The SLO Trout as the name implies is made in San Luis Obispo, CA by Mark Hinson. The bait was debuted in early 2004 and comes in two sizes, 9.5" and 11". It's a wood hardbait, with a metal bill and let me tell you this is one BIG bait. It's girthy like nobody's business. This is a hand made bait made one at a time.
The overall construction on this bait is very solid. It has a very high quality clear coat on it that is thick enough not to peel off or get scratched through by the hooks. The stock hooks are extremely sharp and I really like the fact that they are a matte black color. If you watch the bait videos on the site, one thing you'll notice is that the shiny black hooks throw a flashy reflection in the sunlight. The dull bronze and matte hooks like on the SLO Trout are more subtle. I'm not sure of the brand on the hooks, but I need to pick up a few packs for my other baits I think!
The SLO Trout creates a huge disturbance in the water. I see it working well in nasty conditions, chop, wind, mud that sort of thing where you are really trying to draw fish out to attack. I haven't had time to really fish the bait a lot yet, so I may revisit this review at a later date after getting some more time on the water with it in conditions where I think it will work.
Color wise, I like the two available colors, especially the silver one. I also think the fuzzy pipe cleaner gills are pretty clever )
At first when I saw the SLO Trout's metal bill I thought it might be kind of cool if the bait dove down deep I could use the metal bill to bash off the bottom and stir up mud and stuff. Throwing it though, I found that to get it down deep you have really crank it hard and it doesn't really want to gouge the bottom, because the bait is so buoyant. So while the metal bill is probably very durable, I don't like it much for the realism aspect.
The other thing I had problems with on the bait is the tuning of the bill. I talked with Mark and he explained that he does tune each bait but the ones I had gotten were un-tuned so I'd expect the ones in the shops to be tuned correctly. If they swim weird, to tune them in you have to bend the bill slightly forward (toward the nose) or backward (toward the tail). I had some difficulty with mine, but was able to get them running ok on top after some tweaking. I wasn't able to get my baits to dive down very far, but again I think it was more because of the buoyancy of the lure.
As far as I know, this lure is no longer in production.
Overall the bait has solid construction but I feel like its huge lumbering action is going to be best suited for those really nasty condition days.