The Mattlures bluegill became available spring of 2004. It's a 5" bluegill, and as you can see in the pics, it's a tall bait with a thin profile, just about how a bluegill is really shaped. The bait comes with a mustad ultrapoint hook on top and an eyelet on the bottom should you want to add a second treble.
When I originally wrote this review, there was only one color available, a whitish crappie color. Since then Matt has added several new colors and dramatically improved the paint jobs. The baits are now available in Male Bluegill (pictured above), Female Bluegill, Red-Ear Sunfish, and Crappie. Matt really goes above and beyond when it comes the level of detail on these lures. If you don't believe that realisim matters to bass, try tossing this bait in on a tough bed fish and watch the reaction. When bass see this bait, they really think its a bluegill and a lot of times they rush in and stomp on it!
When I originally wrote this review I also pegged this bait as being pretty much exclusively for bed fishing. Since that review, Matt has changed the tail out for a larger tail, and he has softened up the tail section to get more kick out of the bait. These modifications allow the bait to swim at slower speeds and with a more consistent kick. I'm hearing that a lot of folks now are catching fish just casting and retrieving the bait in addition to its main application which is for bed fishing.
The big dilemma with all bluegill baits is that if you want to shape the bait like an actual bluegill, it makes it an awkward shape for a bass to get in its mouth. Because of that, you tend to miss a lot of fish on bluegill shaped baits. With this bait, you can put a 1/0 treble on the bottom and stand a pretty good chance of getting both hooks in a big bed fish if it inhales the lure. If you only get one hook in the bass, hold on tight and just hope that it doesn't jump off! Anyway, I see this is a good feature and advantage over other bluegill baits when you want to put a bluegill bait on a bed. If you do want to free cast it you can take the treble off for a more snag-less approach.
All of the Mattlures Bluegills that I own swam true out of the package on a straight steady wind. The construction on the baits is solid and I would expect to be able to get quite a few fish per bait. The rubber is the durable type that doesn't tear too easily. The $20 price tag is very reasonable for what you are getting with this lure.
The other drawback to this bait is what I mentioned earlier about losing fish. Losing fish is an unavoidable problem with any realistically shaped bluegill lure, and there isn't much you can do about it. When bass bite this bait on a steady retrieve and they completely engulf it, you're going to land a fair amount. When bed fish nip it or hit it without inhaling it, your odds of losing them go up considerably. This comment isn't meant as a criticism of the lure but rather I am trying to set expectations for everyone who buys this bait that you are likely to lose a fair number of fish on this lure.
One thing that I had trouble with on the Mattlures 'gill was that it is hard to see for sight fishing. The lure has a narrow back and the tops of the baits are all natural shades of green and grey which just make it hard to see when its falling or sitting straight up on the bed. Once it's down on the bed and turns on its side you can see it much better because of the lighter underbelly, but if you are fishing deep beds, it can be hard to place the lure on the bed because you can't always see the lure as it falls. A chartreuse or white colored bait would be a nice addition to the lineup in my opinion.