Westernbass Magazine - FREE Bass Fishing Tips And Techniques - Winter 2016, Page 45

Westernbass Magazine - FREE Bass Fishing Tips And Techniques - Winter 2016, Page 45

haven’t been a part of most

tournament anglers’


And until

the last few

years, the big-bodies

Spro BBZ Rat

in particular

haven’t gained

wide acceptance,

but that’s gradually


Indeed, the folks at SPRO looked more than a bit

askance at Bill Siemantel when he came to them with

the idea for a topwater lure that best resembled – in

size and profile – a big city sewer rat. They resisted

for years, but ultimately the burly California firefighter

won out and now they’re producing his BBZ-1 rat in

three different sizes, from the “field mouse” sized 30

(3.25” body with a 3” tail) up to the “homeowner’s

nightmare” sized 50 (5.25” with a 4.75” tail).

“It’s absolutely a forage,” Siemantel said. “I’ve

watched field mice and rats get eaten. This thing is

bigger than bass. It’s worldwide. My buddy has

snakes so I’ve studied rats and I know that they

can hold their breath and go down 10 or 15 feet


The best feature of

his creation, he

said, is not just

that it’s a “bad

ass wakebait,”

but that it fulfills

the roles of so

many different

lure categories.

“You can walk the

dog with it better

than a spook.

Before you had

to have a spook,

a buzzbait and a

wake bait on the

deck. Now I have a

50 and a 40 tied on

all the time and I can

walk the dog or use

it as a glide bait. The

only time I have to put it away is

in heavy cover.”

As for the idea that it’s an

unrealistic size for forage, he

counters that the body is

not really any bigger than

a Super Spook. “The tail is

irrelevant,” he added. “It’s

just a fish tracker.”

Because many of these

rats are jointed, in addition

to serving as visible targets and pushing massive

amounts of water, they also provide a distinct

acoustic profile. While Au uses several different

models, including the SPRO, one of his favorites is the

Woodrow which he said not only slithers seductively,

but also has a back end that clacks like a door

knocker. Siemantel speaks of his version even more

poetically, claiming that it has a “killer knock, like the

lion, king of the jungle.”

Of course, one primary difference between many

of the “garage” rats and the SPRO model is that the

former are typically carved out of wood, while

the latter is molded of plastic. An advantage to

plastic construction, of course, is that it makes

the baits more affordable. Siemantel’s designs


for $20-30 instead of three

figures. On certain days, the fish

may show a preference for one

over the other, but either way,

make sure that the one you’re

throwing comes with stout

hardware – quality hooks and

split rings.

Au likes the unfinished look

of the Woodrow models. “They

come in natural wood grain

colors,” he explained. “They’re

lacquered, not painted. They

don’t have any cool graphics,

and they feature Crème tails,

which actually help them

swim just like a rat”.

The SPRO models come

Siemantel with a BBZ Rat Photo Credit Bill Siemantel

in more colors, including natural colors like gray and brown, as well as a chrome

model and the psychedelic

“Morning Dawn,” but