Strike Pro (who I am not sponsored by or affiliated with, blah, blah, blah), I must admit, comes up with some very clever lure designs. In the hardbait category, I would say that their Flex X is one of the most realistic baitfish imitations I’ve ever fished. Its snake-like action comes from multiple joints–a recurring feature on Strike Pro lures. Not too long ago, the company unveiled their Flex Crawfish, with a multi-joint tail that folds under as it swims, replaceable soft claws, a weedless hook, and unique eye in the middle of the back that makes it work when flipping, pitching, or jigging. It’s cool, no doubt, but I can’t help but wonder how important that level of realism is when it comes to mimicking a crawfish.
I mostly use crawfish during the fall for smallmouth and during the late-spring largemouth spawn. I’ve fished them all: crawfish crankbaits, molded hard-plastic crawfish, soft-plastic crawfish. But nothing, and I mean nothing, works better for me when craws are on the menu than a green or brown tube. They are simple to fish and I think they look and move more like a natural craw than lures with actual claws and fantails.
Baitfish have such subtle movements and reflective qualities that I see more merit in striving for realism. I’ve watched realistic baitfish lures out-fish basic patterns more than a few times. But if smallmouth are on crawfish, I think they’re swiping at anything that hops off the bottom and are looking at color and basic shape. They aren’t going to turn their noses because the lure has no claws or antennae. Plus, a bag of tubes costs a lot less than some hardbaits.
Maybe crawfish imitations are your bread and butter, so feel free to argue. Do you think a crawfish that looks real enough to boil will out-produce my tubes? – JC