Background: Livingston was kind enough to send me their new Howeller Dream Master Classic Crankbait to review, so I would like to start out by properly thanking them. This crankbait is actually the same model that Randy Howell used to win the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, hence the name Dream Master Classic. This lure contains Livingston’s EBS (Electronic Baitfish Sound) chip, which is said to emit baitfish noises when it comes in contact with the water. The cadence of these baitfish noises is 4 seconds of noise followed by 4 seconds of silence. The Howeller also has an advanced rattle inside of it. The combination of this rattle and the electronic baitfish noises results in a very realistic crankbait.
Value: 3 stars
The Howeller Dream Master Classic comes in at $15.99, which is pretty expensive for one crankbait. When you compare this to other top of the line crankbaits, you will find that this is the average price. For example, Live Target’s new baitball series crankbaits are also $15.99. However, I do feel like you are getting a little bit more with this crankbait because of the advanced use of electronics and rattles to imitate baitfish. I have yet to see a company successfully use this technology, but I believe that Livingston has nailed it, which makes the price of $15.99 acceptable. Along with this, it comes with 2 Mustad hooks that are extremely high quality and the hooks are actually two different colors (one red, one silver), which I believe adds to its value.
Durability: 3 stars
On my first few casts with the Howeller, the left eye of my crankbait fell off, so durability is definitely a downside with this bait. It could just be that it was a bad lure that I got, but for $15.99, I believe that Livingston could afford to use some better glue. Aside from the eye falling off, the lure has held up solidly, even after bumping it against a ton of rocks. As I mentioned before the hooks are extremely high quality, so I have no doubt that they will hold up well.
Color Selection: 4 stars
The Howeller Dream Master Classic comes in 20 different colors, which is a decent amount for crankbaits. I believe that even though the color choice isn’t great, these colors were extremely well thought out and help to cover a whole spectrum of situations. There color selection would be good enough for any weekend angler, but may be a little bit lacking for higher-level anglers. The color that I got to try out was the Beauty Shad color, which works great in both clear and murky water. This has made it so that it is one of my favorite new colors.
Design: 5 stars
The Howeller is a medium diving crankbait that is said to get down to 10 feet. This is a great depth because in the fall and spring you can find massive bass in 10 feet and less of water. This crankbait works great to target those bass. The design of this bait and the lip of it make it so it does a great job of deflecting off of cover and structure like rocks.
Technology: 5 stars
This lure is extremely innovative and even though I have seen lures with electronics in them, they just haven’t been that successful. The EBS chip really does work and when it gets wet you can actually hear the baitfish noises. It makes a vibration that also sounds like a bug, but it does seem to work. A prime example of this is that on one of my casts I left the lure sitting on top of the water while I went to go get something from the other side of the boat and when I came back a bass came up and smashed it. This really made me believe that the baitfish noises attract bass and that the EBS chip does its job. Along with this, I did notice that bass really attack the lure and the bites are a lot more aggressive.
Action: 5 stars
The Howeller has great action and has a tight wobble that can really attract a lot of bass. This action along with a snap swivel and the baitfish noise, make for a deadly combo to land big bass. This lure also really excels at deflecting off of cover and does a great job at not getting snagged up. Another thing that I really like about this lure is that it gives you instructions on how to tune it, so you can keep your lure running true.
Overall: 4.1 Stars
All in all, I feel like the Howeller is a great all around crankbait and that if the price drops, it will take the market by storm. I believe that Livingston hit a home run with implementing electronics into their crankbaits. This top of the line sound combined with its tight wobble and the fact that it is great at deflecting off of cover make it a truly magnificent lure to fish. The only downside that I could find was the durability of this lure and I am curious to see how long the EBS chip can hold up when fished vigorously. Other than that, it is a great lure and I suggest that if you can afford it, you go to the store and give one of these a try.