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Tackle Review: Strike King Tour Grade Rage Blade
There’s a new bladed swim jig in town from Strike King, and this one is sure to shake things up once the bass fishing masses catch on to some big changes it brings to the table. Not only does it rattle your rod tip and attract violent strikes from afar, it helps solve a couple of nagging problems inherent in a posse of its predecessors – poor hookup ratios and frustrating hangups.
Fittingly, it’s called the Tour Grade Rage Blade.
A better mousetrap?
Tons of fat bass have been caught on bladed swim jigs. Conversely, big numbers of large fish also have been lost on these lures, due in part to a common blade/head design that causes the blade to ride on the same plane as the hook point. This can result in poor hook penetration and promotes snagging issues, especially around wood cover.
The blade on the Rage Blade is designed to help alleviate both problems, according to Phil Marks, Strike King products manager and successful Rayovac FLW Series angler.
“About three years of development and field-testing went into this bait to get it right,” Marks says. “But it was well worth it because the hookup ratios are significantly better, and it comes though cover extremely well. The Rage Blade tilts the tables in the angler’s favor – it is truly a better mousetrap.”
Key design features
Head/Blade – The Rage Blade features a one-piece football head/tear-drop-shaped blade combination that pivots freely on an oversized wire eye. This allows the blade to fall by the wayside when a fish eats it, maximizing hook exposure and promoting faster and more consistent hookups. The unique design also helps the lure navigate heavy cover like a 4X4 because the head/blade combo can pivot down when the lure contacts a branch or blade of grass, forcing the entire unit to roll over the snag. It also produces loads of thump at slow or fast retrieves.
A hook for bear – The dual-tempered custom Gamakatsu hook is built from 4/0 Siwash wire and has a 4.5/0 gap for maximum strength and bite.
Line tie – The small-diameter wire line tie optimizes blade movement, while its one-piece construction eliminates the worry of a snap swivel cracking open when it isn’t supposed to.
Other features – Strike King added a 3/32-ounce lead skirt collar to help keep the lure down in the water column on fast retrieves. A needle-sharp spike keeper secures trailers.
Saying you have a better mousetrap is one thing; filling the bill is another. After putting the Rage Blade to the test last spring, I can assure you it is everything it is cracked up to be – and more.
In addition to more consistent hookups, I was highly impressed by how effortlessly it slips through submerged hydrilla beds, pad stems and stumps, how simple it is to get the blade thumping, and how well it casts in big wind.
Something else I noticed is the lure has a tendency to ride a little higher in the water column than other bladed swim jigs when retrieved at the same speed. In fact, making the lure wake the surface is a breeze.
You can get it down by upsizing from your normal bladed swim jig size, slowing the retrieve speed or swapping out the skirt for a small swimbait. Using a 3 1/2-inch Lake Fork Tackle Live Magic Shad trailer, I was able to slow-roll the 1/2-ounce Rage Blade through submerged grass in 12 to 15 feet of water with no problem.
Rod: 6-foot, 6-inch to 7-foot, 3-inch medium-heavy
Line: 12- to 15-pound-test fluorocarbon
Sizes: 3/8 and 1/2 ounce
Accessories: Perfect Skirt with twin-tail trailer
Contact: Strike King Lure Company