GEAR REVIEW: Reel Keel Lure Pro 400 Series

The design of the front causes the lure to dive when the rod tip is held down and rise when it’s raised.
The stabilizer keeps the lure upright and prevents it from spinning or flipping over under any change in retrieve.

At first glance, the Reel Keel looks similar to many hard baits manufactured in this day and age. But upon closer inspection, the lure shows off its distinctive trait – a brass, double nickel-plated keel embedded into the resin fiber polymer body.

This “rudder” makes the bait unique for a variety of applications, especially for freshwater and saltwater game fish in Texas.

The stabilizer keeps the lure upright and prevents it from spinning or flipping over under any change in retrieve. The design of the front also causes the lure to dive when the rod tip is held down and rise when it’s raised, and the lure is a breeze to “walk the dog” with when targeting a topwater bite. The bait can be made to dive and then slowly rise thanks to its components – which is perfect for simulating a wounded bait fish.

Reel Keel Lures

The keel is exposed in the front to allow the line to be attached directly to it so that when a fish hits it pulls directly on the component running the length of the lure. With the line directly attached to the keel, and because of the keel itself, the lure also can’t spin. Since the Reel Keel can’t spin, it won’t tangle your line.

The distinct shape of the lure is designed to cast farther and holds a specific gravity that allows it to float. The extra section of keel at the back of the lure also works to help the propulsion of the lure to create a swimming action in all portions of the water column.

The best ways to attach the Reel Keel to your line is with a barrel swivel in the hole at the water separator or attaching a split ring and using a snap swivel. Don’t attach a line or leader directly to the hole in front since it will act as a blade and simply cut whatever is attached in that fashion the second any weight is applied — which could mean you lose a big fish.

Because the lure can be fished in so many ways, its applications are limited only by the imagination. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass anglers can tailor the offering to a variety of locales, including using the Reel Keel as a topwater lure when fish are lively or a diving bait to target dropoffs and staging areas when they’re more lethargic. The bait also is suited for striped bass, white bass and hybrid stripers staging in open-water areas, especially if they too are working shad or other bait fish into a frenzy near the surface.

Most coastal anglers would never dream of trolling the bait, but its rudder is tailor-made for that type of angling since it acts as a stabilizer. The Reel Keel also is great for use on shallow flats when targeting redfish and speckled trout, with the treble surprisingly staying free of grass and other debris thanks to the action of the lure.

Each Reel Keel Lure Pro 400 Series is four inches long and comes with a treble Mustad hook 3X strong. The blades work in saltwater and freshwater and give extra flash to entice game fish of all varieties. The lures retail for $15 and come in a full complement of colors.

For more information, visit the Reel Keel website.

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Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of now-defunct publications.


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