I've been given the opportunity to try out and review the 40cm Savage Gear Real Eel via the LAS so thought it might be worth putting on the blog.
First off I'd like to say that I'm not associated with any tackle company so any review I do will be a warts and all and if I'm not convinced by something I will say so. I'd rather people know what to expect if they purchase one based on user experience... so, here's my first review of the 40cm real eel.
When it came in the post what first struck me was how realistic it looked. The colours on the olive pearl flavour are very close to the real thing and the detailing was exceptional, especially the head and mouth. The material is soft which enables the tail to move at very, very slow speeds, which is one of the first things I look for in a big softbait. As most who know me know, I fish big softbaits for 90% of the time and from experience, and a chat with a couple of people who have used them, the jighead that came with it just didn't seem heavy enough to keep the bait keeled. I have yet to test this as the river I took it to has quite a bit of flow but I will try it out in stillwater at some point. Another concern is the size of the single hook... I don't like to use a very large single on the top of baits as I think they have the potential to be fatal if they go through the roof of the mouth. The accompanying stinger looked to be the right size which is about the same as a 3/0 Owner ST36, and made of a slightly thicker wire. If I was being pedantic I'd rather the stinger length be slightly longer but we're only talking 1-2cm here.
For the purposes of it's first test I rigged the eel on a 20g jighead with 2 no. 3/0 owner ST36's rigged on the underside (my standard big SP rigging) and with that took my 40cm real eel out for a swim yesterday.
I arrived in the first swim and put on my favourite big softbait.. second cast and a pike about 12lb was landed. Blank averted, on went the eel. A few casts were made to see how the eel swam and even with a 20g jighead the eel could be bought back just 2-3ft down on a steady retrieve. It's easy to fish at any depth you need though just be letting it sink deeper and slowing down the retrieve. I'd run out of 15g jigheads but I think that they would be perfect size for this bait for shallow water. The eel looked very realistic in the water with the tail still moving even when it was almost stationary and it had a slight side to side rocking movement, which is a big fish attractor imho. The bait also reacts well when given a small twitch of the rod, keeling over slightly before returning to a level swimming position.
I moved to the next swim and first cast a small pike about 6-8lb hit the eel but didn't connect.. not sure why but there weren't even any teeth marks in it! I fished a few more swims but even after fishing one of my banker swims nothing was doing. I tried my other lures for comparison but nothing was taking them either so I'm sure it wasn't the eel that was at fault. I got to the end of the stretch and made my way back to the first swim. On the second cast a double (quite possibly the fish I caught earlier) whacked the eel but even though it hit it right between the two trebles it didn't hook up. Not sure why this was as the bait is now sporting several deep slashes, but nothing a bit of superglue won't fix.
Unfortunately, even though I fished the eel for pretty much 6 hours straight that was the last pike I saw with none of my lures tempting them out to play. I fish this stretch regularly and know what works but the lowest water levels I've seen there this river season had seemingly put them off the feed. First impressions are that it is a very useful bait and hopefully my next review will see a fish on the bank to the eel.
As an aside, I spent a couple of hours with the light gear after chub in the afternoon and landed 3, with several more missed or lost. No monsters with the smallest being about 2lb or so and the biggest about 3½lb.