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Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow

Overall score - 79% = (Good)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score


Reviewer: Don

Folks I kid you not, this lure may be one of the most underrated, unappreciated, overlooked, and most effective little lures EVER made! I understand that is a very strong statement to make about a lure when there's so many great lures out there to choose from. Allow me to illustrate for you what I mean and how effective this lure actually is. If I was stranded on the proverbial desert island and I had to rely on an endless supply (I'll explain why I would need an endless supply later) of ONE lure to catch fish with and survive this would undoubtedly be the one lure I would choose. This lure is very effective for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, trout, and all types of pan fish. This lure is also known for catching pike, muskie, pickerel, perch, walleye, and the odd catfish. This lure has been a staple, sometimes even a go-to lure in my arsenal for years and it will be for many years to come.

Specs

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Size(s):

-1 1/4" - 1/8 oz

Design features:

- Dives to around 3 to 5 feet
- Reflective eyes
- "enticing wiggle action"
- Size 32 treble hooks
- Small internal rattle

Color(s):

- Chartreuse/White
- Blue/Chartreuse
- Green Back/Chartreuse
- Gizzard Shad
- Firetiger *
- Crawfish
- Tennessee Shad
- Baby Bass *
- Ghost *
- Black Back/Chartreuse *


* Color(s) used during this review.

Made in:

- Mexico

Price when Reviewed:

- $3.50

 

Background

Mr. Charles Spence purchased a small garage operation in 1966 thus establishing "Strike King Lure Company". Strike King is one of the most recognized brand names in fishing tackle. This Company is best known for their spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and jigs and is now the largest producer in the world. For the last 40 plus years Strike King has been producing some of the most effective lures on the market. Some might even say that Strike King may have been one of the contributing factors to the growth of this industry through their effective use of television advertising.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Look, I may love this bait but I'm not going to lie to you, when I first picked up the Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow a few years ago I almost didn't even buy it. This little crank bait pretty much looks like crap plain and simple. Upon first inspection the lure looks flimsy and the paint job is uneven at times. The hooks look like they're a little bit to small and the diving bill on this pint sized crank bait looks like it will fall off if you look at it wrong. One thing I did like about this crank bait was that it has an internal rattle because it's not too loud for those finicky bass. I also liked the interesting choice of colors strike king provided for the Bitsy Pond Minnow. Like I said, I almost didn't even buy this bait but in the end I bought it because it was inexpensive. Little did I know at the time, this bait would save me from many days of getting skunked on the water!


(My Pond Minnow posse)

To be honest, this lure has very few if any impressive qualities about it. It's easy for me to say that the first impressions I had about this lure were not very good save the price. Examining this lure does not inspire any confidence in it whatsoever, it's as simple as that.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The Strike King Bitsy Pond Minnow is considered to be an ultralight lure. This is a very small crankbait. So small in fact that to my knowledge, it's the second smallest crankbait on the market second only to Yo Zuri's snap beans.


(Using George as a reference we can see why this lure is aptly named "Bitsy")

The Bitsy Pond Minnow was designed with a very thin diving bill. This diving bill is capable of getting this crank bait down to around 3 to 5'. I have found that it's very easy to keep this bait above a weed line because of it's shallow dive.


(Look at how thin the Bitsy Pond Minnow's bill is)

The bill on this lure is fan shaped, enabling it to easily deflect off of an object without getting hung up. In fact, this lure happens to be quite good at deflecting off of objects. I am pleased to tell you that I have only lost one of these lures to a snag over the last three years fishing this lure.


(A top view of the Bitsy Pond Minnow's bill)

I have always felt that the hooks on this crank bait are just too small. I believe this lure would produce even more fish than it already does if it had larger hooks.


(If only these hooks were a size larger...)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Rod - St. Croix Avid - AVS66MF / G Loomis SJR782 IMX
Reel - Shimano Sustain 2500FE / Pflueger Supreme 9030XT / Daiwa Luvias 2000
Line - Spiderwire Stealth 15 lb.

We took the Bitsy Pond Minnow to a few different locations for this review and am I glad we did! Our first stop is the Ohio River in PA. This is a great place to catch almost any freshwater fish your heart desires. Be it large/smallmouth bass, spotted bass, whitebass, stripers, muskie, or trout, the Bitsy Pond Minnow can easily bag 'em all. I've heard so many stories about the Bitsy Pond Minnow's exploits from fellow fisherman that I had to go out and get one for myself. That was years ago, but today we may have added to some of those stories with one our own catches.


(First stop, the Ohio River in PA)

During the testing phase of my reviews, I sometimes let other people use the product I happen to be reviewing at the time so I can hear what they have to say about it. This was one of those times, so I handed Chris my rod and reel with the Bitsy Pond Minnow tied on so I could see what he could do with it. Since this is one of the lures that I most frequently recommend to beginners and experts alike, I thought it would be a fun thing to do. After telling Chris that if he broke my Gloom rod I was going to break him, he reluctantly cast out the Bitsy Pond Minnow.

It was the first cast of the day and I was walking away to do something else when I heard Chris flipping out like a madman. After his first cast ever with a Bitsy Pond Minnow, he pulls out a long, silver fish that I identified as some type of herring at the time. After some research, I am almost positive it was a freshwater alewife, commonly used as a baitfish for catching Salmon. If this fish really is an alewife, it is truly a giant of its kind. Freshwater alewifes rarely grow beyond 10 inches and their typical adult size is around 8 to 10 inches. Chris' alewife was well over a foot long which makes this alewife one of the largest alewifes caught in freshwater that any of us will ever see.


(This giant alewife got a mouthful of Bitsy Pond Minnow!)

When I tell people about the Bitsy Pond Minnow and let them have a look at it for themselves, I usually hear something like, "this little thing can't catch anything!" It's more like, this little thing can catch everything!


(You could catch some BIG Salmon with that alewife, Chris. Congrats!)

The next stop for the Bitsy Pond Minnow is the Maumee River in Ohio. The Maumee River is my absolute favorite place for ferocious river smallies and also one of my favorite places for whitebass and largemouth bass.


(The Bitsy Pond Minnow on the Maumee River)

The Bitsy Pond Minnow is great at getting reaction strikes when no other baits seem to work for me. Ghost color is my color of choice for stained waters such as these.


(Ghost color for stained water or for any water for that matter!)

As far as casting the Bitsy Pond Minnow goes, I prefer a 6' to 6'6" rod with a fast tip to help get the most distance with this little crank bait. At 1/8 oz., this lure isn't going to go very far on a stiff rod and that's why I prefer medium fast rods for most of my finesse fishing. In normal winds, I prefer a one-handed overhead snap cast for getting the maximum distance with the Bitsy Pond Minnow.


(This bait may be a lightweight but I can easily cast past this weedline with an overhead snap cast)

During the retrieve is where we can see the Bitsy Pond Minnow shine. It has such a tight little wiggle and it really seems to put out a lot of vibration as a result. For being such a small crankbait, I was surprised to see that this little bait can really move! The Bitsy Pond Minnow's bill also does a great job at bouncing off of rocks while working its way through the water.

While we were out, my partner and I hooked into a few smallies on the Bitsy Pond Minnow. I caught a few dinks but my partner hooked into a really nice smallie that was more than happy to illustrate for us this bait's major weakness. In a lot of cases, size 32 treble hooks are simply no match for a good-sized river smallie.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

Remember how I said that I would need an endless supply of Bitsy Pond Minnows if I was stranded on a desert island? That's because the Bitsy Pond Minnow and the word "durable" should probably not be uttered in the same sentence. I have had to replace a few because of broken bills or the occasional rusted hook ring. My baby bass colored Bitsy Pond Minnow is missing a lot of paint from catching entire schools of largemouth bass at Long Lake in Indiana last year.


(This paint job doesn't stand the test of time)

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

$3.50 is truly a small price to pay for a bait that is capable of catching such a huge variety of fish. The Bitsy Pond Minnow's meager price makes this bait easily replaceable. In this angler's humble opinion, the Bitsy Pond Minnow's performance far exceeds its price. I have often recommended to anglers that they should buy a few of these because they are readily available, inexpensive, and effective.

Specs First Impressions Design Performance Durability Price Final Score

The good - Simple design and good colors. One of the few small crankbaits available for finesse applications.

The Bad - The hooks are too small.

The Score - 75 out of 100


The good - Many different species of fish find the Bitsy Pond Minnow a delectable looking meal. This bait gives off a pretty strong vibration despite being so small. We found that for the most part this bait runs true out of the box. An odd fact, I have never lost a single white bass caught with the Bitsy Pond Minnow.

The Bad - At 1/8 oz., The Bitsy Pond Minnow doesn't exactly cast like a bullet. The Bitsy Pond Minnow's tiny hooks aren't always enough to land feisty river smallies.

The Score - 90 out of 100


The good - The Bitsy Pond Minnow can take some abuse but it won't last forever.

The Bad - The paint doesn't last too long with heavy use. The hooks tend to rust easily. I have resorted to always having at least 2 ghost colored Bitsy Pond Minnows at all times in case one breaks.

The Score - 64 out of 100

The good - The Bitsy Pond Minnow is cheap so don't be afraid to buy a few. This bait's performance far exceeds its meager price.

The Bad - I know it's cheap but I still wish Strike King could use some better paint on the Bitsy Pond Minnow.

The Score - 87 out of 100

Overall score - 79% = (Good)

For more on how we score our reviews and the score's meanings


(This guy was caught right in the middle of a school of shad in Lake Erie)

I usually prefer throwing the Bitsy Pond minnow in the middle of a school of white bass. I think I may have just discovered that I prefer throwing it in the middle of a school of shad even more. The Bitsy Pond Minnow does a very good job of standing out from the crowd with its bright colors and tight wiggling action. Predators have a very easy time singling out the Bitsy Pond Minnow in a school of minnows or shad. This bait's small size is also seen as a non-threatening presence by the schools of baitfish I routinely toss this little crankbait into.

The longer I can keep the schools of baitfish close to me by not spooking them away with a larger bait, the more bass I can catch with the Bitsy Pond Minnow. This cheap little crankbait is often overlooked by anglers despite its many benefits. It's cheap, readily replaceable, and most importantly, it's capable of catching many species of fish. This is one of my most recommend lures because this small bait is big on performance! Give the Bitsy Pond Minnow a try; I promise you that you won't regret it!

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