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>> Good threadóBig Hammer Lures? Do you agree? [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:54 pm
Ken Jones

Posts: 9780
Location: California

Date: March 29, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: climberb9
Subject: Big Hammer Question-

I know almost everyone on this board loves Big Hammers but whenever I ask people about them who own fishing shops or are avid fishermen but not part of this board, they do nothing but criticize them. They say that the plastic isn't the right consistency, that they fall apart easy, etc. And these aren't just your average Joes- there people like Todd at Bayside Marine or Kevin Mellegers who is one of the best guides (if not the best guide) out of Aarcada. And even furthermore, they all swear by either Fishtraps, or these ones called Fat Baits. Any reason for this vast conflict of ideas? Just wondering.

Posted by Songslinger

Possibly because they have merchant agreements with the other baits. Possibly because it is hard to get Big Hammers (in a decent variety) north of Santa Barbara. But who cares what Bayside says or some allegedly "best guide" or any ostensible expert? Fish them yourself; make up your own mind. Once you start kissing the backsides of marina owners or guides--industry folks--you are doomed. The worst place to get objective data regarding fishing reports or fishing gear is at bait shops or marinas. Especially for shoreliners. Big Hammers have better paddle tails and the colors are poured with more integrity. Get a BH and FT in the same color combo and pull on the "seam" where the colors meet. Which one comes apart more easily? There is your test, and it is worth lots more than some guy who makes a profit on swaying you.

Posted by climberb9

Trueóboth are connected with the industryówhich isn't a good thing for getting and unbiased opinion but Kevin only guides rivers so had no connection to any of them and only fishes salt on his personal time and money. True that I can't say that Todd doesn't have most likely a deal with FT, but he carries other baits, including some of the original BH (or at least they look the exact same, square paddle, front end that isnít just flat, curves up a little on the bottom, but no BH on the tail or any ID mark). I only used their opinions because they both get out on the water a whole hell of a lot. But, like a true fisherman, I will try both on my own and see how they work. How do Fishtraps work? Thatís what I have immediate access too and I need some for this week.

Posted by fishnchips

Hara, FT's work same as a BH as far as rigging goes. I personally like the BH's or the real fish traps. In the beginning, I thought BH's were' BH's and FT's referred to all others...not the case Fish Trap is a brand of swim baits. BH's have a better tail action by far in my opinion...better than any other out. Like Slinger said, it's about finding them. The only place I've ever seen a good selection of real Fish Traps was Sports Mart.well down here anyway.........that's why they call it fishin' not catchin'..........good ol' fishnchips!

Posted by fishnchips

And about reports from shops or marinas...you have to keep in mind, the sources they get their info from. A boat does not make you a good fisherman. The counter at a bait shop or marina is the best place to get those fish stories. Many fishermen will not admit getting skunked or not being able to locate the fish, so they will often lie. So the owners of these shops have so many sources of reports including their own reports, that I'm sure get fabricated too...owning a shop does not make you the authority on fishing either...

Posted by pesk21

Personally...I prefer the BH to the Fishtrap. I think it comes down to a preference issue. When I was in Santa Barbara for college, i would fish Goleta Beach at least twice a week for halibut. I started with Fish Traps, and was later exposed to BH thanks to some of the gentlemen on these boards. After a summer of great hali fishing, my roommates and I all swore by the Big Hammers. It might have been a placebo affect but I actually feel like the Big Hammers got more strikes. Maybe its because I use such light line I can actually feel the BH swimming. Thatís my 2 cents.

Posted by baitfish

Songslinger is right there about objectivity. But I notice this with 3" baits when people use heads that are too big for the bait. I know that they are modifying their head to fix this by making the collar and barb smaller.

Posted by Rock Hopper

I've heard the same thing from tackle shops, Hara. But I've fished 'em both (FT's and BH's) for lings and the BH have livelier tales, look more realistic when swimming, and are 10X stronger than the FT. FT's DO work and I use them a lot, but if I could get BH's here on a regular basis I'd use those. In the attached picture the FT on the top caught two lings, the BH on the bottom has caught at least six and I've had it for over a year.
Which one do you think was made better?

Posted by jkim

I like BH baits too but...I get periodic splitting at the color line. Not real common but enough to bug me. Probably one in every 15 baits or so. And no, I don't use heads that are too big. For the 3" swimbaits, I use the 1/4 oz. Hammerheads exclusively. You shouldn't have to trim the barbs/collars down on properly selected heads right? Certain color patterns seem more prone to splitting than others. Unfortunately, they seem to be some of my favorite. I went through a really bad batch once: three or four baits in a row (3" Brown Grunion). I emailed Pete about it and he was kind enough to send me replacements. Just recently I noticed a 3" Lemon Line split. I think I still have it somewhere.

Posted by fishnchips

Noticed the same thing...quick fix it tip...try melting it with a lighter or match. It stiffens up the plastic, but it's up by the head usually anyway. I notice it more on the smaller sizes, rather than the bigger ones.........that's why they call it fishin' not catchin'..........good ol' fishnchips!

Posted by fishnchips

Clarification.... melt between the two splitting layers, and push them back together while it's still gooey. Let it harden up, and give the lead head a shot. If it looks like it wants to come apart, tie it off around the leadhead/shank of the hook...small orthodontic rubber bands work for this as well. Just so you don't waste that $1 a piece swim bait!

Posted by jason chin

Big Hammer answers. I've fished every brand of swimbaits around. Big Hammers win hands down. Color selection is awesome and the baits are very durable. They are proven deadly in my book both fresh and salt. If anyone has anything bad to say about these baits I don't think they have really fished them. They look so good that on the last part of my retrieve I almost jump in and eat em.
It's hard to get these baits up here in the bay area and nor cal. If I didn't have Internet access I probably wouldn't even know about them. That's why people up here diss 'em and this board backs 'em. IMO the other brands do not even compare. However don't take my word for it fish them and see what you've been missing out on.
-Side note: I have no affiliation with Pete or Big Hammer. I just fish every now and then.

Posted by fishnchips

Super glue has never worked for me. The plastic is too oily and it just keeps the glue all gooey...maybe it was the glue I used...should a tried Bondini...that stuff works on anything.

Posted by jkim

Me neither...I got the same results as fishnchips. I'll try the melt method next. Better to have stiff bait than throwing it away.

Posted by Red Fish

Epoxy will work...although, a disposable lighter is cheaper =) I used some gasket-seal I had left over before from a car and it worked well.

Posted by fishnchips

One more thing...when I've used the lighter method, I've gotten a few that flared up in flames pretty quick...this may just be the lube on them that's an oil based product or something like that. Try to keep the amount of time you melt it to a minimum. The longer it is there, the more the plastic will turn black or discolor. Another thing I was going to try next, is to just light the lighter, and let it burn for a minute, heating up the metal piece around the flame...then hold the metal to the swim bait with the flame out. I think this may be just enough heat to make it work as well. If all else fails...bust out the magic thread!

Posted by bsteves

I personally haven't tried Big Hammers yet, but I did find the Big Hammer website. On the website, they have a page which details how to order them online. If they're as good as everyone says I may have to place an order.


Posted by Red Fish

More Hamma dealers according to Pete...than I thought there were in the S.F. Bay Area. According to the locator list in one of his sub-links, there are stores: Castro Valley Sportsman CV, Ly's San Jose, Western Boat & Tackle San Rafael, Fisherman's Where house San Jose, and, close to my work, Walton's Pond San Leandro.

Posted by mel

I never caught anything on either. I probably just didn't give it enough time. My favorite thing to do with those is drop it in the water and jig it up and down and check out how real they look.

Posted by ark

I've been using them a lot lately. But I always seem to lose most of the fish since the hook doesnít connect and the swimbait slips out somehow. Though I do have to say that I have caught a nice array of large rockfish on them nevertheless. Do you have to set the hook when using a swimbait or do you have to just keep on reeling in?

Posted by jkim

Keep trying Ark. They work. I use them for bass and halibut here in San Diego. You definitely need to set the hook though. When I get a bite, I immediately wind down as I lower my rod tip. If I feel "fishy" resistance, I set the hook. From my experience, the bass have a tendency to take the bait and turn immediately, which gives you a very clear indication of a bite. Halibut, on the other hand, often seem to grab the bait on the run and keep going in the same direction. This is harder to detect, especially if the fish is coming towards you. The good thing is that both bass and halibut hold that plastic in their mouths for a surprisingly long time.

Posted by Salty Nick

Ha! Me too, Mel. Haven't put enough time using' them. Salty.

Posted by zenbassr

Instead of asking which is better, try this ...try 'em all out for yourself, using [i] your own technique(s) [i/], and get some [b] firsthand experience [b/]. I've tried so many plastics and ALL have caught fish for me at one time or another. Sometimes I'm fishing one brand & getting skunked, while my buddy is slaying 'em with another brand. Unless you're sponsored or have financial interests in the company, do you really want to limit yourself to just one brand?

Posted by unclesteve

Ly's in San Jose. A couple of months ago, Ly and I sat there writing up a list of BH lures. He's got baitfish, bleeding mackerel, pearl, rainbow trout, bay smelt, and various jig heads to match your budgets. Red, green, white, and plain jig heads, so if you're in the south bay that's the place to get them. Oh and its in both 3" and 5".
Fishing - It's a Lifestyle

Posted by stocktrader

Can you recommend a size and color? I would be using them around the SF bay area for halibut or stripers.

Posted by fishnchips

3-5" should work...1/2 - 3/4 oz lead. I like the smaller ones... but from a boat or jetty, I like dropping down the big 5" for the big guys. The size is printed on the side of the swim bait...3 = 3", and you know it's a real BH by the H on the tail...which is also square, not round like the majority. Colors: Key lime, anchovy, sardine. Both of those last two come in bleeding colors too I believe. Browns and purples seem to work well on lings and deep halis as well. Raidbow trout is always a good color for many species around here...especially the salmon and stripers. Just go take a look; it's more a matter of matching it with the water clarity/conditions if you ask me. Dark colors on a dark day, light on bright days. Just FYI even though Red posted the Fisherman's Wherehouse was a distributor according to BH's site, they do not carry a good selection...more like what's left from a large order from a while back...last time I was there they had 5" maroon ones and that was it.

Posted by prometheus

I like Scampiís myself. Scampiís seem to regularly out fish FTs in my experience, IMO they've got more action to them. I haven't tried big hammers, but this talk is making me curious. I could care less about durability as long as they catch fish.

Posted by fishnchips

You may change opinion after u try it. Tails get bitten off pretty easily on anything but BH's in my experience. You may care after you get three or so back with no tail...that's a buck or more a piece for them up here. Short hits are common when fishing swim baits...it's bound to happen. I have the same mentality as you for the most part...but this hobby gets expensive. Spend a day snagging lures all day, add it all up, and it can be a bit damaging on the pocket book.

Posted by prometheus

4" Wal-Mart Scampiís are 6 for $3, and IME, I lose them to snags at about the rate that they wear down. I've got a buddy, who casts soft plastics now, and I cast lead, so this year both of us will probably be fishing for pennies. Should suggest he make a BH mold I guess.

Posted by fishnchips

There you go! I thought about making a mold...but for me, that'd be wishful thinking to see it through to the end product...i bet you could do it though...you pour your own bars right?

Posted by prometheus

I pour diamond jigs, 4oz pyramid sinkers (my favorite sinker), 1-6oz bank sinkers, 3 & 4 oz spear jigs, 1 1-8 oz bullet head jigs, 1.5oz shad-head jigs and weight belt weights. I build my own molds out of plaster, but that only works really well for large jigs because the plaster wicks water out of the air faster than a small casting will dry it out - resulting in steam bubbles. Not that a hole in the side of a shad-head will prevent it from catching fish though. I guess the soft plastic is cast around 200' rather than 600', so it can be cast into most anything. The one-piece molds for the plastic are easier to make too I guess. My buddy just melts the plastic in the microwave. In the field a couple passes with a lighter will melt the edges of a tear and weld it back together. I don't bother, but if your 'lucky lure' is getting worn it's worth a shot.

Posted by climberb9

Thanks for all the valuable advice. You guys pretty much convinced me of what I was already thinking, but I just wanted to make sure of it yah know? Gosh, I should get like a free bunch of BH's for generating all this business for Pete. I didn't think that i would get maybe more than three replies. Oh well, I know what I'm going to buy! Any one know about AA swimbaits.

Posted by schooler

I have used BH, FT, and AA's. For 3 in baits I think BH are the best. I found the 3 in AA too soft. For larger 4 and 5 in baits I prefer BH, but AA are also good. I find FT's too soft and find that they don't last very long. I also find that their color bleeds over time.

Posted by fishnchips

Good, but not as good as BH! Haha. Can you tell they've convinced me?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 1:52 am
fission machine

Posts: 5
Location: Tin Can Beach

This is an interesting topic. I have heard the exact same argument over the Fish Traps as well as the Big Hammers - it seems that the public is split 50/50. Personally, BH's seem to hold up better than the FT's, although some of the FT's have good color combinations. Both companies have had bad batches come through the mill. Big Hammer recently (within the last year or so) started introducing a softer plastic, as well as an anis type of scent built in, and I am not sure, but I heard a rumor about them poured in China... I will say that the #63 Baysmelt - has been a soldier for me - I've caught nearly every near shore species on those while surf angling. Everyone has their favorites.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:30 am

Posts: 2176
Location: Vallejo

they work nice but they can't handle the battle scars

they're good for searching for fish and then when you find a school, change to another lure

- or keep changing BH swimbaits and pollute the earth
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:31 am

Posts: 555
Location: St Augustine, FL

Last time I heard, they were being poured in Ol' Mexico after they had trouble with their vendor here in the US.
Joining UPSAC is is a step forward for the future of pier and shore fishing!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:58 pm

Posts: 261

I recently ordered some new BHs( 5" Bay Smelt and Pepper Trout ) and was a bit surprised when I opened the packing. Apparently, there have been some changes since the last time I ordered them in 2006. The profiles of the 5 inch models are now much more "full figured" than the older models. I took a quick look at the profile chart on the BH website, and sure enough, the old "slenders" are now only available in the 5 1/2 and 6 inch versions.

The other thing you notice right away is that the colors are now much more translucent and the plastic is softer, less abrasion resistant. The reasons for the changes are probably cost cutting measures.

Overall, I do think the Hammers perform well, and have caught a few trophy fish with them.
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