New Bass Tackle & Industry Trends for 2006
Ever wonder what it would be like to be a
tackle industry insider? Well, feel just like a privileged
insider by reviewing this sixty page report on ICAST. Be among
the very first anglers to find out about new products for 2006 by
some seventy bass fishing tackle companies, and gain insight into
twenty major trends shaping the bass tackle industry today.
Put your finger on the pulse of the bass
fishing tackle industry in Russ Bassdozer's comprehensive annual
report on ICAST.
ICAST is the North American tackle trade industry
insiders annual convention. It is held at the Las Vegas
Convention Center each year in mid-July.
ICAST is overwhelming. You have a mere three days
to walk the show floor alongside thousands of other tackle
industry insiders, visiting as many of the 350 tackle
manufacturer booths as time permits (an impossible task),
scribbling notes and snapping photos of the hot new products for
bass fishing for 2006. It takes a few more days after that to
sort ICAST all out, and some solid writing sessions to get this
report produced for you.
I hope you enjoy reading it.
Of course, to see something amidst the glitz and
hubbub at ICAST is different than to fish with it. So be
forewarned that something that looks and sounds swell at ICAST
may fail miserably on the water. Even some items that win Best of
Show awards (there are twelve product categories) at ICAST may
not make it onto the market and may not win real-life angler
approval hands-on the water. And other items that look low-key
and Clark Kent-ish at ICAST, they may prove to have a spectacular
Superman side that only bass can see!
Possible bass fishing tackle industry trends I
spotted at ICAST this year include:
Going bass fishing for
other species. A trend most visible at ICAST this year
is several leading bass tackle manufacturers going fishing for
other species - inshore saltwater species (redfish, sea trout,
calico and kelp bass, etc.) or other freshwater gamefish
(especially walleye, pike, muskie). In general, these are
gamefish that would hit the same or similar styles and sizes of
lures as bass. On bass hard baits for instance,
corrosion-resistant, possibly stronger hooks and saltwater color
finishes may be all that's needed to turn many bass lures into
inshore saltwater lures. A few nimble bass fishing companies seem
eager to cross over to other species markets this year.
Red not fading. Many
in the industry felt red was going to fade by this time, but
red-mania is currently stronger than ever. The angler demand for
red-daubed bait shows no sign of slowing down yet. Most fishing
company executives and lure designers at ICAST voiced surprise
that the red trend has lasted so long. Some manufacturers are
still dragging their feet and slow to get into red, despite
anglers still going hog wild over red. Actually, the whole red
craze was started by one hook company, Daiichi, and practically
one man - TJ Stallings of TTI-Blakemore. After that, red just
took off, apparently something that hit an amiable high note with
spots are becoming popular. Even a company like Lucky
Craft, generally considered to have some of the most subtle and
muted low-key lure colors for bass (like its translucent Ghost
Minnow finish) has conceded to angler demand to get some red on
their lures. In 2006, Lucky Craft will offer new bleeding lure
finishes. For example, one of its most subtle colors, Ghost
Minnow, will now come in Bleeding Ghost Minnow with a bright
blast of blood red where it matters most - right at the ideal
strike spot - at the belly hook hanger. Overall, strike spots are
becoming increasingly popular. Often just simple black dots or
red dots or some other strike target to give fish a spot to aim
at. And strike spots are moving closer and closer to the nearest
hook point, rather than just being somewhere else on a lure.
Hot tail tips on hard
baits. Another kind of strike spot or strike
enticement getting onto some hard baits is a chartreuse tail tip
to a crankbait, jerkbait or topwater - especially the tail's
underside. This no doubt carried over from the popularity of
chartreuse-dipped tails on soft baits. Now, manufacturers are
starting to extend that chartreuse tail tip concept onto hard
baits too. Dave Storm has put a chartreuse dye on the end of his
SwishTail mylar skirted treble hook instead of tipping chartreuse
right on a hard bait's tail. A good idea - chartreuse tail tips
on hard baits, or on the rear treble dressing.
It's really getting
friggin' froggy. There are so many hollow rubber frogs
and solid-bodied soft toads on the market now, by crikey. I ain't
fibbin', amphibians are flooding the bass market. Uncle Josh
Sizmic Toad. Zoom Horny Toad. Berkley's new Gulp! BatWing. Mann's
new Hardnose Swim Toad. Yum's new Buzz Frog. Sumo Frog. Stanley's
new Ribbit. A spate of new Snag Proof hollow rubber frogs popped
up the past few years. Kanji Customized Frog. Reaction
Innovations Swamp Donkey. Mann's new Super Frog. Spro's new Dean
Rojas Bronzeye Frog. I'm sure I left some out, but you get the
point. Few of these frogs existed about two years ago, which was
when the current frog frenzy started building to the peak it's at
Looking like Lucky Craft
is a trend this year. Last year, we reported on Gary
Yamamoto's Senko soft bait as being a bass fishing industry trend
(it still is). Many (not all) other soft bait vendors have added
a Senko-like offering to their product line. This year at ICAST,
Lucky Craft hard baits are an industry trend. Many (not all)
other hard bait vendors have added something Lucky Craft-like to
their product line this year. It was easy to spot many bait
shapes remindful of Lucky Craft's two most legendary baits - the
Sammy and Pointer. Colors popularized in North America by Lucky
Craft - Chartreuse Shad, Ghost Minnow, Lucky Craft-like
renditions of Table Rock Shad and Mad Craw - were popping up all
over ICAST this year. Favorite generic Japanese hard bait colors
like Wakasagi and Ayu patterns were appearing on non-Japanese
hard baits too.
It seems that other bass tackle companies, Lucky Craft's North
American peers, are fascinated to witness Minoru Segawa
miraculously bring his company and the entire bass fishing tackle
industry to an undreamed of, unprecedented level of product
What's most fascinating is North American anglers have
demonstrated they don't mind gladly paying over $15 for a bass
bait - if they feel confident it is one of the best made. Anglers
have shown they want and don't mind paying for the best possible
bass lures by wholeheartedly embracing Lucky Craft. For the rest
of the industry, this has given them room to increase quality and
resultant price increase necessary in order to provide anglers
with the higher quality, better-catching lures that anglers
desire. Overall, expect to see more feature-rich, more
researched, better developed and therefore higher-priced bass
lures as the industry amps up to meet anglers demands for the
best possible bass lures.
Japanese bass lure companies not so lucky? Other
Japanese lure companies may not be so lucky as Lucky Craft in
North America. I have no way to be sure about this, and every
company is different, but some Japanese lure companies that have
journeyed to ICAST the last few years, some tend to say their
lure sales in North America fall short of their expectations. Not
every Japanese company says this, but it is not an uncommon story
either. Some say they are unsure how to approach the North
American bass market. They face a different marketing approach
than Japanese anglers favor, a different culture, different
attitude toward fishing lures, different expectations of what
anglers want and hope to get out of a lure fishing experience.
Also, the most popular and perfected bass lures in Japan tend to
be smaller in general, bass are smaller and more pressured, and
leading Japanese bass lure companies are often (not always)
smaller companies than their North American counterparts. Some
Japanese lure companies have full product lines across many lure
types, but tend to become one hit wonders (or only a couple or a
few successful lures become hits) in North America. That's all
about hard baits. In terms of soft baits from Japan, soft baits
simply don't seem to have made it across the Pacific to North
America much yet. Partly maybe because typical Japanese soft
baits are best-suited to finesse. For example dropshot type
applications, and smaller soft baits than the standard North
American angler uses here.
Obviously, some Japanese lure companies can be successful here.
Look at Lucky Craft who hit the high road to success in North
America, but certainly it was not always peachy for Lucky Craft,
and there were times when the road could have seemed very unsure
for the company. Bottom line, no two Japanese lure company's
experiences in North America are exactly similar, yet some tell a
common tale that they are unsure how to approach the North
American market, and for those who have sluggish sales here,
unsure how to grow them - despite feeling they offer some great
- China and Eastern Europe as
subcontractors to the tackle industry. In addition to
Japan being involved as a vendor, there are several other areas
of the world presently work more like subcontractors to the North
American fishing market. China is burgeoning, but also increasing
interest and production from Eastern European fishing tackle
manufacturers. Most of these entities, particularly in China, are
not necessarily too eager to float their own brands here yet. But
each year at ICAST, the trend continues that they are
increasingly better at making tackle for the North American
market, and increasingly knowledgeable of the North American
fishing market. For instance, I spoke with one project manager of
a Hong Kong tackle subcontractor at ICAST. His factory employs
800 persons who mainly make lures. They don't make hooks, fishing
line, rods or reels. Just 800 persons mainly making lures is a
huge, huge operation. Just one of a number of tackle factories in
China. They're good at it. Lower costs, ample labor, modern
technology, and many advancements in luremaking are being made in
China today. Eastern Europe too is interested, definitely able,
currently involved, and want to be even more involved in the
North American market.
"Skater" is an interesting lure used in Europe and
Scandinavia for pike, and I have included a photo of one at right
that symbolizes some of the things I just wrote about. The Skater
isn't a lure type normally found on the North American market,
especially not for bass. It looks like a lipless rattlebait, but
a Skater is typically wood with no rattles. Most are painted like
European perch or bream or trout. Basically a classic and honored
nature-scheme finish pervasive in European lures. It gets its
name because when you retrieve a Skater very slowly, it is
designed to saunter or skate from side to side like Dutchman Hans
Brinker on his silver skates. The Skater at right is a
recognizable European shape, design and color finish,
subcontracted to be made in a Chinese tackle factory by a
Japanese vendor to sell to anglers in North America. The Skater
lure shown here is a product of the four corners of the world
that impact the North American fishing market today and for the
foreseeable future. A bit closer to home, subcontracting for
North American tackle companies also occurs to a good degree
south of our border, such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic,
Haiti and Mexico, for example. Some lure vendors take this route,
since access to and project management with the companies south
of here can be quicker and easier, versus China or Europe.
- Holographics rule. Holographic
films, foils and finishes have made their way into soft baits,
particularly the modern, more durable, tough plastic swimbaits.
Plus more and more holographic finishes are popular on hard baits
(crankbaits, topwater, jerkbaits).
Relatively few North American companies have much experience or
produce holographic lures themselves, despite holographics being
a major lure trend. More than anyone else, the fishing tackle
manufacturers in China seem to have advanced the fine art of
holographic finishes. Eastern European manufacturers also have
their own slightly different style of holographic special effects
for walleye, trout, salmon and pike spinner blades and spinner
on bass spinnerbait blades have not really made it onto the scene
yet. Partly because it is an imperfect process using heat and
holographic film or tape. However, new application techniques are
coming that seem improved over current methods to get
holographics onto spinnerbait blades but good. As fishing tackle
factories (especially in China) revamp and retool to use such
newer processes to apply holographics to spinnerbait blades, look
for that stunningly beautiful sector of the market to take off.
- Bass fishing television. It
was just a couple years ago, a major tournament would not air on
TV until a few months later. Today, a tournament has practically
same day coverage and commentary. Timeliness is a new trend in
bass TV. Providing information on what baits and tactics the pros
are using is also a trend. Historically, most bass TV would show
you plenty of bass boated, but you rarely got much meaningful
info on the lures or methods. All that has changed. Today, you
get detailed tips on TV from many top pros per show. TV is also
making stars out of the top twelve to twenty (if that many)
figures in the sport. The new trend in bass TV is to have short
clips of several different leading pros per week. So,
instead of the same one bass celebrity hosting a show for
one-half hour week after week, you may get three ten-minute
mini-stories (vignettes) per week, with a different popular bass
star per vignette. There's more of a sports commentator and field
reporter approach; less of a show host in this format. You get
much more diversity of winning bass stars per show, which stays
constantly fresh (plus practically same-day or within-week
timeliness) versus the conventional format of one show host per
- Spinning tackle gets new respect. Thanks
to bass TV, spinning tackle is getting new-earned respect. No
doubt you've noticed many top BASS and FLW pros on TV using
spinning gear more this year than ever before. I don't think this
trend has trickled down to the serious non-professional
tournament anglers who think it's sissy to use spinning. However,
pros on TV using spinning gear goes far to encourage newer,
younger and inexperienced anglers to be more confident and
successful with easy-to-use spinning gear. It's good to see the
top pros in the world using spinning more and more. Spinning gear
is good stuff, despite what the macho baitcaster types out there
- Shaking Southern Style. Pros
have started using spinning gear in part to better handle
lightly-rigged finesse worms and light shaking worm jigs. The
last time shaking became a trend, it started in Southern
California to shake a brass sinker and glass bead with a
four-inch finesse worm. The new shaking trend comes out of the
Southeast this time around. It involves jigs more, and tends
toward longer, say 4" to 7" thin finesse worms this
time. The techniques and tackle first evolved for spotted bass,
but now it is simply called shaking. New jig hooks with more of a
fulcrum effect have been designed for shaking jigs, new lighter
wire hooks for rigging finesse worms on spinning gear, and new
spinning rods designed for shaking jigs have appeared this year.
Confusingly, there are many rods on the market still labeled as
shaking rods from the previous California brass 'n glass shaking
trend, so be careful what rod you buy.
- 3D Eyes. Sounds weird to
say it, but the bubble type 3D eyes are a trend, for hard and
soft lures. The realism of 3D eyes has caused an overall increase
in realism. Across all bass lure types, realism has gone up. When
3D eyes are put on, luremakers usually add other complimentary
realism as well - gill outlines, etched mouth, etc. Painted eyes
- Flat Sided Crankbaits.
Quite simply, everyone who makes crankbaits has felt obligated to
add flat sided ones to their product line lately.
- Jointed Crankbaits. These
have gained a little attention in early 2005. Therefore, a few
more models predictably popped up at ICAST. These are different
from tail-jointed crankbaits of the past, which never really made
it big. The new style jointed crankbaits are jointed behind the
gill section, as if a gill joint. If anglers seem interested and
start to produce good results with jointed crankbaits, expect
more crankbait companies to add jointed crankbaits to their
- Swimming Jigs. It's
really up to one man, Tom Monsoor, to make swimming jigs a
national trend or not. Monsoor got close to doing that in 2004,
but his uphill battle stalled in 2005. His tournament success in
2006 will determine whether swimming jigs become a bigger trend
or not. In the meantime, there isn't anyone fishing a tournament
in the area of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois who doesn't
have one, or more like a couple dozen swimming jigs in his bag.
- Swimbait Stew. The
swimbait market is like a big stewpot. Luremakers keep a fire
going under it, and they keep chucking items into it. Swimbaits
tossed into the stew may be traditional injection-molded soft
plastic, hand-pours, the more modern and durable swimbait-type
plastics with holographic foils, super-stretch plastic, hard
plastic, wood, or hybrid hard/soft swimbaits, double-, triple- or
quadruple-jointed lures with or without soft tail fins or metal
blade tail fins, and with or without frontal diving lips. It
seems luremakers may throw most any big bass lure they like into
the swimbait stew pot. If it's big, chuck it in. Stir the
cauldron a little, let it steep, and it all becomes swimbaits.
Soft plastic swimbaits have been around for thirty years, but
there have never been as many different models of soft swimbaits
as today. Originally (let's call them first generation), there
were hand-pours and injection-molded soft swimbaits that first
appeared in the early eighties. They were not that radically
different (except in shape and action tail) than other injected
and hand-poured soft baits. In the early nineties, the huge,
beautifully-painted trout swimbaits and other huge hand-poured
swimbaits began to be made in California for monster bass. For
sake of discussion, let's call these second generation, and let's
say wood and hard plastic and hybrid hard/soft monster swimbaits
are part of that genre. A third generation of swimbaits began to
appear in the early 2000's. This third generation is best defined
by more durable plastic, holographic finishes and prerigged
insider jigheads and internally-molded body weight systems and
hookhangers factory-molded into the soft swimbaits.
Usually, you expect a newer generation of a lure type to replace
or make an older generation obsolete. That hasn't happened in
swimbaits. All three generations are thriving today, along with
all their offshoots and permutations the past thirty years.
Swimbaits are more a trend today than ever before - and still
really undiscovered by many bass anglers. So there is huge
potential to see more stewed up on swimbaits in the future, as
bass anglers discover and incorporate swimbaits into their
"go to" bag of tricks.
baits being used more? It's hard to prove this, but I
sense soft baits are being used more widely today than ever
before. No doubt, the Senko may have started this renaissance in
increasing use of soft baits, but there have also been other soft
baits, creature lures, Reaction Innovations' Smallie Beaver, the
new genre of soft toad baits, swimbaits, flipping tubes, Great
Lakes tube-dragging, dropshot baits, etc. I do sense a current
increase in soft bait usage among bass anglers across the
continent. Anglers may still own more crankbaits on average than
any other lure type, but soft baits do seem to be more widely
used today than ever before.
- Tungsten and Titanium increasingly
preferred metals. Anglers are finding a preference for
tungsten versus lead or other weighty metals as sinkers,
spinnerbait, buzzbait, jig and lure heads or bodies or ballast
inside lures. Anglers are slowly realizing that tungsten fishes
better in the applications mentioned, than any other metal.
Titanium is being acclaimed for its diverse beneficial
properties, depending on titanium alloy type and application, in
lure arms, split rings, rod guide frames, corrosion-proof
finishes and other uses that are just beginning to be pioneered
with titanium. Same goes with tungsten, applications are still in
their infancy. However, companies who invest in ongoing research
and development of these two modern fishing tackle metals now,
they may technologically advance themselves beyond the rest of
the industry and emerge as tomorrow's leaders in tungsten or
titanium fishing tackle.
- Biodegradable baits beckon. Likewise,
soft bait companies who are currently investing in, experimenting
with and expanding applications of biodegradable baits today,
they may become the soft bait industry leaders of tomorrow. The
pioneering research and development they do today may give them
an advantage tomorrow versus companies that are not currently
investigating and ramping up in this area. Likewise, hard bait
companies that are researching hybrid hard/soft baits now will be
better poised to meet biodegradability needs if/when they may
arise in the future. Biolures are really putting bait back in
bait, and at least theoretically, less foolery or trickery should
be required to catch more fish with less artificial biolures.
New Rod and Reel
Highlights for 2006
New rods shown this year at ICAST are changing.
Bass rods are slowly getting longer. There are few new rod
introductions under 6'6" nowadays. Most new rods seem
6'8" to 7'2" for most applications plus 7'6" to
8'0" flipping sticks.
A trend across several rodmakers this year is a
preoccupation with doing away with grips, handles and reel seats
in the name of sensitivity and lightness.
One company, Airrus,
has taken it to the extreme, devising a new way to flare out the
blank itself where the handle used to go, so you simply have a
much-widened part of the rod blank as the rod handle. It felt a
bit slippery, but if it gives more sensitivity, pass me the rod
Most other companies are trying less severe
methods to eliminate material from handles - in order to maximize
sensitivity and touch. More and more foregrips are disappearing
off rods. On rear grips, it's becoming fashionable and looks
stylish to split the continuous-piece rear grip into two smaller
grip sections - a split rear grip
with exposed blank between the sections.
Reel seats with a soft
touch coating are becoming popular. This seems to go
against the grain of more sensitivity, but companies say it is
more comfortable and provides a surer grip.
are appearing, which are swollen humps in the handle, right
behind the reel, where your palm would go. The couple I handled
were baitcasters, and I liked the fit in my hand very much. I
also noticed, but did not handle, a contoured spinning reel seat
by American Tackle's that provides a palm swell for spinning rods
Overall, I like to have a hefty handle. So, I am
not enthused by the current trend to downsize handles. I like to
use a handle to, well... handle the rod. So I am uneasy that
everyone wants to trim down handles. If there is hardly any
handle, how am I going to wield and hold my rod, I wonder? Think
of a sword or saber with hardly any handle. No problem, just hold
the blade, okay? It will be lighter and more sensitive. So you
see, handles have a purpose.
Nor am I convinced that eliminating handle parts
will radically heighten sensitivity. I always felt sensitivity
was a function of the rod tip (not the handle). Ask any grizzled
guide who commands clients to set the hook by watching their rod
tips (not their handles).
Heck, I 'm not even a staunch proponent of
lightness in a rod. I'd rather have a way to hold it than have it
lighter. Indeed, I always make my rods much heavier by stuffing
chunky lead slugs in the rod butt for better balance. I always
felt rod balance far outweighed lightness? I am probably wrong
here since no rodmakers factory-balance rods that way. However,
every rod I balance becomes heavier - but vastly improves its
sensitivity (to feel the rod tip not feel the handle).
Then again, I always thought the rod's backbone,
the spline, should be used to wrap guides either on (baitcasting)
or directly opposite (spinning) the rod spline (the rigid
backbone of a rod). Yet most all factory-made rods I own are
wrapped willy-nilly, as if the rod spline isn't important (it
There were also a few companies that ran counter
to the rest of the industry. These mavericks introduced
hard graphite handles and grips attached to the blank
with little or no fillers or shims between the blank and graphite
handle. This makes the handle solid but sensitive, they say; the
exact opposite of soft, vibration-dampening material like cork or
Rods. This rod line seems slow getting into stores,
but that has not stopped rod designer Ken Whiting from innovating
incredible rod engineering advancements. Ken won Best of Show in
2002, 2003 and 2004 for three different rod engineering
breakthroughs. A fourth feather in Ken's cap is he pioneered and
perfected use of multiple modulus with fantastic results when
properly deployed like in Gary Yamamoto's Dropshot rod. This
year, Ken blew the doors off everyone who is trying to reduce
handle weight. Ken simply made the rod blank the handle itself.
That's right, the blank itself flares out to become the handle
grip. The minimal parts necessary to seat a reel are
surface-mounted right on the blank itself. There are no shims or
filler material between the minimal reel seat parts and the
blank. There is no other grip material of any kind to dampen
vibration. Without any grip except the blank itself, the rod
handle felt slippery, but if touching the blank equates to the
ultimate sensitivity - there you have it. There's nothing else
but blank to touch. Ken also says flaring the blank to become the
grip creates a megaphone effect that amplifies sensitivity.
Ken eliminated the sensitivity-robbing grip problem by making the
blank the grip. Next, Ken conquered the lightness issue.
Incredible Ken debuted the use of carbon
nanotubes in the resin mix of the rod blank. These
tiny capsule-shaped tubes of carbon fill space between the blank
fibers, spaces that were formerly filled with heavy, brittle,
weak resin binder. The carbon nanotubes are extremely light yet
extremely strong material. Ken says nanotubes are 200 times
stronger than titanium and 450 times stronger than steel. Ken
says this results in the lightest, strongest, and most sensitive
rods ever produced by Airrus.
To me, Airrus rods are the most beautiful and well-engineered
rods. It's not rocket science, but it is light years ahead of
some other rod designs. To me, two things Airrus has not really
done yet are: 1) to get more widespread hands-on tournament-test
feedback and product refinement from top national pros, and 2)
get its rods into more stores. www.rodsbyairrus.com
Ken Whiting, President email@example.com
702-395-2173 Las Vegas, NV
All Star Graphite Rods.
New offerings include sixteen high modulus technique-specific
bass rods in its new Platinum series
plus twenty multi-modulus technique-specific bass rods in its new
Instinct series for 2006.
Joel Townley Joel@shakespeare-fishing.com
800-334-9105x3225 Columbia, SC
New H3 Titanium series has
six technique-specific bass rods that integrate titanium into the
fibers, creating a titanium, graphite and carbon fiber hybrid rod
blank. Sensitivity is enhanced by their new patent-pending Maximum
Contact handle system. The handle features a soft to
the touch reel seat, and the reel seat is attached directly to
the blank without any shims, filler or padding material except
graphite contact bars that are directly in contact with both the
reel seat and the rod blank, resulting in direct contact with the
rod blank no matter where your hand comes in contact with the
handle, says the company. www.americanrodsmiths.com
Jake Brewer firstname.lastname@example.org
281-252-0474 Magnolia, TX
American Tackle Company.
This rod component company introduced the new Titan
solid titanium frame guides with a new high tech NanoLite
ceramic fused rings which the company says are harder and more
durable than silicon carbide. Titanium is 100% corrosion-proof
and less than half the weight of stainless steel. www.americantackle.us
Joe Meehan, President email@example.com
The makers of Rejuvenade livewell treatment have introduced the 2iG
UltraStrike Pro series of nineteen new graphite rods.
Two models are endorsed by Snag Proof for
fishing Snag Proof hollow rubber frog baits. www.bassmedics.com
Joey Couvillion, VP 866-944-2277 Springdale, AR
Corporation. The new Team
Daiwa Viento baitcasting reel intrigued me. If I
pressed the Twitchin' Bar
very slowly, it stitched in about four inches of line. If I
pressed the Twitchin' Bar quickly, it spun the spool just a bit,
and twitched in a tad more line, maybe seven inches.
Comparatively, turning the reel handle, even a little bit, tends
to bring in much more line than that. And moving the rod tip,
even a little bit, tends to move the bait more than that. So if
the Twitchin' Bar helps anglers slow down their retrieves and
make smaller, slower, and more subtle lure movements (with jigs
and soft baits especially), then it may be a great new reel
feature. Oh yeah, imagine what would it be like to pause a
suspending jerkbait or crank in the feeding zone, then just
twitchin' it with the Twitchin' Bar! This may be something. www.daiwa.com
Bill Liston, Advertising Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
562-802-9589 Cerritos, CA
Two new high end super high modulus GLX bass spinning rods were
introduced at ICAST. The Bronzeback
series smallmouth finesse fishing rod, and a new Drop
Shot series rod. www.gloomis.com
The company has taken the most popular features from Kistler's
existing rods and brought them to the next level with two new rod
series, the Helium II LTX series
(which the company says to be the lightest rods on the planet)
plus the new Magnesium TS series.
The new Helium series features Kistler's proprietary super
lightweight Ampli-Fiber core
rod blanks. The new Magnesium series is a fusion of Helium and
Magnesium graphite fibers in the blank. Here's a special page to
preview all the advanced new Kistler rod features at: www.kistlerrods.com/53
Trey Kistler email@example.com
281-259-8033 Magnolia, TX
new XMG50 series bass rods
includes eleven new models for 2006. The company says the rods
are designed for the high-key tournament angler who cannot afford
to miss a strike that can cost an angler serious money, points,
and angst nowadays, whether at the pro, regional, club or local
level. The new series sports American
Tackle Company's Titan guides. Lamiglas says these
rods push the envelope of sensitivity with graphite
handle grips. These graphite handles transmit to your
hand an unmatched sense of the presentation, strike and fish,
says the company. www.lamiglas.com
John Posey firstname.lastname@example.org
360-225-9436 Woodland, WA
The LC-Magnum series of seven
baitcasting rods were on display at ICAST. I was surprised the
rods were not technique-specific to various Lucky Craft lure
applications. The rods were defined by the general power/action
rating of each rod instead of being tied to Lucky Craft lure
714-241-8484 Costa Mesa, CA
Powell Products. Since
1910, the company has been making fine flyrods. For the last few
years, company president Keith Bryan has been perfecting a series
of twenty-six bass rods designed by Gary
Dobyns, which made their debut at ICAST. The bass
fishing rod market is much larger than for flyfishing rods, and
my favorite pastime is bass fishing tournaments, says Keith
Bryan. All twenty-six Dobyns bass rods have similar features. All
are tall from 6'8" to 8'0", have split rear grips, no
foregrips, all have emphasis on lightness and sensitivity that
crosses over from the company's century of flyrod expertise.
They're all tough blanks, tournament tested, says Dobyns. All
rods feature a smaller than usual first guide for lightness and
reduced weight. For some reason, it's become a convention to put
a big first guide on rods, but you don't need it, it doesn't do
anything at all except add weight, says Keith Bryan. With Gary
Dobyns' design, these are rods Western guys will surely want.
We'll gladly get started with that, and may ultimately add rod
styles for the remainder of country if we find different regional
rod styles are necessary, says Bryan. www.powellco.com
Keith Bryan, President email@example.com
415-382-9745 Novata, CA
Time Designs. Potentially one of the best answers to
the hook keeper conundrum I've ever seen. Only actual on-water
usage will tell. I just don't know why the company pigeonholed
its patent-pending Drop-Shot Weight
Keeper System as a dropshot solution? It is also the
solution to any rigged bait. You do not have to take the buried
hook out of a Texas-rigged soft bait to stow it on this keeper.
Plus the retainer arm is big enough that baits won't pop off
easily, and it has a retainer bend to prevent that. Best of all,
it is smooth. I can't tell you how many times the conventional
thin wire D-shaped hook keepers have opened a slice in the
knuckle seam of my index finger. At first blush, Steve's doesn't
seem it can hurt you like that. It comes with self-sticking
rubber stretch tape to attach anywhere to any rod. Even if you
have an existing hook keeper on your rod, you can wrap this on
right near it. The tape has no glue; it sticks to itself. Some
rodmakers are already factory-wrapping (with thread) this new
hook keeper onto their factory rods. It could set a new industry
standard. I'd say to give it a try. www.phoenixblazerods.com
Stephen Kokai, Sales DropShotKeeper@yahoo.com
908-876-3723 Long Valley, NJ
Corporation. Greg Hammond and Bob Mahoney briefed me
on the three new models of Curado D
baitcasting reels for 2006. First, a High Speed
Version 7:1 gear ratio for burning baits without hand fatigue.
Second, a Power Version 5:1 for working large crankbaits or slow
rolling spinnerbaits and third, a 6.2:1 version for pitching and
flipping. Of most interest to me was the Curado
D baitcasting reel model CU200DSHV with a 7:1 gear
ratio that takes in 30 inches of line per handle revolution. If
you need a fast reel to burn a lure like a spinnerbait back - or
just to suck in slack lightning fast to set the hook at the end
of a long cast - this new Curado D just may break the bass
fishing industry retrieve speed record. Even for pitching a jig,
where you just get bit on the fall, then reel in like the dickens
to make the next pitch, this new high-speed demon may prove
All three new Curado D's feature:
Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Spool, the benefit of which
is optimum casting performance and line control, especially when
using light baits and lures.
which is a bearing supported pinion gear to eliminate friction on
the spool. The benefit is Superfree allows for smoother spool
rotation and therefore longer casts.
High Efficiency Gearing,
meaning oversized drive and pinion gears to offer increased
leverage and power thus allowing for high speed retrieves without
the torque on the reel. The benefit is incredible gearing and the
guts to winch fish out of the nasty stuff.
one-way roller bearing to eliminate backplay in the reel. The
benefit of Super Stopper is immediate, solid hooksets.
Two new Citica D low
profile baitcasters are available in two models/gear
ratios (6.2:1 and Power 5:1 versions). It features Superfree,
High Efficiency Gearing, and Superstopper.
The new price-conscious
Cruxis baitcaster has all the features of its big
brothers but does not come with the price tag. The Cruxis is the
perfect reel for the budget-minded tournament angler, says
Shimano. The Cruxis is available in both right and left hand with
a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It features Superfree, High Efficiency
Gearing and Super Stopper.
Shimano's Compre Rods
have been totally redesigned for 2006, offering a variety of
actions in both spinning and casting models. Compre rods feature
IM8 graphite blanks, New Concept Fuji Hardloy guides, and a
limited lifetime guarantee. Select Compre baitcasting and
spinning models have a Fuji Exposed Blank reel seat for direct
finger touch on the rod blank. There are also several crankbait
models using high modulus TC4 blank construction. www.shimano.com
Stacey Thorn, Marketing Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
949-951-5003 Irvine, CA
St. Croix. Seven
new technique-specific Legend Tournament
Bass series rods debuted at the ICAST show - the Small
Cranker, Big Cranker, Swim Bait, Mega Swim Bait casting rods plus
Shakin', Split Shot and Tube action spinning rods. www.stcroixrods.com
Jeff Schluter, VP email@example.com
715-762-3226 Park Falls, WI
I made new friends with Nickolay Chervony and
Viktor Damme, attending their first ICAST show. Adams is their
export/import company in Kiev, and Sagittarius is the
manufacturing company they co-own in Severodonetsk, Ukraine. This
is their eleventh year in the fishing tackle business, but their
Nickolay and I did not know who we would meet at
ICAST, but we knew it would be easier way to meet more North
American tackle buyers here than in Russia. So that is why we
have come here, says Viktor.
Their tackle factory employs sixty persons
year-round which more than doubles to 130 persons at peak tackle
order seasons during the year. Much of their output is geared to
ice fishing. Russians have more ice fishing experience and our
progress with ice fishing equipment reflects that, Viktor says.
Being Russians, we have a cold country and lots of ice fishing
days; so we make many ice fishing items as suppliers to North
American firms, says Viktor. We are nationalists and very proud
of our country, adds Nickolay. If you see fishing packages in
America that say Made In Ukraine on back of label, we are proud
I asked Nickolay how a Russian company could get
an English name like Adams? Nickolay beamed a smile. When he and
Viktor were first deciding to make their company, they held many
business discussions while fishing for trout. The trout were
stubborn to bite, and days went by while they worked out the
details of their corporate partnership on the river, yet they
didn't land many trout. Finally, Nickolay tried a trout fly
pattern called an Adams fly, and soon they were successfully
catching many trout. So Adams became their company name based on
its success that day, and as a symbol of hard work and
perseverance that ultimately spells success in fishing and in
In the former Soviet Union, spinnerbaits are new
items but growing popular quickly. Anglers only started to use
them the past two years. The photo below shows spinnerbaits and
skirted flipping jigs designed by Adams for pike fishing in
Another photo shows a traditional style Russian
jigging spoon. It is used for fishing in rivers for zander
(Russian walleye) that hunker down on bottom in deep holes in
Russia's rivers, says Viktor. The line tie is not on the nose of
the Russian jigging spoon. You tie to a swivel exactly dead
center on the side (which becomes the top) of the lure. It falls
like a dying baitfish, says Viktor. You lift it fast and let it
drop slowly, which is when it acts like a wounded baitfish
drifting on its side, adds Nickolay.
Our spinnerbaits and flipping jigs, we make them
for anglers in Russia, but they demonstrate we can produce very
good lures for American bass fishing also, suggests Viktor.
"Manufacturing fishing tackle is not rocket science,"
Viktor says, then hesitates as he finds the correct English words
to continue, "but Nickolay and I, we know making good
fishing tackle, it is truly an art. No, not rocket science. Yes,
an art. We know that from our ice fishing tackles. We see we have
some better ice fishing designs in Russia. We can easily see
which other manufacturers in the world know or do not know the
art to make ice tackle like we make it. So we know Americans have
refined the art of making bass fishing equipment," says
Viktor. We would like to understand the American bass fishing
art, and make artful tackle in Ukraine for American bass anglers,
Viktor Damme, Co-owner firstname.lastname@example.org
I've lost more nets, rods and reels than I care
to remember (hats too), either flipping them over the side
somehow, or when not secured properly, having them fly off the
boat running wide open between spots. So, I stopped to see
Adventure Products who introduced their Ego
landing nets. The nets float - and the handle section
has nothing for your line to wrap around, no exposed sharp edges,
no nuts, bolts or anything to cut your line and cause you
heartache. Adventure Products is not a fishing tackle company.
Nets seem to be what they sell; many kinds of nets. Yes, they
really do take butterfly nets seriously, plus marine specimen
collection nets, pond scum skimming nets, aquarium nets, cast
nets to corral bait, soft-meshed livewell nets for cradling live
bait, and landing nets tailored to different species. Their best
net for bass fishing may be the Ego
large rubber mesh floating net. Rubber mesh is
especially valuable in an intense tournament fishing scenario.
Rubber mesh does not tangle with tackle so easily whereas nylon
mesh may lead to nasty, time-consuming tangle with hooks, lures
and rigs. Tangles take precious time while keeper bass are
biting. Less time unpicking the pieces out of a rubber mesh net
means more time to land the winning sack!
Grant Corbett, CEO email@example.com
478-788-2404 Macon, GA
Bagley Fishing Products
Mike Rogan, president of Bagley Fishing Products
seemed most proud to show me the new Turbo
Chat'r B Rattling Weedless Spoon. Originally designed
with redfish in mind, Mike says it was not long until bass pros
like Tommy Martin started chucking the new spoon in slop for
largemouth - with wrist-wrenching results. The spoon sports an
attached metal-cased rattle and a tail tied with feathers and
flash material. The spoon body is linked by a heavy duty split
ring to a stout wire arm with two prop blades that counter-rotate
in opposite directions between free-spinning metal ball bearings.
The counter-rotation of the prop blades negates any sideways
torque. That lets the spoon body wobble perfectly on the
retrieve. When paused, the spoon falls with a rock-the-cradle
action, says Mike. Available in 24K gold plate, silver or Flash'n
Bagley company employees were also proud to put
together a Bagley Classic Winners
Collection Edition to commemorate company founder Jim
Bagley's induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame this year.
This is a set of four Bagley lures that have won the Classic. It
includes four Classic-winning models and colors:
1974 - Balsa B 3
1976 - Honey B
- Tennessee Shad
2000 - Kill'r B 2
- Hot Tiger
2004 - Balsa B 2
Debbie Rogan, Media Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
239-693-7070 Ft. Myers, FL
Biosonix products were conceived in conjunction
with the persons from Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Lures. So they
already know how well sound (such as a Rat-L-Trap) attracts fish
to strike. Biosonix took that to the max with the BSX
Fish Activator. It plays sounds underwater of
distressed prey and predators feeding. The company says that bass
are constantly listening for those types of sounds. Hearing such
sounds makes bass more competitive, and it tells fish it is time
to eat before other fish eat all the food in its territory. The
product was at ICAST last year. The company had new news this
year on how Kevin VanDam has been using the BSX Fish Activator
The company says it gave Kevin
VanDam the BSX unit in March, 2005. At first, Kevin
was skeptical, and waited some time before he tried it. VanDam
started using the BSX unit at Table Rock BASS E-50 event, says
the company. Fishing with it, VanDam was in first place after the
first two days. On the third day, VanDam had to switch out of his
own boat, and he inadvertently left the BSX Fish Activator behind
in his own boat. Without the BSX, Kevin fell out of the
competition, says the company.
At the next big event on Smith Lake, Kevin was in
first place again using the unit, but he bumped and broke the
underwater speaker which was mounted on the trolling motor, and
again sunk lower into the standings without using the BSX, they
The third event on Lake Lewisville, Texas, Kevin
VanDam told the company he used the BSX Fish Activator to locate
the eleven pounder in pre-fish, which was the fish that really
helped VanDam win that tournament.
At the fourth event at Wisota, Wisconsin, VanDam
again won it using the BSX. By this event, VanDam had shed all
skepticism, and held a strong belief the BSX was helping him. Van
Dam caught an incredible amount of fish with the BSX unit, even
while others fishing nearby struggled desperately. By this time,
VanDam was like a kid in the candy store, catching fish and
believing so strongly in the BSX unit, the company says.
For shallow water fishing, the BSX speaker unit
is often mounted on the trolling motor between the shaft and the
lower unit, which is fine for water down to fifteen feet in
depth. Anything over fifteen feet, you may want to drop the
waterproof speaker over the side to varying depths.
I did not see or hear how the unit works when
turned on, but from the explanation I was given, it seems you can
program it for different sound patterns and program it to play at
different intervals. The company did give one sure tip, one
thing that seems consistently most successful is to play the unit
intermittently - rather than constantly play it. Intermittent use
of the unit has proven best to stimulate fish to strike at lures,
Wes Higgins email@example.com
800-633-4861 Alexandria, LA
B.S. Fish Tales
This new company offers their own versions of
several original crankbaits discontinued by Storm Lures. Many
bass anglers favored the original discontinued model Storm Wiggle
Warts which were no longer made, says Duane Dettmann. So B.S.
Fish Tales built Brad's Wiggler Series
crankbaits to be as much as possible like the old
discontinued Storm models.
There's the 1/5 oz 2" Lil
Wiggler; 1/3 oz, 2-1/4" Wee
Wiggler; 3/8 oz, 3" Wiggler
and 3/4 oz 3-3/4" Magnum Wiggler.
The company also offers Brad's
Thin Fish crankbait for all anglers who loved the
discontinued Storm Thin Fin.
Duane Dettmann, GM firstname.lastname@example.org
360-423-9365 Longview, WA
Sinkers are new for 2006, says company president, Joe
Crumrine. The screw-in sinker pegs itself to the head of a soft
bait without a toothpick, a rubber strip, etc. In fact, no other
item or threader tool is required, except to easily screw the
wire retainer into the soft bait. Voila! Many top soft bait
anglers prefer this type sinker. Gary Yamamoto in particular
favors the screw-in sinker type. There are several reasons pros
prefer it. First, ease of use. Second, no other tools or parts
are required. Third, it does not compromise the line strength
since the internal plastic tube inside the sinker cushions the
line without ever pinching it or abrading it. Third, it
integrates the bait and sinker into one unit, making it extremely
snagless during the presentation and very accurate to cast it in
tight cover. Fourth, once a fish is hooked, the sinker tends to
break away from the plastic. It slides out of the way, leaving a
direct hook-to-fish connection that is difficult for the fish to
throw. This sounds simple, but few other sinkers or
sinker-rigging methods possess these key points.
Prior to this, screw-in sinkers were heavily
marketed by a different company, but no longer. So it was good
news to see Bullet Weights added the screw-in sinker style - and
improved upon it with attractive, durable PermaColor finishes.
PermaColor paint is baked on, so it lasts a long
time and won't chip like other sinkers, says the company.
Available in translucent purple,
translucent blood red and watermelon
green pepper with black flakes. All have a transparent
sheen to give them more flash in the water, flash which attracts
fish to the trailing bait. Available in 14 sizes from 1/16 to 1
Joe Crumrine, President email@example.com
308-382-7436 Alda, NE
Cavitron Lures is recently under new ownership.
The new owner, Bobby Uhrig also owns Megastrike, Inc.
got a facelift for 2006. In fact, they've gone bright RED in the
face with a new bold red splash under the chin of every Cavitron
buzzbait. The heads are now airbrushed with a new
red throat, giving a strike target for bass to attack.
All Cavitron buzzbaits now come with a new
red Gamakatsu hook too. It's the finest, sharpest hook
in the industry according to company president, Bobby Uhrig.
The buzz blades are now being anodized by a new
high tech process that Megastrike developed in order to make the
blades squeal and squeak like no other buzzbait. Many other
buzzbait finishes, the finish coating actually insulates the
blade with the finish, thereby restricting and muffling the
sounds produced by the blade. With the new process we discovered
at MegaStrike, we use a special acid which allows a metal to
metal abrasion to be formed when the bait is pulled through the
water. The Cavitron buzzbait squeals right out of the package,
but when water is added to the process, the sound intensifies
tenfold, says Uhrig.
Cavitron also designed a new
black anodized blade for night and low light
conditions, and there is a new red
anodized blade for 2006 too.
What also sets Cavitron apart from other
buzzbaits is a oxbow bend in the lower arm shaft. We have studied
what goes on in a buzzbait strike. Why we developed this oxbow
bend is it makes the head and hook run slightly below the
surface. It lets the fish see the bait without the bait being
distorted by the wake of the blade. It also lets the fish inhale
more water when attacking the bait therefore not sucking as much
air like other straight-shaft buzzbaits. The Cavitron creates
more of a vacuum effect and increases the chance of the fish
engulfing the head and hook. Up goes your catch ratio, says Uhrig.
The patented "stealth body" design of
the Cavitron glides over just about any form of cover. Two cranks
of the reel handle and it glides up on top of the water already.
Bobby Uhrig, President firstname.lastname@example.org
732-833-9680 Jackson, NJ
Dave's Lures, LLC
I spoke with legendary lure designer, Dave Storm,
about his new Ka-Pop! topwater lure.
It sits tail-down says Dave, which keeps the glittering SwishTail
mylar skirt right in the bite zone. Dave has popularized this
type of mylar flash tail on a few of his earlier lure designs.
Let me tell you, the sparkling tail at times seems of more
interest to the bass than the rest of the lure, in my experience.
I love a topwater lure that rests tail down. Few
do. When a topwater lure rests tail down, the tail bobs and
jiggles and flashes with every surface ripple or movement,
encouraging fish to grab the tail - almost like bobber fishing
for sunnies! It works. Best of all, Dave's Ka-Pop! has big hooks
for its size.
Dave's lures also have, for all practical
purposes, dipped tails now too. Many bass anglers dip chartreuse
on their soft bait worm tails. Dave has colorized the tips of his
mylar tails too. I am not a big fan of other synthetic fibers in
a treble tail dressing, but really, Dave's SwishTail skirt is the
cat's meow. It's the best synthetic tail. Especially in grassy
waters, the SwishTail won't pull apart like feathers do when you
pluck grass off the hooks. Good stuff, Dave.
Dave Storm, Owner email@example.com
405-321-0000 Norman, OK
Doc Waters Lure Company
Doc's new bulky Man-O-War
Flippin' Tube seemed super. At 4-1/2" long, it
appeared big enough to handle a stout 5/0 flipping hook. The tip
of the head was solid for reliably holding a hook, yet the rest
of the body was designed with a super-thin
skin for effortless hooksets. The wide-flared double
skirted tail tentacles added much bulk for flipping.
The second inside tail was not obtrusive, but flashed a subtle
second color, and appeared to be sturdily connected to the rest
of the body. I've seen other tubes in recent years with
inner/outer skirt colors that didn't totally thrill me, but Doc
Waters seems to have given this tube much thought and to have
gotten it right. Overall, it seemed to be a nice flipping tube.
Good tube, Doc.
George Ghilarducci firstname.lastname@example.org
866-362-5873 Austin, TX
Company president Wayne Falcon showed me his new Red
Bait Jerker Hook for 2006. We tried a few of the
popular hook manufacturer's red hooks first, but were not
satisfied with the way the finish would flake off after a few
fish, says Wayne. What we have here on our hook, the red finish
won't come off, says Wayne. Believe it or not, there is only one
machine in the entire country that can put a finish on like this.
In fact, this unique finishing machine is in such high demand for
diverse industrial uses, that there are only certain weeks of the
year when the machine is scheduled to apply red finishes. Other
times, it does other colors.
Wayne Falcon, President email@example.com
337-232-7326 Lafayette, LA
These are huge hard swimbaits, whose gigantic
proportions can't be gauged from the photo. They are designed for
giant bass. The top item is a Monster
Jack (2 oz). Second from top, that's a new model Spooky
Jack. Third from top looks like an
IT Jack Jr. (1-1/2 oz). The bottom lure is their Monster
Jack Baby (1 oz). This seems to be what Fish Arrow
produces, or at least offers via distributor Lobina Lures in
North America - monster hard jointed swim baits, plus they offer
a line of swimbait fishing rods designed to throw these brutes.
twenty-five year old company from the UK designs wooden fishing
lures. The British company's first trip to ICAST was last year,
says owner Phil Griffiths. The contacts he made were encouraging
enough for Phil to return again this year.
Unfortunately, most of the company's fine lures
are too big for typical bass fishing. The sizes are more
appropriate for European or Scandinavian pike fishing. Many of
the lures are even larger than pike size, used for Nile perch in
the Canary Islands, Kenya and Egypt. Actually, Nile perch look
very much like largemouth bass, but Nile perch can grow to
several hundred pounds.
My reason to write about Fishing Pool is their Flipper
lure. It come in the following sizes suitable to bass
- 2-1/2" 3/8 oz; 3" 1/2 oz; 4-1/2" 1 oz However
this lure type is practically unknown in the bass market.
This shad-shaped, deep-bodied slow-sinking bait
has been the top European trophy pike lure for years. The
original Flipper design was made by renowned pike lure designer
Dave Scarff who made it for a man from Zimbabwe who wanted
something along the lines of the old Bagley B Flat muskie glide
bait. The reason the fellow wanted to use them was to catch giant
largemouth bass in Zimbabwe. Ironically however, Flipper-type
lures have never made it into bass fishing - although they have
caused a modern-day renaissance of lure fishing for pike in
Europe and Scandinavia.
it's name implies, the Flipper flips on its side when twitched,
and that is exactly what drives fish wild - when the Flipper
flashes its belly color at fish. For this reason, some Flippers
are painted dark or drab-looking overall, until they flip and
suddenly flash light-colored belly streaks, which is when they
get bit. A dark-sided, flat-sided flipper is designed to hide or
conceal the bright underbelly from a fish - until it is flipped,
which is like flipping the lights on in a dark room. No one ever
said fishing is rocket science, but it truly is an art.
Without any diving lip, the action of this lure
type comes mainly from the weighting and the angler-imparted
action. This makes it a "hands on" lure that is more
challenging to use. The Flippers are retrieved using long slow
jerks or short sharp snaps - and everything in between.
Phil Griffiths firstname.lastname@example.org
Coventry, Great Britain
Best known for their polarized sunglasses, Flying
Fisherman also offers high quality headgear (caps and visors)
depicting many popular game fish, including the largemouth
bass embroidered caps and visors. A removable
terrycloth sweatband and exceptional largemouth bass embroidery
are the two best features of the cap and visor. Attached by
Velcro, the removable sweatband is absorbent and machine
washable. There is also a Velcro adjustable strap to match your
head size, an extended bill, and non-glare material under the
brim. The company also offers replacement sweatbands for when the
head juice just gets to be too much. The replacement terrycloth
sweatbands fit both the cap and visor. To me, the Flying
Fisherman largemouth cap and visor ranks among the most stylish
and functional bass headgear available today.
Linda Sheldon, VP Linda@flyingfisherman.com
800-335-9347 Islamorada, FL
Gamakatsu USA, Inc.
The addition of Red EWG
treble hooks were the news for bass anglers from
Gamakatsu for 2006. Available in hook sizes 2, 4, 6.
John Burgi, Western Regional Sales Manager email@example.com
253-922-8373 Tacoma, WA
As the Gambler Ugly
Otter name implies, the new Otter is remindful in some
ways of Reaction Innovation's trend-setting Beaver - but the
Otter is unique enough to be appreciated for its own merits. The
Otter's three Flapp'n Shad type appendages all flap and thump,
which can be felt thumping even just shaking the lure in your
hand. All three flappers can be split in half - either split from
the back, or split from the front Flapp'n Shad style which
creates a flutter from each split appendage.
It appears the Otter has good potential to be
buzzed and flapped across the surface in the same way as many of
the new soft frog and toad lures too.
Another new product, the Gambler
Florida Rig sinkers have been totally redesigned for
2006 - without the pigtail screw wires of old - but still keeping
the same Florida Rig name.
Instead, the center bore and end cap of the
sinker are filled with Gambler patented "Gambler
Goo" a viscous plastic. There's a separate line
threader, that has an eye like a sewing needle. You poke the
threader though the Gambler goo-filled sinker bore, put the line
through the needle eye, and tie the hook on.
You can thread any type or size or test line,
says Gambler's Byron Childers, and you can convert from a Texas
to Carolina rig in seconds. This sounds like it could be great to
go down an irregular shoreline, where you may want to slide the
sinker up the line two feet to Carolina rig the deep side of a
point, and then slide the sinker back down onto the nose of the
bait to toss a Texas rig into a bush on the next cast.
The new patented Gambler Florida Rig sinkers are
available in lead, and Gambler will also have tungsten models by
2006 in 1/2 to 1 ounce sizes.
Byron Childers firstname.lastname@example.org
954-969-1772 Pompano Beach, FL
Due to language, it was kind of hard to get
in-depth details from the Gan Craft lure designers, Yuji Amano
and Yuya Nakahira. Fortunately, as the saying goes, a picture is
worth more than words sometimes. As you can see, the Gan Craft
hard swimbait below looks good enough to fillet for dinner
tonight. I also saw a short video clip of how it swims barely
below the surface very slowly in a serpentine
"S"-shaped action. It didn't really roll on its sides,
just swim in an "S" kind of dazed and disoriented way
which looks very lifelike.
The Gan Craft spinnerbait, and the wire bends in
the arm, are unique. As I understand it, the wire bends let the
blades immediately start turning as soon as it hits the water,
and that generates many strikes immediately. If you start to turn
the handle as soon as it hits the water, the blades will be
turning instantly. Or if you do not engage the reel right away,
the blades will immediately start turning anyway on their own in
a perfectly horizontal helicopter fall. Overall, it is a
spinnerbait posture-improving wire bend that makes it so unique,
and arguably better, says the company.
Yuya Nakahira email@example.com
Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits
As if the Senko was not good enough, Gary
Yamamoto has extended his 5" Senko line with new Senko
Hot Tip colors to be ready for 2006. New injection
molding technology has opened the gates to exciting and
productive new two-tone Senkos with contrasting tail tips. Field
tests have shown that Senko Hot Tip colors can be powerful strike
inducers. Senko Hot Tip colors can attract, agitate and motivate
fish to bite better at times than ordinary Senko colors, says the
Legendary lure designer Gary Yamamoto's entry
into the saltwater market also took off at ICAST - with an
incredible bang. The new Yamamoto
Saltwater Swim Bait will be ready for 2006.We
certainly know from field-testing that the
new Yamamoto Saltwater Swim Bait crosses over easily to
freshwater bass fishing, striper fishing, and walleye just seem
to crave it, but initial marketing will be geared to saltwater,
says the company. The huge demand generated by the new swim
bait's three-day showing at ICAST will be a tall order to fill
just for saltwater buyers, says the company.
The company also extended three of its
best-selling freshwater baits into the saltwater market, with the
Yamamoto Saltwater Hula Grub,
the Yamamoto Saltwater Ika,
and the Yamamoto Saltwater Singletail,
which will be ready for 2006. We'll debut new saltwater colors
and a new saltwater formula; also contrasting skirt colors on the
Saltwater Hula Grub and Saltwater Ika, says the company.
Russ Comeau, Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org
800-645-2488 Page, AZ
Nakatani presented me with an overview of the Ima brand, which
was launched in 1998. The company name comes from the first three
characters of the word, "imagination". The company
primarily caters to the saltwater inshore surf fishing angler in
Japan. Several of Ima's lures are also favored by Japan's
freshwater bass anglers. Company officials say these three Ima's
are their most successful models for freshwater bass in Japan:
is the Japanese word for "Peach," and the name of the
company president's daughter, Momoko. So Ima's first and
for seven years still their most famous lure is the Komomo, named
after Momoko. This super shallow runner gets about one foot below
the surface. Only a slow steady retrieve is required to create
body-rolling motion. The underside of the bait's tail is grooved
and finned, which is what the company says makes the lure's
balance and action so famous throughout Japan. Since there is no
protruding diving lip, the lure casts great distances, and has a
weight transfer system to further increase casting distance. Reel
slowly, steadily, stays near the surface. The Komomo simply
catches the most fish in saltwater and freshwater.
(Pronounced "peace") Released in late 2004, this pudgy
lipped minnow works with a slow retrieve, stays shallow, rocking
back and forth to create a lot of irregular turbulence like a
wounded baitfish. The company says it is one of their top
Trip 85. Ima
tested and perfected the Trip for over four years before
releasing it in summer 2005. This sinking pencil type lure has a
wicked slow side-to-side action underwater. The curved humpback
body design is intended so water does not flow straight over the
lure, but swirls around the body to create a super live action
with simple steady reeling. Without twitching or jerking the rod,
the Trip will swim in the shape of the letter "S" near
the surface. The action is distinct. It is safe to say no
American fish has seen this awesome action yet, says the company.
Hartman Distributing USA email@example.com
573-392-1921 Eldon, MO
met Masao Kato and Masao Ueda of Jackson, Inc. Jackson was
established in Japan about twenty-five years ago. This was
practically the origin of lure fishing in Japan, says the
company. In early years, Jackson imported USA brand lures, yet
the local demand by Japanese anglers evolved into a desire for
higher quality and better-performing lures, which motivated
Jackson to set up its own research lab and factory. The company
says Japanese anglers are unique because they are so keen about
lure actions, that they got tired of using US lures.
Newly-developing Japanese lures became of more interest, had
better finishes, and better quality lures were being made in
Japan, so Jackson decided to join the ranks of Japanese lure
manufacturers. Prototype mastering, tank testing and field tests
are done by lab technicians until the lure designer's concept is
embodied in the Jackson product. Today, Jackson has gone through
ten years experience in its own lure development, has veteran
craftsmen, quality control at every step of production, and is
always improving as progress enables new and advanced lure-making
techniques, materials, tools and machinery to create and finish
is the first time that Jackson has entered ICAST, and one of
their very newest (and best, they say) crankbaits, they singled
out to be very good for bass indeed, especially in a pond
environment, due to its small size. Regular crankbaits with
normal wobbling, highly-pressured bass in Japan become wary to
show an interest because bass often see this same action. What
sets Jackson's new Jackie crankbait apart, and what bass are not
conditioned to (except in nature) is when you twitch, the
weighting causes the belly to come up, roll up on its side. It is
an irregular action that works so well because the bass have not
seen such flipping/flashing action at all in a crankbait, yet
baitfish do it all the time, says the company.
Overall, Jackson's Athlete jerkbait series is most popular in
Japan because any situation you face, you can use the Athlete in
one size or another, says the company. It comes in five sizes,
swims better than other products, and catches better size fish
than other products.
Jackson jerkbait model that is most productive for bass is the
Artoron, which is the Greek word for knee or elbow joints, says
the company. A problem with jointed lures is they cast like
potato chips and inaccurately. The Artoron jointed lipped minnow
transcends this casting problem since the joint locks stiff on
the cast to maximize distance and accuracy, yet unlocks on the
retrieve to maximize jointed wiggling action, says the company.
Nyoru Nyoru. Company
officials were especially proud of the funny-faced Nyoru Nyoru.
Still rather new, they say the Nyoru Nyoru has been successful on
the Japanese market for about three years. It was invented to
work in highly-pressured fishing waters. With a very slow
retrieve, it swims with a combination of wobbling and rolling.
When paused, it sinks horizontally with vibration (like a Senko).
It casts farther than you expect, is good for a steady retrieve,
but can be twitched also, says the company.
Masao Ueda, Sales firstname.lastname@example.org
Kanji International, Inc.
I went to ICAST hoping to see Kanji's Tungsten
Zen Spinnerbait. These spinnerbaits retail well over
$10 apiece in the United States - when they can be found. Kyoko
says Kanji just cannot keep up with the demand by American
anglers for this premium spinnerbait, and dealers often sell out
as quickly as they can restock them.
Stunningly detailed and beautiful with
holographic blades and multiple color paint patterns (black back,
green, gold tiger stripes, yellow, orange belly in photo below),
Kanji is far ahead of its peers in looks and style.
Kanji is also far ahead in use of tungsten
material. With the body appearance of a 1/4 oz spinnerbait head,
the Tungsten Zen Spinnerbait weighs 3/4 oz due to its hidden
weight (under the skirt) and dense tungsten composition. This
lets a very short wire arm, small blades and small appearance be
presented in a heavy 3/4 oz lure. Just a great example of what a
good spinnerbait should be. Super bass "jewelry,"
Kyoko Shibata, President email@example.com
914-946-8862 Hartsdale, NY
Lee Sisson Lures
Lee Sisson reintroduced eight legacy lure designs
from the seventies and eighties plus Lee also introduced four
brand new designs for 2006, making a total twelve new Premium
Balsa series crankbaits.
The eight legacy lure models reintroduced by Lee
Premium Balsa Shallow 1,
2 and 3. (BB1,
Premium Balsa Diver 1, 2
and 3. (DB1, DB2,
Killer P 2
(KB2) and Diving Killer P 2
All the above have the same actions which have
made the old balsa lures so sought after. The lips are
Lee's four brand new designs for 2006 include:
Skinny P Shallow
and Skinny P Diver. Two new
flat-sided cranks that suspend at rest.
Mini P Shallow
and Mini P Deep. Also
flat-sided, and are the smallest cranks Lee makes.
It's fascinating, and you realize it is something
historical, to speak with legendary crankbait maker, Lee Sisson.
This was the first time I've seen Lee at ICAST.
Lee got back into making crankbaits a few years ago. When he got
back into the business, Lee brought out a line of Jetulong wood
lures. Jetulong is a good, less expensive wood than balsa. I
chose Jetulong when I got back into the business since Jetulong
was more economical, and I felt I had to keep my lures, the
components and paint finishes down to an affordable price level,
Lucky Craft opened my eyes this year, says Lee. I
saw I could afford to build a better lure for $10 and make money
on it. I had been trying to shoehorn a lure into a $4 price
range. Lucky Craft made me realize I did not need to do that.
For 2006, Lee has reintroduced premium,
hand-selected balsa wood. He's putting premium hooks and glitter
finishes on his new lures for 2006. Actually, eight
"new" lures in Lee's new Premium Balsa series are the
original designs that lots of guys caught bass on dating back to
the seventies, over thirty years ago.
Lucky Craft's success made me realize I have over
thirty years knowledge building crankbaits, and anglers are
willing to pay for me to make the best possible lure I can for
them, says Lee.
Lucky Craft has created a new demand for good
quality lures, says Lee. They are excellent promoters, and I
admire what Lucky Craft has done to build good lures and to teach
people to use them, says Lee.
In the early seventies to mid-eighties, Lee was
involved with crankbait evolution at Bagley Baits. The lures Lee
offers today are the same shapes, same lips out of the same
molds. What's new is what was old, says Lee, except I have added
3D eyes and fine glitter flash finishes, plus premium hooks.
Many other glitter finish crankbaits today have
too much glitter, says Lee. Sisson's new glitter finish cranks
have more of a fine sheen, not a gaudy display of glitter, says
the crankbait designer.
I asked Lee what are his favorite crankbait
colors? Going back to the seventies, black/pearl and
black/chartreuse have always been tops, he says. Black/chartreuse
is Lee's top-selling color today. I couldn't make enough of them
this year. No doubt, the current popularity of black/chartreuse
was helped by Takahiro Omori winning the last Citgo Bassmasters
Classic on that color, however it has always been terribly
productive going back to the seventies. Black/pearl is in the top
five, always has been and will be, says Lee. Some anglers have
seen and done it all with crankbaits the past thirty years, and
they keep coming back to these two basic colors.
I asked Lee what are his favorite crankbait
models? He doesn't have a favorite. It would be like asking a
handyman if he liked to use a hammer more than he likes to use a
pliers or a screwdriver. Crankbaits are like tools in a toolbox,
says Lee. It just makes sense to use one for a certain task.
What's incredible, says Lee, is to realize at one
time (about 1972) the whole world did not have any tool - no
crankbait that could go more than six feet deep - until Lee made
one. Today, Lee's deepest lure is his Premium Balsa Diver 3, a
copy of his original from the seventies, which digs 8-15 feet
Lee is also making four totally new flat-sided
crankbaits for 2006. Some with polycarbonate lips, but also an
exclusive series will feature circuit board diving lips for a top
Some guys believe the thin circuit board lip is
easier to fish, says Lee. The exclusive circuit board lip series
might get a little quicker action than a polycarbonate lip, says
Lee. Mostly, it is a regional preference. Lee feels a preference
toward circuit board lips exists among anglers in some parts of
the Northeast, maybe the southern mid-Atlantic states, in
Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and thereabouts.
Lee Sisson firstname.lastname@example.org
863-967-4036 Auburndale, FL
Lil' Hustler Tackle
I took a look at the new Pro
Jig, designed for flipping thick cover, and Swim
Jig since both are good examples of two contemporary
minor trends or styles being evolved in jigs today:
First, a flipping jig style where the jig head is
being designed in order to cover up the hook eye to render the
hook eye less protrusive - as in Lil' Hustler's Pro Jig. The
reasoning behind this is to reduce any way that weeds can collect
on or behind the hook eye, prevent snags due to a protrusive eye,
and especially so the hook eye is not blatantly protruding during
a hookset, so the eye does not stick up or become an impediment
that compromises a clean, clear hookset. Traditional flip jigs,
the hook eye protrudes and sits on top of the jighead. With this
contemporary variant style of the flip jig, the jighead shape is
being designed to integrate the hook eye into the jighead shape,
so the eye is not protrusive.
Second, Lil' Hustler's Swim Jig is a relatively
new style of jig - actually two different styles, both called
swim jigs. One swim jig style stems from the Upper Mississippi
River in Wisconsin. The other swim jig style stems from the
Southeast for use on grass-choked lakes like Lake Guntersville,
Alabama for example. Both contemporary swim jig styles are fished
similarly - you keep the jig moving - "swimming" high
through weeds and wood. A single tail grub trailer is often used
in the North whereas bulkier trailers are more typical in the
Brian Sanson email@example.com
603-224-8856 Pembroke, NH
Lucky Craft, Inc.
New lures for 2006 that were seen in Lucky
Craft's booth or cited in their new product literature include:
Live Sammy 120.
4-3/4" 4/5 oz. Hybrid hard/soft topwater
2-3/4" 3/5 oz. Lipless hybrid hard/soft rattlebait
Wood Sammy 100.
4" 1/2 oz.
Wood Pointer 78. 3"
Fat CB BDS1.
2" 1/4 oz. Crankbait
Fat CB BDS2.
2-1/2" 1/2 oz. Crankbait
Flat CB Mini SR.
2" 1/8 oz. Flat-sided crankbait. Shallow runner
Flat Mini MR.
2" 1/8 oz. Flat-sided crankbait. Medium runner
Flat Mini DR.
2" 1/4 oz. Flat-sided crankbait. Deep runner
Saltwater Lipless Slim
Pointer 90. 3-3/5" 3/8 oz.
Saltwater Lipless Slim
Pointer 110. 4-1/2" 3/4 oz.
Pointer 80. 2.3" 1/5 oz.
Pointer 95. 3.7" 3/4 oz.
Here are some of my thoughts on some of the
Pointers. I did not seem able to find any photos of
them anywhere, but it is a significant new departure into lure
types - lipless jerkbaits. Very interesting! L&S Mirrolures
are popular saltwater lipless hard baits, particularly in the
company's home state of Florida. However, I would not categorize
a Mirrolure as a lipless jerkbait. I consider lipless jerkbaits
more like those used in muskie fishing circles, but uncommon
otherwise. I may be mistaken, but hope the Lucky Craft Lipless
Pointers are more like muskie jerkbaits than not. That would be
and Wood Pointer. Lucky
Craft's two most famous lure models, are going to be offered in
very limited collectors editions in wood. No doubt, there may be
a worldwide demand for these collectibles. That's good news for
me, since a market for Lucky Craft collectibles will increase the
value of the original Staysee Version 1's I have.
and Live LVR. I believe
hybrid hard/soft baits may become increasingly important and
productive and become as good or better fish catchers than
traditional hard baits over time. Lucky Craft must also harbor
these same feelings, since they are investing tons of research
and development into pioneering their new Live product line.
Incredibly, Lucky Craft announced no less than forty
new color finishes for 2006 for freshwater and
saltwater. Primarily a warmwater bass fishing lure company so
far, many of Lucky Craft's new paint schemes for 2006 are aimed
at extending its products into inshore saltwater markets, and
extending into coldwater species and northern markets,
particularly walleye, pike, muskie and possibly the trout market
for hard baits.
714-241-8484 Costa Mesa, CA
Luhr Jensen & Sons,
Luhr Jensen offered a good number of new finishes
to several of their successful crankbaits. Luhr Jensen added
eight new finishes to its Radar
crankbait models, five new finishes to its Speed
Trap series and five new finishes to its Hot
Lips series. You may want to pay particular attention
to the exact model sizes where a company adds new finishes, since
this is often (not always) an indicator of what's currently the
best-selling and best-catching models and sizes that get such
541-386-3811 Hood, OR
MacDaddy's Fishing Lures
The next time you grumble about having to pay too
high price for that expensive lure the fish are hitting on, feel
fortunate the hot "go to" bait is not MacDaddy's
because his solid gold and diamond-studded lures advertised at
ICAST are priced up to $10,000 apiece. The company says they are
proven fish-catchers, but they don't look very snagless to me -
so be careful where you cast these things!
805-234-4789 Shell Beach, CA
Mann's Bait Company
The company introduced five new patent pending
Hardnose lures for freshwater, the Hardnose
Swim Toad, the Hardnose
Flippin' Craw, the Hardnose
Worm, the Hardnose Lizard
and the Hardnose Jerkbait.
Mann's says these are the only one-piece soft
baits with a hard head. Bass pro Hank Parker says Mann's new
Hardnose series will save you time, frustration and money,
meaning that the hard plastic head will help keep the bait from
slipping down a rigging hook or jig head, the hard nose will tear
less, and ensure a more solid hookset. I tend to believe these
claims. Also, the hard head allows a second accent color, say
chartreuse, for the first inch or so at the head of the lure,
which is a great strike motivator. The remainder of the body is
soft and supple.
800-841-8435 Eufaula, AL
Marine Grade Marketing,
One winter morning, I was the only boat on the
cold, glassy lake. Bundled up as can be, I put the throttle down
and blasted into the icy daybreak heading twenty-five miles
uplake. I was frozen solid by the time I put the bow down.
Bundled in layers of clothes needed to make the long run, I
yanked on the trolling motor cord, probably a little to hard. I
flipped over backwards and off the boat as the cord parted at the
worst possible moment. Alone, I made it back alive, without
hypothermia, but spent the rest of the day snug in bed under a
thick layer of blankets. I can think of many other times the
trolling motor cord snapped at anxious moments in the middle of
tournaments. So it was great news to hear from Kory Mitchell of
the new wire cable trolling motor cord replacement he says works
with most all trolling motors. It lets you upgrade from a fiber
cord to a plastic-coated wire cable pull cord. You reattach your
existing trolling motor pull handle to the end of the wire cable
cord, says Kory. I asked him if the wire cord stays put under
power? It doesn't flail around, it simply stays in place, says
Kory. This wire cable pull cord sounds like a good idea.
Kory Mitchell firstname.lastname@example.org
417-725-7015 Nixa, MO
I took a time-out to enjoy lunch with Justin
McGuinness and Rich, his father. Both were excited to show me
their new Leverage Jig with
its patented flexible hook system and realistic crayfish detail.
McGuinness' flagship feature of their
spinnerbait, buzzbait and now, new jig, is the patented, flexible
hook system. It puts more fish in the boat, says Justin. Instead
of being a solid inflexible hook shank, there is a wire cable
between hook and lure head that lets the hook move with the fish,
says Justin. This keeps the hook penetration hole from enlarging.
Very simple. And even though the hook flexes with a fish, the
wire cable section returns to its original straight position and
does not flex during the presentation.
One of the design goals Justin aimed for and
achieved with his new jig is a truer crawfish imitation. When
craws want to move somewhere, they tuck their tail down under
their bodies, scoot and swim backward, tail first. I suppose they
may have eyes in the back of their heads when they drive around
tail first like this, because they know where they're going, says
Justin. And that's what Justin set out to achieve in the
"head" of his jig - it depicts the tail first,
tail-tucked posture of a scooting crawfish. At the speed
most guys move jigs, it imitates a craw swimming tail first, and
the new Leverage Jig accentuates that tail first appearance.
The second and most important design goal, in
addition to appearance, shape and movement like a craw, Justin
wanted a stand-up head that would not roll over and snag. I've
studied this, and it is hard to envision a jig getting stuck when
it stands straight up. Problem is, most so-called stand-up heads
on the market today roll over or fall over far too often, and the
probability they'll snag at that point goes sky high. Even if you
only get snagged a couple few times every hour or two (which is
about the industry average depending on bottom roughage), that's
too much, feels Justin. In a tournament or any time you get
snagged in a prime fish-holding location, you may as well hang a
"Not Biting" sign there. So Justin desired his new
Leverage Jig should snag less than any others. Where other jigs
rolled over and played dead, Justin wanted his to be the last jig
standing. Justin didn't want his new jig to roll or fall over on
its side. The key to reduce snags came when Justin widened the
footprint where the rubber meets the road - the bottom edge of
the jig head can be described as almost a scallop shell shape or
a lobster fantail shape.
On a date, it isn't good to be stood up - unless
it is a date for a jig fishing trip. The enlarged footprint that
stood up best was so wide, Justin had to dig out and hollow out
underneath to keep it from weighing way too much. First I found
the footprint that wouldn't roll over on me (and snag), then I
hollowed out underneath each head to get them back down to the
normal weights anglers desire, says Justin. The Leverage Jigs
will have rattles to imitate craw clicks, a meaty hook for power
fishing thick cover, and will be available in seven colors and
Rich McGuiness RMcGATL@aol.com
Of most interest to me at the MegaBait booth were
the two new 3" and 4" sizes of the L.A.
Slider swimbait, This is different from other
swimbaits in that the internal head can be taken out, changed and
reused. Most other swimbaits, the internal jighead cannot be
taken out, and neither the jighead nor the body can be reused
again - except L.A. Slider heads and bodies.
Brian Hawkins, designer, says that's due to its
innovative flexible cavity that fits around any of five jig heads
- 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 oz. The interchangeable jigheads
fit both the 3" and 4" swimbait. So the weights are
interchangeable and you can battle a large bass without doing
major damage to the plastic body since the hook is not directly
related nor pre-molded into the body. Brian's second breakthrough
feature is a "loose tail" design enabling the tail to
swim even on a slow retrieve. This is something thicker-tailed
swimbaits don't do well. Perfected so as not to roll over on its
side, even at high speed. Instead the L.A. Slider exhibits a
seeking side-to-side action when used fast, yet still swims
seductively as slow as you can turn the handle.
Megabait also introduced their Mr.
Bill swimbait in three sizes. There's nothing molded
into the Mr. Bill body, the detachable bill and hook harness
comes out of body of bait, so it is interchangeable. The hook
wire harness also comes out of the bait upon hook-up, so bass
don't hold onto the soft plastic body, wrecking it.
Mr. Bill is a deep-diving bait. The larger
7" size dives 12-14 feet. The 5" mid-size runs 8-10
feet down. The 3-1/2" smallest size gets down to 6 feet
Brian Hawkins, designer email@example.com
714-773-4132 La Habra, CA
Mustad (USA), Inc.
was good to see Steve Tagami, Harry Simmons, Chuck Reynolds and
the Mustad crew. Mustad introduced these hooks for bass:
Hook. For manufacturers of spinnerbaits and buzzbaits
in 3/0 ands 4/0 sizes and four finishes: black nickel, bright
nickel, red and 24K gold. The gold-plate should look pretty
UltraPoint Extra Long
Fine Wire Jig Hook. Especially designed for shaking
jig manufacturers. Features a 90 degree eye bend. The key feature
is stretching the shank about 1/4" longer than other jig
shanks, which increases the fulcrum effect when a jig is shaken
(not stirred), thereby imparting more quivering, shaking action
to whatever worm dresses the jig.
Soft Plastics Flipping Hook. This is the hook favored
by Denny Brauer for flipping tubes. Brauer won the Classic
flipping tubes with this hook. New in red
in sizes 1/0 through 5/0.
Light Wire: Soft Plastics. Brand new, especially
designed for soft jerkbaits or any soft plastics that are going
to be worked hard weightless on spinning gear or light
baitcasting tackle required to throw weightless jerkbaits. Key
feature is it has a fine wire not to retard the action inherent
within a jerkbait - and to easily set the hook with spinning gear
that's becoming a popular trend among top pros for finesse worm
After 125 years and more than 10,000 hook
patterns, Mustad's not just for hooks anymore. Now you can get
the latest Mustad bass pheromone
attractant technology from Mustad too. Lat year,
Mustad debuted UltraBite liquid attractant for bass. For 2006,
the formula has been enhanced into Stimulate
bass attractant and repackaged in aerosol spray form,
which incorporates UltraBite and then some for bass.
In a fairly stunning move that surprised me,
Chuck Reynolds reached under the counter and pulled out about a
five pound bag of Stimulate chum pellets
for bass. We know chumming for bass is non-traditional, says
Chuck. Our studies showed that although water and the water
column is expansive, bass are bottom and cover-oriented. It's
easier to see and understand this with birds. Although they can
and do fly anywhere in the open air column or sky, most of the
time, birds are found on the bottom (ground) or in cover (trees
and bushes). So although bass can swim anywhere in the water
column, bass similar to birds, also spend much time on the bottom
or in cover. So Stimulate chum pellets sink quickly in water,
putting Mustad bass pheromone attractants right down on bottom or
right in the heart of thick cover where bass are. Consider the
chum pellet as a delivery vehicle to get Mustad attractant down
where the bass are, then toss your lures in right where you
tossed the chum pellets. Make sure you are using Mustad
UltraPoint bass hooks on your lures, says Chuck. We say you
should re-chum every ten minutes, because bass will probably have
come found and eaten the chum pellets well within that time
frame. So new chum is needed to constantly keep bass coming over
to the place you are tossing the chum pellets, says Chuck.
Chuck Reynolds, Scott Advertising firstname.lastname@example.org
414-276-1080 Milwaukee, WI
Nature Vision, Inc.
Nature Vision announced its new Aqua-Vu
Digital Video Recording (DVR) Viewing System. It is an
Aqua-Vu underwater viewing system with built-in digital video
storage that allows anglers to record their underwater viewing
experiences to replay them at a later date or share with others.
For example, an angler could use an Aqua-Vu DVR
system to create underwater videos of their favorite fishing
spots to review and hopefully learn more about the spot by
replaying and studying the recording.
The new Aqua-Vu DVR viewing system comes complete
with Nature Vision's patent-pending "fish camera," 100
feet of cable, infrared lighting for low-light conditions,
battery and charger, and a protective case/sunshield. It has 16
MB of on-board memory, and can use removable Scan Disk media
cards (not included) that allow the user to increase the amount
of video storage capacity, and save disk libraries if so desired.
Nature Vision also announced a new Hand-Held
Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This accessory may be
used with any existing Aqua-Vu model with the 4-pin con-axial
camera connector. That includes Aqua-Vu units produced in the
last four years and most current models. it also has 16 MB of
on-board memory and can use removable Scan Disk media cards.
Also announced was Aqua-Vu's new MAV
(Motorized Aqua-Vu) system. It's a foot-controlled
Aqua-Vu system that automatically deploys and retrieves the
Aqua-Vu underwater Fish Camera and cable, leaving hands free to
fish, says the company. Before Nature Vision's development of MAV,
anglers rarely fished while viewing because they were too busy
controlling camera depth manually. MAV eliminates the hassles of
using a camera, so you can be fishing at the same time as
viewing, says the company.
Along with its anti-spook Fish Camera and 80-foot
cable, the MAV features a 10.4-inch high-resolution LCD screen
that's viewable in direct sunlight. On-screen displays include
camera depth, a real plus when simultaneously viewing and
watching a sonar; and water-temperature at camera depth, a key in
locating temperature-relating fish.
MAV's motorized spool assembly is housed in a
sleek cowling with a quick-release bracket. It can be mounted
where it best suits the angler and the boat.
Trevor Sumption email@example.com
218-824-3803 Brainerd, MN
Spoon lovers will love Nemire's new spoon colors.
The spoon is a type of lure has been used for bass about 100
years now. Yet there's never been a finer spoon than a Nemire. In
addition to Nemire's legacy 24K gold, silver and black finishes,
new colors for 2006 include chartreuse,
pink, red, green, purple and white spoons - all with
classy gold fittings and rattle chambers.
John Nemire, Founder firstname.lastname@example.org
800-232-9909 Scottsdale, AZ
This start-up enterprise demonstrated their new
patented Bitin' Titan titanium-bladed
spinnerbaits (Willow and Colorado). Although it does
oxidize, titanium oxide is transparent, so for all practical
purposes, titanium does not appear to rust or corrode, says Bitin'
Titan innovator Mark Kaminsky. Titanium is much lighter than
standard spinnerbait blade material, which is stamped brass (or
steel) electroplated with nickel, gold or silver. The designer
says that because the blade is much lighter in weight, that
titanium flutters and flashes at much slower speeds than standard
brass or steel plated blades. This makes titanium blades ideal
for super slow slowrolling situations where normal blades often
stop turning. At medium to high speed retrieves, the action was
described as a more magnified and animated thumping vibration
than standard blade materials.
Electrochemically charging the titanium induces
the wicked natural color, ranging from blue to purple; which are
both less intrusive colors to fish, says Kaminsky. This titanium
blue is a good color for light transmission because it is right
in the middle of the color spectrum. Field tests have showed
strongest fish response feedback within this titanium blue color
range, says he.
Most interesting is that Kaminsky demonstrated
although the blades look blue to purplish when dry, that when the
blades get wet, water refraction of light charges the pale purple
to pale blue blades with a reflective silver to gold sparkling
sheen, which is based on the degree titanium is anodized using
heat or voltage.
Mark Kaminsky, Designer email@example.com
248-703-8039 Bloomfield Hills, MI
Optimum Bait Company
Father Tony and son Matthew Paino say their
swimbaits are causing quite a stir in New England and the
Northeast states. Largely developed and used for trophy
California bass, many New England and northeastern anglers have
been catching the largest bass of their lives lately with big
swimbaits. This seems to be more recreational or non-tournament
angling, guys just going out to try for a wallhanger using a
swimbait. Many anglers have been success doing just that, and the
swimbait phenomena in New England and the Northeast is growing
steadily due to word-of-mouth success stories passed along from
one happy angler to the next.
Bass guys who haven't fished a swimbait yet, it
is a slow process, but you do stand a good chance to catch the
biggest fish in a lake or pond - or land the biggest fish of the
season or of a lifetime - on a swimbait, says Matt.
Optimum's California bass swimbaits have become
huge on muskie too, across the mid-northern muskie tier, says
Just this season, tournament bass anglers in and
around Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan have also started to use
big swimbaits - to boat the five and six pound kicker bass needed
to put a limit over the top. These are the more serious and
secretive tournament-winning anglers who have discovered
swimbaits are reliable to pull off that one kicker needed to top
off a limit on northern bass waters. Enough whispers have started
trickling down the grapevine that big California-style swimbait
usage is ripe to become more widespread in this region of the
In the Southeast, it is less clear whether
anglers are using large swimbaits for bass, says Matt who adds
this may be due to water conditions being less clear in parts of
the Southeast. Swimbaits usually produce best in clear to lightly
stained conditions, says he. In clear water, the swimbait looks
and acts so natural that it draws big fish primarily by sight.
Optimum is evolving for muddy or stained conditions are
spinnerbaits and buzzbaits for swimbaits. We're modifying and
extending the basic swimbait so it can be fished in more
applications, says Matt.
We added our Crashing
Thunder spinnerbait/swimbait last year. This year, we
are introducing our twin red-bladed
Ambitious buzzbait/swimbait. We've tested this in
Japan, where it caused some excitement and good catches. In
fact, Japanese anglers jumped on it, says Matt. It makes a
swimbait into a topwater bait. The twin red blades bang together
to create a loud clacking sound. The blades rotate in opposite
directions to ensure the swimbait itself will be able to swim
straight. The buzzbait arm uses a longer 4 to 6 inch wire length
which we found was the ideal distance for the swimbait to follow
behind the twin blades. This dropback length created the highest
hook-up percentages, says Matt. The twin blades churn and clack
to attract fish over to the area. Sight and the natural-looking
swimbait dropped back behind the blade commotion then takes over
as the strike trigger.
What we are doing is adding something - other
than sight - to draw bass over into the area of a swimbait in
stained or muddy water, says Matt. Gradually, these new types of
stained and muddy water swimbait presentations will extend
swimbait fishing out to the Southeast and other parts of the
country with murky water conditions, says Matt.
Optimum is constantly looking for ways to elevate
an angler's chances to catch that prize fish of a lifetime.
Another new extension to the basic swimbait was debuted at ICAST
- Optimum's 6" Titan hand-poured
swimbait prerigged with a weedless wireguard. This is
simply natural evolution in the swimbait world. Up to this time,
most large swimbaits had exposed hooks, which meant anglers had
to coax big bass to come out to the open edges of cover with
swimbaits. That obviously does work, says Tony Paino, but now the
wireguard lets an angler's swimbait work right through the trees,
grass, reeds, wood and other cover. The swimbait with a wireguard
means it is no longer necessary to coax a lunker to come out of
its preferred habitat, says Tony.
Tony also presented Allen Cole's new A.C.
Mag Shad 7" jointed wood swimbait with soft tail
fin. This plug features flat sides, which creates a tighter swim,
a deeper dive and more erratic darts when twitched, says Tony.
Optimum also became the USA distributor for deps
products from Japan. There are three top deps products
that North American anglers have got to try, says Matt:
to be Japan's number one wake bait. Wakebaits waddle desperately
on the surface, like wounded flopping and gasping baitfish that
can't recover and swim back under the surface to get away. Wake
baits have not yet hit North America with any momentum - but they
a watery world of look-alike soft hollow rubber frogs, the
Basirisky is a refreshingly individual amphibian. It's two curved
legs look like flukes on a pirate ship anchor - and they
cause the Basirisky to crawl across the surface in a manner
remindful of the Heddon Krazy Krawler or the Arbogast Jitterbug.
Want to fish the thick slop at night? Better get a Basirisky.
A 7" jointed trout bait for big bass. Built like Arnold
Schwarzenegger's cyborg character in the Terminator movie, the
Silent Killer is a hard body lure encased in a realistic-looking
soft skin. As the name implies, the soft skin casing helps
silence the artificial sounds made by the lure.
Tony Paino, General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
951-676-6384 Temecula, CA
I took a look at the Pro
Staff Jig, designed for flipping thick cover, and Pro
Swim Jig because they are both good examples of two
contemporary minor trends or styles being evolved in jigs today:
First, a flipping jig style where the jig head is
being designed in order to cover up the hook eye to render the
hook eye less protrusive - as in Outkast's Pro Staff Jig. The
reasoning behind this is to reduce any way that weeds can collect
on or behind the hook eye, prevent snags due to a protrusive eye,
and especially so the hook eye is not blatantly protruding during
a hookset, so the eye does not stick up or become an impediment
that compromises a clean, clear hookset. Traditional flip jigs,
the hook eye protrudes and sits on top of the jighead. With this
contemporary variant style of the flip jig, the jighead shape is
being designed to integrate the hook eye into the jighead shape,
so the eye is not protrusive.
Second, the Upper Mississippi River style, or
Wisconsin style swimming jig - as in Outkast's Swim Jig. This
relatively new style jig has become extremely popular among
tournament anglers in the areas mentioned - Upper Mississippi
River, Wisconsin, Minnesota - but has yet to become as big a
trend in other parts of the country. The most popular method is
to keep the jig moving - "swimming" high through weeds
and wood in clear to lightly-stained water. Usually, threading a
single tail grub trailer onto the swimming jig completes the
Mike Dahl Mike@outkasttackle.com
952-944-5877 Bloomington, MN
Owner American Corporation
Tony Shitanishi showed me three new hook options
from Owner for bass anglers for 2006:
"J" Light. First
there was singer/star J. Lo. Now there's "J" Light.
It's a light wire, super needle point that is hypodermic sharp.
With the increasing usage of medium spinning gear to toss
lightly-rigged finesse worms, "J" Light is the
hook for those spinning applications, says Tony Shitanishi. The
light wire offers effortless hook sets that can be made with less
force with spinning gear or light baitcasting tackle. The extra
wide bend is perfect for today's plastics, and the Z-Lock
shoulder bend helps hold the bait up securely. Sizes range from 4
to 4/0 in red only.
On the ICAST show floor, the new Owner "K" hook looked
tempting to wacky-rig bulky soft baits. The "K" hook
was not designed for that, says Tony Shitanishi. It is designed
similar to the old Kahle live bait hooks and really intended for
fishing live shiners or live crawfish, says Tony. Still, the
"K" hook comes in large sizes (2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0) you
need to wacky-rig big baits, and features a super needle point
aimed at the hook eye for quick sweepset hook-ups. I'll gladly
invest a little time field-testing to tell me whether the new
"K" hook may work well for bigger soft baits. After
all, getting to field test everything is the best part of writing
this ICAST report.
Red Spinnerbait Hook
with Super Needle Point. For the first time, Owner is
offering a super needle point spinnerbait hook. This may be a
good move for Owner, as it offers another hookpoint alternative
in addition to Owner's older flagship Cutting Point
spinnerbait hook. Available in red only and 2/0 or 4/0 only. Wide
gap, round bend, heavy-duty, forged XXX-strong shank that should
prove popular with spinnerbait makers.
Dennis Yamamoto email@example.com
714-668-9011 Costa Mesa, CA
The most interesting debut by Pradco at ICAST was
XCalibur Hi-Tek Tackle, a
brand new Pradco brand. There are five new XCalibur hard baits.
Some of the styling, shapes, features and finishes seem somewhat
remindful of popular hard baits from Japan.
3-1/8" 3/8 oz. jerkbait
4-1/2" 1/2 oz jerkbait.
XCalibur Xj4 Jimmy. 4"
1/2 oz walk-the-dog topwater.
XCalibur Xz2 Zell Pop.
2-5/16" 1/4 oz popper.
2-1/2" 5/8 oz. lipless rattlebait
Brand new bassy items that caught my eye among
Pradco's other brands (Arbogast,
Cotton Cordell, Excalibur,
Yum, Creek Chub, Lazy Ike,
Rebel, and Silver Thread) include:
Bomber Model 4A. New
2-5/8" 5/16 oz. crankbait dives 3-6 feet with highly
Booyah Swim'n Jig. New
arrowhead 1/2 oz. southern-style swim jig.
Rattlin' Rogue. Reintroduction of the original
(prerigged on insider jigheads) and new Yum
Yum Buzz Frog. Surface-oriented
soft frog bait
Yum Sweet Cheeks. Holographic
swimbait prerigged on insider jighead with two-prong wire
weedguard to come through cover has hollow cheeks to squeeze Yum
attractant inside. Prerigged sizes: 3" (3/16 oz),
3-1/2" (1/4 oz), 4" (3/8 oz) and 5" (1/2 oz).
Yum Weights. Non-lead
bullet sinkers that are porous to absorb fish attractant
Heddon SwayBack Spook.
New 4-1/2" Spook topwater
There was a nominal smattering of new size,
weight or color extensions across many of Pradco's legacy items.
However, the largest number of new color extensions were to the
products below. Many extensions like this to existing items are
often (not always) an indicator of high current popularity, and a
good clue that many guys are bassing out on these lures:
Bomber Fat A
5F and 6F crankbait series in 8 new colors
Bomber Fat Free Shad
crankbait series in 12 new Bill Dance signature series colors
Cotton Cordell Super
Spot rattlebait (1/2 oz size) in 12 new colors
Chris Gulstad firstname.lastname@example.org
479-782-8971 Ft. Smith, AR
debuted the EChip, a small
metal tube that encases a stainless steel ball and a proprietary
crystal. Each time the ball touches the crystal, the EChip emits
an extremely minute electrical discharge. The tricky part, says
Dick Pool, was to calibrate it to closely duplicate the nerve
discharge (voltage) of a wounded baitfish. This discharge is
detected by predator fish and they will attack, says the company.
The EChip never needs charging or batteries and it doesn't wear
The Echip is small (1/2" long), cylindrical
and slender, so it can be affixed to lures by companies that
Pro-Troll grants license to use the EChip.
A test unit was available at the ICAST booth.
Sure enough, the test unit generated enough electrical current to
make a test light flash every time the EChip was shaken
side-to-side - even very slowly, slower than a crankbait would
wobble. Shaking the test unit harder to simulate a wobbling
crankbait, spoon or spinnerbait arm, the test unit flashed fairly
rapidly. So the EChip certainly emits an electrical discharge.
Since it's so new to me, it's not clear to me
whether the EChip may cause bass to strike, however there are
bass crankbaits and spinnerbaits out there now with the licensed
EChip installed on them if you want to give it a try.
Dick Pool email@example.com
925-825-8560 Concord, CA
Pure Fishing, Inc.
items of interest I found for bass anglers among Pure Fishing
brands (Berkley, Stren,
Abu Garcia, Fenwick,
Spider, and Sevenstrand)
Arsalan Azar was winner of Best of Show in the line category for
Berkley Vanish Transition fluorocarbon line last year. Since that
time, Pure Fishing has acquired the Stren Line company. Arsalan
won Best of Show again this
year at ICAST for Stren DuraTuf.
If anglers have had any concerns over whether
Pure Fishing would keep Stren alive, this should make it clear
that Stren is here to stay, says Arsalan. Pure Fishing's Arsalan
and Dave Justice from Stren worked together for one year to
create the new self-lubricating line formula for Stren DuraTuf.
It's not just silicone on the line surface, which
is how many other lines are made, says Arsalan. Fishing through
weeds and exposure to sun cause surface silicone to rub off
fishing lines quickly.
With the new formula in Stren DuraTuf, however, a
silicone-like lubricant is permeated inside all through the line.
It can't ever come off, says Arsalan. This self-lubricating line
material makes Stren DuraTuf extremely durable, tough and
New and improved Gulp!
and PowerBait soft baits
displayed by Pure Fishing included the following:
Power Bait Sinking
Minnow. Particularly unique in that it has a
reinforced center for durability. Plus it has two split shot type
weights molded into the core, one on each side, to ensure a slow
sinking motion. And it has holographic foil finish and 3D eyes.
The Gulp! biodegradable lure series has become one of the
fast-growing, successful product lines for Pure Fishing.
Sparkle Power Tube.
Now incorporates holographics in its finish as does the new
lizard (top right).
712-336-1520 Spirit Lake, IA
Ron Davis invented and patented the Chatterbait
product. The company is just beginning its second year, and its
first time at ICAST. In their home state of South Carolina, the
Chatterbait is becoming popular, says the company.
The Chatterbait works in any application where
either a spinnerbait or swimming jig would be a choice, says the
company. I was able to swim two versions in a demo trough. One
with a skirted jig and straight twin-tailed trailer combo. A
second version of the Chatterbait with a Zoom Fluke threaded on
the Chatterbait jighead. Both version had as a tremendous
vibration and frantic action like a startled critter hightailing
it. It was a more intense - yet natural-looking - action than you
(or bass) usually see in a lure. The intense vibrating action is
due to water pressure pushing the blade rapidly back and forth
several times per second.
The demo trough was festooned with some fairly
snaggy obstacles in the lure's path - completely unavoidable
snags. Most times, the Chatterbait blade deflected the lure up
and over the obstacles without snagging them. Since it was the
front-affixed blade that prevented snags, the Chatterbait jig
hook did not need any form of weedguard for the hook itself. This
is a new concept lure. The action was impressive the way it
wriggled intensely and avoided snags in the ICAST demo trough.
It's available in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 5/8 oz and two different blade
Ron Davis, President firstname.lastname@example.org
864-942-1800 Greenwood, SC
Rapala VMC Corporation
Rapala VMC Corporation is a leading manufacturer
and distributor of fishing lures and treble hooks in the world.
Its primary manufacturing facilities are located in Finland,
France, Ireland, Estonia and China. The company employs more than
3,000 people in some 23 countries.
New items I noticed for bass anglers from the
company's brands (Rapala, Storm,
Fox, and Williamson) include:
Rapala Twitchin' Rap.
I found this to be Rapala's most unique, interesting new
product this year. The new Twitchin' Rap has no diving lip. It is
a twitch, glide and suspend lure, says the company. It barely
gets below the surface, six inches to two feet at most. When
paused, it sinks slowly in a wounded, disoriented minnow motion.
The lipless design makes it a long-caster. This
is one to watch. If successful, it could help open up a whole new
genre of twitch 'n glide lipless jerkbaits for bass in North
America, essentially downsized muskie and European pike
Rapala X-Rap Series.
One original new X-Rap 10 jerkbait model last year started a huge
X-Rap sales revolution for Rapala. So the X-Rap has been extended
into a series with four new X-Rap models for 2006. Three of the
new models are of potential interest to bass anglers. First, the
smallest 3-1/8" 1/4 oz X-Rap 8
runs 3-5 feet deep. Next, the bigger 5-1/4" 1-1/2 oz X-Rap
14 runs 4-8 feet deep and suspends. It sounds big and
heavy - but similar to many productive big bass swimbaits.
Likewise, the 5-1/4" 1-5/8 oz X-Rap
Jointed Shad sounds big for a bass bait, but if you
think of it as a big jointed swimbait, it may fit in just fine.
Rapala DT Flat Series.
Crankbait maestro David Fritts designed the original fat-bodied
DT (Dives-To) crankbait series, which debuted in 2003 and was
extended to four models by 2004. Now, there's a fifth new flat-sided
balsa wood DT Flat with a thin coffin-style lip. It's
2-3/8" long, weighs 3/8 oz, and runs to 7 feet in depth.
Storm WildEye Series.
Storm only started doing soft plastics in 2002, but they've
become a company active in the invention and application of
exciting new soft plastics. New body shapes, new and improved,
more intense brighter colors, more detailed color patterns and
enhanced holographic flash finishes were all added this year to
Storm's WildEye Series of prerigged soft yet extremely durable
PVC-based products that stay tough and last long for repeated
Storm Kickin' Minnow.
Another new hybrid hard/soft plastic prerigged swimbait,
this time with a segmented body to create a kicking tail swimming
action activated by the hard plastic diving lip. In three
sizes/weights, prerigged with a treble.
Series. Another new hybrid hard/soft bait series from
Storm. Unique combinations of soft plastic molded onto and around
a hard plastic core insert and hard plastic head and action lip.
There are five different avant-garde nature shapes in the
ThunderCore series. Shapes that creatively express a salamander,
one's a pollywog perhaps, a craw, and two types of baitfish
shapes. Unfortunately, Storm may have missed a market trend here
by not having a ThunderCore frogbait with a hybrid hard plastic
frog head and a soft plastic frog body molded into it. Storm,
Storm, Storm... How could you miss this frogbait trend?
David Hlavac, Carmichael Lynch Spong email@example.com
River2sea first showed up at ICAST one year ago,
and some of the company's product offerings seemed a bit
squirrelly and unusual to me then. But Western bass fishing
legend Gary Dobyns must have seen something in River2Sea.
This year, Dobyns has helped turn River2Sea's offerings
around. He has designed the new Gary
Dobyns Signature Series products that really generated
a lot of attention at ICAST this year. Although the lures look
great, Dobyn's new Mohican style hairdo has really got to go.
According to Western bass pros Brian Nixon and
Gary Dobyns, these products highlight some of the best River2Sea
has to offer bass anglers:
Four new jerkbait styles designed by Dobyns for
River2Sea are the deep-diving Fetch
Minnow, the shallow-running Ripper,
the Jerk Shad with its shad
profile and fleeing threadfin action, plus the Pointer-shaped Trophy
Min. There are a few sizes of each model, making ten
sizes of Dobyns Signature jerkbaits in all. Gary mentioned a few
of his favorite colors to be Ghost Minnow, Chartreuse Shad, Munky
and Glo Plug (a kind of chartreuse pearl). These are not
available yet, but some limited quantities may be out in Northern
California dealers in about sixty days, says Dobyns.
Bottom Walker Shad.
In Clear Lake and the California Delta, guys in tournaments were
driving two hundred to three hundred miles just to find these,
says Gary Dobyns. That's how deadly they perform in these
locations, and surely they'll perform in other locations. What's
most interesting about this swimbait is, as its Bottom Walker
name implies, it is designed to be dragged slowly across the
bottom. Some Lake Erie smallmouth tube-dragging types should get
your hands on these. Company officials say the Ice White color is
the number one seller, and Gary Dobyns says the Silver Side color
is his favorite.
and Super Yabbie. Stand-up,
claw-waving soft plastic craw imitations prerigged on jigheads.
These have been the absolute best bed baits this spring in
Northern California, says Dobyns. The Yabbies stand up perfectly
straight on bottom, and you need to work them slow, slow, slow.
A three-piece lipless jointed wood swimbait with a soft plastic
tail fin has really captured Dobyns' attention. He says it's a
big fish swimbait with a mesmerizing "S"-like swimming
K.K. Chan, Managing Director firstname.lastname@example.org
510-237-2405 Richmond, CA
I covered Shimano's new rod and reel news
in the section at the front of this report.
I was also impressed with the Broadway
Modular Tackle Storage System, the new Shimano gear
bag system designed by Shimano's Ted Sakei. If you are a
traveling angler, this system is your gear's spacious, elegant
home away from home. There are different well-designed modules
for different reasons - a worm binder, a reel container bag, a
bag exclusively to hang big swimbaits straight, and several other
modules., even an insulated lunch bag module. Each module is a
bag in its own right, but they also all fit together to pack into
a larger main tackle bag. So you can have for example, ten
different modules - each a bag in its own right, but perhaps only
pack half of then as appropriate into the main bag to meet your
tackle needs on a particular trip. If you travel to fish a lot,
and you have your travel tackle organized for different reasons,
then this modular storage system is something you may want to
learn more about it, says Ted Sakei.
Stacey Thorn, Marketing Manager email@example.com
949-951-5003 Irvine, CA
Southern Lure Company
If I recollect correctly, this company was among
the first ever to offer hollow rubber frog lures to bass anglers.
The company proudly showed off their latest hollow rubber bait
creation, the Trophy Series Popper.
Several design features were touted; it's small, slender profile
with an easy-casting 5/16 oz weight, a 4/0 Owner hook that rides
high on the frog's back. It's so snagless, but hasn't any excess
rubber to fold back over the point or get in the way on a
hookset, and it wears a full round silicone skirt.
662-327-4548 Columbus, MS
Best news from SPRO this year was bass pro Dean
Rojas winning the Best of Show
award in the soft bait category for SPRO's Dean
Rojas Signature Bronzeye Frog, a hollow rubber
frogbait that Rojas has used in competition and made famous as
"Kermit" on bass fishing TV shows all season. The
company says it casts like a dream and never lands upside
down. Rojas says it is designed for heavy cover or open water. It
sports a Gamakatsu double-sided frogbait hook.
Lynn Plumley, Asst. Natl. Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
770-919-1722 Kennesaw, GA
Stanley Jigs, Inc.
I spoke with legendary bass fishing lure designer
Lonnie Stanley about his two new lures for 2006. Stanley
introduced the new BuckShad Swimbait
which has a loud buckshot rattle in the enlarged wedge-shaped
tail. Whereas swimbaits prerigged on insider jigheads like
Stanley's are incredibly lifelike in shape, action and feel,
anglers seem to find swimbaits are best used for sight-feeding
bass in clear or stained water. Stanley's BuckShad is designed to
work in dingy water as well due to the rather noisy buckshot
rattle encased in the wiggling Wedgetail. Most other brands of
swimbaits don't have any rattles. A 4" BuckShad weighs 1/2
oz with a 4/0 hook.
Lonnie Stanley also joined the burgeoning rog
fray with two sizes of Stanley's Ribbit
Frog. A Ribbit runs on top in any type of cover, says
Lonnie. It may be hard to see its big bullfroggy
proportions in the photo, but the large size Ribbit is just about
the biggest soft plastic frog bait I have seen on the market.
That's reason enough to try it.
Ken Chaumont email@example.com
936-876-5713 Huntington, TX
Strike King Lure Company
Most notable of Strike King's new models were a
couple of monster bass baits, including a 10" long lizard
labeled the Iguana lizard.
Also a monster quadruple-jointed hard plastic swimbait called the
King Kong swimbait in 6"
and 8" sizes.
A new series of Premier
Plus spinnerbaits and buzzbaits appeared to be the
first in the industry to use Z-Man's new
EZ Skirt silicone skirt technology. Strike King uses
an exclusive version from Z-Man, dubbed the Perfect
Chris Brown, Public Relations firstname.lastname@example.org
901-853-1455 Collierville, TN
Thornwood Lures, Inc.
Ron Troyer intro'd seven super new crankbait
models for 2006:
I've heard many impressive comments and good catches attributed
to the FreeStyler from some leading national pros who have tested
prototypes of it all year. I finally got to see it at ICAST.
Ron's goal here was to make something like the discontinued Lucky
Craft Wander, but better than that. The FreeStyler's made of
Brazilian Cherrywood, a dense, heavy wood that's hard to cut, but
casts a mile. You can impart rod action to walk it on the surface
or slow down some to work it under the surface. Especially good
to do whenever there's a chop on the surface, is to walk it
barely a foot subsurface. On a straight retrieve without
imparting any rod action. The FreeStyler has a wide
"S"-shaped swimming pattern. When paused, it tips and
swims downward nose first. This is great when you get a short
strike, since it will swim down to the fish, wiggling like a
Senko. There's a little disk of weight in the head, 2-1/2 grams
says Troyer, which causes it to nose down when paused. A neat
trick every is to stop walking it, so it comes to rest facing
toward under a dock or overhanging tree, pause it, pause it, and
the Free Styler will swim under the dock or tree, says Ron.
Bank Robber. Two
models: Shallow (2-4) and Deep
(4-6). Circuit board diving lip. Noisy metal rattle chamber. The
original request for this lure came from a customer who wanted
something like the Bandit 100 and 200 series crankbaits - except
in wood, says Ron.
Pan Fry. Two
models: Shallow (4-6) and Deep
(6-8). Circuit board diving lip. Noisy metal rattle chamber.
The Perp. Flat-sided,
coffin lip deep diver runs 8-10 feet down. Circuit board diving
lip. Noisy metal rattle chamber.
Half Nelson. Subsurface
swimmer. Circuit board diving lip. Noisy metal rattle
chamber.Originally, Ron wanted to design something to stay and
wake right on the surface, but as work on the Half Nelson
progressed, it actually worked best when it got a bit under the
surface a few inches to less than one foot.
Ron Troyer, President email@example.com
863-551-1235 Auburndale, FL
We say our products have the "Lays potato
chip" effect, chuckles Larry Thornhill, because an angler
can't just use tungsten once. When an anglers start realizing all
the benefits of tungsten - feel, sound, sensitivity, durability,
density - they begin to use more and more tungsten.
As anglers go through that tungsten discovery
process, we would like to be the company that brings out more and
more tungsten solutions for them, says Larry.
We've spent the past two years making our
tungsten bullet sinkers insert free, says Larry. An insert is a
plastic tube or sleeve inside many other tungsten sinkers. It's
used because tungsten alone is so hard and tends to be abrasive
to line. So an insert is commonly used to sheath the line inside
the sinker. We've concentrated our development away from the
insert. An insert acts like a shock absorber. An insert robs the
angler of sensitivity and feel. Our weights have no insert, and
deliver unparalleled sensitivity directly from the sinker to the
line to the rod to the hand - and there is no line abrasion with
our sinker, which is why it took two years to develop, says
More recently, we have developed tungsten jigs,
spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. We're putting a lot of research and
development in tungsten because we think it will be the next big
thing. So we're driven to be the best at this. We want to be the
Lucky Craft of tungsten, chuckles Larry.
Already, we are getting feedback on the new
tungsten spinnerbaits and buzzbaits that, due to
thinner diameter heads possible with tungsten, spinnerbaits and
buzzbaits come through grass better, and just feel and respond
better than lead, says Larry.
Larry Thornhill firstname.lastname@example.org
724-349-2260 Alpharetta, GA
It was great to talk with the Stallings brothers,
TJ and Ron, who represent TTI-Blakemore brands (Tru-Turn,
StandOut and Mr.
Crappie hooks, plus Blakemore
Ron and TJ have been creaming the spotted bass in
Alabama using Blakemore Road Runner Barbed heads with Bleeding
Bait hooks and the smallest size 9B and 9C Yamamoto Senkos. We've
been pounding the spots with the chartreuse head Road Runner and
practically any color Senko - watermelon, white, black - say Ron
New for 2006 from TTI-Blakemore will be larger
sizes 1/0 and 2/0 StandOut Lever Action
Fishing Hooks. Dropshotting bigger baits like
full-sized Senkos has caught on in parts of the Southeast, hence
the demand for 1/0 and 2/0 size StandOut hooks.
StandOut hooks are unique in that up and down
action is created in that the hook acts as a fulcrum with a
twitch of the rod that sets off the lever action that lifts and
drops the bait. A tip from TJ is that StandOut hooks do not work
near as well with floating soft baits. We find it takes a sinking
soft bait such as the Senko to make the up and down lever action
of the StandOut hook really perform to its best ability, says TJ.
A hot new item from Blakemore Lures for 2006 will
be Aaron Marten's Rollin' Runner
designed by Aaron Martens. Sure to be a hit, there is no release
date slated for this new product yet, say Ron and TJ.
334-567-2011 Wetumpka, AL
David Greene, designer of Z-Man's new patent
pending EZ Skirt spoke of how much he likes the umbrella profile
effect created by the EZ Skirt and the way the skirt, puffs,
flares and tracks in the water.
Two years in the making, the new patent pending
EZ Skirt is produced in 70 strands. It is actually 14 separate
sections of 5 strands each, which means each of the 14 separate
sections can be a different color. So an EZ Skirt can be
assembled in 5 strand color increments (up to 14 colors) to
seamlessly match the back, belly, sides and other colors on a jig
or spinnerbait head, for example.
The silicone molded hub in the center of the
skirt locks the strands in place so they cannot move around and
won't distort or disturb the strand color pattern. The skirt
strands are fixed in place by the hub, which provides a tight,
secure fit to any jig, spinnerbait, buzzbait or other lure collar
designed to hold a skirt - yet allows for easy replacement. The
hub itself also comes in ten different colors for optimal color
David Greene, Designer email@example.com
843.747.4366 Hanahan, SC