This is a bait that has become a staple in my tacklebox over the past couple of years, and for good reason. I, personally, am a square bill fanatic. They are easily one of my favorite baits to throw year-round on many of the lakes and rivers that I fish. But a lot of times the area of the water column that I want to cover seems just out of reach of a standard square bill crankbait that dives 3-5’ deep. With the Strike King 1.5 Deep, I can back off the bank a little and target some of the less pressured fish and brush in the 8-10’ range very effectively, as I did this past weekend on a small local lake.
As mentioned, the bait just offers a little more diversity allowing me to really target fish that are in that medium depth range and are hanging around a cover or structure where I might need the ‘four-wheel drive’ characteristics on a square bill. As far as quality, as with all of Strike King’s baits, it is very fishable directly out of the package. It’s built well, durable, and the hooks are good enough to stick what bites it. I have caught several fish in a row dragging it through the nastiest of cover without having to sharpen or change the treble hooks. It deflects well and snags are minimal, while not completely avoidable depending on what type of cover you are fishing in. It is also available in plenty enough colors to cover the spectrum and help you match the hatch on any given day.
The only downside with this bait is that it tends to ‘roll over’ during the retrieve. I could be mid-retrieve, feeling it wiggle along fine, and all of a sudden, the bait would just go dead on me. I’ve experimented to try to find the cause of this and seems to be a speed of retrieve deal as it would do it more on extremely slow retrieves. When I would wind it at a steady clip, or even burn it at a fast pace, it didn’t have as many issues. These issues can also be minimized with a little tuning.
I was throwing this bait on a 7’0” and a 7’4” Halo Cranking II Series rod paired with a Bruin Outdoors Paul Elias Legend Series reel, and I’ve found that the 7’0” model coupled with a 6.2:1 reel and 12# fluorocarbon gave the best results as far as castability and action.
Overall, even with some very slight setbacks, it remains as one of my favorite baits. If I am in need of a reaction bait to trigger strikes around gnarly cover in the 8-10’ depth range, this is the bait that I’m reaching for.