Smash Crab Sensation – Dan Kaggelis – Nov 16

Almost a year ago River2Sea released the Crusty Crab which proved to be an absolute sensational soft plastic crab presentation. This little crab profile was deadly on all manner of estuarine and in shore species in particular the jacks which wolfed them down when tossed into snags.

Funnily enough every time I pulled out the Crusty Crab who ever I was fishing with would say- hey that looks great, it’s a shame they don’t come in a larger size. I had to agree as most offshore anglers will know, the majority of reef species just love eating crabs with many such as the red throat emperor, large mouth nannygai and cobia being predominant crab eaters. Little did we know the boffins at River2Sea were one step ahead of us and were already developing a larger heavier model for this very situation.
I was lucky enough to get my hot little hands on a prototype model of the Smash Crab and its first test was on a small wreck in 40 metres of water just off the Port Douglas Coast. A known haunt for big tuskies, cobia and golden snapper I was super keen to see how it would perform. Its first drop saw its customary flutter take it straight to the bottom where it received a couple of small lifts and sinks before it was absolutely inhaled by a freight train. Fishing my trusty Saltiga LD35 overhead and PE 5 Monster Mesh I was loaded for bear but still didn’t have enough to stop the behemoth which railed me into the wreck after a knee buckling 20 second battle. Whilst not an ideal outcome it showed three important things- the first it was large enough and heavy enough to be fished in deep water without the need for added weight. Second big fish loved them and third and probably the most important the single hook was up to the challenge of big hook bending fish as locked up it never gave way on some pretty serious gear.
Fast forward around 6 months later and the Smash Crab is released at the 2016 AFTA show as part of the River2Sea Fish Candy Stable of lures. It was of no surprise that it’s amazing realistic look, fluttering legs and claws caught plenty of attention especially when seen fished in a tank which highlighted its life like swimming motion. When lifted and dropped the specially weighted body of the crab allows the legs and nippers of the crab to flutter in amazing fashion before the crab comes to rest on the bottom. When in a stationary position the nippers move into a raised position thanks to their light weight build which resembles the defensive a position a crab would take on when faced by a fishy predator. The imitation of the crab is second to none and the folks at River2Sea have really taken the time to get everything on this crab right. It was also no surprise that the Smash Crab went on to take out the 2016 AFTA soft plastic award which is no mean feat.
So with baited anticipation I was finally reunited with another Smash Crab and I was keen to go another round for some better results. Its first test was in a barra infested Cape York River. We were fishing across a large flat waiting for the fish to come on the bite and the prospect of the Smash Crab on the bottom seemed to good to refuse. Tying on the crab I shot it out over the flat where it came to rest in about 3 metres of water. I placed the rod in the holder to grab a drink leaving the lure sitting unmoved unfished on the bottom. Before I even had a chance to move to the esky the NS Black Hole Ones Rod was bending over and a solid 75cm barra was cart wheeling all over the place with the single custom hook embedded deeply in the corner of its mouth. This was not a one off event and I quickly began fishing the crab with no action at all letting the lure sit on the bottom with claws raised almost like bait waiting for a fish to come along. This proved absolutely deadly on the barra and accounted for plenty of fish. This really highlighted the diversity of the lure as it could be fished like a normal softy with lifts, jerks or slow rolled or just stationary on the bottom which I imagine would appeal to those who love using bait.
The next test was out on the Great Barrier Reef where I was keen to see how the Smash Crab would go fished around coral bombies for the likes of coral trout and the various emperors. The scenario was a simple one, find some really nice isolated bombies off the main reef in 20 metres of water and cast the Crab around waiting for a strike. What I immediately liked about the crab in this scenario was the single hook made it far less prone to snagging up which is a common problem when trying to vibe these spots with lures sporting trebles. The bottom weighted design of the lure allowed it to sit on reef and coral with the hook away from snaggy hands.
It wasn’t long before a string of stripeys and small spangled emperors were wolfing it down and I was impressed by the strength of the little lure as these fish have some serious teeth. On my next drop I was finally buckled over by a hard hitting fish which almost won its freedom. After crabbing the spool and turning its head it began an easy rise to the top and I knew I had nailed a solid trout. Sure enough a fat 69cm common coral trout rose to the top with the Smash Crab planted right in the corner jaw of its mouth. This was not the only trout it accounted for with a couple of smaller models also inhaling it down with little hesitation.
The Smash Crab has quickly shown to be one of the real diverse soft plastics which is just at home fishing the creeks and rivers for species such as grunter and barra to out on the reef for trout, tuskies and reds in fact I heard on the grapevine that the Wicked Fishing boys nailed a 12kg Red Emperor on one last month.
Measuring 100mm and weighing 39 grams it is large enough and heavy enough to fish almost every environment and the custom made 4/0 single hook is super strong and is certainly up to the challenge of big angry fish.
They come in 5 colours- three spot crab ( my favourite) blue swimmer and rock crab as well as green UV and orange UV which are extra bright and retail at $19.95. These softies are an awesome bit of gear and whether you are chasing mulloway and snapper down south or trout and reds in the north they are well worth a swim.