Testing the 250

The author cranked this bass off deep structure this week with a Bandit 250 Ledge. Wear long sleeves for sun protection, make long casts for deep dives and hesitate when you hit the cover.

Bandit’s new deep-diving crankbait picks up bass

Forecasts of the year’s first run on 100-degree heat, and Wednesday’s official arrival of summer, bass fishermen are moving deeper and deeper in their search of largemouth.

That might prove easier this year, as it did for us earlier this week, thanks to a new deep-diving crankbait produced by Mississippi-based Bandit Lures of Sardis. The 250 Bandit Ledge series will go deeper, is structure-friendly and unkind to bass.

“Probably the best lure Bandit has produced in a long, long time,” promised B.A.S.S. Elite Series pro Pete Ponds of Madison, who has long pushed his crankbait sponsor toward a deep-diving lure. “I know Bandit has a lot of fans in Mississippi, based on the success of the Series 200 and 300, and the FlatMaxx, and I think they will love the 250.”

With Ponds headed off to Wisconsin for two consecutive Elite tournaments, a friend and I took on the chore of lake-testing the 250.

Fishing two lakes, one about 45 acres and the other over 500, we started our searches banging the banks at sunrise with frogs and buzzbaits and had little luck.

On the smaller lake, we had one big-fish blowup on a frog, but failed to connect. The buzzbait produced two small fish. By 7 a.m., and already breaking a heavy sweat, we moved out to find the original creek channel and looked for deep cover nearby.

“The guy who designed this lake did a very good job of pushing brush piles out along the channel,” my partner Will Thomas of Natchez said. “The deepest areas are about 19 or 20 feet with the brush topping out at about 8 feet.”

It would be the perfect test to see if the Bandit 250 would find the structure, 12 feet below the surface. I found the cover and it was exactly as described, and the depthfinder was marking fish.

Bam! First cast, first big bass, a 5-pounder.

Bam! Third cast, day’s biggest bass, a fat 6.

The key was ripping the lure with 12-pound test, retrieving quickly until it hit the structure, then an immediate pause.

If the fish didn’t hit it on the hesitation, you simply repeated the action until one did. Another productive pattern was connecting with the timber, pausing and then pulling the bait forward with a sweeping motion.

We ended up pulling 10 fish off that single piece of cover, and then moved to another one with similar results.

Armed with that knowledge, our next day’s trip to Lake Okhissa near Bude began and ended with the deep-diving 250. I had two spots in mind, including one roadbed that had produced fish in previous years and a deep tapering point.

This time it took five casts, but Thomas quickly scored on the roadbed.

“I cranked it hard on 10-pound line and got it to the bottom,” he said. “Then I paused and did that sweeping thing you taught me yesterday, and that’s when he hit it.”

The 4-pound fish was fat and healthy and was the biggest of the 14 fish we put in the boat between sunrise and 10 a.m., when the wind just got too hard to fish.

All of our action came on three colors I chose from past successes with the 200 and FlatMaxx series — Root Beer, Natural Shad and, my favorite, Fried Squash.

Bobby Cleveland
About Bobby Cleveland 1228 Articles
Bobby Cleveland has covered sports in Mississippi for over 40 years. A native of Hattiesburg and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cleveland lives on Ross Barnett Reservoir near Jackson with his wife Pam.

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