Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Test Drive - Live Target Hollow Body Sunfish

I don't tend to review or test drive too many frogs on this site, that's what the Frog Pond is for, but when a bait has a much hype behind it as the Live Target Hollow Body Sunfish does.. it's worth a second look. 

Off the Shelf

Live Target makes pretty baits, its what they do, but the Hollow Body Sunfish seems to have a little more bling in it then the rest of their hollow body line-up. This is a good looking bait and many anglers will be sold before they even  handle one. 

As for sizing, I find the two size options to be a little deceiving, the smaller size looked "ok" to me on the shelf but once out of the box it was small, so back I went to add the larger model. I was surprised to hear from one tackle that they would only be stocking the one size, but I guess with 12 color options this could get out of control quickly. Not many stored have room for 24 options of one product..My advice.. go big., don't worry about colour.

When first handling the frog.. er fish, it has all the traits you love from other Live Target lures, high quality imagery and hooks, along with an ultra soft body for improved hooksets.

Sticker shock may be an issue for Canadian Anglers, with the drop in CAD/USD exchange this bait was retailing for as high as $18.99CAD and on average ranged from $14.99 to $16.99. I picked up mine at an early season show and paid $13.99. Again this is an exchange rate issue more then a pricing issue. 

On the Water

By now you have all seen the countless videos of this bait doing its thing in open water and sparse cover situations. There is no denying that this bait walks, swims, and flutters incredibly well, when working in these situations you can pretty much make this bait do whatever you want it to do.. as long as you have the right rod that is.

When fishing in heavier cover situations I found the bait fished a bit dead. You might think that's a good thing considering it is suppose to imitate a dying or injured bait fish, but in this case I'm using the term dead to signify its complete lack of action and even feel. When pulling the Sunfish over pads and structure it has no real action and just kind of bumps along . when paused there are no legs to flair and if your fishing the smaller size the profile is almost non existent. 

Casting this bait on a calm day is a dream, but if you are dealing with even a breeze this bait quickly turns into an R.A Dickey Knuckle ball and neither you nor the catcher know where it will end up. Its crescent or moon shape makes it susceptible to knuckling or curving in the wind. Keep that in mind if you are a target oriented fishing hoping to drop this bait on a dime.

Now, while casting can be a bitch, landing is another story. I love the gentle "thwack" the sunfish makes when it hits the water. its really sounds like a fish breaking the surface and if they were not already paying attention they are now!

If you read the frog pond review (HERE) you know whats coming next. The hollow body Sunfish takes on water... fast. I found myself emptying on nearly every retrieve which after awhile gets pretty old. I'm not sure why this is an issue in the Sunfish as it is not an issue I had with other live target hollow body baits. I do know that when speaking to other anglers this topic seems to be hit and miss, Ive had a few guys tell me they did not experience this issue while other did. Lets hope it was an early production run issue and chalk it up to that. 

The Results

I have and I will continued to fish the Live Target Hollow body Sunfish, but it has become more of an condition specific bait then  an all around frog. To continue with my baseball analogy above, this bait is like the middle relief pitcher, once I get into a situation that I know it can excel in, I pick up the phone and call the bull pen. But it;s never going to be a starter, its just doesn't have the talent.

All testing was done on a Dobyns DX746 paired with a Daiwa Tatula HD reel. The DX746 is an amazing frog rod in situations in which you could use a little more tip. It imparts great action to frogs that do a ton of walking and it improves you short distance and skipping accuracy when casting. The Tatula HD is a beast of a reel and I never leave home without it.

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