I have had Salmo Hornets in the 3.5cm length in my tackle box for many years, I imported them from Poland about 15 years ago to give them a try. They certainly look like a great tiny jerkbait, and at the time they were quite a bit cheaper than the comparable size Rapala lures.
My initial impressions were not great, and while they were okay, they never impressed me enough to earn a permanent place in my arsenal. So my collection of Hornet’s was forgotten about somewhere in my ever growing tackle collection.
That was until last week, when I was sorting through my tackle after moving homes and I discovered them again, so thought. Why not give them a second chance, and even write a review. All lures have bad days, even proven ones and at first glance the hornets certainly look the part.
So with this mindset, I gathered up my Hornets, two floating and two sinking, alongside a bunch of tiny Rapala’s and Luck Craft Pointers as control and headed to one of my favorite brown trout rivers.
Impressions of the floating Salmo Hornet
The first Salmo Hornet 3 I tied on was a floater, and it must have been a dud. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get it to swim properly. It just skated across the surface. Not a great start.
I am happy to give lures a second chance, with mass produced items a few duds will always sneak through. The lures I am using are also over a decade old, so time might have taken a toll. Although, my Rapala’s of the same age, still swim flawlessly. I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and try and floater.
I tied on the other floating Hornet, and this time it darted around and dive beneath the surface. Its retrieve was much better, and actually had quite the nice action and a somewhat jerky retrieve. I have fished with enough jerkbaits over the years to know that with such an action it will catch fish.
With that said, the floating Salmo Hornet 3.5cm size is not the most forgiven lure to fish. It likes a slow retrieve, and it struggles badly in current. The floating Hornet failed miserably in moving water, always returning to the surface. Overall, the action is fine in still water, and it even managed to tempt a few trout to follow but no strikes, but it struggled to maintain depth in faster currents.
In all honesty, I can not see myself using a floating Hornet over a f03 Rapala. They are simply more versatile. My impressions, from all those years ago hold true. There are simply better small floating jerkbaits on the market.
Impressions of sinking Salmo Hornet
The river, I was fishing was deeper and swifter than I expected. So my tiny jerk baits were getting pushed around and I was struggling to get them deep enough. So giving a sinking version a try was not a hard decision.
The sinking hornet is a much better lure, it sinks fast and swims well. The single hook design, means they are unlikely to snag or catch the bottom, and the action certainly does a reasonable job at imitating a fleeing baitfish.
They retrieved fine in both still and moving water, for a lure just over an inch in length I really do not have any complaints. They work.
I fished them alongside some Rapala CD1 and I will happily fish either when I want to use a tiny jerkbait.
Due to the heavier weight the sinking hornet casts better than the floating, and with a back wind I could cast them a reasonable distance when using a fast action rod and 3lb fireline braid.
I will say, the castability is comparable to countdown Rapalas.
My thoughts on tiny jerkbaits when trout fishing
I am going to put my cards on the table, I have never found tiny jerkbaits to be that effective at catching trout. Wither it is a 1 inch long Rapala CD1 or the 1 3/8” hornet I simply feel jerkbats simply do not perform at their best in this size range.
Slightly larger jerkbaits such as the two inch long Rapal F5 consistently outperforms them. I also find inline spinners, and tiny spoons also perform better at this tiny end of the spectrum.
When trout take jerkbaits, they are after a bigger meal. A 1 inch lure does not provide that.
I probably will not be buying any more Salmo Hornets. Certainly not he 3.5cm models. I simply do not find tiny jerk baits that effective on trout.
If I only fished ponds. The floating hornet might be a reasonable option, but I have serious doubts about its ability in fishing moving water. I also have heard some people have success trolling them, a technique which I did not try.
The sinking Hornet is a much better lure, and works well in both still and medium speed flowing water. If the price is right, they are not a bad option to have in your tackle box.
Click here for the 9 Jerk Baits I recommend most highly for trout fishing