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MS Slammer

Author: Rob Belloni

History/Overview: The MS Slammer is made by Mike Shaw in Atascadero, CA. Mike first started making the Slammer to fish for stripers around 1993 and all of the original baits were 12" big boys. Over the years the Slammer has changed and evolved a little, but the basic style is largely unchanged. I look at the Slammer like the Japanese car of trout plugs. Every year a new model comes out that looks about like last year's model, but there's always some small improvements that make it even better than it was.

The Slammer is a basically a surface or trolling bait. Cast and retrieve it and it will dive to 3 or 4 feet tops. But it's real deadliness comes in it's surface waking retrieve. This bait throws a huge wake and there are really times when this action is super effective. The Slammer kicks up a huge disturbance of noise and motion on top and large fish tend to know that something big that is struggling around is going to make a really nice meal.

Pros: If there is one area where the Slammer out does all other trout plugs, it's night fishing. This lure kills them at night. Just kills them. Don't say I didn't tell you about it! During the day it's a grab bag, but typically your big bite on the Slammer will be in choppy/breezy condition. The buoyancy of the bait on top causes it to kick around erratically in chop and that drives them pretty nuts most times. There will be the super calm days where they will assassinate it with reckless abandon anyway, but the strength of this bait is really when you have some 'condition' going on.

The Slammer's two hooks make it one of the best big baits for hooking and landing fish, and the durability of the lure is also excellent. The paint jobs have been refined over the years and they are in the top sector of what few wood baits there are on the market. I have seen several baits chewed with almost 1/4" grooves in them that still get bit. You really can put 100 fish on this lure. The hooks are premium VMC's as of around 11/03, and I believe the VMC's are good enough to fish as is. If you have baits from before that time frame, I would highly recommend either sharpening or replacing the stock hooks.

Cons: Unless you troll, the Slammer is not a bait that can be fished at any kind of depth. It is a surface bait and lacks versatility in this regard. There are some older baits out there that had some paint issues so that could go as a con also. The tails on the bait typically last for many many fish, but when they do rip out, they can be a little tedious to replace until you get used to doing it.

Average Rating out of 5 voters
Erik Feb 11, 2006
awesome swimbait
Time and time again I find myself coming back to the Slammer. Out of the 6 Slammers I have owned they all had their own unique action. Some liked to stay on the surface more, while others seemed to just like being under water more... You will get differing opinions on the color to get but you can't go wrong with the light or dark trout.

The only real problem I have had with mine are the hooks chipping away the paint but it hasn't seemed to lessen the amount of strikes. I have never had the tails rip out so I can not comment on that.

If you want a handmade wood plug that catches all size of fish, the Slammer is HARD to beat.
Taylor Posey( Sacramento, CA) Dec 25, 2005
Great Night Bait
Here is what I have observed when fishing the ms slammer

The good...
1. Great wake bait
2. It has that slow wounded fish swim fish cant resist
3. Noisy bait great for getting a fishes attention especially at night
4. You will catch a great # on a slammer before having to replace it since its a super durable bait
5. Lots of color patterns new ones always being added

The bad...
1. Finishes are not very realistic
2. Baits are very un consistant (some are much fatter than others no 2 I have owned ran alike)
3. Clear coat (finish) could be alot tougher

Overall the slammer is a great bait anytime theres wind rain or its dark I have not done well with it on clear days. The only thing I dont like is the fact that no 2 baits will really run alike so when you get one that runs good make sure you keep it forever!
Kevin Linehan Jun 15, 2005
Matt said it all! It has to be the best, most reliable wooden swimbait of all time.
Brian Jun 15, 2005
One of the best trout imitating baits on the market. Will definitely catch fish in just about any body of water, regardless of forage. Excellent choice on windy afternoons, night and rainy days, but don't rule out dead still water, it'll still get bit. Once you find one that has that special something in the kick guard it with your life. Often imitated, never duplicated, MS Slammer.
Matt Peters Jun 14, 2005
MS Slammer: The workhorse big bait
In my book, the MS Slammer is the most versatile of all the big baits. I have caught fish on the West Coast, and now East Coast on the Slammer. Dirty or clear water, the Slammer will pull the fish out. You don't have to have a trout-fed lake to throw the Slammer. Nor is the Slammer limited to just largemouth bass---I have caught spotted bass and smallmouth on the Slammer.

Here is a breakdown of the bait:

Pros: The Slammer can flat be fished all day and night, and just keeps fishing and swimmming straight. You may need to tune your bait to get it running 100% correct, but once you do, the Slammer just fishes hard. You RARELY foul the bait, which means no wasted casts and wasted opportunity on fresh areas. You can fish the Slammer at night, and know its running true, and ready to get bit (very effective night bait, as Rob mentioned).

My very best Slammer bite was on a non-trout fed lake in San Diego County. The baby bass Slammer will call out the better quality fish in a lake without trout. Don't be afraid to throw the Slammer in lakes without trout. Now that I'm on the East Coast, I'm using the 7" Slammer to immitate the native blueback herring. I think the wild colors like strong red, and the purple nitro will just plain get bit because the imitate a larger forage fish. The trout colors certainly resemble hitch, shad, smelt, carp, or whatever might be in your lake.

Species of fish: I have caught Spotted bass and smallmouth on both the West and East Coast now on the Slammer. Pull out a Slammer when you know the spotted bass are chasing reaction baits, and hang on. It will catch fish the Super Spook doesn't.

Tournament potential: What really excites me about the Slammer, is its tournament potential. Because the bait can be fished in a manner conducive to tournament fishing. I truly believe there is a BASS or FLW tournament waiting to be claimed on this bait. I don't care what part of the country, clear or dirty water, or time of year. You can straight committ to this bait, or just use it as a kicker fish bait. In either cases, the Slammer is a tournament swimbait. It doesn't foul, doesn't require special presentation that alienates your partner, and once you catch a fish, you just unhook and keep fishing (vs. retying, re-rigging, changing hooks/harness/leader, etc). The Slammer also has a HIGH hookup and land ratio. You don't miss as many fish with the Slammer as you do with other big baits. The hanging trebles are like a big spook or something. You miss a few, but not like other swimbaits.

Gear/Setup: I fish the 9" Slammer on a Shimano 820 XFA rod, with a Calcutta 400 reel, and 25 or 30 lb CXX Green P-Line. I prefer the Calcutta 400 over the TE editions for the slower retrieve. I like to fish the Slammer slow, and exagerated, and the 400 allows me to do this. The heavy P-Line is just plain strong, and floats the bait well. I fish the 7" Slammer on a Shimano 815 XFA, and the same 400 reel and line. I think you could get away with lighter line, but the 7" baits still cast on the heavy line, and its worked for me, even in the clearest California water.

Slammer Modifications: Replace hooks. The stock hooks aren't the best, but can easily be upgraded. Seal you bait with Aristocrat or other sealant. For your better swimming baits, that you fish a ton, tape off th joint, and remove the hooks, and seal up the bait...just to insure you more time with the bait. Make sure you get some spare tails. You will have to replace the tail occasionally. Be sure to note the length of the tail, the replacement tails are longer than you need, so trim it down.

Cons: You will buy a bait that doesn't run as good as you'd like. Try tuning it. I have success removing the snap or line tie on the 9" and tying directly to the bait if need be. If you have the option, buy the fattest Slammer in stock...the more wood = better bouyancy = better swim. Don't buy the skinny one if you have a choice!

Conclusion: Once you get into the Slammer, you'll have one tied on at every lake you travel to. Its a great search bait. Once you get one that swims good, you are golden. There are other baits that look better/more realistic than the Slammer, but none that can match the wake a good Slammer throws, and the swim.
Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written consent.
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