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Saltwater Edge Gear Review: FishLab Mack Attack Hard Swimbait

Saltwater Edge Gear Review: FishLab Mack Attack Hard Swimbait

The multi-segment swimbait has cemented itself into topwater culture, probably forever. While these baits are nottechnicallytopwater lures (they sink and can be swum at many depths), in saltwater fishing they are, most definitely, fished like a topwater plug. At this point we’re all familiar with the Sebile Magic Swimmer, this three-piece swimbait changed the way anglers at the Cape Cod Canal approached fishing the raging currents there. The inspiration was fleeing mackerel, v-waking through the current, trying to escape the certain death of a pod of hungry stripers. The approach was to cast the swimmer upcurrent and crank it in fast, right on the surface, leaving a splashy, frantic wake. Fast-forward 10 years and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a serious striper angler that doesn’t own one, and you’d certainly not find a bag on the Big Ditch without at least one in it. 

Improving Upon An Instant Classic

The awesome thing about fishing tackle is that it constantly evolves. Fishing is big business these days and new riffs on older designs are conceptualized, tested, and considered every day. The Magic Swimmer skyrocketed to ‘classic status’ and no one can take that away. But there are places where the tried and true Sebile falls short, two of the most notable are when trying to replicate wide-bodied baitfish and achieving a wake at a slower retrieve. Both of these Sebile shortcomings can be attributed to its slender design and the fishy minds at FishLab set their heads to solving it. 

Better Profile - A Meatier Meal

This is where the FishLab Mack Attack is going to earn your love and devotion. It’s profile is a much better match for the mackerel and bunker that most of us are trying to mimic when we’re throwing big plugs. The bulkier Mack Attack presents as meatier meal, despite being about the same length as the 228 Sebile. That larger cross section means it moves more water which means it gives off a larger vibration signature to predatory fish—in short, this plug will stand out among dense schools of large bait and will also stand out in a lineup of guys throwing lesser-endowed plugs to big fish. 


More Versatile

Now we move over to versatility. Because of it’s weight to buoyancy ratio, the Sebile needs to be fished fast to keep it on the surface, because the Mack Attack displaces more water it can be fished slower while staying up high in the column, making it the hands-down choice for night fishing. Luckily, the portlier Mack Attack has no trouble staying true at warp speed either. I recommend swapping the trebles out for VMC Fish Fighter trebles, a 4/0 up front, and a 3/0 in the rear. I also cut the tail hook that comes stock with the Mack Attack down to a flag. I don’t want to hook the fish of a lifetime on that rear segment, it’s just asking for trouble, heartache and long-lasting bouts of depression. 

FishLab Mack Attack Swim Video


Not Just For The Canal

And for you guys that fish from boats, kayaks or the open surf, this class of lures is not only made for the Canal. Boat and kayak anglers will find that they are effective and addictive when fished around schools of bunker being actively pursued by large stripers. Speed is the name of the game here, sling that big swimmer in there and gun it back to the boat as fast you can swim it without rolling out. When stripers are on the feed they get competitive and when they see a baitfish making a break for freedom, they don’t take too kindly to it, the result is usually a vicious and highly-visible explosion where your plug used to be. This method will work well for the daytime surf guy too. But for you, night guys, think of the Mack Attack (or Magic Swimmerfor that matter) as the changeup that Hall of Fame pitchers keep in their back pockets for the late innings. On those nights when all of your favorite plugs are being snubbed and even the irresistible Slug-Go is only getting the occasional unenthusiastic whack, throw one of these segmented swimbaits out there and hang on, sometimes that seductive S-pattern is all it takes. 

The FishLab Mack Attack Hard Swimbaitcomes in two sizes, two sink rates and five colors. The one I like best is the 9-inch, 5.3-ounce slow-sinker. It’s the one that moves the most water while offering all the versatility of a slow-sink swimbait. The colors are very mackerel-centric, with all but one of them being adorned with mackerel stripes. The Green Mackerel and Whacky Mackerel will cover the bases when you’re casting into schools of frenzied mackerel. The Purple Mackerel seems like a good choice when herring or shad are the bait du juor. My favorite colors are the Bone and Chartreuse Mackerel colors, these are great choices for any situation, from bunker to mackerel to squid. At first it might seem redundant to carry two three-segment swimbaits in your bag, but it’s having that different profile and footprint to offer that makes it worth the bag space. Give them a try. 

1 Response

Adrian Armwood

Adrian Armwood

August 24, 2020

I just wanted to confirm your recommandation about swapping out the hooks? So I gather the split rings should be beefed as well as the hooks? I plan on using these swimmers at the Ocean City MD inlet and the current is often fast with the wind in your face.

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