So it's obvious that VMC, aka Rapala basically just mimicked the design of Decoy's Y-F33BT with their own VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble Hook version. In the internet photo they look strong, but when you see them in person, the rolling swivel looks very tiny and seems very weak. I was going to buy a few of them at Bass Pro Shops in Auburn Hills, then I shook my head and thought, that doesn't even look like it's going to hold up for bass, let alone pike or walleye. Come to find out, I was right... Anglers always go with your first intuition...
After doing a little searching on Google, I noticed a sponsored ad by Rapala that kept popping up on my Facebook feed, so a bit curious, there was over 802 likes and 115 comments... I'm like hmmm, lets see what other anglers are saying about this innovative terminal tackle. Well one angler by the name of Chris said he lost 3 blades, here's a screen shot. This is not a good sign! Just as I figured, Chis stated that he likes the idea, but they need to improve how they are attached. And another fisherman named Keith said he lost a blade on the first fish he caught.
It just amazes me that Rapala would even put out such a weak product when they have a solid reputation of constructing quality lures that catch record size fish. What were they thinking? It's mind boggling to me, truly is. Anyways, it was a nice try Rapala, but back to the drawing board...
I was willing to buy at least one package for bass, but I just knew it wasn't going to hold up, I wonder if Deboy's bladed treble hooks hold up better? It looks like Decoy is using a stronger rolling swivel and stronger split ring, but photos can be very deceiving. Jon B actually did a video about Decoy's original version long before Rapala even had their own version on the market. The action looks incredible on a crankbait and jerkbait! Jon B is always head of the game.
Last year Suissex gave me a whole line of baits to try for bass, musky, pike, and even walleye. They make one of the most newest innovative lures I've seen named the Shad Spin Blade. I almost jizzed my pants when I saw this swimbait, there's really nothing like it on the market in the States. It features radical colors, a detailed life-like body of a baitfish, along with a willow blade in back. I'm all about the willow blade man, I love willow bladed spinnerbaits and have a lot of success with them. After buying the Johnson Beetle Spin, I take off the smaller bland sized colorado blade and attach a much bigger Hildebrandt willow blade, the difference in strikes is amazing, along with catching more bass. I actually caught my PB largemouth bass on a modified Beetle Spin with a willow blade at the gravel pit pond across from Four Bears Theme Park, sombitch had to weigh around 7 or 8 pounds, I could fit both my hands in the bucket mouth.
Well getting back to the Suissex Shad Spin Blade, they sent me two sizes, one in 7 inch for musky and pike, also another in 4.5 inch for bass. Well come to find out even though the musky seem to crave them, guess what, after I landed a tiger musky and great lakes musky on the Spin Blade. Soon after a musky ripped the blade off on one, the next day, another musky strike ripped off the blade on another. Without a doubt these swimbaits are made strong with a through wire construction, however the threaded wire they use is being broken off at the barrel sleeve. As I sent an email to the company explaining they might want to try a copper double barrel sleeve that would be less likely to pinch and make the wire weaker, I have yet to hear back from Suissex. Maybe If I put this on the internet I will eventually hear back from them shortly. I'm sure I eventually will, because a video will be made soon about the Shad Spin Blade on my YouTube channel.
This is a great saltwater fishing article about the different sleeves for wire, monofilament, and fluorcarbon. As stated, the double barrel sleeves "are the strongest and most reliable sleeves."
I'm getting off on a target a little, so what does this a the Suissex Suissex Shad Spin Blade have to do with the VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble Hook? Well if you re-read and think about what I wrote, the musky are striking the Shad Spin Blade at the willow blade and tearing them off, so they're obviously attracted to the blade part but it's not strong enough and there's no hook there to catch the fish... Hint, hint!!! Also sounds similar to the defect with the VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble Hook doesn't it?
Well getting past defects of these fishing lures, what if Decoy or VMC/Rapala were to make a much beefier and large version for musky? So I could actually attach the treble hook to the Shad Spin Blade wire at the rear and the rolling swivel and split ring would be strong enough to hold Suissex's willow blade? Maybe even a supersized version for the Chaos Posseidon or Shadzilla?? Now that would be one hell of an innovation for terminal tackle wouldn't it?
I think all three companies have stumbled across unique lure designs that could be groundbreaking for the fishing industry and community, which can lead to all sorts of modifications to fishing lures, but because Decoy and Rapala hasn't raised the bar yet to make a beefier construction for much larger blades, we're just left with this cheaper version, which really isn't even holding up to what they were set to do in the first place, just catching mid-sized fish like bass or walleye. Kind of a sad state of affairs, time to step up your game Rapala!
The Facebook comments aren't the only complaints I've heard, I went to TackleWareHouse.com and read the reviews, the first comment I saw said "after the 3rd fish I caught, I noticed that the blade was gone. If they can find a way to secure the blade better, I would buy more. I like them now but would love them better if they held up longer. Just my 2 cents."
Here's two other comments...
"My blade was not durable. After a few casts and retrieves I noticed the blade was missing."
"Bought several packs and while they did work good and seem to get more bites the blades fall off extremely easy. I had one come off with just normal cast and retrieve."
So just like the Suissex Shad Spin Blade, incredible design, but due to a minor defect of both of these products they need to go back to the redesigning stage. I'll give Suissex more of a pass, I would still give the Shad Spin Blade a 4 out of 5 because making a lure holding up to great lakes muskellunge can be tough, I'm sure these will work on bass, walleye, and most pike just fine. They're a French based company and don't have a vicious esox species like the tiger musky and great lakes muskellunge. Pound for pound I think musky strike harder and fight harder than the European pike they have in France.
I'd actually like to give it a 4.5 out of 5 because it caught so many musky in such a short period of time. I fished with it for only three days and had caught one tiger musky and a decent size spotted musky from the 9 mile pier, then lost two other musky, hence ripping off the willow blades. So I suspect if there was a treble hook back near the willow blade, I might have landed 2 more musky, I also had a few other strikes that I missed. Bottom line is, the Suissex Shad Spin Blade is a musky catching machine, I also caught a two pound largemouth on the 7". And I'll say this, the 7 inch isn't even that big, considering the measurement includes the blade not the body of the swimbait. This lure can even be used for big smallmouth and largemouth bass on many of the Great Lakes. But I'm sure once I try jigging the 4.5" Shad Spin Blade for some bronzebacks next spring on Lake St. Clair, that'll become a dynamite lure for smallies as well! And I do wonder if the design of the Shad Spin Blade would work vertical jig fishing for walleye on the Detroit River?
Nevertheless, Rapala/VMC shouldn't get a pass with the Bladed Hybrid Treble Hook considering how large this fishing company is and their history. It's very disappointing they'd even put out a very weak product like this on the market, knowing it's terminal tackle, the specific part of lures made for catching fish. You know when Rapala hard baits are known for catching record size fish like big bass, walleye, and even pike and musky. That's what you would expect, right? Quality tackle that will hold up to record size fish!
I mean just because Rapala inline spinners, spoons, crankbaits or jerkbaits are small and made for bass, doesn't mean they shouldn't hold up to a few big fish like Esox. Like someone remarked to me the other day at Metro Park, if you read some of the Master Angler Awards, fishermen have caught some of the biggest fish on smallest size fishing lures, no joke. I actually caught one of my biggest muskies on a Blue Fox Vibrax Double Spin #5 which is an incline spinner basically made for bass, the musky measured 43 inches long, sadly they discontinued that lure. The Vibrax Double Spin truly is an incredible largemouth bass magnet, but musky seem to like it as well, it was like a glowing ball that buzzes through the water at a slow pace like a UFO or should I say USO, basically drives the bass crazy, as well as the musky. I have yet to see another inline spinner that's so small yet features such enlarged colorado blades. But despite catching numerous pike, musky and even a few 3-4 pound smallmouth bass on that lure, it still held up for 2-3 years until the blades basically tarnished and rusted out, and really that's basically my fault as I could of kept up with the blades by using a little toothpaste and tooth brush, Mepps even recommends this for tarnished blades.
Anyways, I think Rapala knows how innovative their VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble Hook could be for modifying lures, but I think it's safe to say it still isn't quite there yet with a solid construction. I suspect it would be smart to come out with one version that features a small willow blade for hard baits like the crankbait or jerkbait which won't mess with their action, but also come out with a much beefier version which would be able to hold much larger willow blades or Colorado blades for swimbaits like the Suissex Shad Spin Blade.
Made into something that would look like this!
I mean let your imagination run wild, it wouldn't be too hard to fabricate something like the Shad Spin Blade yourself using some other brand of swimbait and using an exacto knife to slice open the body down the middle, then run braided wire through the body and attach a VMC or Decoy's hybrid bladed treble hook, then seal it back up with the much popular Mend It Glue. Again, back to what I said up above for musky, it would be cool to cut off the Chaos Poseidon paddle tail, then have something like this with a #8 Gold Willow Hildebrandt Blade in back like so.
Anyways, it would be nice if Suissex gets back to me with some replacement blades, as I've already bought some wire and double barrel sleeves, hell I'd even buy them from Suissex myself. It wouldn't be too hard for me to repair these Shad Spin Blades. And if you haven't noticed the missing eyes, kind of sucks but the eyes pop out after a days worth of casting the Shad Spin Blade. So I think it would be smart to peel them off, then glue them back on with something stronger like super glue or mend it glue. Incredible fishing lure, just needs to be made a tad bit stronger.
I really can't wait to try the 4.5" for largemouth or even smallmouth bass next spring on Lake St. Clair and some of the inland lakes around Michigan. I gave Northern Mike two of these Shad Spin Blades, I don't think he using them much, but I think once he does, he'll find they work incredibly well on bass.