Author: Rob Belloni
Overview/History: The first prototypes of this lure started trickling out around December 2006. These were garage style baits, 3d molds, with no painted on spots or colors. The first baits I played with were very heavy. On the order of ROF20, to use the Huddleston nomenclature. There was a single top hook on the proto baits, and no wire loop on the belly. The production lures that came out months later were similar, but different in some important regards. The production lures, like you see photographed here in this review, were OEM’d through Castaic Softbait and painted, not poured to get the color. They had less weight in them, and were made from an injection type plastic. The lures measure 8" and came in two sink rates, a heavy (denoted by red dot on belly) and medium denoted by a green dot. There were several trout patterns available including the Castaic ghost rainbow pattern. Pros: I don’t often talk about color first. But color is one thing about these lures that I do like. The Castaic ghost rainbow color has a very appealing look both in and out of the water. It’s a dark bait, but the transparency gives the lure a finesse feel. Transparent lures give you such nice adaptability in varying light conditions.As a rule, I like painted lures over poured lures, and feel that they give better detail with smoother transitions between the colors. Airbrushing will do that for you. The Real Trout looks legitimate under water. If I was a bass, I’d take interest. Cons: When these lures came out in production, I bought a pile. We had caught fish on the prototypes, and I expected these painted lures to work even better. I’m looking for an edge and felt this could be the deal. My first trip out with the production stuff was a disappointment, and it was everything to do with the action. These lures did not swim.I tried all of my baits again a few months later and they still didn’t swim. Disappointed I put them away for over a year. Finally I had the time to tinker and see if I could make a few of them work. I went to the local pond with all my modification tools and sat down on the shore. Half an hour and 4 lures later I was still disappointed. I cut all the fins off. I cut the lower jaw of the lure off. I put mojo weights up and down the lure, varying the position to try to get a decent swimming action. I tried the lures on a snap and on a direct tie. I tried gluing fins back on in different positions to see if I could get the darn things working, but it was all to no avail. I got bad lures. It happens sometimes.If you could get swimmers, I think this lure has potential, but even with a swimmer, there are still drawbacks. There’s no wire loop on the belly for one thing. Incomprehensible to me. I like to fish for big bass, but I don’t like to lose them when they jump. Just being honest here. Another issue is the visibility of the lure harness inside the bait. In the ghost colors, there is a glaring chunk of lead visible from behind the gills back toward the anal fin. This is the part of the lure the bass looks at as it approaches, and something really should have been done to color match or hide the harness. Last complaint from my point of view was the weight of the lures. Because the pec fins are flared to the sides, these lures need a lot of lead to keep them from planning up on the retrieve, and even the heavy sink models don’t have enough to fish effectively in those 20-40’ depth ranges where so many big bites come. Overall this was a lure with potential, but one that was poorly executed in production. A few more months of testing and tweaking and refinement of the weighting and construction could have helped a lot here. As fas as I know these baits are no longer in production.