SB-57 MDJ Series crankbait

Bass pro Mark Daniels set out to design a square-bill crankbait. The Bill Lewis MDJ Series SB-57 is the result.

Bill Lewis Lures has another winner in this pro-designed, square-billed bait

The latest addition to Mark Daniels Jr.’s MDJ Series of crankbaits will play bumper car and bounce off structure time and time again as it’s reeled through the strike zone.

Daniels, a 39-year-old bass pro, can take all the credit for the lure he designed a few years ago for Bill Lewis Lures, the home of the Rat-L-Trap. Crankbait aficionados can count on them to produce as they have for him on Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour.

A California transplant who lives in Tuskegee, Ala., Daniels put months of thought and effort into making the SB-57. The crankbait was popular last year as more people took up bass fishing due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Wes Higgins, president of Bill Lewis Lures of Alexandria, is impressed with the crankbait.

“Everybody who gets their hands on it likes it. We’re letting people decide. It’s kind of been under the radar. With all the shows canceled like they were, we weren’t able to get the word out like we wanted,” he said.

The SB-57, which weighs 3/8-ounce, was introduced at the ICAST trade show in 2019, it went on the shelves in 2020, and the fishing public spoken in terms of sales through 2020.

High-end parts

This crankbait is something different, a higher-end artificial lure at an affordable price, Higgins said, noting its quality components and high-performance features seen in higher-priced crankbaits.

It’s just what Daniels wanted in a crankbait not named MR-6, another one of his signature baits, or Echo 1.75. The SB-57, which dives 3 to 6 feet and deflects off wood and rocks, fills the niche he was hoping to fill.

“I’ve been thinking about it for about 3 years,” he said. “I wanted a bait I could just pull up to any lake in the country and tie on. I started talking to Wes. I said, ‘Let’s design one to be that all-purpose design square-bill.’ I did it all on my own. I took a lot of different qualities from baits I’ve used over the years. I incorporated what I wanted in a square bill and came up with the SB-57. It’s been an excellent bait.”

The 21/4-inch SB-57, balanced to give it a slow rise during a pause in the retrieve, has a different body shape than the MR-6. Plus, it has a computer-chip lip ­— a circuit-board, square, coffin-style bill.

It’s armed and dangerous.

“The name SB-57 comes from the length (5.72 centimeters). It has No. 4 Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks. I feel like it fits the square-bill best and holds big fish the best,” he said.

Unique construction

The SB-57’s most-notable feature is a honeycomb interior that allows for a thinner body but makes it very durable. Daniels borrowed that concept from some of his favorites over the years.

“It’s unique. That’s the first-ever square bill that’s got a honeycomb-body construction. That allows the walls to be more thinner but still strong. It acts like a wooden bait but has the durability to go along with it,” Higgins said.

Daniels had only a prototype of the SB-57 last June when he finished 12th in an MLF tournament on Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago.

“I literally had only one, a prototype. I was catching them back-to-back-to-back,” he said. “It’s been a real good bait. I’ve done really good with it. It’s an all-around good bait. I like to call it my 4-wheeler crankbait.”

Daniels’ favorite color is red glitter craw, he said.

Daniels throws the bait on 12-pound Seagaur fluorocarbon spooled on a 6.8:1 ratio BPS Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Series reel seated on a medium-action,  7-foot-5 Favorite Rush Series rod.

For more information about SB-57 MDJ Series crankbaits and other Bill Lewis Lures products, go to

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About Don Shoopman 472 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.

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