The MS Slammer X-2 was released in January of 2005. The original name for the lure was the MS Slammer XX but that was changed to the X-2 in the winter of ’06. The X-2 is available in all of the same colors that the standard Slammer comes in, and it has the same VMC hooks as the standard Slammer. The primary difference between the standard and the X-2 (besides the second joint) is that the X-2 is manufactured with a more lightweight wood to give it more action on the surface. The X-2 comes in three sizes (small, medium and large) which correspond approximately to 7”, 9” and 11.25”. The lures weigh approximately 1.75oz, 3oz, and 4.5oz and priced at $39, $49, and $59 respectively.
The question everyone is likely to ask with the X-2 is, why this bait vs. the regular MS Slammer? With the additional joint and the lighter wood, the best description of the action the bait gets is “loose”. When you run the lure across the surface it has a very lively wiggle too it and it moves and breathes with the chop on the surface. This more lively action allows you really slow down the retrieve, which can be a great tactic at night and in cold water situations where you want to give the fish something big but you want to move it very slowly. Even when barley turning the handle, you’ll still get strong action and a large wake out of the X-2 - and that’s a plus.
For subsurface fishing, the X-2 is going to only run down to about 3 feet max. When you crank the X-2 down, the action changes from a slow wiggle on the surface to a narrower, irregular action. The additional joint makes the action jerkier than the standard Slammer and the head of the lure will start to kick back and forth very rapidly the faster you retrieve it. If you have some super aggressive fish that want a bait close to the surface, burning the X-2 could be an interesting option.
I always like to comment on hookup ratios in the reviews, and like the standard Slammer, the X-2 has a very solid hookup ratio. The hooks will swing during the retrieve, becoming part of the action and with six hook points swishing back and forth under the lure, odds are good that if you get bit, the fish is going to stick. At night when fish are prone to slapping at the bait you’ll often times foul hook them in the head and cheeks with the X-2.
Like its predecessor, the X-2 is individually hand crafted and painted by Mike Shaw himself. There is certainly something to be said for hand made baits, they just have a certain feel to them that mass produced baits lack. From a durability standpoint, the X-2 should last for many many fish. The price on the bait is relatively expensive but this is a bait that you’re very likely to have in your tackle box 5 years from now.
The only real weak spot with any Slammer is the paint finish. If you want it to really last a long time, put some Aristocrat or Devcon 2 epoxy over it. Otherwise you’ll get nicks where the hooks rub the bait and can potentially chip off paint if you bang the lure off rocks or docks.
Another con with the Slammer X-2 is the price. Relative to the hard bait market they’re priced competitively but it still hurts to shell out $40-$60 for a lure. The good news is that they float and unless you break a fish off or snag while shore fishing, you’re unlikely to ever lose the bait. When you consider that the lure will last 10 times longer than a rubber bait half the price, it's really not so bad.
The last thing I want to mention is the hooks. I have used the VMC hooks that come stock on the X-2 and 99% of the time they are going to be just fine. But I have seen on two occasions on stripers in the ocean where these hooks have bent out on 25lb line. If you’re expecting some big fish to hit, consider replacing the hooks with 2x strong models from Gammie or Owner. I’ve seen standard Owner Stingers, Gammie Round Bend Trebles and VMC’s all bend out so just be aware of the situation.