch!
Good skill, all... and may luck NOT be a factor!
Eric J. Aske & David Cindrich
Upper Midwest Swimbaits
Field Staff: Okuma High Performance