The Silent Killer was one of the first Dep’s baits to make it state-side. I don’t have an exact date, but by early 2006 it was for sure available, and probably for a few years before that. This 7 inch floating hybrid weighs 2.5oz and comes stock with premium trebles and hardware. There is a smaller version (the Jr.) which I am not covering in this review. At least 5 colors are available in the US including trout, shiner, bluegill, and albino trout. Retail price is $65.
The notion behind the Silent Killer is to provide a large profile waking style bait that makes no mechanical noise. Presumably this would be used for a more finesse approach around fish that are highly pressured. As a wake bait aficionado, it’s a little hard to grasp this thought process but give Deps credit for trying it.
To make the lure silent, a tough but pliable vinyl-like material is melded around the hard inner body. The exterior material is translucent and the inner body has a metallic scale pattern. This combination gives a nice look in the water, especially under bright conditions. The bass also get a different feel when they strike the lure (soft and sticky to the tooth vs. hard). The material seems durable and I haven’t heard reports of unreasonable tearing.
The color lineup has two average trout patterns, and a very nice bluegill pattern that leans toward carp-ness. I’m intrigued by the brown/yellow shades on that one. The albino trout looks a lot like the so-called Lightening Trout that are stocked in some California lakes. This could be an option to consider if you’re frequenting a lake that is graced by these genetically altered salmonids.
Like all Deps products, the Silent Killer is well put together and ready to fish out of the package. The stock hooks are sticky sharp and the split rings are quality. There’s a split ring on the nose to tie to though I’d be inclined to replace the ring with a small, strong snap. There are very few big-bait situations where it’s worth it to risk having your knot slide in to the groove of a split ring.
The Silent Killer floats at rest, and with the short square bill it does not dive more than a few feet. The natural action is slow and steady on the surface. I’d go so far as to say that the natural action of this lure is painstakingly slow and steady on the top with occasional pauses. On a fast retrieve the lure kicks but the action flattens out and it doesn’t look right. A lot of folks mention the Silent Killer as a dead-stick bait, and when you see how it moves in the water I think that’s understandable.
When I cast the Silent Killer out and wind it back, my confidence sags. I’ve spent 11 years throwing wake baits and all of my instincts tell me that squeak and clack and thunk are good noises to hear coming from the joints of my lure. I want to hear that steady thwack of wood on wood. I want to hear rusted joints screeching. Without my familiar sounds I feel lost.
When I stare at the tail section of the bait I sense lifelessness. It doesn’t seem normal to have a stiff and continuous rear half. I’m reminded of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. It’s like the fish edition of the skit. I’ve watched the videos on the Deps site of fish eating this bait and get the sense that the fish are eating it because there’s something that looks like a fish hovering over their heads. They’re not eating it because of the action.
There’s also the issues magmaster called attention to in his earlier review comments. The bait tends to cartwheel when casting upwind and the hooks have a habit of hanging in the body. It’s not an every cast thing, but it’s frustrating on big water. This bait feels much more at home on a small pond casting from shore and something tells me that’s the kind of situation this lure evolved from. Much of the fishing in Japan is in rivers, small waters, and from shore.
Overall the Silent Killer hits a unique but small niche as a quiet, super slow wake bait. If you have a situation where you’re target fishing for reluctant fish, give this one a try. It’s not your typical wake bait but it’s been on the market long enough to signal that people must be getting some fish on it somewhere. Maybe I need to go to Japan and fish those waters to fully understand.