Lure Review – Hammer Trap

C.J. Nichols caught this 7-pound bass Jan. 18 in mid-afternoon on a Hammer Trap at Lake Sam Rayburn.

Tri-tone sound chamber gives lipless crankbait extra punch

Rat-L-Trap connoisseurs everywhere may want to get their hands on the latest lipless crankbait from Bill Lewis Lures.

The Hammer Trap splashed onto the water big time after it first hit the market in January. The shape is different with a modernized profile, the sound is exceptional with a Tri-tone sound chamber and the action is next-level vibration.

Ben South of Pineville knows how effective The Hammer Trap can be on his “home lakes” — Toledo Bend and Lake Sam Rayburn. He was one of the bass anglers who threw around prototypes.

“So when I first got hands on it, I fell in love with the shape of the bait,” said the Bent Rod Guide Service fishing guide and Pineville native who lived several years in Jasper, Texas. “When I started throwing it, I was very impressed with the vibration of the bait and how freely it comes loose through the grass. I think the vibration of the bait does that and it gets their attention.”

South said the sound is phenomenal, especially on hard windy days.

“I will say the colors of the bait are spot on. Every color catches fish,” he said, noting top colors in March should be blueback, black/silver and green gizzard shad, especially during the shad spawn.

The Hammer Trap’s final version has delivered consistently, he said.

“I’ve had some days close to 20 pounds (five biggest bass) so far,” he said. “Nothing real big, 5 pounds, probably. I’ve caught a lot of 3- to 4-pounders on it the past three, four months I’ve been using it. That’s mostly on Rayburn.”

South, 29, ties it to 15- or 17-pound Seaguar Invizx flourocarbon line spooled on a Lew’s BB1 Pro with a 7:1 reel. The reel’s seated on a 7-foot-3 MH Norfolk composite rod.

No one prouder

There’s no one prouder of The Hammer Trap than Wes Higgins of Alexandria, who has been with Bill Lewis Lures since July 2004. Since the artificial lure manufacturing company partnered a few years ago with GSM Outdoors, Higgins works as brand manager of all fishing lure brands.

Ever since he can remember there was talk of producing an “evolved” version of the Rat-L-Trap, which was introduced to the world in the late 1960s. Instead, the company put an emphasis on squarebill crankbaits during the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s.

The Bill Lewis Lures Hammer Trap, produced in 3/8- and 5/8-ounce models, is the newest addition to the legendary line of lipless crankbaits.

Hooking up under GSM, there was more room in the budget to make plans happen. Higgins had those plans in mind to develop certain features and changes in the company’s hallowed lipless crankbait. He worked with GSM to design it around Spring 2022 and later with like minded designers in Henderson, Nevada.

“By Summer 2022 we had three printed prototypes,” he said, noting those were refined on a handful of occasions to achieve desired weight positioning.

The new sound was emphasized.

“We want treble and we want bass,” he said. “So there’s a knock in the nose, a knock in the belly and a knock all along the top (of the Hammer Trap).”

“We want high pitch. That’s what pulls them out of the grass beds … But the low pitch is what they feel with their lateral line and that seals the deal for getting those bites.”

Higgins said there’s no mistaking the slightest bite because an angler feels the shaking lipless crankbait from the moment the retrieve begins. When the shaking stops, “Fish on!”

Great feel

“You can feel the bait a lot better,” Higgins said.

The Hammer Trap’s Tri-tone sound is a game-changer. It triggers bites.

Also, when an angler stops cranking in The Hammer Trap, it flutters naturally as it falls, Higgins said, thanks to BB-type rattles that act as belly weights. Higgins said the setup gives it more hang time on the way down.

The Hammer Trap’s wide head is another key to its performance. Higgins described it as “more of a diving plane on that head. That’s what gives it its hammering action.”

Bill Lewis Lures’ introduction of The Hammer Trap is sure to make many veteran anglers smile because there are two weights — 3/8- and 5/8-ounce. Those fans would be aficionados of the old Pro Trap, which came in two sizes that got the desired results.

Rat-L-Trap’s standard sizes have been ¼-, ½- and ¾-ounce for decades. Anglers asked to bring back the two Pro Trap weights and The Hammer Trap was the perfect opportunity, according to Higgins. And bass anglers have voiced their appreciation.

The company sent prototypes out to fishermen on Toledo Bend, where the Rat-L-Trap staked its claim to fame in the 1960s thanks to Bill Lewis of Alexandria.

The exaggerated vibration grabbed everybody’s attention, according to Higgins.

One of the staff field testers, he said, exclaimed, “Man, it just hits so hard, like a hammer!” Thus, the name for the new product.

For more information on The Hammer Trap and other Bill Lewis Lures products click here.

About Don Shoopman 556 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.