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Bassmaster 2008 Gear Guide: Hot Baits For '08

Updated: December 1, 2007, 3:24 PM ET
By Steve Price | BASSMASTER Magazine, December 2007
While the fishing industry continued its ongoing consolidation — Jarden purchasing Pure Fishing, Yakima taking over Hildebrandt and Sisson — there certainly was no shortage of new lures at this year's ICAST show in Las Vegas.

Few trends were evident, with the possible exception of a renewed emphasis on the football head jig style. Long considered a jig design for deep water, it's now being made in lighter, more compact sizes for probing the prime 8- to 12-foot range.

Everybody now seems to have a shaky jighead, or a worm designed for a shaky head, even though that technique has been around for dozens of years as well.

In hard baits, a slew of shallow crankbaits were introduced, including several wake baits.

Lucky Craft is turning heads with its crankbaits and jerkbaits covered in real fish skin.

Here's a look at these and other hot baits for '08:


1. ABT Lures
Continuing his line of hard, jointed swimbaits, this year Allen Borden offers the Shad Rip Bait, a 4-inch floating beauty designed for fast, jerking retrieves that will take it down to 3 feet. It's the perfect size, and with 14 color choices, it's fishable anywhere. Because it stays shallow, you can work it over stumps, laydowns and even submerged grass, where the big ones hang out. Coming soon are ABT's first soft plastic swimbaits (5, 6 and 8 inches in length); prototypes already have taken fish over 15 pounds. (www.abtlures.com; 559-683-8202)

2. Alure Strobe Lures
Four Alure models contain a water/motion-activated flashing red strobe light. Lures include the Stealth, a sinking, deep running crankbait; the Assassin, a 4- to 6-foot diver; the One, a crankbait that hits 16 feet; and the Sniper, a topwater splasher. With 1,000 hours of battery life, they'll flash a long time. (www.aluresales.com; 705-812-0886)

3. Bandit Lures
For years, anglers fishing Bandit crankbaits have been begging owner Chris Ross to build a really deep diver, and this year he has —the 700 Series. These plugs weigh a stout 7/8 ounce and dive to 17 feet when you're using 10-pound line. With their special weight transfer system, longer casts are a breeze, so it's easier to reach deep water, and the head design produces a tight wobble that makes cranking them at depth much easier. A dozen color choices are offered. (www.banditlures.com; 662-563-8450)

4. Bass Assassin
Robin Shriver's latest bass hunter is the Blurp, a soft plastic jerkbait with a long, needle-thin tail that's absolutely irresistible to fish, as Shriver has proved too many times to count. The reason may be an additive to the plastic that starts bubbling when it's in the water. The best way to rig the Blurp is weightless with a 4/0 hook that hides in a body slot so it's weedless, but you can also Texas rig it with a light weight, or even put it on a shaky head; any way you use it, it'll catch bass. The best color is Electric Chicken. (www.bassassassin.com; 386-294-1049)


5. Berkley
Berkley fans have a lot to excite them this year, as numerous new PowerBaits, Gulp and Frenzy lures soon will be on the shelves.

Anglers who like to fish spinnerjigs can choose between the Jointed Bladedancer and the Bladedancer Spin Dancer. The latter comes in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and features either tandem willowleaf blades or a single Colorado. The new 4-inch PowerBait Chigger Craw was one of the lures Boyd Duckett used to win the 2007 Bassmaster Classic. The Mud Critter is another 4-inch creature-type flipping bait with more appendages than the Chigger Craw. Along similar lines, the 4-inch Sabertail Burly Bug and the 5-inch Sabertail Tube are also multifunctional, suitable for flipping thick cover, or simply dragging around on the bottom. The Manic Shad is a PowerBait swimbait available in 3-, 4-, 5- and 7-inch sizes; it has a lip that allows it to roll like a crankbait. In PowerBait worms, the 6-inch Flippin' Tail, 5-inch Wacky Crawler and 5-inch Fat Dover Crawler also allow for plenty of imaginative fishing techniques.


Several new lures highlight the Gulp series, including a 4-inch Goby that should work well for drop shot rigs; a 10-inch Turtle Back Worm when you're fishing for huge bass; and a 2 1/2-inch Minnow, which also could be the perfect finesse drop shot bait. From the Frenzy side of the house, the Frenzy Popper is a new surface plug that pops, spits and walks; the Frenzy Rattl'r is a tight wobbling lipless crankbait available in 1/4-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce sizes; and the Frenzy Power Pop Frog is a floating frog with PowerBait Bungee legs that leave a scent trail. Also new from Berkley is Gulp Alive, rated to be 20 percent stronger than the original Gulp. It's sold in a plastic bucket filled with Gulp attractant. Baits available include 2-, 3- and 4-inch Minnows; 2- and 3-inch Minnow Grubs; and 3- and 5-inch Leeches. You rig these the same way you do any Gulp bait, and you can store them in the canister to "recharge" them after use. Berkley's admitted reason for introducing Gulp Alive is to go after the $600 million live bait market; future plans call for more and larger lures in this lineup. (www.purefishing.com; 877-777-3850)

6. Bill Lewis
Just when you thought the Bill Lewis Co. eventually would run out of new designs for the Rat-L-Trap, the company has come out with one of its best ideas ever, the Tail Chaser. It not only produces strong tail kicking action but also some of the most realistic sounds ever to come out of a Rat-L-Trap. Features include Set-Lok hooks, oval split rings and a new Dura-Shell finish that prevents chipping. It's available in 1/4- and 3/4-ounce sizes and in 18 colors. (www.rat-l-trap.com; 800-633-4861)

7. Bitin' Titan
If thump is what you're after in a spinnerbait, Bitin' Titan's titanium blade lures, available in willowleaf and Colorado styles, should fill your needs. Sizes include 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 ounce, with different blade combinations.

This winter you might enjoy the titanium spoons, which flutter at slower speeds than conventional spoons. (www.bitintitan.com; 248-703-8039)



8. Black Dog Bait Co.
Many think Black Dog's Shellcracker Bluegill is too pretty to fish. If you're afraid bass will mar the finish by chewing on it, don't cast it. It's part of a realistic looking line of lures — including the Lunker Punker, Weedless Minnow and Go-2 Minnow —that are either constructed from hard resin or handcarved from wood.

The wooden Lunker Punker (6- and 9-inch versions) is a "walking" topwater bait, while the handcarved Shellcracker (floating and sinking models) is a jointed baitfish imitation with glass eyes and a Lexan tail for more action. (www.blackdog baits.com; 925-292-9375)

9. Bomber
The famous Model A crankbait gets two new colors this year, Royal Shad and Royal Red, and they're beautiful. The Long A jerkbait is now available in bone finish, so fishermen will no longer have to scrape off the factory paint to achieve the look they're after. (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971)


10. Booyah Bait Co.
Among several new products is the Bi-You Buzz, a 3/8-ounce buzzbait with side-by-side blades that rotate in opposite directions. The result is a buzzbait that gets to the surface quickly and stays there, no matter how slowly you reel it. The HD Spinnerbait is a 3/8-ounce blade bait designed for surface burning in clear water.

(The special "weight-backward" head design lets you fish slowly, too.) Since its introduction two years ago, Booyah's Swim'n Jig has been a real hit everywhere because it opens up a new technique for fishing vegetation. This year it's been downsized to 1/4 ounce, while the Boogee Bait is available in new 1/4- and 1/2-ounce sizes. (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971)


11. Carr Specialty Baits
Carr produces artificial baits named Fishbites, using a special formula that replicates natural feeding stimulants and creates a scent trail to help keep fish interested. Bass anglers will probably want to try Fishbites Xtreme, a series of molded baits including 6-inch worms, 3-inch paddle-tail grubs and a 5-inch jerkbait. Normally, each Fishbite lasts 15 to 30 minutes as it gradually dissolves in the water — plenty of time to catch a hesitant largemouth. (www.fishbites.com; 877-840-2248)

12. Castaic Soft Bait
Castaic has modified its popular Platinum Series of soft swimbaits, making them out of solid plastic with an extra jointed segment. The new Rock Hard series includes 4-, 6- and 8-inch sizes and floating and slow sinking models. Five colors, including blue shad and golden shiner, are offered. Were they popular at ICAST? During the first two hours of the show, the company was swamped with orders. (www.castaicsoftbait.com; 520-281-5108)

13. Cotton Cordell
New colors are available this year for both the 1/4- and 1/2-ounce models of Super Spots, including Royal Shad, Royal Red, Wounded Shad, Copper Craw and Gold Shiner. This lipless crankbait is famous for the ease with which it comes through vegetation. (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971)

14. Crème Lure Co.
Almost every soft plastics manufacturer listed in this lure roundup should tip his hat to the founder of this company. In the late 1940s, Nick Crème cooked up a formula of vinyl, oils and pigment to produce one of the earliest and most effective versions of the plastic worm. By the late '50s, the Wiggle Worm had become a national phenomenon, and Crème Lure Company had grown from a garage business to a manufacturing plant in Texas, where they are still developing great new products. Anglers will enjoy using the 5-inch Whacky Stick, a plastic stickworm available in 12 colors. Rigging wacky style is just one way to fish this worm; you can also Texas rig it, put it on a Carolina rig, or just throw it out without any weight and let it sink slowly. (www.cremelure.com; 800-445-8737)


15. FoodSource Lures
Among the new products highlighted for bass fishermen this year by this Birmingham, Ala.-based company are the 3-inch Little Warrior, a creature bait suitable for pitching/flipping into heavy cover, and the 4-inch Tricky Worm, which can be used on drop shots, Texas rigs and Carolina rigs. FoodSource Lures, formed in 2003, produces a wide selection of molded baits that are produced from 100 percent real food and completely biodegradable. Since its inception, the company has become a player in both fresh and saltwater fishing. (www.fslures.com; 866-375-8737)


16. Gary Yamamoto
Several innovative products here from the Senko maestro deserve serious attention from bass fishermen everywhere. These include the 4-inch Swimming Senko, which pros already are saying is more versatile than last season's 5-inch version. Also new is the Flappin' Hog, a 3 3/4-inch creature bait with multiple legs and tails that never stop moving. With its compact shape, this one is perfect for getting into tight, grassy holes or even just crawling along a gravel point. There is a new round ball head jig here for shaky worm fishing, too; the Yamamoto version features a longer shaft so you can actually use slightly larger lures. It's available from 2/0 to 5/0 and in weights between 1/16 and 5/16 ounce. (www.baits.com; 800-645-2248)

17. Gene Larew
This well-known Oklahoma lure maker has several new soft plastics, perhaps the most unusual of which is the Biffle-O, an 8-inch tube featuring a long, thin tail. BASS winner Tommy Biffle, for whom the lure is named, rigs it on a 5/0 hook and fishes it as a weedless topwater, twitching it slightly to make the tail dance through weeds and other fishy-looking places. He'll put it on a Carolina rig or Texas rig, too. Twelve colors are offered. The veteran pro had a hand in designing the 5-inch Super Salt Biffle Craw, a flipping crawfish imitation saturated with salt. Rig this one with a 4/0 hook and a pegged, 5/16-ounce sinker and you're in business. Two other offerings include the Three-Legged Frog, which features a floating frog body with two salt-impregnated legs and a third curl-tail "leg" extending between them, and the El Salto Grande, a 12-inch plastic worm designed for monsters. It's full of salt, as well as Crave, a Larew-developed additive that helps trigger feeding responses. Finally, bass fishermen will welcome the 5-inch Salt Head Shaky Worm, which has a 3/4-inch "head" section that's not only a different color but also contains most of the lure's salt. The remainder of the worm is a different color and has far less salt so it floats higher. (www.GeneLarew.com; 918-272-7337)


18. Ike-Con Tackle
This Wisconsin company specializes in producing pre-rigged, scented plastic lures, including worms, craws and soft jerkbaits; if you're looking for lures to use in teaching a youngster the first steps of bass fishing, these are exactly what you're seeking. New this year is Bubba, a 12-inch worm with three hooks; it's available in regular or weedless models and in eight colors. Species-specific kits also are offered. (www.ikecon.com; 800-980-9676)









19. Jackall
Both hard and soft plastic lures are offered this year by this famous Japanese lure company, one of which even introduces a new finesse fishing technique. It's the 4 1/2-inch Flick Shake, a worm designed for shaky fishing.

You can fish it that way if you like, and you can drop shot it, but Japanese pros are wacky rigging this one with a round ball shaky head jig. This technique won the co-angler division at the Elite Series opener on Lake Amistad this year. Also new is the Cross Tail Shad, a 4-inch hand-poured worm designed specifically for drop shotting. The flatter tail design increases the lure's overall action. In hard plastics, the MC/60MR is a fast wobbling 3/8-ounce crankbait that should reach 7 feet deep, while the MC/60SR will dive to 4 feet. Also new is the Giron, a 4-inch hard plastic jointed swimbait designed to imitate a panfish. Because it sinks, you can swim it, twitch it or jerk it. (www.jackall-lures.com; 562-493-0300)

20. Jewel Bait Co.
When you're fishing extremely thick, gnarly places, you need a heavy jig, just like Jewel's new 1-ounce Football Jig. Featuring a 5/0 black nickel Mustad Ultrapoint hook, double collar skirt, concave face, fiber weedguard and stand-up head design, this may become your favorite heavy cover jig. Jewel is well-known for its smaller jigs, which have won in BASS competition, as well as for the Eakins Jig. (www.jewel bait.com; 800-458-7370)

21. Kicker Fish Bait Co.
Veteran bass pro Cody Bird has helped design new lures here that already have been used successfully in a number of national tournaments. They include the Xplodin Toad, a swimming frog with jointed legs that produce excellent swimming action. This 3 1/2-inch lure is available in floating and sinking models and seven colors; you can use a 5/0 hook with it, even with a trailer, if you're looking for giants. The new Hole Shot is a 4 3/4-inch finesse worm featuring seven air chambers that help keep the tail floating high, increase the worm's overall action and release tiny air bubbles that give it a more lifelike appearance. The new Kicker Kraw Jr. is a 3 1/4-inch crawfish bait suitable for use as a jig trailer or even fished alone. When BASS pro Kelly Jordon won the 2006 Bassmaster Elite event on the Potomac, he used the larger 4 1/4-inch version as a jig trailer; this smaller Kraw (green pumpkin) produced a 14 1/2-pound giant the same way at this year's Elite tournament on Amistad. (www.kicker fishbaitco.com; 281-470-2277)

22. L&S Bait Co.
Two new lures here deserve serious attention by bass hunters: the MirrOmullet and the MirrOlure Lipped Crankbait.

While L&S is best known for its saltwater offerings, these two lures will catch bass as well. The MirrOmullet is a topwater walking bait that features 3-D eyes and a luminescent insert to increase flash, and it's available in 13 colors.

The MirrOlure Lipped Crankbait is a 5/8-ounce MirrOlure with a diving lip that reaches as deep as 5 feet, depending on line size. (www.mirrolure.com; 727-584-7691)



23. Lake Resources
It's been estimated anglers in the United States discard or lose more than 12,000 tons of soft plastic lures annually, but the patented technology developed by Lake Resources CEO Ben Hobbins should change that. With the development of the IronClads, which remain firmly attached to the hook, anglers won't need as many lures, nor will they spend as much time re-rigging. The company produces a number of worms, grubs, tubes and shad imitations that are definitely worth a look. (www.lake resourcesgroup.com; 608-513-3535)


24. Leadhead Lures
There's no question fishermen have realized the versatility and effectiveness of football jigs, and Leadhead's Talon Series Weedless Football Jig includes a black nickel hook, light wire design, an improved skirt keeper and a head design that creates upright "rocking" when the lure is resting on the bottom. It's also coated with Intellicoat, a more durable coating that helps prevent chipping. The Lipstickers Pro Shaky Head jigs have the same Intellicoat coating, and also feature a custom, stainless steel Spring Lock Keeper to help keep your worms attached. They're available in 1/16-, 1/8-, 3/16- and 5/16-ounce sizes. (www.lead headlures.com; 409-625-1261)

25. Lightning Lure
If the Smithsonian and the Monterey Bay Aquarium both say light attracts fish, why not put light in your lures?

That's what this Ohio company has done with the Lightning Rod, a series of jigging spoons that include a small, long-lasting chemical light. The small light sticks are interchangeable and come in nine colors, so you can change according to the conditions. The spoons are available in four colors. (www.lightninglureinc.com; 419-483-6011)


26. Lindy
If you like jigging spoons, the Rattl'n Flyer Spoon from Lindy might be worth a try. Offered in 1/8-, 3/16- and 1/4-ounce sizes, the Flyer Spoon has a wide but tapered shape that lets it glide on a slack line, and now it has an extra-loud rattle and a red treble hook. (www.lindyfishing tackle.com; 218-829-1714)





27. Lucky Craft
New here is Real Skin, a technological advance that enables Lucky Craft to apply real squid skin to five of its best offerings: Pointer, Slender Pointer, Staysee, Flash Minnow and LVR D-7. The squid skin not only produces a beautiful and realistic finish, it also disperses scent. This isn't really new technology, but Lucky Craft has certainly developed it better and more attractively than anyone else; squid was used because of its lighter weight so it does not alter lure performance. Other new products include larger and smaller versions of the Real California Supreme swimbait; three new models of the Fat Mini crankbait; and four sizes of deep diving RC crankbaits. (www.luckycraft.com; 714-241-8484)


28. MacDaddy's
Last year's Million-Dollar Lure campaign was so successful the company has followed up with its Fishing for a Cure lure: a solid platinum spoon with a ribbon design of pink sapphires. These beautiful lures are meant for wearing as jewelry rather than fishing —just remove the hook first. Ten percent of sales will be donated to women's breast cancer research and recovery. (www.MacDaddysfishinglures.com; 805-473-9282)








29. Mann's Bait Co.
Now in its 51st year, this famous lure company on the shores of Lake Eufaula offers the C-4 Elite Series of lures, headlined by this year's wide-bodied crankbait that dives to 4 feet. It's a square-billed lure, so it dives a bit deeper than other crankbaits with this same lip design; other features include red hooks and 3-D eyes. Also new in the hard bait lineup here is The Waker. As its name implies, it wakes the surface no matter how quickly you reel it in, with high-speed retrieves giving the lure a buzzbait-like action. Other new products in the popular HardNose soft plastics lineup include the HardNose Mullet in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch sizes, a 6-inch HardNose Jerkbait, 6-inch Lizard, 6-inch Worm, 4-inch Flippin' Craw, 5-inch Swim Toad, 5-inch Finesse Worm, 9-inch Worm and Curl Tail Grubs in 2-, 3- and 4-inch sizes. Mann's was awarded a patent recently for its HardNose design. (www.mannsbait.com; 800-841-8435)





30. Minda Lures
The topwater Minda Lure represents a dying baitfish, but is quite unlike anything you've ever seen. This one has a hinged tail. To make it work, thread your line through the head and body and tie to the tail. Then, each time you twitch your line, the tail moves, just like a dying minnow. (www.mindalures.com; 866-649-2941)



31. Nemire Lures
For the past few years, John Nemire has been teaching us the lost art of fishing surface spoons. Thirty years ago, surface spoons probably accounted for more trophy bass in Florida than any other bait. This year, the new Spin Ripper takes spoon fishing to another level, as it incorporates a spinnerbait "safety pin" wire on the front of the spoon (on the normal line-tie) and willowleaf and Colorado blades. The spoons have sound chambers and weedguards; the blades let you fish the Spin Ripper deeper than normal. Several color choices, including gold or silver plated, are available. (www.nemirelures.com; 800-232-9909)

32. Normark
Two models of the Rapala X-Rap Shad, 2 1/2 and 3 1/8 inches long, are now available. The suspending crankbaits run 6 to 11 feet deep, respectively. Features include a feathered rear treble, holographic foil finish, 3-D eyes and an internal long-cast mechanism. The new
balsa DT Fat and DT Fat SureSet are wide-wobbling, square-billed crankbaits you can work right through limbs and stickups, where the big bass live. The wide body design ensures plenty of wobbling, even at slow speeds, and they'll dive to 3 feet. The new 5/8-ounce X-Rap SubWalk is a slow-sinking "walking" bait that lets you walk the dog 2 feet under the surface. It's a real beauty, with a feathered tail hook and sparkling X-Rap finish. (www.rapala.com; 800-874-4451)


33. Optimum Bait Co.
Without question, one of the top hard plastic lures shown at ICAST was the Roumba, a topwater waking bait designed by BASS Elite winner Fred Roumbanis, and the author's choice as one of the top three lures introduced at ICAST this year. The Roumba runs so shallow it's virtually weedless, and it'll come through brush and laydowns with ease. You don't even want to hear how many giants Roumbanis caught while testing this in the California Delta. If you want to ensure success on a child's first fishing trip, the Kid's Fishing Starter Kit will certainly help your chances. It includes everything you need, except a rod and reel: bobber, jighead, sinkers, stringers, hooks, plastic worms and other soft plastic lures, and a fishing handbook full of tips. (www.optimum baits.com; 951-676-6384)


34. Persuader American
The electronic E-Chip Flipping Jig employs new technology bass fishermen might see more frequently in years to come. The E-Chip crystal is mounted on the shank of the jig hook, and when you twitch the jig, it emits an electrical discharge similar to that given off by baitfish when disturbed, the company says. The chip, which never wears out, is hidden under the skirt so it's not noticeable. Sizes available are 3/8 and 5/8 ounce, and nine colors are offered. (www.per suaderamerican.com; 925-820-5543)

35. Picasso
Elite angler Jared Lintner designed the Finesse Spider Jig for Picasso, and it's available in 1/16-, 1/8- and 1/4-ounce sizes. Features include a special cone-shaped head, recessed line tie, and wide gap hook. Overall, the jig has a small, compact profile that will lend itself to a variety of tougher-than-you-like fishing conditions. And based on the success of Lintner in this year's Elite Series (he ended up in fifth place in the Angler of the Year race behind Skeet Reese, Kevin VanDam, Terry Scroggins and Aaron Martens — pretty impressive company), anglers would be wise to use any bait he helps design. (www.picassooutdoors.com; 724-349-2260)

36. Rattle Head Baits
This new Tennessee lure maker offers a different design in spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and jigs — a special head design incorporating a brass rattle chamber and a free-swinging hook. The sounds vary as retrieve speed or lure action changes. The hook has as much as 1/2 inch of side-to-side play, allowing it to generate extra rattle noise.

The spinnerbait is offered in 3/8-, 1/2- and 3/4-ounce sizes with different blade options; the 3/8-ounce buzzbait is available in five colors; and the jig is available in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and six colors. (www.rattlehead baits.com; 423-349-5348)


37. River2Sea
The Kong swimbait and the Rover 230 topwater bait are two new lures aimed at trophy bass hunters. The Kong, available in floating and slow-sinking models, is a hard plastic, double-jointed swimbait with soft fins that provide excellent action; it's available in 6 5/8- and 9-inch sizes and in six colors. Rover 230 originally was designed for peacock bass fishing along the Amazon, but regular largemouth attack it just as well. It's 9 inches long and also comes in six colors. (www.river2sea.com; 510-237-2405)




38. Sebile
Last year, Patrick Sebile turned heads at ICAST with his innovative lure designs, which feature an oily, shimmering liquid within somewhat transparent plastic shells. He follows that success with the Magic Swimmer, a three-jointed jerkbait without the diving lip. Steel balls inside help it sink slowly, enabling you to "walk the dog" beneath the surface. Four sizes are offered. The Ghost Walker is a topwater walking bait that you can easily walk wide or tight, simply by altering your rod tip action; Sebile recommends you start walking this lure with your rod tip up, not down. The Flatt Shad SU is a lipless vibrating crankbait that suspends a foot below the surface, allowing you to work it both fast and slow at the same depth. This was the author's runner-up choice for the best lure at ICAST. (www.sebileusa.com; 325-437-8103)


39. Slickfish
This unusual lure features twin retractable hooks, a design that makes it so weedless you can throw it anywhere.

The moment a fish hits, the torsion spring releases and the hooks do their job. It's a slow-sinking lure you can fish on the surface, in shallow stumps and over submerged vegetation. (www.slickfishlure.com; 866-378-3474)

40. Snag Proof
This year Snag Proof introduced the Bass Grabber Jig, the first jig with a Gamakatsu extra wide gap double hook. It has a split weedguard that protects both hooks so you can work heavy cover with ease. It's available in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and in six colors. (www.snagproof.com; 800-762-4773)

41. Southern Lure Company
The original Bigfoot, a hollow frog with extra big paddle feet, was so successful that company President Dan Cunningham created Little Bigfoot this year. It's just a little smaller, but with a 4/0 Owner hook it's fully capable of catching plenty of big bass; Cunningham's very first cast with the lure nailed an 8-pounder. The bubbling leg action produced by either of these lures is better than using a buzzbait, especially around cover. (www.scumfrog.com; 662-327-4548)


42. Spro
There's no question the Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog has changed how anglers view frog fishing, and last year's slightly smaller Bronzeye Jr. is actually outselling the original. That bodes well for King Daddy, the newest member of the Bronzeye family, a hefty 3/4-ounce floater that is bound to set some fish-catching records.

Walking this bait through the tules and pads will give you as much excitement as your heart can stand. Bill Siemantel, another Spro pro, has completed his Swimbait Techniques DVD, and if you ever wanted to learn how the California guys haul in those huge bass, you'll find the answers here. Spro also offers a wide selection of hard plastic poppers, crankbaits and minnow imitations, all designed by some of today's top bass pros. (www.spro.com; 770-919-1722)


43. Stanley Jigs
This season Stanley makes its presence known with three major introductions that should interest bass fishermen everywhere. The Hot Feet Frog is Stanley's popular water-churning frog bait, but with feet of a different color. For example, the green frog features motor oil orange feet, and the white frog has chartreuse feet. Lonnie Stanley caught a 9-2 lunker while field testing the bait. Also new from the East Texas lure maker is the Bug Eye Football Jig. It's available in 1/2- and 3/4-ounce sizes and features a 4/0 hook, Flashabou skirt, and protruding bug eyes that give it a distinct appearance. Stanley also offers the new Compact Spinnerbait, a smaller, compact 3/8-ounce beauty you'll want when you need to fill a quick limit, or when the water is cold. It features a 3/0 Mustad hook. (www.fishstanley.com; 936-876-5713)



44. Storm
The new Spin Tail Shad is sold in 3- and 4-inch versions and features a spinning tail blade and a single dorsal hook. The blade on the tail produces all the flash and vibration you'll need, especially when bass are schooling.

Two new sizes of the Big Bass crankbait — known for its subtle wobble and loud rattle— enable anglers to cover the 4- to 6-foot range. The Big Bass Square is a 2 1/2-inch crankbait with a square bill that helps it deflect off cover. And the Thunder Core Raz'r Back is a soft plastic crankbait with an internal skeleton that allows for the use of rattles and weights; the result is a long casting crankbait that rattles but has the action of soft plastic. (www.stormlures.com.com; 800-874-4451)


45. Strike King
Among several new products offered by this famous Tennessee lure maker, the soft Rage Tail lures have gotten the most attention. Four lures debuted this year: a Craw, Shad, Toad and Chunk. Each has been designed for a specific purpose or condition, but all four have exaggerated tail action that sets them apart. The Craw is great for punching through thick weeds, while the Shad and the Toad work best weightless with 4/0 or 5/0 wide gap hooks. The Chunk, of course, is a jig trailer. Also new are Coffee Tubes, tube lures scented with coffee bean oil, which not only tastes good to fish, but also helps mask human scents. The tubes are molded in subdued, more natural colors. The larger 4 1/2-inch tube has a solid head meant for flipping and pitching, while the smaller 3 1/2-inch model has a hollow head. Strike King's new Tour Grade Football Jig is available in sizes from 1/4 to 3/4 ounce, and all are suitable for deeper water. The wider football head provides better feel and allows the jig to stand up on the bottom, while the flat line tie improves hook sets. Five head/skirt coordinated colors are offered. Pure Poison is the name of the new swimming jig; with its unique head and front blade design, it vibrates even when it's not being retrieved. Four sizes, ranging from 3/16 to 1/2 ounce, are offered. (www.strikeking.com; 800-467-5873)

46. Sworming Hornet Lures
The Fish Head Shaker and Slingblade Flutter join the company's well-established line of Fish Head Spin lures. Imagine a jig hook ranging from 3/16 to 1/2 ounce with the head molded to closely resemble a baitfish.

Attach a willowleaf blade to its underside, then add your own favorite soft jerkbait trailer, and you have a Fish Head Spin, one of the most versatile lures of recent years. The Fish Head Shaker adds a clear urethane blade across the top of the lure's body that not only adds crankbait-like wobble but also makes the lure almost completely weedless so you can wind it through brush. The Slingblade Flutter doesn't use the urethane blade but instead incorporates a plastic screw-lock system to help keep a plastic worm, jerkbait or stickbait in place. (www.fishhead spin.com; 770-242-1489)

47. Tru-Tungsten
Finesse anglers will love Tru-Tungsten's 6-inch Stinger and Reverse Stinger, and 5-inch Dart and Reverse Dart worms, which are impregnated with tungsten powder for added weight. They produce a slower fall, even without a sinker. The weighted worms are offered in 1/32-, 1/16- and 1/8-ounce sizes. The Reverse Stinger and Reverse Dart are tail-heavy, meaning that when you jerk them forward and pause, they slide backward, like the old Flying Lures of infomercial fame. The Reverse Stinger was picked by the author as this year's top lure at ICAST. Also new here are Tru-Life Swimbaits, jointed swimbaits available in 7- and 8 1/2-inch sizes and four colors. These gorgeous swimbaits feature an internal chamber containing tungsten balls; remove one or more to alter the lure's sink rate. (www.tru-tungsten.com; 724-349-2260)


48. Vertical Lures
New here are the JigX, a football style weedless jig for heavy cover, and the ChunkX jig trailer. The jig itself features a unique line-through-head design that conceals the line tie eye and your knot (thus avoiding snags) by putting the line tie behind the head. Here's how it works: The line tie eye is hidden in an indention behind the jig head, so to access it, you must thread your line first through the head. It's simple, quick and extremely effective, and a tungsten insert protects your line against fraying. Sizes range from 1/4 to 1 ounce; five colors are offered. The ChunkX plastic trailer features special ridges for maximum water movement, as well as exaggerated legs that kick at any speed. (www.verticallures.com; 877-318-1142)


49. Vicious Fishing
Most think of Vicious for its fluorocarbon line, but the company offers a fine selection of jigs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and soft plastics designed by Bassmaster Elite angler Russ Lane. Jigs, both regular and football, range from 5/16 to 1 ounce; the spinnerbaits go from 1/4 to 1 ounce with a wide selection of blade combinations and colors. In the soft plastics department, take a look at the Shakin PT, a 4-inch worm that allows you to change the tail from a paddle-tail to a split-tail; you can shake it or drop shot it. Other plastics include the Big Daddy Craw, Slammin' Lizard and Pollywog. (www.vicious-fishing.com; 866-645-0024)


50. Wave Industries
Anglers familiar with this Lake Fork-area soft plastics manufacturer will welcome the new 10-inch Ribbon Tail Worm, which can be Texas rigged and crawled along the bottom wherever big fish live. It's available in 13 colors, but black, purple and red are all you need. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 4 1/2-inch Tiki-Finesse Worm makes an excellent drop shot bait, or you may want to fish it shaky style. It comes in 16 color choices. (www.wavefishing.com; 903-383-3573)





51. XCalibur
New here are the Rattle Bait Xr75 and the Xrk75 One Knocker. The Rattle Bait is a loud rattling, tight vibrating lipless crankbait weighing in at 3/4 ounce. If you're looking for slightly larger bass when you're raking submerged greenery at Rayburn this spring, try this one. Ten colors are offered. The Xrk75 One Knocker is a lipless crankbait with a single tungsten/lead weight inside. The sound is loud, but different from lipless baits with multiple rattles. If you're fishing in a crowd, tie this one on. Six colors are available. (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971)


52. Yakima Bait Co.
Yakima purchased Lee Sisson Lures (hard baits) and Hildebrandt (spinnerbaits) so now bass fishermen have a wide selection of proven fish-catchers from which to choose. New from Sisson are a dozen wooden weedless crankbaits, all featuring Sisson's patented Lip Guard System, which incorporates a simple lip guard wire that guides your line; to paraphrase a famous television insurance ad, it's so simple a caveman could do it. The lures include both shallow and deep divers, thumpers and stickbaits. Sisson also introduces several other deep divers (down to 15 feet) and square bills for shallow brush. From Hildebrandt, the new Pro Series spinnerbaits feature bismuth (not lead) construction in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and utilize a truly lifelike head design and Nature-Scales silicone skirt. (www.yakimabait.com; 509-854-1311)

53. Yum
Top BASS pro Terry Scroggins has designed several new soft plastic lures this year, among them the Big Show Craw and the Big Show PaddleWorm. If you follow Scroggins' tournament record, you know he's won a pile of money with these two lures. The Craw is a 3 1/2-inch flipping lure in which all the legs and pinchers fold in close to the body as the lure is falling, allowing better penetration into dense and matted weeds. A dozen colors are offered. The Big Show PaddleWorm comes in 6-, 7 1/2- and 10-inch sizes; the 6-inch model works well when you're shaking or split shotting; the larger versions can be Texas rigged. A total of 16 colors are offered.

Also new is the Doozee, an extra-long tube (6 and 8 inches) with a squid-like tail; you can fish this one a lot of different ways because of its solid head design. New colors are offered in the Boogee Tail spinnerbait/jig trailer, Wooly Bug creature bait and Craw Papi. (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971)



EDITOR'S CHOICE


Best Overall:
Tru-Tungsten's Reverse Stinger, a 6-inch plastic worm in which the tail is weighted with tungsten powder. Not only can you get by with a smaller sinker (if you use one at all), this lure will scoot backward after you jerk it and feed it slack line, meaning you can guide it into some real fishy looking places.







Runner-up:
Sebile's Flatt Shad 77 SU, a lipless crankbait that suspends a foot below the surface. All of Patrick Sebile's lures are imaginative and innovative in design but every bass fisherman owns a few lipless crankbaits. With this lure you can fish right behind another angler and catch fish that never looked at his lure.







Honorable Mention:
The Roumba, a topwater wake bait designed by Elite winner Fred Roumbanis for Optimum Bait Co. and IMA Japan. This surface wobbler will have you looking for places to throw it, just because it's so much fun to see it coming through the water, to say nothing of seeing a bass hit it.

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