The Osprey Hard Body was released in the Fall of 2004 and is Osprey’s first foray into the hardbait market since the original Osprey 3 piece hardbaits (which were limited production and never really made it on the market). The Hard Body is pretty small on the overall swimbait scale, measuring 7” in length and weighing 2.2oz. It comes stock with Owner Stinger trebles and high quality split rings.
The Osprey Hard Body is a bit different than any of the other baits available in the overall “trout plug” category. Most trout plug style baits have a 90 degree angle bill and are designed to run level at a fairly constant depth. The Hard Body on the other hand has a long diving bill that angles out almost straight off the nose of the bait which gives the bait an action that is much more like a crankbait than a typical trout plug.
The natural action on this bait is a tight hard wobble and the bait runs down quickly the 4-8 foot range and says there. This is a good bait to try when you’re working shallow flats or wood cover where you want to really make contact with the structure to trigger bites. Because the bait angles down so steeply, the hooks are shielded from snags by the bill and the back of the bait, so you can really whack it off things without getting fouled. It’s definitely something different than what bass see going by normally.
Another pro with this bait is that you don’t really need any special gear to throw it. Any rod you can throw a big Fat Free Shad or DD22 on, you can throw this bait on no problem. I’d recommend a soft action rod and a setup that is more like a heavy crankbait rod than a light swimbait rod. You can definitely get away with using 20lb or even 17lb test with this lure.
Overall the construction and quality on the bait is excellent. I give a big thumbs up to any manufacturer that puts a premium hook on their lure, and the Hard Body comes stock with Owner Stingers. The paint jobs are solid, on par with similarly priced baits, and the split rings are high quality, not anything you’d need to replace.
While I was originally intrigued by the concept of a diving bottom digging type trout plug bait, I was disappointed by the diminutive size of the lure. I’m not sure if the bait was designed more with the Japanese market in mind, where smaller swimbaits seem to be preferred, or whether Osprey just wanted to make a smaller bait, but I’ve always believed that you have to have a certain volume to a lure to get the attention of big bass. When you look at the Hard Body from the top down, you’ll see that it’s very thin in the tail section and not very bulky overall.
I also feel like if you are going to try to imitate a trout, the bait should move like a trout and have a tail that resembles a trout tail in some fashion. The Hard Body doesn’t have a tail and although the rear third of the bait has some kick to it, it doesn’t move anything like a trout. Don’t get me wrong, this lure has action, and it has an interesting functionality as a bottom/cover banging lure, but it’s just not the kind of lure that is going to fool a lot of 10+ bass into thinking it’s a trout.
My last complaint is the price. Retailing a bait like this for $60 is a stretch. I realize from a manufacturing standpoint that it’s just as time consuming to make something small as it is to make something big, but a typical crankbait goes for $5-$15 and I think a reasonable price for a small injected/composite type bait like this would be more in the $20-$35 range.