Attention, bass anglers.
How much room do you have in your tacklebox? I hope you have some, because I have been cruising the local bait and tackle shops and leafing through catalogs of the big fishing mail order houses, and there are a lot of new things that you are going to want in your bass kit.
Here are just a few:
Is it possible that the spinner bait can be replaced? I answered this question last March while on vacation in central Florida while fishing Lake Toho, where I tried the Z-Man ChatterBait.
I had gotten the baits in New York and took them south with me to see what the Florida bass would do to them. And when I hooked up, landed and released a largemouth weighing more than three pounds on about my third cast, followed by another three bass of similar size within the next 15 minutes, I knew I was on to something.
The ChatterBait incorporates features of the jig, spinner bait and crankbait, which is really the best of all worlds. I have jigged it, pitched and flipped it, burned it across the surface and slow-rolled it back to the boat. That is what pro bass angler Jeremy Guidry did on Lake Falcon when he won the Stren/FLW tournament in January to catch his winning 110 pounds, two ounces of bass.
When coming through the water, the ChatterBait has a vibration that you can feel when holding the rod. For added attraction it has a pulsating skirt and fluttering split-tail trailer, and you do not have to be afraid to cast it into heavy cover. I did, both in Florida and recently in Saratoga Lake, and caught bass.
The Z-Man ChatterBait comes in four sizes from one-quarter to five-eighths of an ounce, and you have 16 different color patterns. Suggested retail price of the
Z-Man is $6.95 (www.zmanfishing.com).
The jig n’ pig combo which has been catching bass for years just got better for 2008 with the introduction by Keitech America’s jig from Japan.
It is designed as a custom bait with a tungsten head, trailer keeper, weed guard and a Gamakatsu hook. What I noticed immediately about the jig was that the rubber skirt was considerably fuller than any that I had in my tackle box. And with a little Internet research, I found out that the average jig has 40 strands of rubber, while the Keitech has 240.
The benefits of this jig, to which I attached one of their custom trailers, was immediately noticeable when I dropped it into Saratoga Lake last week and saw the added action these extra strands produced. Even in the thick weeds in the back of Manning’s Cove, I was able to flip the holes and pockets with ease with very little hangups. I wasn’t the only one impressed with these jigs; so were the Saratoga Lake largemouth bass and two nice smallies, as well.
There are two types of jigs offered: the Model 1 regular and the Model 2 football head. The Keitech jig is offered in quarter- to half-ounce and nine color choices. Suggested retail price for the jigs is $5.95, and a four-pack of trailers is $4.79.
Now that you have settled in on the weightless wacky worm fishing technique, the lure designers at Jackall Lures have given it a new twist they call “Flick Shakin.’ ”
The technique utilizes a new jighead featuring a short shank hook without a weedguard. It has a 90-degree line tie eye that aids in keeping it from getting hung up in the weeds. Add to this a specially designed Flick Shake worm with a built-in curvature that enhances the rolling action imparted by the flip-flop motion of the jighead, and you have both great visual and vibrating attraction working together.
At the advice of the manufacturer, I tested this 3/32-ounce head with a 4.8-inch long green-pumpkin color around the Stillwater lock on the upper Hudson River and found it to be highly effective in attracting smallmouths. This weekend, I will test it out on largemouths.
Suggested retail price for the Wacky Jig Head is $5.99 for the five-pack, and the Flick Shake Worm is $4.99 for an eight-worm package (www.Jackall-lures.com).
DESIGNER BASS FROG
For those of you who like to drag those creature baits across the tops of heavy weeds, water chestnuts and lily pads, Captain Ken Daubert, taxidermist and Florida fishing guide, has something special for you — a Designer Bass Frog.
It is handmade from Amphibia skin that is soft but tough, making it feel like a real frog. Because of this, when the bass blows through the weeds and inhales it, he will hang on, giving you the time you need to settle your nerves and set the hook.
What happens when one of those toothy critters like a northern pike or pickerel grab it? Don’t worry. Daubert claims that slices, cuts and tears simply close back up with no change to the appearance or operation of the frog.
The frog also has life-like motion, with kicking legs activated when it is pulled through the water. You can fish it fast, or you can fish it very, very slowly — the legs work either way.
The special lip hook system that is used with this frog is also impressive. Not only does it give it a more realistic presentation, but also a better hook set. And there is even a rattle chamber, should you want to add noise.
I have not tried this bait, but from the photos on their Web site and the photos of recent bass caught on the Designer Bass Frog, I am confident it will work on the water chestnut beds of Lake Champlain and the lily pads in Saratoga, Ballston and Round lakes. Retail price of Daubert’s Designer Frog is $25, plus $5.25 priority shipping. To view the photos and to order, go to www.floridakayakfishing.com.
More from The Daily Gazette: