Special BB Issues

“ICAST” 4 fire hots new baits and stuff – part 2!

This is #2 of I think 3 “ICAST” special issues – not sure when I’m a-gettin’ to the 3rd one but it’s comin’! Here’s the link to the 1st one….

>> If you’re getting the BassBlaster for the first time it’s cuz a bud signed you up!

4 Fire Hots: Baits!

Once again no particular order. These aren’t 5 fire hots but they’re close! Gave most my 2c on why each makes the list. Same “ICAST” disclaimers as in the last one….

1. Lunkerhunt Popping Bug and Berkley Power Pop

Strange deal: 2 companies came out with what I THINK (not sure) is the same type of new topwater. No idea how that happens BUT I do know that a) Lunkerhunt comes up with a couple new fun/cool baits every year and b) Berkley has an innerestin’ Japan connection which might have led to this. Who knows, but it’s cool — like this:

Sick! That’s the Lunkerhunt Popping Bug, full vid here.

Here’s the Berkley Power Pop — where you can see how it won’t fill with water or whatever:

Vid of the Japan version is here — I think the US version is similar.

2. BOOYAH XCS squarebill

This is the exact same bait as the former XCalibur XCS 100 Square Lip that lots of folks loved. The BOOYAH pros been lovin’ lthis one too. Not new but it’s a proven bass-ketcher. 2 sizes:

> The XCS 1 is 2 5/16″ long, weighs 1/2-oz and is armed with #4 trebles. The XCS 2 is 2.75″ long, weighs 5/8-oz and comes with #2 trebles. MSRP for both $5.99.

> The hooks ride up against the body to reduce snags….

Unlike a lot of the new baits, I believe this bait is ALREADY AVAILABLE at TW — here’s the link.

3. Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer StealthBlade

On the one hand it’s crazy to give anything with the name JackHammer less than 5 fire hots. BUT…can this bait really be as good as the original JackHammer? That’s a Yao Ming TALL order man:

> Equipped with a clear polycarbonate blade that starts thumping intensely with the first half-turn of the reel handle, a lighter wire, Decoy fluorine nano-coated hook, stainless wire hand-tied silicone skirt, and dual-wire trailer keepers…fish-shaped head tracks true and skips easily. Available in 3/8- and 1/2-oz sizes in 6 colors.

I say if it doesn’t prove itself by this time next year, Brett Hite has to make another documentary about mud aliens. First one was real scary:

4. YUM Spine Craw

It’s a faster-moving craw like a Speed Craw-type, which YUM needed and believe everyone uses at 1 time or another. Gets 4 fire hots cuz it’s good AND a bit different — I like that YUM does that. Can be turned 90 degrees to work on a bladed jig or swim-jig, 12 good colors (^ “black blue shadow”), and MSRP of $2.99 a bag #win. More:

> …unique claws move feverishly but with a tight, rapid motion that keeps the profile small.

> Angled appendages…serve a double function, slowing the bait’s descent when it is pitched, flipped or hopped along the bottom, and displacing water to help bass find the bait.

> …3.75″ long and compact, and well-suited for punching thick cover, pitching to wood, using as a jig trailer, Texas-rigging, Carolina-rigging and more.

5. Storm Arashi Swimmer

2 words for you: Brandon Palaniuk. Okay 2 more: is obsessed. Last 2: with swimbaits. ‘N such. Deets:

> …the Arashi Swimmer closely resembles an Arashi Glide…. The most obvious difference…is that the Swimmer features 2 articulated joints rather than 1. “We took all of the great features of the Glide and then added some,” says Palaniuk. We slimmed down the body, added another joint and added a rotating line tie.

> “We wanted to have another bigger swimbait in the arsenal for different situations. That’s the whole premise — still having that big profile, to appeal to the largest fish, but being able to fish it in a different style with a slightly different action and different retrieve.

> “I use it for finding fish and covering water. It’s another look for those fish when maybe they are looking up more, chasing bait and more active…when the fish are roaming flats or standing timber, or things like that, where you’re able to cover a little more water and still able to throw a big bait…where the Glide is more of a target-oriented bait.

> “I can throw the Swimmer and reel it in as fast as I can possibly reel it without that bait blowing out. But it also fishes great at slow speeds.”

10 colors, $37.99 on TW.

6. Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil Popper

Yo-Zuri has made a version of this bait for a while, for the salt. It’s been dialed in there, and they got their bass guys to dial in a bass-sized version for us so gotta think it’s good!

Here’s a vid of them talkin’ ’bout it, learn ya more at the Yo-Zuri website. Of course the sick Yo-Zuri colors — that one’s “prism silver black.”

7. Strike King Rage Ned Craw

Rage Craw’s a necessity so gonna assume this lil’ bait will rock:

> Featuring a flat end for rigging with Ned-head jigs…2.75″ in length, offered in 12 fish-catching colors.

8. 3.5″ Z-Man Pro CrawZ

Biggerz versionsz of theirz 2.5″ TRD Crawzzzzzzz — stop it Z-Man! My cat can’t take it either:

Serious — Ned, TRD and JackHammer all sell great…see a pattern?? NO Zs hahaha! Anyhow, back to the Pro Crawz, which is 1″ longer than the TRD Crawz:

> Bulked up ElaZtech claws are super-buoyant to float up at rest, displaying a crayfish’s natural defensive posture. Anatomically realistic with a tucked-under tail, bulbous [Mercer word] crayfish eyes and natural swimmerets….

Believe these are swimmerets?

9. Terminator Heavy-Duty Swim Jig

Ott DeFoe says “it really is the perfect swim-jig” so:

> “This was something I was able to put my input on; to make a tool that I needed. A swim-jig needs to be built a little bit differently. When it’s right, nothing else even compares to it.”

> …inline line-tie and a balanced, hydrodynamic head crafted to swim through the heaviest cover, which are “critical to getting through the stuff that you’re going to throw it in.”

> …”really realistic” banded silicone skirts, a well-designed trailer keeper, a 3D eye, a quality nylon weed guard that’s “soft enough” and “gets out of the way,” and a “super-strong” 5/0 VMC Hybrid Wide Gap Hook.

> “When you think of a swim jig, you think of submerged vegetation – but I’ve caught them in nearly every type of cover on it.”

1/2- and 3/8-oz, 12 colors (that’s ^ “pale gold shiner”), MSRP = $3.99.

10. Strike King Hybrid Hunter crankbait

Well…that bill looks different fer sher. BUT it’s not new, and in fact folks in some parts of TX and OK will recognize it…and will either be thankful or ticked that a big company is making it. Either way, I’ve been assured that:

> “…it catches freakin BIG ONES. It’s just special that way.

> “It comes through, and maybe more importantly, out of grass better than any hardbait…. You reel it in and through grass, and when it hangs you jerk it out like a jerkbait.

> “The bite is like a jig bite. They literally knock slack in your line.

> “It also hunts really wide — that’s what makes it good on highland lakes. You can catch them cranking around rock banks everyone throws a squarebill or Wart on.”

So there you go. Available in 2 sizes: regular (3.5″, dives 3-5′) and Jr (3″, 2-4′). MSRP = $8.99.

11. Hardcore Popper

Gonna give you 3 things:

1. Believe this is the only popper ever to have a weight-transfer system for casting.

2. Finishes are sick (^ “holographic bluegill”), maybe the nicest ever on a poppin’ bait?

3. You can pop it or walk it.

I have one, haven’t gotten to fish it yet but want to! Hardcore’s coming out with a bunch of new bass baits, stay tuned….

12. Lunkerhunt Easy Prey

In a recent BB I highlighted a stocker trout swimbait that floats upside down. That’s genius and so is this…I think? It’s a single-jointed swimbait with a crankbait lip that swims on its side. Got that? This’ll help:

If it works like it looks like it does, I can see it getting some key bites…full vid here.

13. Cotton Cordell Tail-Weighted Boy Howdy

Gitcha retro on! This bait’s back in production after a loooooong time, and a) has no blades like the regular Boy Howdy and b) has the original “weight transfer” system — a weight on the back. Okay, not really a transfer but it casts great cuz of it.

Word is it’s a great bait for schooling feesh:

> …tail-weighting makes it stand up when not in motion. Rod twitches enact a subtle jumping and spitting action that mimics a fleeing shad or wounded minnow, and triggers attacks from fish that won’t touch noisier and more aggressive surface lures.

4.5″ long, 3/8-oz, #4 short-shank trebles, 10 baitfish colors. MSRP = $5.99.

Word is: Fish it with quick, short strokes of the rod TIP and you’ll get darting without much forward movement. Gear is a 7′ M casting or spinning rod, and 20-lb braid with a mono leader so the braid won’t wrap the hooks.

4 Fire Hots: Other stuff!

Yep no particular order:

1. VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig(head)

Jacob “slap me cuz I’m burnin’ hot” Wheeler calls this “the perfect swimbait head” and “phenomenal.” He’s an enthusiastic dude but hey, he ketches ’em. Deets:

> The hook on the new VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig features a wider gap to maximize hooksets and a hybrid bend for extra strength. It’s 1X strong and made from Hi-Carbon Steel with a forged shank. Wheeler: “I just don’t seem to lose them on it.”

> “…the [hook] diameter is perfect. It’s not too thick, so you don’t have to use it on too heavy a rod, and it’s not so thin that you have to worry about it bending out…it penetrates really well.”

The head doesn’t come painted:

> “I like that plain lead head. That’s the most natural color you can have. That lead-gray head, for me, matches up with more colors than any other for swimbaits.”

> …wide-diameter spring keeper…. “When we were filming a promo video in June, I caught like 12 or 13 bass off the same swimbait body,” Wheeler said. “And I could have caught more on it….”

MSRP of $4.29, 4 sizes: 3/16-oz (2/0 hook, 4/pack), 1/4-oz (2/0 hook, 4/pack), 5/16-oz (3/0 hook, 4/pack), 3/8-oz (3/0 hook, 3/pack) and 1/2-oz (4/0 hook, 3/pack).

2. MotorGuide Xi3 36″ shaft kayak motor

Ain’t a yakker but got a bunch of friends who are, or are sometimes. We’ve got some smaller, low/no hp lakes here. I’m sure they’ll be stoked to learn about this…because who wants a kayak you have to paddle lol!

This Xi3 — 55-lb thrust — will come withor without Pinpoint GPS, – also available without Pinpoint GPS:

> MotorGuide’s Xi3 lightweight design and SecureStep system make it simple to stow and deploy the motor, even in a seated position. Along with its nearly silent operation and wireless remote, it’s the perfect addition to any kayak.

> Xi3, with available Pinpoint GPS, allows anglers to focus on fishing while taking advantage of GPS functions like anchor, heading lock, route record and more.

> ‘Yak pro Derek Brundl: “It’s an absolute game changer, using the Pinpoint GPS Anchor mode to hold on a certain piece of structure and pick it apart without having to constantly adjust my boat position has been invaluable to improving my offshore fishing success!”

> …wireless control out of the box, so there’s no need for an expensive add-on. And, our SecureStep system makes stowing and deploying Xi3 50% easier than the competition. You’ll also get best-in-class quiet operation that’s up to 40% quieter than the leading competitor.

Available at retailers in Jan, MSRP = $1,199.99 with GPS, $739.99 non-GPS. Here’s an install/operate vid:

3. AFTCO Diffuse Air-O Mesh Fishing Shorts

AFTCO makes my fave fishin’ shorts. Look cool, feel cool, comfy, light and dry quick. Haven’t seen these yet but gonna think they’re good:

> …fishing shorts made entirely of AFTCO’s breathable yet durable Air-O Mesh technology. …100% polyester mechanical stretch fabric with dissolving yarn…creates the micro Air-O Mesh venting throughout the shorts.

Not sure about that “dissolving” deal…don’t wanna come back to the ramp with less than I had on to start…lol.

4. Abu Garcia Veritas Rods

How ’bout making this line o’ rods better and lighter without costing more? I kinda like that and have held 1 each of these rods in my hand…so givin’ ’em 4 fire hots:

> …next generation of Veritas rods. The introduction of Powerlux 100 increases the rod’s strength by 15% while also reducing the rod’s overall weight by 5%. The Powerlux 100 resin system evenly distributes nano particles between eachc arbon fiber to enhance the rod’s performance and strength by preventing cracks in the blank material…improved impact and fracture resistance

> …titanium alloy guides with zirconium inserts and closed-cell EVA split grips…ROCS (Robotically Optimized Casting System) Guide train for maximized casting distance with lighter lures….

MSRP is $99.95-$119.95.

5. Sufix ProMix Braid

When I first saw the name I was like, Is this potting soil?? HAHAHA right? But…didja know Sufix already has ProMix Mono, so this is the braid version. What “ProMix” means is their pros requested it:

> “We took every characteristic that pros tell us they want in a braid — zero stretch, high abrasion resistance, floatation, tight weave and roundness — and on top of that, made it so it would hold its color for twice as long,” said Ben Miller, Sufix product development mgr. “And we’ve done it at a price point [$12.99 on TW] you can appreciate if you fish a few times a year or every week.”

6. Okuma Psycho Stick Bass Rods

How can you not love that name! Okay more importantly, sounds like these are high end with a middle-type price point — $219.99 on TW, spinning rods here:

> …light and responsive blanks are made from 46-ton, low-resin carbon featuring UMR: Ultimate Matrix Reinforcement technology. These rods feature top-notch components with Fuji KW-concept angled guide frames as well as Fuji Sic guide inserts with deep-pressed frames.

> The SeaGuide injected carbon reel seat and rear grip is minimal. The double-locking screw-down carbon hood design keeps your reel firmly in place.

I’m sure we all have at least 1 bassin’ bud that could have a “psycho stick” nickname, but consider this: Every friend Mike Iaconelli has in south Jersey could have that nickname. That’s how scary it is over there man….

What I like about Okuma: They’re restless. They keep cranking out new and improved stuff, even some limited editions like the Chroma spinning reel.

7. YETI Daytrip Lunchbox

Said it last week: From what I’ve seen, YETI only makes dang-good stuff. This lunchbox actually would be great for my one kid still in high school or to stick in the boat box without having to bring a Hopper Flip 12 or Flip 8 soft cooler:

> This fresh-for-hours, easy-to-clean lunch box is loaded to the gills with insulation power, engineered with a water-resistant exterior, and built with a rock-solid form factor so it holds its own when riding in backpacks and bags.

Got more ICAST stuff just not sure when I’m gettin’ to it!

On BassBlaster.rocks right now…
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of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started BassFan.com, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

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