The 3:16 K-9 was released in November of 2003. This softbait is available in 7” and 8.5” and comes in two colors, a green trout and a brown trout. The 7” K-9 comes stock with a 1/0 VMC hook and weighs 2.75oz. The 8.5” is equipped with a 2/0 Owner Stinger treble and weighs in at 4.40oz. Both baits sink slowly and run naturally in the slightly sub-surface to 10 foot depth range. The 7” retails for approximately $18 and the 8.5” for $20.
The 3:16 Rising Son and the K-9 both came out at approximately the same time, so drawing a few comparisons will help understand what makes the K-9 different from other “boat shaped” swimbait bodies. Where the Rising Son has a round bottom, the K-9 has a narrow bottom that flares upward as you go up the side of the lure. Shaping a bait this way makes it harder to get the bait to swim but the K-9 accomplishes this through correct weighting and the fat upper body just behind the head. This shaping means that the bait sinks faster than the Rising Son and doesn’t plane to the surface nearly as much when the retrieve speed is increased. Because of this, you can let the K-9 sink to the desired depth and reel it back while maintaining depth or even let the bait sink deeper during the retrieve by slowing down. This is especially true on the heavier 8.5” version. It’s a subtle difference but an interesting one from the standpoint of covering deeper water.
3:16 Lure Co. always does a nice job on the details and molding on their baits and the K-9 is no exception. I’ve fished with a half dozen K-9’s and they were all perfectly poured and swam straight and true with no modification. It’s always nice to get a softbait that swims true, especially a reasonably priced bait like the K-9. The stock hooks are premium on the K-9 and there’s no reason to replace them. I wish that more manufacturers would put a super sharp hook on their bait stock.
The K-9 uses the standard 3:16 block and tube system where the line runs through the nose of the lure and comes out the belly before being affixed to your treble hook. This setup means that the bait lasts longer than a wire harnessed bait and it helps with landing fish because on most hookups the bait will slide up the line during the fight giving the fish less leverage to throw the bait. Catching 6 to 15 fish per bait wouldn’t be unreasonable with this hook system.
The colors on the K-9 are a dark but translucent green. There are some subtle differences between the brown trout and the green trout but not much. In my opinion, the K-9 colors are best suited for clear water and if you throw the K-9 out in some crystal clear water I think you’ll agree that it looks very natural in those conditions.
Action wise, the K-9 swims about how you would expect it to swim if you’re familiar with boot tail swimbait action in general. The tail is fairly large relative to the body so you get a pronounced wag and a small amount of twisting action in the narrow section of the body just in front of the tail. You can swim the bait down to very slow speeds before it loses traction but on a fast retrieve the tail starts to kick so much that it looks a little spastic. If you want a hard kicking speed retrieve give it a try fast, but to me it feels like the natural action of the K-9 is slow to medium.
I mentioned above that the K-9 is only available in two colors and that those colors look great in clear water. It would really be nice though to see some more color offerings with this bait, especially some more silvery, pale green, or grey/pink trout variations. When you throw the K-9 in off color water it really tends to just disappear and doesn’t look quite right.
Shape and style wise the K-9 is interesting but it is more of a stylized trout shape than a true trout shape. The head of the bait flares out quickly and the eyes are very large in relation to the head. This is not to say that bass won’t bite it anyway, but the profile of the lure just doesn’t match up exactly with any forage that a bass might be eating normally. We all know that senkos don’t look like anything a bass would eat either and they catch tons of fish but for me the shaping was a mental block when it came to fishing with the K-9.
With the K-9, especially the 8.5”, you really want to use a trailer hook. The 8.5 is very wide right above the hook and baits shaped this way can allow fish to clamp the head without getting hooked, especially if the fish comes up over the top of the bait. I would recommend a 1/0 or #1 trailer on the 8.5” and a #1 or #2 for the 7”. Rig your trailer about 2” behind the front treble and you should have increased hook to landing ratio.
Overall the K-9 is a solid performer that swims true and is executed nicely. I fished the K-9 a fair amount when it first came out and I waited a long time before writing this review because I really wanted to see if other people were going to catch fish on it. There have been some nice fish caught on the K-9 that I’ve heard about but it hasn’t really lit the world on fire either. The good news is that the bait is reasonably priced and performs well so if you want to get one to give it a go it’s not a big investment. This is a bait where I would love to see some viewers write in with their own comments to help get some more opinions and information up.