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Megabait Charlie Swimbait

Author: Rob Belloni

Overview/History: The Megabait Charlie has been around for a few years now.  It debuted in 2002 and actually won best of show at that years ICAST.  The original Charlies are 5" long although recently 3.5", 4" and 6.5" versions have become available.  The baits have a hard plastic internal body covered by soft plastic.  It comes with a single hook on the belly and runs to depths of 4 or 5 feet.  The Charlie is available in 7 colors, all of which have an interesting translucent effect due to the holographic like material in the hard plastic body.

Pros:  The Charlie is definitely one of the most approachable swimbaits on the market.  All of the available sizes are very castable on standard bass tackle.  Fishing these baits on 15 or 17lb test wouldn't be unreasonable, and since that's what bass fisherman are used to using, tying this bait on is no major adjustment.  The price of the bait is also very reasonable and they range from 5 to 9 dollars depending on the size.  This is definitely a swimbait aimed toward the general population of bass fishermen.

A few things that I like about the Charlie... The internal rattle chamber on the Charlie is definitely cool.  And I give Megabait a lot of credit for pioneering this idea of having a hard plastic body with soft plastic molded over it.  You get the good action and uniformity of color of a softbait, with a lot better durability.  I'd expect to get quite a few fish per bait on the Charlie.

I also like the way they generate the action by molding 7 or 8 vertical slits into the tail.  Because the action doesn't rely on the softness of the bait, I think they're able to use more durable plastic on this bait so you don't wind up getting the tail chewed off right away.  The action on the Charlie overall is a super wide wobble.  On a fast retrieve it starts kicking like crazy back and forth.  If you've ever fished a Manns 1- crankbait, the action is similar to that.  And did I mention that the baits suspend?  The Charlie will run down a few feet and when you pause it just sits there.  That's a nice feature to have for fishing specific targets or using a ripping action on the lure.

Fish catching wise I've heard a few positive Charlie stories.  When they first came out I know a few guys were doing well on them at Clear lake and at other lakes for small to medium sized bass.  Since then things have been quieter, but the baits do get bit.

Cons:  Sometimes the con section of the review becomes more of an expectation setting section.  The expectation I think you should prepare yourself for with the Charlie is that it's probably not going to have double digit bass jumping all over it.  This bait has a crankbait type action and frankly it's pretty small.  This is more of a general fish catcher vs. a trophy hunting bait.  Of course a big bass may decide to jump on it at some point for some one, but big bass jump on all sorts of things from time to time :)

The stock hook on the Charlie is average.  You can sharpen it up or replace it with gammie/owner.  Because the bait is so small it only has one hook, which is a drawback when it comes to hooking and landing bass.  This is the type of compact lure that can allow the bass to shake the hook loose if it's not set well and that's a risk you'll have to deal with on any single hook lure.

The color schemes on the Charlie are a subjective deal.  In some cases I like a bright flashy bait, and most of the Charlie colors are bright and flashy because of the holographic type hard plastic body.  While the flashy colors probably sell better at Wal-Mart, adding a few more neutral colors to the lineup couldn't hurt.

The only other thing that I found annoying about the Charlie was that it tends to tumble on the cast because of the way the weight is distributed in the lure.  You may have to adjust your cast a little bit to lay the bait out flat during the cast and make it land with the nose pointing toward you.

Average Rating out of 3 voters
dan greene( warner robins, GA) Sep 01, 2007
Megabait Charlie
I was just given one of these, the 6" one I think. I've only thrown in it a few times but I rated it so low because of the highly erratic, non-natural motion it has. It only looks 'natural' when it's suspended. Otherwise, it flails around like a....I don't know...????

Rich Whitaker( Encinitas, CA) Jul 29, 2007
The Hook
Great swimming bait, I was at Diamond Vally Res. in Calif. and hooked the biggest Largemouth of my life, Maybe 13 or 14 lbs. I saw it take the lure and had it on for about 15 sec and then the pin holding the treble hook pulled out of the body of the lure. I got the lure back with no hook. Needless to say I was very upset. Sence then I have heard they changed to a better system for holding the hook.
Hunter( Merced, CA) Aug 10, 2006
I bought the 6" and I thought it had really nice action. As said with most other smaller swimbaits it's not really targeting huge 15lb toads, but I did do very well on fish 2-6 lbs, which I don't consider to be bad at all, a day full of 4 pounders is fun. I didn't have a single fish spit my bait, and I think I only missed a set on two fish out 15 or or so. I personally liked the color scheme on it, seems to work well for me, I didn't have much luck running it fast but slow-med speeds, even just twitching it worked for me. My only dislike was that strength of the bait, luckily I had bought two of them on my way out, the first one lasted about 10 smaller bass, then a 4lber destroyed it. The second one held up for about 3 4-6 pound fish, I was able to push it back into place for two more fish but had to cast slow and retrieve slow. Overall, I think it's a decent lure, action, hook, and color all pretty good. Just wish it would've lasted longer.
Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
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