The Huddleston Deluxe 8" Trout was debuted in the winter of '03/04. It comes in four varieties, which are designated by Rate of Fall (ROF). The ROF 0 floats, the 5,12, and 16 naturally fish to approximately those depths. The ROF 0 and 5 come with no top hook, and a wire loop in the belly to put a treble hook on. The ROF 12 and 16 baits come with a single hook on the top and a wire loop in the belly so you can add an additional treble hook if you like. The baits are a heavy duty type plastic, and the finish is basically more plastic that has been shot onto the bait.
Realism, realism, realism. Wow, when you get this bait and have a close look at it, the way it's done up is just extremely trout like. If you laid this bait on the ground next to an 8" trout and walked back 10 feet, they'd look pretty darn similar. I'm very impressed by the level of detail for a rubber bait. It's little things like the way the line tie and wire loop on the belly are imbedded inside the bait that can give you that extra edge and maybe get you a few extra bites. Overall the reports on the Huddleston are very good and it's a bait that generates a lot of bites.
I like the overall size of this bait as well. I think it's really in that sweet spot for lure size. Big enough to get their attention but small enough to be inhaled by a 10lber. The bait also has a fairly thin profile which helps a fish get it's mouth around it. 4 pounders could eat this bait without too much difficulty, and 10+ fish are going to get it completely inside their mouth if they commit on it. That's a plus when it comes to boating fish.
The hook setup is pretty solid on this bait, but I would go with a stinger hook on the ROF 0 and 5. You could add a stinger on the 12 and 16 as well, but that would add up to 3 hooks which becomes more noticeable when you look at the lure.
Durability wise, it's a solid performer. In fact it's very good for a rubber lure. The one thing you have to watch out for is baits where the skin basically starts peeling off. There are a few like this out there from a bad production run. I got one and it started coming off right away before I even made the first cast with the lure. However, on my other baits, the paint (or plastisol or whatever it is) is very good and hasn't come off at all really. If you do wind up with one that starts falling apart when you hold it in your hand to tie it to your line, you might see about getting it replaced.
You can see in the pictures above that this bait has a very unique tail design compared to the standard boot tail swimbait design. This tail design gives the bait a more realistic tail profile, especially from the side, but it also limits the action on the bait. Rating this characteristic as a negative is relative to what you consider good action in a bait. If you want a bait that you can feel on the end of your rod as it kicks, this bait doesn't really do that. The tail action is very subtle, and I really believe that fish are biting this lure not because they sense a commotion in the water, but because the see it and visually it looks so much like a trout, they just can't resist.
Lost fish are going to be an issue for you on this bait, no matter how many trebles you add. The baits in all sizes are quite heavy and compact and when a fish gets airborne with this lure on the outside of it's face, it's got leverage to throw the bait. Like any big bait, just make sure your hooks are razor sharp and get those fish to the boat as fast as you can. There are only three colors available right now. Rainbow Trout, Brown Back/Gold (Hitch), and Silver/Blue Back. All of these colors are sweet, but a few more sure couldn't hurt.