The Bass Harasser came out in fall, 2006. Size and color options multiplied quickly, and there are at least 13 colors in 7 sizes available now. You can purchase a Bass Harasser in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 inch. This review will focus on the 7 through 10 inch sizes. Within each size and color there are multiple sink rates including very slow, slow, medium, and fast. Not all sink rates are available in each size but this is still an astounding number of SKU’s for a single lure model. Prices range from $3 to $15 per bait, with the smaller models coming in multi-bait clamshell packs and the larger models available in single-packs.
Like all Reaction Strike products, the Bass Harasser is priced well below similarly styled baits. Where an 8 Inch Huddleston goes for $25, the 8” Bass Harasser will run you $15. With low pricing, there’s a certain attitude that develops in my mind where I feel more encouraged to cast the lure in to sticky spots, and there’s something to be said for that. I like losing $15 at a time better than $25.
There’s also something to be said for the fact that you can get some very unique color/size/sink rate combinations in this lure. If I was dying to have a 7 inch red firetiger in fast sink – I could get it. I’m not saying I want one, but someone who was fishing around post-spawn kokanee in deep water might think that was a good idea.
The fine spotting on the California Trout pattern appeals to my sense of what a trout lure should look like and it’s nice to see a manufacturer go that route. I see freshly stocked trout with hundreds of spots on them, but few lures imitate this with accuracy. Some of the other Bass Harasser colors are head scratchers but may be more geared for musky or striper fishing.
I like the fact that the Bass Harasser comes with multiple stinger hook rigging points near the adipose fin and on the belly. This configuration makes it supremely easy to add and remove your trap hooks to fit the fishing situation. Because the baits are thin from side to side, a small treble is all you need with the Bass Harasser. Look for a hook that sticks out just past the width of the body of the lure.
If you are a fan of the frog hook (which I am not) Reaction Strike did a nice thing with the copper wire hook keeper that holds the frog hook in place on the belly. By way of comparison, the AC Casitas uses a metal pin that spreads the frog hook to hold it in place. Either method works, but the copper wire is nice for simplicity and a clean look.
It’s one thing to design a lure and have it manufactured. It’s another thing to study the action of your first prototype, then refine and refine and refine to come up with a lure that swims just right. The Bass Harasser strikes me as a lure that was designed, manufactured, and sold with no iterative development process.
I say this because when you study the action of the lures they just don’t seem “right”. The 10 inch model has a dodging action (like a surface iron for ocean fishing) and to me this signals that the tail of the lure is too large, too stiff, or both. The head down attitude of the fast sink models in all sizes also feels wrong. Fish swim with their bodies parallel to the surface of the water, they do not swim with their head down.
When I got my first Bass Harassers, they had a strong plastic smell from the plastic based paint used. The baits I bought later did not have this and had more of a dry, almost chalky feel to the surface of the lure. I’d prefer the latter situation, but both are a little odd.
With all of the Bass Harassers I own (about ten baits) the plastic has become very stiff over time. The bodies of my 10 inch baits in particular have become so stiff that they are rigid up to the tail section. This stiffness has made the action even worse. The baits are tough in terms of durability, but after a few years in my tackle box they are too tough.
The last thing to mention in the cons department is the hooks. Several of my 8” models came with frog hooks that were flat dull. Not just dull like a cheap hook, but flattened. The top hooks on all of my lures are fine, but check your frog hooks before you fish with them. Whatever brand of hook is being used is very poor quality.
When the 10 inch Bass Harasser came out, I was legitimately interested. The baits looked good enough on the shelf and in my hand that I thought I might have a use for them. After fishing with them for several trips it became apparent that the action and fishability were such that they would be relegated to the bottom of my swimbait shelf.
Nearly three years after the lure came out I haven’t talked to anyone who has caught a 10lb bass on one. For a well distributed bait that comes in 8 and 10 inch sizes this is telling. It’s not that the Bass Harasser doesn’t swim or falls apart. It’s just that it’s a lure that looks good out of the water, not in it. Disagree? Write in with your comments. To me this is just another bait that could have been done right but wasn’t.