• Editor's note: This article is from BASSMASTER Magazine. For additional features, visit BASS INSIDER.
Every year the lure selection at the ICAST tackle trade show gets larger, and this year was certainly no exception. While there were many modifications of existing lures in evidence, there were also a lot of new ones, as well.
Somewhat surprising, perhaps, was that this year's "hot" bait was a frog. Many companies offered their own version of Zoom's Horny Toad, while others worked on new hollow-body models. Spro's hollow frog, designed by BASS pro Dean Rojas, won the Best of Show award in the soft plastics category.
Swimbaits also are becoming more widespread, and this year a number of truly remarkable lures were introduced, particularly from Castaic.
All in all, there will be no shortage of lures to look at in the months ahead. Here's a preview of the best:
1. BAGLEY FISHING PRODUCTS (www.bagleybait.com; 239-693-7070) Of special interest this year is the Bagley Classic Winners, a collection of the four Bagley crankbaits that won the Bassmaster Classic in 1974, 1976, 2000 and 2004. Also new is the Classic Spinner Shad, a topwater shad imitation with a tail prop. Originally designed in the 1980s, the prop has been re-designed for more effective action. Those who enjoy fishing topwater crankbaits over grass will welcome the Bulgin' B6, a large wood crankbait that offers plenty of wobble while creating a big water bulge at the surface.
2. BANDIT (www.banditlures.com; 662-563-8450) Chris Ross' Bandit crankbaits have become some of the most popular in bass fishing, and for good reason: They catch fish. Ross has made them even more appealing to the finny crowd this year by offering three new colors: baby bream, speckled shad and pineapple. All lure series are available with these new colors.
3. BASS ASSASSIN (www.bassassassin.com; 386-294-1049) New here is the Eager Beaver, a special hand-poured creature bait that works well both on Carolina rigs and for flipping. It's available in 3-,
4-, and 5-inch sizes so it will attract both largemouth and smallmouth. Plastic worm lovers will also enjoy using the new K.O. Assassin, a wacky worm that's slightly weighted at both ends to provide action as the worm is falling, as well as when you twitch your rod tip. Both are available in more than a dozen colors.
4. BERKLEY (www.berkley-fishing.com; 877-777-3850) Among several new lures introduced this year, anglers will certainly welcome Berkley's Bat Wing Frog in the Gulp lineup. This 4-inch frog comes in five color choices and can be rigged for flipping and pitching, on a Texas rig, as a jig trailer, or weightless so you can buzz it on the surface. With the Gulp technology, the frog leaves a scent trail in the water, too.
Other new bass lures include the PowerBait Realistix Minnow, an imitation split-tail minnow that ought to work well in finesse conditions. It's available in 2-, 3- and 4-inch sizes and in seven colors, and comes pre-rigged with 1/16-, 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jigheads, too.
There's no question floating frogs have become some of the most popular lures in bass fishing, and Berkley answers the challenge with its PowerBait Realistix Kicker Frog, a 4-inch lure with realistic colors and legs that kick whenever you move the lure. It comes pre-rigged with a 4/0 wide gap Mustad Ultra Point hook, so you can tie it on immediately and let the big ones come to you.
In other news, Berkley offers the 5-inch PowerBait Sinking Minnow, a sinking stickworm available in 8 colors; the 4-inch Sparkle Power Tube Minnow; the 3-inch Sparkle Drop Shot Power Bass Minnow; and the Power Bait Realistix Freshwater Pogy, available in six colors in both 3- and 4-inch sizes.
5. BILL LEWIS LURES (www.rat-l-trap.com; 800-633-4861) Four new Holographic Scale finishes are offered to make your Rat-L-Trap fishing even better. Spectacular paint and the reflective holographic film are combined to create bream yellow, bluegill red, blue streak and transparent hues.
6. BITIN' TITAN (www.bitintitan.com; 248-703-8039) If you like titanium, then you'll appreciate Bitin' Titan's two new bass lures: the Titanium Spoon and the Titanium Spinnerbait. The spoons are available in 2 7/8- and 3 3/4-inch lengths, so you can use them under a variety of conditions; the spinnerbaits are offered in 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and in a variety of colors produced by the use of holographic tape. The spinnerbait blades are titanium.
7. BOMBER (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) The new 4A crankbait joins an already impressive family of diving lures. This one works the 3- to 6-foot depth range where you can bounce it through brush and rocks. A specially-designed lip helps deflect the lure; 14 color choices are offered. In other news, Bomber offers new 1/4- and 1/2-ounce sizes and four new colors to the Slab Spoon lineup, and eight new color options have been added to the Fat A crankbait line.
8. BOOYAH (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) The Booyah Tux & Tails spinnerbait line gets three new colors including Citrus Shad and Rootbeer Chartreuse. Likewise, the Counter Strike spinnerbaits get five new colors. There's a new 7/16-ounce Pro BOO Bug jig, a finesse jig with a Mustad Heavy Ultra Point hook, which means you can go after rowdy smallmouth around rocks and other hard-to-get-to places.
9. BRAD'S (www.bsfishtales.com; 360-423-9365) New from Brad's is the Echip Wiggler crankbait, featuring a crystal chip inside that sends out a high-pitch frequency sound wave as the lure wobbles back on retrieve. The lures are available in 3/8- and 3/4-ounce sizes and dive to 13 and 18 feet, respectively.
10. BUCKEYE LURES (www.buckeyelures.com; 706-863-5468) Angler Dwayne Horton has designed a new buzzbait for Buckeye, the DH2, which features two additional small willowleaf blades attached by a Sampo swivel and wire to each side of the head of the buzzbait. These blades not only create extra water commotion, but also help slow the lure so you can fish it more effectively over hydrilla and other cover. It's available in 1/4- and 3/8-ounce sizes and in four colors.
11. CASTAIC SOFT BAIT (www.castaicsoftbait.com; 520-281-5108) Castaic's new Platinum series soft plastic swimbaits are among the best looking lures of this type. Gone is the hard plastic lip common on many swimbaits, as is the fat, boot-type paddle tail that many lures depend on for action. These one-piece lures are notched so they swim and wobble naturally as you retrieve them. Three models floating, slow-sinking and fast-sinking are offered in 6-, 8- and 10-inch sizes and in 23 colors.
12. CAVITRON LURES (www.cavitronlures.com; 866-454-6487) This year, the well-known Cavitron Buzzbait, designed by BASS pro Lee Bailey Jr., sports a red Gamakatsu hook as well as the option of a red anodized blade. Standard features include an angled head wire that allows the head and hook to ride slightly lower in the water for improved hookups; sizes available are 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 ounce; and five color choices are available.
13. CLASSIC FISHING PRODUCTS (www.culprit.com; 407-656-6133) This year the majority of anglers in the Northern Open at Lake Erie fished a soft plastic lure that imitates the goby, and this year, Culprit offers a well-detailed, 4-inch plastic Goby that the smallmouth ought to love. You can get it with a matching jighead, or you can rig it for drop shotting, Texas and Carolina rigging, or even fish it weightless.
The new Pro Frog is designed to be fished across the surface, especially around lily pads and other green stuff where frogs and bass hang out. It measures 4 inches in length, so it'll attract the big fish, too. A selection of 16 colors is offered. Also new is the Flippin' Craw, which has enough arms and legs to look like a creature bait. Nonetheless, both the 3- and 4-inch models will work not only for flipping, but also on Carolina rigs.
14. CRITTERBAIT TACKLE (www.critterbait.com; 913-393-2486) No matter how much you like jig fishing, CritterBait's new models will probably make you like it even more. The reason is the Flippin' Jig (1/4 and 3/8 ounce), Football Jig (1/2 and 3/4 ounce), and the Swim Jig (3/8 and 1/2 ounce) each have a small keeper wire extending out of the head for rigging a plastic trailer. It's in perfect alignment with the hook point, so you have a weedless jig to throw anywhere. A total of 13 colors are offered for each, with or without rattles. CritterBait also offers jigheads (with the same keeper system) for plastic worms, too.
15. DAVE'S LURES (www.daveslures.com; 405-321-0000) The Mean Streak is a 3 1/4-inch metal-lipped crankbait with a jointed tail section that gives the lure plenty of swimming vibration as it dives down to 8 feet. The tail is connected with a steel link, so even when a 10-pounder slams it, the lure won't come apart. It's offered in 31 colors.
For those who like their bass on top, the Ka-Pop is a small, 2-inch surface popper with a larger-than-usual popping face. You can even "walk" it between pops. Two internal steel rattles make extra noise, and the mylar skirt creates a realistic appearance. Eight colors are available. Also new is the Sparx series of jerkbaits, available in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch sizes. These lures feature highly reflective bodies (holographic inserts), No. 4 Eagle Claw trebles, and mylar tails.
16. DOC WATERS (www.docwater slures.com; 866-362-5873) New here is the 6-inch Salt Lick Lizard, which features heavy salt along the spine for added weight but reduced salt in the legs and tail to give them better action. Fish it weightless around shallow weeds and bushes, or put it on a Carolina rig for deeper exploring. Also new here is the 4 1/2-inch Man-O-War Flippin' Tube, which has a solid head for stronger rigging and the spiral body design for action. The skirt has both inner and outer tentacles of contrasting colors.
17. FALCON LURES (www.falcon lures.com; 337-232-7326) This year Falcon Lures continues to expand its lineup with the introduction of Western series spinnerbaits, which feature a choice of either tandem or triple willowleaf blades. Both have more compact head designs and the blades are smaller for clear water; 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes are offered. Traditional spinnerbaits with larger blades are also available in tandem willowleaf in 3/8 and 1/2 ounce.
If you're looking for the perfect hook for wacky rigging, look no further than Falcon's "K" Wacky hook, which is available weighted (1/32, 1/16 and 3/32 ounce) or weightless, and also with a closed weedguard. Available in both 3/0 and 6/0 sizes, this is the hook that won the Bassmaster Northern Open at Champlain.
18. FISHER INTERNATIONAL (www.justcastnets.com; 800-356-5464) The Strike More series features a variety of lures including jerkbaits, swimming shad, crankbaits, topwaters and spoons. All feature beautiful designs and finishes, rattles, and enough action to get anybody out on the water well before daylight. For a swimming, vibrating lipless crankbait, look at model LUSMJL-066.
19. FOODSOURCE LURE CORP. (www.fslures.com; 866-375-8737) This Birmingham-based firm continues to impress the fishing world with its lures molded entirely of real food. They closely resemble familiar soft plastic lures but are made of 100 percent food and leave a scent trail in the water. Of particular interest this year to bass fishermen are 4-inch Minnows, which can be fished like jerkbaits or used with drop shots; and Trailer Baits, which can be used as spinnerbait and jig trailers, or fished alone. Each is available in a variety of colors.
20. GAMBLER LURES (www.gambler-bang.com; 954-969-1772) The Ugly Otter works as well when buzzed across the surface as it does when flipped or Carolina rigged. It's actually a 4-inch soft plastic paddle tail creature bait, except it has extra paddle legs on the body that give it more bulk and action. If you split the paddles with a scissor, it becomes a great swimming lure. It's offered in 15 colors. The Gambler Bleeding Soft Baits are soft plastics in which the red paint is poured into the bait to produce the "bleeding" appearance. The new Cane Toad is a 4-inch plastic frog that, because of its body and leg design, you can reel slower than normal and still keep on the surface. It's available in seven colors.
21. THE GAPEN CO. (www.gapen.com; 763-263-3558) Dan Gapen has probably caught more fish than any other two people combined, but you can start catching up by using three of his new ICAST lures. They're part of his "Polish" baits: the Polish Bluegill, the Deep Polish Shad, and the Polish Crappie. The lures are made of foam and have a through-wire eye connecting to the hook holder, so nothing's going to get away. Three different models of the Bluegill will dive to 2, 4, and 12 feet. The Deep Shad is offered in 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-inch sizes, so it's actually a type of diving swimbait, and you can get it down to 14 feet.
22. HART (www.harttackle.com; 800-543-0774) New here is the Hart Thang, a spinnerbait that includes a Flashaboo plastic replica of a threadfin shad attached to the wire in all that empty space between the lure's head and the line tie. It does not affect the lure's action in any manner, but it does dramatically increase the spinnerbait's visual attraction.
It's been over a year in development, but now the new Justice Jig is available to the public from Hart. Designer Chuck Justice has caught more than 140 largemouth topping 10 pounds with this jig in Oklahoma public lakes, so you know it works. The key feature is the jig's head, where the eyelet is molded in. You can throw it into thick cover or grass, and it won't snag. A flat spot on the head also lets it stand up on the bottom. Sizes are 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 1 ounce, and nine colors are offered.
23. HEDDON (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) The SwayBack Spook features a slightly arched back, so its nose and tail sit higher in the water. That means you can "walk" the lure easily, and it moves more water when you do. Six color choices are offered.
24. JEWEL BAIT CO. (www.jewelbait.com; 800-458-7370) BASS pro Jim Eakins has been designing and fishing jigs for years, but he's really excited about his latest creation, the 5/8-ounce Football Jig. This concave-headed jig with a fiber weedguard slides through brush trees and rocks without a whimper, and the custom Mustad hook holds bass when they hit. Nine colors are offered.
25. KICKER FISH BAIT CO. (www.kickerfishbait.com; 281-470-2277) This year, Kicker introduces the Kicker Kraw and Kicker Kraw Jr. Designed with the help of BASS pro Cody Bird, the Kicker Kraw has a solid, ribbed body for strength and vibration. The Kraw's body wings ought to eliminate line twist and keep the bait running true, while its diamond cut tube tentacles provide increased movement. The Kraw can be used as a jig trailer, Texas rigged, or Carolina rigged, and it moves like a buzzbait when fished on top.
26. L&S BAIT CO. (www.mirrolure.com; 727-584-7691) Each year more and more bass fishermen realize that some saltwater lures also perform well in freshwater, and this year two new MirroLures will probably see more than their share of bass action. The MirrOminnow is a see-through suspending twitchbait available in 3/8 ounce that works down to about 18 feet. For topwater fans, the Top Dog Jr. deserves a look. This 4-inch floater can be twitched and sashayed over shallow points and through stump fields; internal rattles add to its attractiveness.
27. LEE SISSON LURES (www.leesissonlures.com; 863-967-4036) This year the crankbait master introduces his Premium Balsa Series, after years of being begged to do so by some of America's top bass pros. The wait was worth it; Sisson has brought back memories of the 1970s when balsa was king. With eight different models, both fat and flat-sided divers are included; all have great wobbling action, but with sparkling paint finishes, 3D eyes and Bleeding Bait hooks.
28. LUCKY CRAFT (www.luckycraft.com; 714-241-8484) Several new lures highlight Lucky Craft's 2005 new product list. Among them are the Slender Pointer, a skinny version of the well-known jerkbait, but with 3 hooks. It's not just a finesse bait for cold water; this one catches both numbers and quality bass. It's available in 4-, 4 1/2- and 5-inch lengths, so you can chase smallmouth, too.
The Fat CB B.D.S. 2 is a 2 1/2-inch nonrattling, wide wobbling crankbait designed for use when fishing shallow brush and vegetation. In the lipless crankbait category, Lucky Craft introduces the LVR series, which has a sharper, faster vibration than the earlier LV series. The topwater Live Sammy is available as a jointed version of the popular walking bait, as well as in wood.
29. LUHR-JENSEN (www.luhrjen sen.com; 800-535-1711) For years LJ's topwater Woodchopper has been the lure of choice for South American peacock bass, and this year they have widened its appeal by introducing the Woodchopper Slim, a thinner version of the rear-prop, cigar-sized lure. You can use this one for those Brazilian monsters, but the smaller profile should make it more attractive to largemouth, too. In other news, Luhr-Jensen offers five new finishes in its Hot Lips, Radar and Speed Trap crankbaits.
30. MANN'S (www.mannsbait.com; 800-841-8435) The biggest news at Mann's is the new HardNose series of soft plastics, and they certainly were popular at ICAST. These lures, which include a Swim Toad, Flippin' Craw, 6-inch Worm, 6-inch Lizard, Jerkbait and a paddle tail Mullet, all feature a distinct hard plastic head, so the lure stays hooked better, doesn't slide down your line and doesn't get torn up when you insert and bury the hook eye. These are especially important considerations when you're fishing through vegetation that tends to pull a lure down the hook.
Also new are the Super Frog, a hollow-body, floating frog with twin skirts for legs and a big Gamakatsu hook.
31. MEAT & POTATOES TACKLE (www.meatandpotatoes.net; 770-345-6012) Although these lures have been used privately for years, this Georgia-based firm officially enters the lure market this year with several innovative items. One is the HotBack, a weedless crankbait that has the body and lip of a regular crankbait but utilizes a single wide gap hook coming up out of the tail, along with a wire weedguard to keep it from snagging. Two models that dive to 8 feet and 15 feet are offered. Another new lure, the Termite, is a lipless crankbait with the same single, weedless hook configuration as the HotBack. Also introduced at ICAST was the Long Arm spinnerbait that uses marabou feathers as well as an extra-long frame.
32. MIZMO (www.mizmo.com; 870-932-2490) In keeping with its tradition of producing lures that really solve fishing problems, this year Mizmo introduces the Slim Jim Finesse Tube, a 3 1/2-inch slender profile tube, more than half of which is neck so you can still use a big 4/0 hook. Overall, you can use this tube on a drop shot, on a jighead, or you can flip it into the thick stuff. Ten colors are offered.
Also new are Quiver Stix, 5-inch stickworms loaded with salt; and the Diamond Craw, a jig trailer with tapered, diamond-shaped pincers. You don't have to limit it to a jig trailer; it will do fine Texas rigged, too.
33. NEMIRE LURES (www.nemire lures.com; 800-232-9909) Until now, the fishing world only knew topwater spoons in gold, silver or black, but this year John Nemire changed the rules. His famous Red Ripper spoons, as well as his Spoon Buzzers, are available in beautiful colors, including chartreuse, red, fluorescent green, purple and white. Skirts match them, too, and you can mix blade/spoon colors with the Spoon Buzzers. Sizes available are 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 and 5/8 ounce. Three decades ago, wobbling surface spoons were the standard for Toho and other grass-filled lakes. It will be interesting to see how the bass react to these lures, since they've never seen them in these colors.
34. NORMARK CORP. (www.rapala.com) This year the new Rapala X-Rap series of hard crankbaits won the Best of Show award in the hard lure category. Last year, Rapala introduced the X-Rap 10, and this year four additional models have been added. These are jerkbaits with an attitude (some call them slash baits), because when you really jerk them they make hard, sharp turns and cuts an erratic action that triggers purely reflex strikes. The new models are the X-Rap 14 (5 1/2 inch), X-Rap Jointed Shad (5 1/4 inch), X-Rap Magnum 30 (6 1/4 inch), and the X-Rap-08 (3 1/8 inch). All feature flash foil hiding the rear treble, and internal tungsten rattles.
Also new is the Twitchin' Rap, a suspending balsa twitch bait designed for shallow water. It weighs 3/8 ounce, has VMC hooks, and comes in 6 color choices. It sinks slowly, so you can fish it effectively in less than 2 feet of water.
35. OPTIMUM BAITS (www.optimumbaits.com; 951-676-6384) For swimbait fans, Allan Cole's newest creation, the A.C. Mag Shad, is sure to draw some attention. It's a 7-inch jointed wood bait with flat sides, so it has a tighter vibration than last year's A.C. Minnow. It also will dive deeper. Another new swimbait is the 6-inch Weedless Titan, which features a pre-rigged weedless hook (you can add a treble to the belly). This is a solid plastic lure and joins the already existing 5-inch model.
36. OUTDOOR INNOVATIONS (www.terminatorlures.com; 800-944-4766) New from Terminator are the Super Stainless Spinnerbait and Buzzbait, both with a new type of Super Stainless wire frame that is 30 percent more bend resistant, but which offers nearly 50 percent more vibration than ordinary spinnerbaits, according to the company. Pro staffers liked the new wire so much they didn't want to give their samples back. Other new features for the spinnerbait include a new Dirty Water color with a red blade, hook and red-tipped skirt. In the new Red Series of spinnerbaits, heads, hooks and Colorado blades are red.
37. PACE PRODUCTS (www.megabait.net; 714-773-4132) Last year the 5- and 6-inch MegaBait L.A. Slider, a soft plastic swimbait with a weighted jighead rigged inside the body, won Best of Show at ICAST for soft plastic lures. This year, new 3-, 4- and 7 1/2-inch sizes have been added to the family. The 3- and 4-inch models are available with either a 2/0 or 3/0 jighead, while the 7 1/2-inch Slider takes a huge 8/0 jighead.
Also new is the Mr. Bill, a sinking soft plastic crankbait/swimbait available in 3 1/2, 5 and 7 inches. What makes these lures interesting is that you can change lures simply by pulling out the lure's weight and pin and inserting it into a lure of a different color.
38. PERSUADER AMERICAN (www.persuaderamerican.com; 925-820-5543) This year Persuader introduces the Jig Craw Trailer, a hand-poured, salt-impregnated 2 1/2-inch crawfish-type jig trailer with pincers and feelers, so something's always wiggling or waving in the water. Eight color choices are offered.
39. PRECISION TACKLE (www.revengebaits.com) If you like flipping heavy jigs through thick, matted vegetation, Revenge Jigs will certainly penetrate the cover. Ranging in weight from 1/8 ounces up to a hefty 2 ounces, these lures are among the heaviest grass jigs around. Revenge also has Deeprunner spinnerbaits weighing 1 1/4 ounce that feature tandem willowleaf blades, Mustad Ultra-Point hooks, and stainless steel ball bearing swivels.
40. RAD LURES (www.radlures.com; 864-942-1800) The new Chatter Bait offers the flash of a spinnerbait, vibration of a crankbait and profile of a jig. All this is accomplished on the Chatter Bait with a blade on the eyelet of a jighead. This blade, in addition to vibrating from water movement, also keeps the jig hook pointed up, so the lure seldom gets snagged. You can remove the normal jig skirt and trailer and put on a plastic jerkbait, and the lure acts more like a crankbait; put on a grub or creature bait, and it acts like a jig.
41. REBEL (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) The Rebel Tracdown Minnow is a sinking minnow bait you can count down to where the big guys hang out, then twitch it for a strike. It's essentially a small jerkbait.
42. RIVER2SEA (www.river2seausa.com; 510-237-2405) New this year is the Gary Dobyns Signature Series of lures, including hand-tied jigs and three different models of jerkbaits. The Tungsten Touchdown Jig is available in five sizes; the jerkbaits (Dobyns calls them ripbaits) run unusually deep and should be effective.
Other new lures here include the Cha Cha, a shallow running, wobbling crankbait; the Tungsten Vibe, a lipless, rattling crankbait; and the Wood'n Slither, a three-piece swimbait carved from Indonesian Jelutong.
43. SNAG PROOF (www.snagproof.com; 513-489-6483) This year frogmeister Harry Ehlers brings out the Pro Series Poppin' Frog, a hollow-bodied frog with an extra-large concave face that produces louder pops and more spray each time you twitch it. Premium Owner double hooks and a new silicone skirt are standard, and you can fool the bass with four different colors.
44. SPIKE-IT (www.ispikeit.com; 912-842-2653) New here is Bloodfusion, a series of soft plastic lures with plenty of red infused into the plastic to simulate an injured, bleeding look. Available are a 6-inch floating worm, a 5-inch jerkbait, a 5-inch craw, a 4-inch tube, a frog and a 4 1/2-inch lizard. A variety of color choices are available for each, but all have plenty of red in them.
45. SPRO (www.spro.com; 770-919-1722) This year Spro came to ICAST with several new products, and one of them, the Dean Rojas Signature Bronzeye Frog won the Best of Show award for the best soft plastic lure. Designed by BASS pro Rojas, the Bronzeye weighs 5/8 ounce, so you can cast it clear across a weedbed or to the far edge of the cove it'll draw attention to itself in cover or open water. In the first seven months of 2005, Rojas won $60,000 with this lure; and at the Elite 50 at Lake Dardanelle, his frog caught a 7-2 largemouth that was big bass of the tournament.
Also introduced this year are the Aruku Shad, a lipless crankbait, and the Spro Dawg 100, a 9/16-ounce topwater walking bait. Both were developed by veteran Roland Martin. The Aruku Shad is actually designed to nose along the bottom.
46. STANLEY (www.fishstanley.com; 936-876-5713) This year Stanley offers the Ribbit, a 4-inch plastic frog with turned-in paddle legs that kick like an outboard. You can skitter it through the pads and weeds, or churn it across the surface like a buzzbait. You also can add some weight and let it sink into fishy-looking pockets and around cover.
The new Buckshad is a plastic swimbait with an oversized Wedge Tail, so it really wobbles and swims through the water. The tail is so oversized, in fact, Stanley put in a rattle. You can run it just under the surface if bass are shallow or schooling; or let it sink, and swim it slowly at mid-depths. It comes pre-rigged with a 4/0 hook, too.
47. STORM (www.stormlures.com ; 952-933-7060) There's no question the Storm WildEye swimbaits have been extremely popular the past few years, and this year the newest member of the family, the Kickin' Minnow, adds another dimension to Storm's inventory. The soft plastic body is segmented to create a natural swimming motion; and a polycarbonate lip adds to the wobble as well as takes the lure beneath the surface. The red treble hook adds visual appeal. It's available in 4-, 6- and 10-inch sizes (the 10-inch model has 2 trebles).
The Thunder Core series features five new lures, all with a hard inner polycarbonate body covered by a softer outer skin. These are diving lures with lips and premium VMC hooks, and they're big baits, too. The series includes the Thunder Core Dawg, Squirter, Scoot N' Craw, Minner and Pilcher. The Scoot N' Craw is a realistic crawfish with a diving lip that lets you crawl it along the bottom. The Dawg is a 9-inch swimbait designed to look like a waterdog.
48. STRIKE KING (www.strikeking.com; 901-853-1455) Among the new offerings here is the Iguana, a 10-inch soft lizard designed for big bass. Rig it Texas style for specific targets or on a Carolina rig to cover more water. You can also rig it weightless and swim it through shallow weeds.
For small crankbait lovers, Strike King has the Mini 3, a downsized version of their Series 3 crankbait, which still dives to about 5 feet. It's available in 6 colors. Denny Brauer's famous Premier Pro Model Jig is now available in a heavier 3/4-ounce size for days when you need to penetrate thicker cover or fish a little deeper. The Deuce is the company's first double-blade buzzbait. The counter-rotating blades create more lift and allow you to fish the lure slower than normal. It's available in 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes and comes pre-rigged with a trailer hook. Also new is the Premier Plus Spinnerbait, featuring the Z-Man Perfect Skirt, ball bearing swivel, Flex Bend stainless steel wire, and holographic 3D eyes on the head. It's offered in 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes with various blade combinations.
49. TEAM SUPREME (www.team supremetackle.com; 800-393-6667) Some spinnerbaits here have quietly been catching quality bass for years in Louisiana, but as BASS pros O. T. Fears and Peter Thliveros have shown, they'll produce anywhere. One that's doing well is the Ruckus, which features an unusual blade designed by Jerry Hahn (it's called the Hahn blade). It's a combination Colorado/willowleaf in a single blade that produces a lot of flash and so much vibration that Team Supreme had to use heavier wire with it. It's offered in 1/4-, 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes in gold, silver or both.
Another spinnerbait included here is the Bling Blade, which features a treble hook on a swivel in place of the standard spinnerbait hook, so it works best in open water. You'll also like Peter T's Classic Shad spinnerbait, which has a shad-type head and is only available in shad colors. It comes through weeds and cover and is excellent in current or deep water. This is the lure he used to win the 2005 Bassmaster Tour event on the Harris Chain.
50. THORNWOOD LURES (www.thornwoodlures.com; 914-582-0911) Several new Jelutong wood crankbaits are offered this year. They include the Half Nelson, the lure you want for shallow brush and rocks, as it dives to just 18 inches; the Bank Robber, available in two sizes that dive to 4 or 6 feet; the Pan Fry, a flat-sided diver in shallow (5 feet) and deep (8 feet) models; and the Perp, a slightly larger crankbait you can get to 10 feet. Each of these lures features what is known as a "circuit board" lip, which is ultra-thin fiberglass (actually used in computer circuit boards), so the lures cut through the water easier. Thornwood also offers the Freestyler, a slow-sinking bait you can actually walk on the surface or let it go down so you can walk it under water. It's made of Brazilian cherry.
51. VERTICAL LURES (www.verticallures.com; 877-318-1142) New here is the Jig X, touted by the company as being the most weedless jig on the market. The boast comes from a design that puts the eye of the hook in the back of the bait, concealing the knot and tag end of your line from snags. A specially bent, heavy gauge Mustad Ultrapoint hook helps keep the bait from hanging up, as well. Three sizes and six colors are available.
52. WAVE INDUSTRIES ( www.wavefishing.com; 903-383-3573) The soft jerkbait has become an integral part of bass fishing in recent years, and the new 6-inch Tiki-Shaddick will draw plenty of interest from both anglers and bass. The ribbed body design increases action; it's salted and scented, too, and offered in 15 colors. Big-bass chasers should carefully study the 7-inch Tiki-Anaconda, 7-inch Tiki-Lobster and 7-inch Tiki-Moko Lizard. The Lizard features a tentacle tail (like a tube) that gives a different action and appearance, and the diamond-shaped head helps when you're crawling it through weeds.
53. XCALIBUR (www.xcaliburtackle.com; 479-782-8971) New here are the Xt3 Twitch Bait, a 3 1/8-inch jerkbait that's almost too pretty to fish, so you can bet bass will hit it; the Xs4 Stick Bait, a slightly larger 4 1/2-inch jerkbait with 3 trebles that has a wildly erratic action; the Xj4 Jimmy, an easy-to-use "walk the dog" topwater; the Xz2 Zell Pop, the pure Zell Rowland-designed popper everyone's been calling for; and the Xr50 Rattle Bait, a lipless crankbait with extra-loud rattles and a tight wobble. These are five established lures that have been technologically improved to produce even better results.
54. YAKIMA BAIT CO. (www.yakimabait.com; 509-854-1311) There's a smaller Showdown Blade this year, a 3/16-ounce version that may become your favorite jigging lure. Of course, you can cast it, let it fall, then pump it back with a series of climbs and drops, but it may not make it in for another cast. The Showdown has a lot of vibration, making it fun to fish.
55. GARY YAMAMOTO (www.baits.com; 800-645-2248) This year GYCB adds a 3 1/2-inch swimbait to its lineup, available in monochromatic and two-tone color combinations. The tail design, along with Yamamoto's magical plastic formula, gives this lure plenty of action and rigging possibilities. You can swim it, drop it, Carolina rig it or even take it to salt water where the redfish will hammer it. Nine colors are offered. Also new this year is the Fat Baby Craw, a stouter and slightly more compact imitation crawfish designed for flipping heavy cover, especially weeds. Rig this with a 1-ounce Yamamoto football head jig, and it will slide right through the greenery. Two-tone Senkos are now available, too, with tail colors that sharply contrast with the body.
56. YO-ZURI (www.yo-zuri.com; 888-336-9775) With many bass professionals dropping down in size to finesse type baits and light tackle spinning rods, the new Hardcore Shad SH-50 cranks should become a go-to lure for many anglers. Diving to depths of 6 feet, these diminutive baits are only 2 inches in length, suspend, and are available in Firetail colors. Also new to the company is the Livebait Shallow Vibe series. The latest in a "soft" hardbait technology, the Yo-Zuri Shallow Vibes are a soft-to-the-touch reaction bait. These baits have unique finishes designed to be different than other vibration baits (colors like Luminous and Crystal Clear/Red belly). There are no rattles in the Shallow Vibes, so they will appeal to skiddish bass.
57. YUM (www.lurenet.com; 479-782-8971) The BuzzFrog is a soft plastic frog you can buzz across the surface or slow down and twitch past logs and grass. Either way, the legs produce plenty of kicking action. With a hook slot, you can rig it completely weedless, too; ten colors are available. The 9-inch Houdini Shad, with its special tail that allows for a variety of modifications, is one to keep in your tacklebox for when a really big bass comes along. You can fish it like a worm or a soft jerkbait. The Forktail Dinger is another 9-inch soft plastic well-suited for larger bass; earlier Dingers had rounded tails (they're really stickworms), but the forked tail gives both a different appearance and swimming motion.
Yum has also added some new sizes to its Sweet Cheeks swimbait, available now in 3-, 3 1/2-, 4- and 5inches. Features include a scent chamber to hold your favorite attractant, which then disperses throughout your retrieve. It comes rigged with a weedless hook, so you can fish it through cover. There's also a new Craw Papi flipping and pitching lure, available in 2 1/2-, 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch sizes. It has a hollow body but heavier pincers and a solid tail.