I still remember my excitement when I first heard the news that Exude Lures was coming out with a new paddle tail soft plastic. I experienced the same excitement when I first laid my eyes on the lure itself. The Cigar Minnow is very unique in design when compared to the other paddle tail soft plastics out on the market that I have fished in the past with great success. The Cigar Minnow has a long, slender body and massive tail; immediately I thought it would have strong and prominent vibration when moving through the water and thought it would be an excellent fish catcher. I knew that it would be successful catching fisherman, but now with a pack in my hand came the real test, could it catch fish?
The answer was a definite yes! But that was the only part of my first impression which held true after a real world test. Instead of the strong vibration I expected, the Cigar Minnow instead has a very subtle vibration when moving through the water. I found that the vibration produced by the large tail is distributed throughout the long slender body of the lure which makes the entire lure emit a light vibration, and not only the tail itself. The vibrations are so subtle when fished slowly, that sometimes I barely feel them through the rod. It only takes one quick glance of the lure in action to dispel any thoughts if the lure is still sending out vibrations. To be honest, at first I was a little disappointed, but it only took a couple of casts to change my mind and quickly make me a believer.
One of the elements I found that make this lure productive is that it pushes a great deal of water. This added with the subtle vibration gives the impression of a finger mullet sized bait fish moving through the water without a care in the world. I found this presentation to be particularly enticing to redfish which have been under a great deal of fishing pressure. When using it for blind casing as a search bait, I have had the most success working the lure slowy with a steady retrieve and short rhythmic jerks of the rod, much like how I work a topwater plug. When fishing for tailing redfish, I find that casting a little further than usual is often times necessary around spooky fish because it is not the softest landing lure on the market; but when a proper lead cast is given, the Cigar Minnow is very productive using a jig head and slowly hopping it along the bottom.
One of the things I found about this lure is that it is best fished with an extra fast action rod rated for heavier lures than what I generally use for throwing lightly weighted/unweighted soft plastics. Also, the Cigar Minnow requires a little more weight than usual to get it to sink at because the large tail acts as a parachute, adding resistance when sinking.
I passed a few of the bodies along to a couple of my friends and expressed my thoughts of the lure along with observations what worked me. Their conclusion was the same as mine. After throwing everything in his tackle box at a school of overslot redfish, Nick Felts struck gold with this 29 inch redfish caught on a Cigar Minnow.
Chuck Statham has also done very well with the Cigar Minow. He caught this tournament winning redfish out of a small school of pressured fish using the cigar minnow by hopping it along the bottom.
In my eyes, Exude’s new addition to their family has passed the true test by which I measure tackle, not by what is printed on the package or advertised in commercials, but by the successes of anglers on the water putting the product to the test.