Mangler Lure 4'' Swimbait Review

I’m always on the lookout for good alternatives to more expensive lures. One that recently caught my eye was the Mangler 4’’ swimbait, available for just $2.75. For fans of smaller swimbaits, it should be apparent that the Mangler 4’’ swimbait is very similar to incredibly popular Megabait Charlieswimbait (ICAST Best New Lure Winner and reviewed at Tackle Tour). I noticed this immediately and this was one of the main reasons I was interested in this lure. I’ve caught a lot of quality largemouth bass on the Megabait Charlie, including some very hefty fish and I curious to see if the Mangler’s version would be a viable alternative.

See that swimbait in the mouth? This is a 5lb largemouth I caught on the Megabait Charlie swimbait

Mangler 4'' Swimbait Action

Recently, when fishing at Lake Elsinore in California, I was trying out the Mangler 4’’ swimbaits. My friend was fishing nearby and remarked on just how lifelike these Mangler lures looked; it was his first time seeing this lure and he was quite impressed. The obvious differences in this lure from the MegabaitCharlie in design stem from the different metal used for the line tie on the front of the Manger version, it’s much thinner and lightweight than the Megabait Charlie line tie. I’m not sure if the thinner metal may pose a threat to lighter line or not, but it’s certainly something to be aware of. The Megabait Charlie comes in 4 different sizes, including a 4’’, but the Mangler version only comes in the 4’’ size. That’s fine with me, as the 4’’ version was the one I primarily used anyway. Internal rattles sound the same and the front lip is pretty close in thickness.
While I was impressed with how closely the Mangler version resembled the Megabait swimbaits, I was not too pleased with the color selection available for the Mangler swimbait. Many of the colors available are quite garish and not quite as realistic as I would like. One of the strong benefits of the Megabait Charlie line was the solid selection of colors. However, the Mangler version does come with several decent lure patterns, my favorite being the red/black and the all black swimbaits. These were the ones that I caught fish on and they looked fantastic swimming in the water.

In a direct comparison to the Megabait Charlie swimbaits, the Mangler 4’’swimbaits looked almost identical in the water. Swimming action was the classic side to side wobble that I’ve come to expect from these and they felt almost exactly the same on retrieve. I was definitely impressed by this! The Mangler 4’’ lures seemed a tad bit stiffer, but not by much. Bass readily chased them down, even after seeing the lure a few times. It slowly sinks in the water, so you have plenty of opportunity to retrieve-pause-retrieve without too much of a change in lure depth. I had several videos of this lure in action in an urban creek and at Fairmount Park; unfortunately I lost them when my hard drive crashed. Instead, take a look at the Mangler's official lure video (posted above), with great underwater action shots.

The Mangler swimbaits were a mixed bag when it came to standing up to repeated use. I was able to catch and land largemouth bass on these swimbaits without any noticeable problems or damage to the lures, even with the stock hooks. However, after prolonged use over several fishing trips, I noticed the front line tie and nose of the swimbait would crack or bend upwards. This was not a problem I ever encountered with the more expensive Megabait Charlie lures. I definitely wouldn’t suggest relying on these for large bass or other fish. They seemed to be more appropriate for the smaller bass found in the urban SoCal creeks that I frequent.

It’s hard to beat the price on these Mangler swimbaits. At $2.75 each, they are a far more affordable option than the Megabait Charlie swimbaits. The super low price of these swimbaits is definitely one of their strongest suits. You’ll notice in the video I posted that I am fishing near some pretty heavy and gross (typical urban creek) cover. I usually wouldn’t throw a swimbait in this muck, but I’m not as worried about losing a $2.75 lure as opposed to a $15 Japanese swimbait. The Mangler lure website also sells a lot of other super affordable lures for both warmwater and coldwater species, including some very nicely priced micro crankbaits, jerkbaits and topwater poppers. Mangler also offers a unique in-line spinner, reviewed positively by Tackle Tour and featured all over YouTube.

In short, the Mangler 4’’ swimbaits look great in the water, catch fish and are incredibly affordable. The lower cost doesn’t come without a price, as certain components are noticeably lower in quality. I wouldn’t suggest depending on their durability for very large fish, but for smaller bass they held up decently. I currently have several of these in my tackle box alongside their Megabait Charlie cousins, perfect for tossing in urban creeks for largemouth bass.

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April 24, 2012 at 4:32 AM delete

Sounds decent for a great price!


Be nice.