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Written by Jon Storm   
Friday, 04 March 2011 16:44

Must-See Materiel For Amassing The Ultimate Bass Arsenal

I think plastic baits, and the anglers who fish them, run two distinct gamuts. First, there's the tried, true, stronger-than-ever group of mass-production baits. They still catch fish in mind-boggling quantities and Powerbait, Yum, Zoom, et. al. are stronger than ever.

The second, however, deals with baits more delicate, more aesthetic, in nature--intricate, detailed handpours built by basement, garage and small-office aficionados up and down the Western United States.

I belong to both groups, but gravitate toward the latter, where the offering on the end of my line may not catch more fish than its more popular cousins, but somehow, intangibly, my bait approaches the framework of art--a subtle, superb blend of colors and profiles as irresistible to me as to the bass.

For I believe fishing, at its highest level, is an art form: the baits our brushes, the lake our canvas, a fish in hand the final, finished work.

As artists, we feel the same rush of excitement when opening the simple, understated bag of brand-new, red-hot handpours, and we thrill to learn of new innovations and designs before their true potential takes hold.

Hot Dropshots, this month's cover story, takes aim toward this end: an in-depth, close-up exposition of this year's important trends. Fish these baits before your friends, discover the colors and designs that dominate on your lake, and involve yourself in fishing history as it unfolds. These baits represent the future: seize it before it arrives.

Classification 1: Straight Worms

 

It's impossible to argue against the effectiveness of the straight worm: tantalizing as it dances on the dropshot; bold throughout its multi-hued, tapered length.

Seldom considered, but still deadly, is the original Creme Worm (1). To this day an open-pour, it's the utmost in natural nightcrawler imitation.

Magic Worms continues to upgrade its incredibly detailed, and amazingly consistent, lineup of handpours. Colors like the Green Meenie (3) or the Baby Bass (10) are gaining a cult following.

SR Plastics, as well, is pushing the color envelope with sharp, dramatic vein work (5), and its VooDoo series of sectional coloring (9). And be sure to familiarize yourself with Roboworm's new color rollouts, the very hottest of which is Baby Bluegill (8)--ideal for tackling the bluegill bite happening right now across the West as bass reenter spawning coves to splurge.

Yamamoto's legendary worm lineup grew this year with the addition of the 4 1/2-inch Flat Tail Worm (13)--a flat worm that catches a tremendous amount of water and tailor-made for dropshotting. Available in 15 different colors at present, the Flat Tail is a natural for Yamamoto fans.

Derek Yamamoto has ramped up Kinami Baits--using the same Yamamoto formula, but molding some exclusive colors like Red Shad (7) and stocking larger stores and marts across the country.

Super shakers with flexible joint molding include the Lunker City Rascal Worm (11), Bass Pro Shops XPS Jointed Minnow, (12) and California Custom Worms D. S. Shaker (14).

The most interesting worm development this year is Optimum Baits' new feather series (1, 15). So new it's yet to be officially named, the baits incorporate a zonker strip of rabbit hair molded into the tail. Feathers exhibit an incredible amount of underwater action, even when deadsticked, and owner Tony Paino (who credits Dave Bryant in Arona, Colorado, for the concept) plans to roll out a complete line of feather baits this year.

Classification 2: Creatures

 

While the term creature bait generally refers to larger flipping baits, the dropshot world harbors its share of creatures too. Covering everything from reapers to spider grubs to new entirely categories altogether, creatures, in general, offer a wider surface area and more lively appendages.

Lunker City's Helgie (1) is a small offering big on results, as is Yamamoto's Tiny Ika (2). Heavyweights Yum and Berkley have downsized their sizable creature baits for dropshot applications, and the Berkley 3-inch Power Hawg (3), as well as the Yum 3-inch Wooly Hawgtail (4), boast true popularity in Texas and east of the Mississippi.

Pro Angler Andre Moore's bait venture, Reaction Innovation, is gaining a lot of steam after Robert Lee's Delta Bassmaster win using the Boom Boom tube. The company stays true to its name with the new D.S. Creature (5), a jig built for fishing up the line, and the Trixie (9), a feather-tail reaper.

Western Plastics hits the feathertail reaper category hard with two red-hot offerings: the 4-inch Hula Sweeper (10) and the Tear Drop (11). Most notable on these two baits is the incredible attention to color detail, plus the consistency in tail cutting--no half-detached, sticky appendages.

Japanese companies Kohiva and BaitBreath are coming on strong with big attention getters like the 3-inch Chicken Leech (6) and the Slice (13), respectively. More and more desert dropshot specialists are turning to BaitBreath for its excellent designs and semi-translucent coloring, but the baits are creeping up the West Coast. For example, Limit Out on Clear Lake now carries BaitBreath.

Camanche Jack's Water Dragon (14), though truly a soft-jerkbait/crankbait hybrid, makes excellent dropshot fare in the smaller size, as does the Helix Spidergrub, with its twin-tails clipped and fished in reverse.

Classification 3: Gobies And Sculpins

 

A smaller group by comparison, gobies and sculpins are deadly effective in all waters of the West where both species prowl bottoms. Cabela's Livin' Eye Chub (1) continues to attract attention, and Roboworm's FX series Sculpin (4) displays astounding color configurations.

A notable development is the growing Yodo line of plastics, specializing in gobies. Yodos are seeing more action from a select set of in-the-know Great Lakes anglers as the Round Goby further infests Great Lakes waters. Smallmouths are foraging heavily--often exclusively--on these invasive predators, and Yodos are a killer app on these oft gin-clear waters.

Classification 4: Cigars

 

I never met a Yamamoto Senko I didn't like, and truth be told, I have yet to meet a Senko copy I did like. It seems almost impossible to reproduce the Yamamoto formula, and rival Senko copies inevitably suffer from a diminished shake and unsatisfactory shimmy.

Still, companies are trying, most notably Wave Worms with its new swirl Series (5) and Yum's brand-new Dinger (3). Storm's innovative line of soft plastics includes the 4 1/2-inch Rattle Finesse Worm (7), with great reflectives and integrated rattles.

Yamamoto itself is expanding its dominate Senko lineup with the new 9M Thin Senko (4), with a thinner taper, and 3-inch "Baby" Senko (6). Really, you can never go wrong throwing a Senko, and it's probably the single hottest bait in America today.

Not truly a Senko-style bait is the more uniform, and amazingly soft, Sniper Snub (1) and Bolt (2). Crafted in Carnation, Washington, these are hot properties across Washington, Idaho and Oregon, but are catching on in Southern California as well.

Classification 5: Baitfish

 

Whether fishing a shad-pattern worm, or a plastic with a baitfish profile, most spend a majority of their dropshot time attempting to imitate shad or similar finned foodsources. Shad-body baits are everywhere, but a few standouts exist.

MGM lures is pouring a familiar mold for its Dyna Shad (1). On Lake Mead and other desert waterbodies, Lake Police is building a loyal following with its Crosstail Shad (2) and Kohiva's flat-tail Spear Minnow (3) makes exceptionally creative use of subtle coloring.

A bait truly on the rise is the Basstrix Flash-Trix (6 and 7). This hollow-body tube hybrid is, first off, incredibly reflective--its hologram finishes changing colors as you turn the bait beneath a light. The same thing happens underwater and the bait flashes like a fleeing foodsource. It's especially effective on stubborn tight-lips, and is making waves across the dropshot nation.

Berkley's Power Bass Minnow (8), its first dropshot offering created years ago, has been upgraded with Power Scales, while the Yodo Piccolo (9) is similar in design, but more streamlined. Storm's aggressive soft-plastic line includes the new 4-inch WildEye minnow (4), while Action Baits builds its shad-body Shake-E-Shad with integrated ball-bearings for balance.

Classification 6: Fat Heads And Wide Bottoms

 

Though truly worms, we might call this group a sub-class, with either a wider bottom than straight worms, or fatter head and mouse-style taper.

Magic Worms' Fidget (1) offers a familiar styling, but with upgraded colors unmatched in its category. The Dropshot Store has unleashed its 3 1/2-inch Paddletail in more detailed colors like Pro Shad (2), while Gee Gee Baits offers both the Drop Shot (4) and Alien (5). Poured from the same mold, Custom Clearwater Tackle's X-Tail Worm (6) is just one of this company's new offerings.

All told, though, probably the hottest fat-head worm on the market is Assalt's Salt Shaker. Pro Mark Tyler has been using the baits this year on the Bassmaster Tour with great success, and two choices stand out: the 4-inch (8) and 6-inch (9) models.

Lastly, Uncle Josh is currently at the prototype stage with a new pork dropshot bait. Along with natural flotation and action, pork baits last through many a fish and can be fished in deep, cold water while still retaining their supple, flexible characteristics.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 March 2011 16:45
 

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