Author: Rob Belloni
Overview/History: The Castaic Swimbait was one of the early sinking swimbaits designed to really look like a trout with the correct profile and paint job. Over the years new colors and sizes have been introduced to the point where there are now 14 available paint jobs in 4, 6, 8, and 10 inch sizes and two different sink rates, a regular model that sinks quickly to the bottom and a slow sinker that covers the shallow to mid-depth area better. The baits come with a single hook on top, and are readily available around the country. Pros: The first thing most people look at when they look at a swimbait is the price tag. At $6-14 per bait you don’t have to win the lotto to own a couple Castaic Swimbaits. The price tag and the availability make the Castaic a readily accessible option for most fishermen and that’s always a plus.The paint jobs on the baits have changed a little over the years and the current models (Dec 2005) are looking pretty darn good. There are two trout flavors to check out, the SBT Ghost Rainbow and the SBT Rainbow. Both are nicely done and look fishy in the water. If you want to branch out, the 12 other colors cover a broad spectrum of baitfish and general imitators. Castaic in general does a good job of offering a wide variety of color choices in all of their baits, and the fact that there are four sizes and two sink rates really gives you a lot of possible combinations.It’s always easier to write a review after a bait has been out for a few years because you really get a flavor for how well it works. Undoubtedly the most famous bass caught on the Castaic Swimbait was Mike Long’s 20-12 from Dixon which he caught on the 6” model. A gentleman named Manual Garcia caught a 16.7lb fish out of Rancho Seco on a Castaic Swimbait in 2004 and there’s been quite a few other nice bass caught on the lure over the years. One thing I’ve really noticed is that most of the catches I hear about on the Castaic Swimbait are on the smaller 6” size. I don’t know why this is, but the 6” could be a good starting point for your first purchase if you haven’t bought one before. Another mentionable with the Castaic swimbait is a mod that Chris Zaldain showed me a few years back. Chris figured out that if you cut open the bait, took the harness and hook out and glued a plastic tube, you could essentially ‘pro-rig’ the bait and fish it just barely subsurface. It’s a legit rig that way and although I never have caught a fish on that rig, I did have a 15+ come up on it once at Poway and body slap the bait! Something to try if you don’t mind chopping up your baits.Cons: There’s a few minor issues on the Castaic Swimbait to talk about. The first is overall quality. Frankly the quality of the baits has varied among the lures that I’ve looked at over the years and although some of them are just perfect looking, you do seem to see a lot of baits where the plastic is rough or sort of frilly around the edges of the seam that the bait is molded in. For the price, you can’t complain too much, but don’t expect to always get a perfectly molded perfectly painted bait.The other issue with the Castaic Swimbait is the tail action. These baits have a very wide tail wobble in the larger 8 and 10” sizes. I like a lot of tail kick in murky water but I’ve often felt like the tail was kicking so much that it was overpowering the lure for clearer water situations. For as much as I’ve thrown the lure, I just haven’t gotten any real volume of bites on it and I often wonder if it just has too much tail action. In the 4” bait the reverse is true, there is very little action to the point where you can’t fish the bait very slowly. I am certain that there are guys out there who love the heavy tail kick on this bait in the larger sizes, so perhaps it’s not fair to list it as a con but it’s certainly a consideration.