Osprey Slow Roller Swimbait
Author: Rob Belloni
The Osprey Slow Roller debuted winter of '03. There are two versions, a full body and a flat back although the full body seems to be the most prevalent bait available in shops. Both have the same bottom section and are shaped to resemble a bluegill, or maybe a carp or tilapia. Both models fish about the same, so the review is the same for both. If you suspect that the fish might get a look at the top of your lure and refuse it for being flat, you should get the full body :) The bait is labeled as a slow roller but fishes fine at high speeds as well. It's a mid-depth to surface bait and falls slowly on a slack line. The lure comes stock with the typical Osprey chrome hook and wire harness system.
Both baits I tested ran true out of the package with no modifications needed. They have a nice kick to them that you can feel through your rod and they kick well at slow or fast speeds. The Slow Roller has these long fins that run along the back and belly of the bait. These fins have an interesting look in the water that makes the edges of the bait look like they are pulsing or swimming along on their own. It's an interesting effect that I haven't seen on other baits and you can see it for yourself in the bait vids.
The bait doesn't really imitate a trout, and the color selection offered by Osprey hints strongly that the bait is designed to imitate miscellaneous bass forage. This could be a good selection for bigger bass in lakes where trout are not planted, and I'm hearing some good things about this bait especially at El Salto in Mexico, and at Clear Lake. Bass World West has a tilapia color designed specifically to match that baitfish, and word is that it works well down there. I've seen the tilapia in El Salto, and this bait does have a pretty convincing profile when compared to that baitfish.
The small size of this bait makes it easy to chuck and wind, and I'd imagine you won't lose too many fish on the lure because even though the bait is pretty tall, it's not too bulky width wise. Easy casting is a plus on this guy too because of it's compact size and moderate weight, and the fall of the lure is nice, a gradual horizontal fall rather than a nose down dive. Pausing mid cast or at the boat might get you a bonus bite on this guy.
All of the Osprey baits have the wire harness, which isn't that bad, but can always be improved on with a 'pro-rig'. You can buy the baits rigged from BWW or pro-rig yourself. Either way, a pro-rig will make the bait last longer, and if you like you can add a second hook on the bottom as well. It's a toss up as to whether this bait needs a trailer, but I say when in doubt, put it on.
The slow roller name might lead you to believe that the bait can be fished down deep, but you'd have to be a very patient fisherman to go any deeper than about 10' with this lure. Its natural running depth is around 5 feet or so. I would not buy this bait as a trout imitator, but as a general fish imitator it should work well.