Look at the Teckel USA Drunker and you’ll find a perfect small crawfish emulating crankbait. There is no denying that early Spring is a prime time to throw a crankbait across much of the country. With bass moving up out of their winter strongholds and changing their diet from heavily shad based to crawfish; baits emulating this forage reign supreme.

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This statement could not be truer specifically pertaining to Ozark area lakes. Lake of the Ozarks, Tablerock and Bull Shoals are prime examples of lakes where after the shad die off in the winter, the bass move up as the water temperature rises to fill their bellies full of nourishing crawfish in preparation for the spawn. Hungry, active and moving up, what better way to target these fish than fishing a small crankbait in a craw pattern!

For decades THE Ozark staple has been an Original Storm Wiggle Wart. Countless thousands of dollars has been spent and won on this bait, and for those who throw them, they know all too well how these baits flat out produce fish. With its unpredictable hunting action, the bait simply triggers bites, and big ones at that. In recent years, other manufacturers have picked up on this key baits tantalizing action and worked to develop their own small crankbait to tap into this particular niche. The SPRO RK Crawler 55 developed by Mike McClelland, the Curve 55 by 6th Sense and others have entered the arena to try and topple the reigning champ that is the Wiggle Wart, though none have yet succeeded. However, what if we were to tell you a new opponent has entered the arena, and this one just may be able to defeat the Wart?

Enter the Teckel USA Drunker. 

What is the Teckel Drunker?

We know what you’re thinking, “Teckel, the company that makes frogs? That Teckel?” YES, the very same. They have not only made a crankbait, but an exceptional one at that. Coming in at 2” and 3/8oz, the lures dimensions exactly match that of a Wiggle Wart, however, that’s where the similarities end, setting this lure apart. A tapering bill allows the bait to dive down into the 8-10ft range easily on 10lb fluorocarbon but unlike the Wart, the lure utilizes a squared bill which enables it to deflect off of rock and structure even more haphazardly than a Wart, hence the name “Drunker.” A wide-body, and flat, tapered back assist in the displacement of water, playing into the wandering action unique to the bait. The action can only be likened to the elusive Pre-Rapala Wiggle Warts that are worth their weight in gold in the Ozarks. Like a frat guy walking home from a late night rager, the Drunker stumbles along the bottom in an unpredictable manner. This erratic hunting action is what makes  a Pre-Rap Wart worth so much and with people hoarding them, the Drunker not only allows you to mimic the same action, it also comes in at a much more affordable price point and is more readily available. 

With two tungsten rattles and a one knocker, the lure has a higher pitch than a Pre-Rap Wart, and the melody produced by it truly sings to the fish. Excelling in stained water but not to be overlooked in gin clear water either, the lure triggers fish to react even when they may not want to. The combination of acoustics, action, water displacement and finish all work harmoniously to elicit a reaction from wary fish. Subtle changes, such as the pitch of the sound put off by the bait CAN make an enormous difference on bodies of water where a Wart is constantly steeped and fish are highly pressured. 

As aforementioned the bait comes in at 2” long, at a weight of 3/8oz with the ability to dive down into the 8-10ft range on 10-12lb fluorocarbon but can go slightly deeper on 8lb. The bait comes equipped with #2 split rings and two sticky #6 trebles to make sure that those fish stay pinned on their way to the boat; and with 9 incredible color options, there is no shortage of choices for finding a Drunker that mimics forage in your area. 

What we liked about the bait

Equally important to note is the buoyancy of the bait. Jagged rocks, stumps, and tree limbs hold no prejudice, and a bait that will not float out of cover on the pause will surely get hung. This is another key feature of the Drunker that makes it so appealing is the buoyancy. As you crank the bait and are stumbling along the bottom and the bait just stops because of getting hung under a rock or piece of wood, simply give the bait some slack and allow it to back up, and float out, and more times than not you can continue your retrieve without having to get out your plug knocker to save your lure. However, there are times when the water is very cold and the fish may be even more lethargic and want a bait paused or suspending, in which case you can utilize lead suspendots or something of the like to modify your bait to suspend for those particular conditions. 

Additional modifications to note are removing the split ring off the bill to swap out with a snap-lok of some kind in a #2 size. This will allow the bait even more latitudinal (side-to-side) movement and without it, the bait tends to want to “spiral up” once you get back to the boat. By utilizing the snap, you not only gain action, but also can fine tune the bait (like a Wart) to run one way or the other if it is not running true. Additionally, consider swapping the stock hooks for #5 trebles. The #6 hooks do allow for the most erratic action as a bigger hook will create more drag and subdue the action some so to speak; however the stock hooks blunt up fairly easy so upgrading is definitely worth your time even if you prefer the #6 over the #5. 

The Drunker vs. the Competition

The quality of the bait meets expectations put forth by other Japanese fishing lure companies such as Megabass or Duo Realis. Not only in the quality of the aesthetics, but also in the engineering behind this bait. Many other companies have sought to mimic the action produced by the Original Wiggle Wart but have not been able to encompass all of the aspects that make that particular bait so great. The Curve 55 has an amazing hunting action, but cannot achieve the same depths as the Drunker. The SPRO RK Crawler 55 can dive that deep and even deeper, but exhibits a more subtle action on the retrieve and will not hunt as well as the Drunker. This bait hunts and dives and still maintains the small profile that is so critical to this particular technique. 

Suggested improvements

We noted a few things that would really make this bait exceptional. As aforementioned, the stock hooks are sticky but will blunt up quickly and a nicer stock hook would be appreciated. Another area we saw room for improvement was the color selection. Two red craws, a phantom brown and phantom green cover most of your main colors, however in the Ozarks we really like our green options and more than one would be appreciated. The last improvement is making the bait available here in the US or anywhere for that matter! None of the retailers are able to get restocks and cannot answer when they will  become available. If you find any of these, hoard them is all we can say!

Closing Remarks

In conclusion, the Drunker is a great mid diving crank for early spring and late fall. When the bass are hunting and looking for crawfish, this is a great option to elicit some epic days of cranking. The Drunker retails for $14.99 and comes in 9 colors.

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