March 25th, 2016
“I wouldn’t have any idea where to fish this” is the first comment a good friend of mine said when he first picked up the new Spro BBZ-1 Rat 50 wakebait. “Easy” I answered “anywhere there are rats!” and that’s pretty much where you would use this.
The Spro BBZ-1 Rat 50 is a new wakebait developed by SPRO in conjunction with Bill Siemental. It won best hard lure at ICAST 2014. If you are curious about how effective the rat is, you just need to do a simple search and there are dozens of videos with Bill catching largemouth bass on this bait. The question remains, though, Is this rat wakebait practical for everyday use? or is it just too big?
I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Siemental at ICAST 2014 and when I posed this question to him he simply smiled and shook his head slowly. He told me “…if a bass can get it in his mouth, then its not too big. Bass will eat ANYTHING…”
This rings very true if you consider that bass are opportunistic feeders and almost everything imaginable has been found in their mouths. There are also countless videos online showing bass eating everything from squirrels to ducks.
When I was speaking to Bill I also asked him about the BBZ-1’s multispecies potential. Being a Musky and Esox angler, this rat seemed to be just what I needed! Bill’s eyes lit up when I asked this question and he emphatically replied “YES!”
The BBZ-1 RAT is constructed from plastic/ resin and measures 10″ and weighs 2.5 oz. it has 2x strong no. 1/0 Gamakatsu hooks as well. The rat comes with a tail mounted on it already as well as an alternate in a complementing color in the box. The BBZ-1 is available in 5 realistic colors that will suit the needs of all anglers, regardless of target species.
The BBZ-1 rat is a wakebait that floats. It can be worked by simply reeling it in, or it can walk the dog, be popped or any other number of erratic retrieves.
The BBZ-1’s construction definitely seems robust enough to handle the biggest esox and musky. Joints are steel and molded into the hard plastic body of the bait. the tail is segmented hard plastic with a string center. If the tail is destroyed, anglers can easily substitute it with a senko type bait, or leave it off altogether if experiencing short strikes. The tail is held into the body of the rat by a toothpick pushed through the back of the bait.
The BBZ-1 rat has a matte finish that isn’t protected by any coating. If anglers are fishing for esox or musky they should definitely expect the finish on this bait to get ruined by teeth. Bass may also scratch off the paint on these wakebaits with heavy use, but that’s probably not going to bother an angler who is catching tonnes of fish! Collector types will definitely not be happy with the delicate finish applied to the BBZ-1
ON THE WATER
There are plenty of videos of the BBZ-1 rat catching bass online and I figured that for this review I would try something different. We took the BBZ-1 rat out and used it for some spring northern pike as well as for bass. Although my first inclination was that this bait better suited for the fall, I still wanted to give it a try. Knowing that there are trophy pike in Canadian waters, I figured that a 10″ bait was no problem for them to hit, I would just have to slow down my retrieve.
The BBZ-1 rat proved a heavy bait to cast all day and I ended up using 65 lb. braid tied direcly to the bait. I tested the BBZ1 on a Curado 200E reel. Bill Siemental recommends a 300 size reel (specifically a Curado 300E) however I didn’t have access one at the time of testing. The BBZ-1 rat casts well and was easy to use as a wakebait. I found that because of its bill, the lure was harder to walk, but with some practice it was possible.
I chose to use a Shimano Compre 7’6″ rod. When throwing the BBZ1 I found that shorter rods just weren’t giving me the distance I needed while longer rods were too unweildy. A 7′ 6″ rod was just perfect. The reccomendation from Bill Siemental was to use a medium action so the fish could fully grab the bait before setting the hook, and I would tend to agree with this.
Since this rat has some massive 1/0 hooks, you definitely do not want to throw it anywhere it would hang up. Brushpiles, lilly pads and matted weeds are areas that need to be fished with caution. I did have success when fishing the BBZ1 along the edges of cover and paralleling matted weed edges.
The BBZ-1 is a cool bait! it is definitely a 10 on the must have chart and it is something that all anglers will instantly want in their tacklebox, regardless of what species they fish for. Aside from those anglers who want this bait as a novelty, I think it has a place for trophy northern pike and musky anglers who are looking for a realistic wakebait. This rat may also have a place in their tackleboxes.
As for bass anglers, I don’t think that the BBZ-1 rat is something that most bass anglers will throw daily, especially smallmouth anglers: this rat is just too big! However, I can really see this bait doing well in southern areas where double digit bass are common. When you are looking for a trophy southern largemouth and the topwater bite is on, this may just be the ticket for you!
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci