In these economic times, it's not surprising that some people would like to purchase low-cost fishing gear from Chinese retailers (although it's worth mentioning that most fishing tackle is made overseas these days, with the exception of your everyday soft plastics). Anytime you search up "fishing lures" in search the search box on major e-commerce sites, such as Amazon or Aliexpress, you will find a lot of no-name tackle, mostly hard baits, such as frogs, spinnerbaits, and especially crank baits. Other less common baits, such as buzz baits and chatter baits, are quite rare. While part of your mind cries out the old adage "You get what you pay for" you are also thinking "Dang, some of these lures look really good, and have good reviews." The question stands: Should you buy them, or go to more tried and trusted tackle companies?
Above: This line, which was advertised as Fluorocarbon, was supposed to have a break strength of 6.5 kg, or 14.33 lbs, but really broke at 4lbs. Imagine if you got a 10 lber on the line....
After buying, and trying a lot of these Chinese lures, here's what I came up with: Buy them if you trust them. Personally, for me, I don't trust them. A classic example would be with my Chinese square bills. I ordered 6 of them, from different companies. They had some pretty nice paint jobs, and had some nice reviews (I found out later that it is common to fabricate reviews in China), so I ordered them. The price was pretty reasonable, not too high that you would go the tried-and-true route, but not too low that you would think that you would be buying a piece of garbage.
So after waiting like a month for delivery, I finally got them. I tuned them, and set off for a pond that had a pretty regular bite. This was in the fall, with the water starting to turn a bit cold, and the forests awash with color. It was a nice, sunny day, and after getting some fish on my spinnerbait, I decided to try out the new crank baits.
The baits ran erratically underwater. I was pleased. I then deflected one off some rocks near a culvert, to imitate an injured minnow. That's when I noticed the paint job.
It was good out of the package, but after one small deflection, the whole thing was ruined. One large, ugly streak down the side. Also, after some time in the water, the surrounding paint also started to fall. I switched it out.
3 of the other 5 ones also had bad paint jobs. The paint just doesn't stick well or something. After casting and reeling it in, the bait would would look like someone sprinkled salt on them. The paint just kept on chipping. I switched those baits out.
Finally, I got out one of the last two. The bait ran well, and the paint job wasn't so bad. And then, I got a fish. It was about a pound, but it was feisty. Midway through the fight, I broke off. The hooks on the bait were terrible. They snapped. That's right, a 1 lb could break these hooks. I didn't even bother trying out the last one and went back to fish catching with my spinnerbait.
Above: Hard baits from Chinese retailers seem to have bad hooks. Either they bend, are too bulky, rust, or aren't durable, in my experience.
Buying fishing tackle from China is a wild card. Western companies that manufacture in China have control controls (which, unfortunately, many Chinese companies don't have), plus, the baits are designed by professionals and then manufactured there. Many Chinese companies that tried-and-true baits and try to reverse-engineer them. They copy the paint job and the basic structure. But that small semi-erratic wobble to front or some other small design feature is sometimes the most important part of a bait's fish catching ability. Problem is, those companies can't do that. They can make a bait that looks like it, but really, won't perform the same underwater.
After buying some Chinese tackle and trying them out, I opted personally to stick with tried-and-true baits and companies. Most of my fishing friends have done the same. I know of one guy that gets good success out of his baits, but unfortunately he has to replace them often due to paint chipping issues down the road. But hey, if these baits suit you, and you found a good one, feel free to use them. If you got a good bait for cheap, who am I to discourage you rom buying and using it?
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.