Author: Rob Belloni
Overview/History: The ABT Shad Ripbait was released in 2006. The lure is 4" long and weighs exactly 1oz. Subsequent to the Shad Ripbait being released, the bait was OEM'd by Strike King as the King Shad. These lures are one and the same. Pricing on both is around $20. There are a wide variety of colors in each bait, and the colors do not overlap between the ABT and Strike King versions. The hooks are VMC's and the split rings are 2x style rings. Pros: This is the type of lure that does not impress on the shelf, but looks very good in the water. It took me a long time to get around to throwing this one, and when I did - I was only disappointed I had not done so earlier. The action is what sets this bait apart, and the best way I can describe it is that at a high speed - the bait begins to look like a pencil held at one end and waved back and forth. It creates an illusion of rounded movement, when in reality the sides of the lure are straight. Pick one up and burn it, and you will see what I mean. This bait generated a lot of interest after the Amistad Elite Series tournament where Kevin Van Dam caught a number of fish on camera using the Strike King version. As a result, Strike King introduced more colors, and I must say that their color lineup is excellent. Many of the colors have a Japanese flavor to them, like the Morjarra color that resembles a similar Jackall lure pattern. The Blue Gizzard Shad color is also reminiscent of the Megabass Pro Blue color. It's obvious that people who actually know how to fish were consulted when this color lineup was generated. The result for us anglers is some great color patterns for a variety of conditions. For $20, you expect good hardware, and I would say this lure meets that criteria. The hooks are sharp, 2x strong type black nickel VMC's. The split rings look good, and the screw eyes are thicker than you see on a normal crankbait. There is a subtle internal rattle, and the joint system is the same as seen on the other ABT hard-baits. I would try to avoid smashing the lure on the rocks, but in general I would expect to be able to catch as many fish as you like on this lure without wearing it out. In the recent past I have seen more and more swimbaits coming out that do not swim straight. I've only tested two of these baits, but both of them swam true out of the package with no modification. Best of all, you can burn these baits as fast as you want without any rolling. We all know that KVD likes to fish fast, and it's no surprise he keyed in on this lure because it fits that bill. The lure floats at rest, and dives to 2-4 feet on the retrieve. This is an active lure, not one that you want to fish slow. The twitching action looks good, and the ABT Ripbait name implies the lure is meant to be jerked and twitched, but my personal preference when observing the bait is for a straight retrieve. I'd look for this lure to excel in situations where a 3/4oz rattletrap might otherwise be generating a lot of bites. Active fish around shad or similar baitfish should be likely victims for this one. Cons: My only con for these baits is the price. I can justify some price increase on a small hardbait like this because of the joint system and the nice hardware. But when you consider that a DD22 retails for $4.30, a $20 price tag seems steep. I will counter that complaint though with the observation that there are many $20+ softbaits that might only be good for 3 fish before they are trashed, so pricing is relative I suppose. If you don't mind the price, this is a bait that warrants your consideration. The action is true, the colors are fishy, the hardware is solid, and it has been proven to get bit. Whether you pick the ABT version or the Strike King version, you can be assured of getting a solid piece of fishing equipment.