There are few types of lures that raise so many questions – and where opinions differ as much on – as the X-layer from Megabass. The first look often already causes confusion: what is it exactly? It looks a lot like a slug, but the straight and flat top (or bottom?) ending in a pointy tail make the comparison go wrong. Is it a soft stickbait then? And how do you fish an X-layer? Enough reason to try and shed some light on this special lure.
The five big ribs on the X-layer directly stand out. They create vibrations in the water that without a doubt are noticed by predators. Except for the vibrations, the X-layer also makes some noise. This stems from the glass rattle that is located in the tail. You will hear it tap when you shake the tail back and forth. It are only light taps, but they nevertheless add an extra dimension to this seemingly boring, straight little lure. If you still doubt whether this lure has enough ‘features’, just keep the X-layer under your nose. You will smell the special added anise odor, which the bass alledgedly seem to love.Now I usually have my doubts when it comes to fragrances in or on lures, but as long as the fish don’t mind and bite it’s more than fine with me.
Now that we have highlighted the special characteristics of the X-layer, the next question obviously is how you fish this lure. This depends on whether you fish from a boat or from the shore. From the boat I have the best experiences with casting an X-layer mounted on a 7-grams SV-69 Decoy jighead. Fishing that light is possible because you move towards the lure. You let the boat drift and cast your lure in the direction which you are heading for with the drift. When you think your lure is almost at the bottom, close the bracket and start reeling the X-layer in with series of three short taps. Make sure you always try to keep as much contact as possible with your lure. The short taps make the X-layer nervously move up and from the left to the right, just like a sandeel on the run.
From the shore I often fish slightly heavier. This is due to the fact that the small size X-layers do not perform that well in this area: the point on the SV-69 jighead where you attach the line to is at an angle of 90 degrees with the lure. Combined with the not too exceptional casting performance of the X–layer, this will often cause the lure to start spinning in the air. In this case fishing heavier dos not mean a heavier jighead, but larger sized lures: the Giant X-layer. This big brother of the X-layer is combined with a 5 -grams VJ -36 Decoy jighead. The big plus of this type of jighead is that it is in line with the lure and that the setup is weedless. That makes it a perfect combination for shorefishing, as Gaël Rognant showed us. The fishing technique from the shore is almost the same as from the boat. Let the X-layer sink towards the bottom and reel it in with series of a few short taps, each followed by a little pause. The nervous jumps combined with the beautiful downward slide towards the bottom (thanks to the VJ -36 jighead) create an irresistible action.
Flat or round side up?
When it comes to mounting the X-layer on a jighead, I honestly have no clue what would be the best thing to do. On the one hand there are people who firmly believe that the flat side is the upper side and therefore needs to be on top; just like you would do with a shad. On the other hand there are others that claim the opposite: they say that the flat side needs to be on the bottom part, because this would create a nice and longer downward slide which would trigger the bass to attack. Who can tell what’s right? Personally I’m very inconsistent. With a regular jighead I always fish the X-layer with the ‘round’ side up and let the hook stick out nicely between the first and second ridge. This way it also seems as if the tail creates a little more action, because of the bigger bend when rigging the lure like that. Choose whatever feels right to you, because probably both ways work just fine. With the Giant X-layer mounted on a weedless jighead, I nevertheless prefer to do it the other way round; so with the flat side up. Consequently the hook is nicely adjoined with the body and the setup still is really weedless. The position of the lure (related to where you attach the line) is in my opinion also less important with this type of jighead. Lure, hook and line are all aligned, so that the first is free to pivot around its axis.
Just like all Megabass lures – and no, we don’t have a sponsordeal and have to pay for everything just like you guys – their softbaits have a top notch finishing and are available in some stunning colour patterns. In France the AYU colour is credited for extraordinary catch results and by far the most popular colour. If you would ask me the Avocado Silver, Aurora Pink and Wakasagi perform just as well. In any case pick a colour that you have confidence in. Because if you fish with confidence, you’ll catch fish. One thing you don’t have to doubt is the X-layer’s ability to catch fish. This lure has already proven its special fish catching qualities all over Europe: the bass love ‘em. There is no easy answer to the question why exactly, but meanwhile the X-layer has earned itself a fixed place in my tacklebox as well.