View More Reviews
video homepage buy online
Castaic Softbait - Platinum Series Swimbait

Author: Rob Belloni

Overview/History: The Castaic Platinum debuted in late fall 2005.  This lipless soft plastic double jointed bait is available in 6”, 8”, and 10” models, each of which has three possible sink rates (floating, slow sinking, and fast sinking).  There are a whopping 23 different colors available including five different trout variations.  The 6” lure retails for approximately $15, the 8” for $19 and the 10” for $23. 

Pros:  There was a lot of hype and a lot of talk about the Platinum before it became available, so when I got my baits and went to the lake I was pretty curious about what this lure would do.  My very first impression of the lure was, “wow I like this action.”  The lure has a distinct wiggle to it when you use a medium retrieve, and that wiggle causes the soft plastic fins to ripple nicely.  This secondary fin action just looks sexy to me, and I always look for secondary action like that in any lure because it gives the illusion of life. 

On a slow retrieve, the Platinum has a lazier kick to it that looks good.  With the floating model this slow retrieve works especially well, but it’s hard to maintain the exact retrieve rate to get it looking good with the slow sinking and fast sinking models.  Getting just the right slow retrieve will require some time on a calm day getting the feel for the lure.  The natural action of the lure to me is more of a medium pace than a slow pace.  When you slow the bait down too much it will stop swimming and glide down nose first.  That can be a great move if you have a following fish! 

If you give the rod a jerk with the platinum then quickly let the line quickly go slack, you can make it glide left or right, and spin around 180 degrees or more.  Working the bait quickly like this could be a great option if you’re looking for high speed erratic action on aggressive clear water bass.  If you’re using a trailer hook and fishing the bait like this you just have to be careful not to let it roll because it is likely to tangle the hooks.  The action on an erratic retrieve does look wild though, and we all know that bass can be triggered by random spastic action like that. 

From a construction standpoint, the Platinum has one very interesting feature not seen on any other lures; the magnetic hook keeper.  Affixed on the belly of each bait are two small, approximately ¼” magnets.  The magnets are backed by a small nail to keep them in place and they hold the shank of the hook nicely in place along the belly of the bait.  This design means you no longer have to impale the hook in the belly of the lure which can of course weaken and damage the lure.  I was a bit skeptical that this could actually work, but it does work pretty darn well.  Occasionally on the cast the hooks will reposition but it’s not bad at all, so I give props to Castaic for coming up with this clever mod.

Color wise, Castaic really went off in terms of offering a lot of good options.  With five trout variations to choose from there’s really some opportunity here to match colors to conditions and experiment.  The ghost rainbow in particular looks great in the water and the standard rainbow pattern is very accurate also.  If you want to branch out into the wilder colors, there are more options than I can mention here (glitter hasu anyone?). 

From a hookup standpoint, I think the Platinum is going to be a very strong performer for a soft plastic bait.  The lures are so thin and so soft that when a fish inhales the lure the bait completely collapses and folds up inside the mouth of the fish.  With the 10” model you’ll want to use a small stinger hook, and it might be advisable to put one on the 8” also but even with a single hook, the odds of hooking the fish are very good.  I would expect around 80% hook to land ratio with this bait, and the ones you are going to miss are going to be slappers or tail biters. 

Cons: For as much as I like the action, the colors, the magnetic hook holders, and the hookup percentage on the Platinum, there are a few nagging issues to discuss in the cons department. 

The stock hook on the Platinum is frankly a cheap dull hook.  They are strong hooks, not one that you would have to worry about bending out, but if you’re going to fish with the stock hook, you really need to put a file to it before you make a cast.  I would also consider using a smaller split ring than the stock ring, just from a stealth standpoint.  The stock ring is fine but a #6 Owner Hyperwire will be less conspicuous. 

I also feel like the stock hook is much too big for the lure.  I determine hook size for any lure based on the width of the body of the bait.  When you look down the back of a lure and you see the hook points sticking out way past the sides of the lure, it’s just not really necessary for the hook to be that large.  The fact that the Platinum collapses and often winds up by the gills is another compelling reason why you should use a smaller hook.  A smaller hook is much less likely to kill a gill hooked fish.  As such, I would recommend the following hook sizes for the Platinum:

10” - #1 or 1/0
8”   - #2 or #1
6”   - #2 or #4

It’s also worth mentioning that if you rig a trailer hook on the Platinum, you need to leave some slack in the line to account for the kick in the bait because the second magnet is behind the first joint.  The Platinum is one of the few lures where I would consider using braid instead of wire for the stinger hook because the stiffness in 70 to 90lb wire can be a detriment to the action. 

From a construction standpoint, it is pretty apparent that the Platinum is a mass produced lure.  I’ve seen several inconsistencies in the baits such as flat spots in the side of the lure and irregularities in the fins that can lead to poor swimming actoin.  Out of the eight Platinums that I tested, seven of them swam fine but one of them swam to the side at any speed faster than a crawl.  First hand reports from friends whose opinions I trust indicate that this is about on par for the course and  they have experienced swimming problems on approximately the same percentage of baits.  The lures are not exorbitant in price but you should be aware that there’s potential for swimming issues.

From a durability standpoint, catching five to ten fish per bait would be a reasonable expectation to set.  The plastic used in the Platinum is very soft, softer than any other swimbait I have owned.  This is part of the tradeoff for the great action but it can be a detriment if a bass grabs on to the tail of the lure and you set the hook.  Odds are good that you will come back with less of the lure than you started out with. 

You also want to be cautious about snap casting this lure.  I keep hearing this story about the tail tearing off during the cast, but (not to sound insulting) this problem is not happening to me or the guys who I talk to who really know how to fish big baits. I suspect the guys with less casting experience who are using an overhead snap cast are causing a whipping effect on the lure and tearing them.  So my advice is to cast gently and use a lobbing motion, odds are your baits will stay together just fine like this. 

Overall the Platinum has some very compelling reasons why you should put one in your Plano 3700 but you need to set your expectations when it comes to durability and the potential for a poor swimming bait.  And definitely, put that smaller premium hook on before you go to the water.

Average Rating out of 6 voters
Herb WEichmann( Alloway, NJ) Dec 02, 2006
Castaic Platinum good and bad
I have been using 6 inch through the 10 inch platinums consistently for the past 3 months. I Love the action fist of all! I have caught many 5+ fish on this bait. The durability is another thing. Frankly it SUCKS! 1-2 fish at best and the bait is tearing. If they could only get it to where it doesn't rip so easily. Maybe some type of new rubber would make this great lure worth buying. At 20 bucks a pop it's just becomes too expensive!
Bassindon13( Merced, CA) Feb 08, 2006
I give this bait it respect... i dunno how much people have thrown it but i gave the platinum its chance.. i was pleased with the results.. the snake swim is actually its best feature un-natural or not.. it works!
phillip hansen( stuart, FL) Jan 26, 2006
castaic platinum series
The paint job looks good, but you can rub it off with your thumb. I wondered why castaic was selling a lure so cheaply. Now I know; it tears in half as soon as a fish bites it.
Read More Reviews [3] »
Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written consent.
Login /