ICAST trends

A small school of shad or a single crankbait? Live Target's BaitBall is both.

Indeed ICAST is a bewildering show, a fishing spectacle like no other. In truth, it would take several weeks to scour every exhibitor’s booth and truly digest the form and function of all the products displayed there. The show, however, only lasts three days, which goes by in a flash. But walk the floor of ICAST for three days and trends become apparent. And around those trends, smaller satellite trends form and so the tackle universe turns. Here’s a closer look at some the bass tackle trends from the 2013 ICAST show. To start, the shad-school illusion trend – where one lure is made to look like a school of baitfish – is big this year. We likely have the Alabama Rig to thank for this rage. But where as the castable umbrella rig raised some concerns about fair chase in professional fishing tournaments due to having multiple hooks on a line, now the object seems to be to retain the multiple-bait look within the conventional limits of traditional lures. If this sounds confusing, a good example is the Live Target BaitBall, which essentially encapsulates a shad school into a traditional crankbait or jerkbait body. These new lures will have to prove themselves on the water, but the concept of packing a super-realistic looking ball of shad into a lure body certainly has appeal.Umbrella rig or single spinnerbait? Z-Man's Quadzilla four-armed spinnerbait is the best of both. Another shining example of the shad-school-in-a-single-lure trend is the Quadzilla from Z-Man. The Quadzilla is essentially a four-bladed spinnerbait, which borrows from the umbrella rig concept in that it presents a school-of-shad look in the water, but it only has one skirted hook just as a traditional spinnerbait does. Also, despite having four bladed arms, the Quadzilla is remarkably compact for tight-quarters casting to laydowns or bushes. And since it only has one hook being defended by four wires, don’t be surprised if this lure is actually more snagless than a traditional spinnerbait. Next up is the Booyah Boo Rig – similar in some respects to the Quadzilla, except with the Booyah Boo Rig the trailing lure is left up to the user by way of flexible wire and a snap, allowing for a traditional crankbait, lipless rattler, or a swimbait to be snapped on. Mann’s Bait Company also revealed it’s own twist on the multiple-bait, single hook design with the Swimbaits or single swimjig? Mann's let's you be the judge with the Three For All.Three For All. This triplet of swimbaits – with the middle swimmer carrying the hardware of a swimjig head and hook – looks pretty promising, especially when the shad spawn gets hot and heavy. Mega-crankbaits make up the next category flaming up at ICAST. Of course Strike King’s 10XD provided the fuel for the fire of this trend towards super-sized crankbaits. At first sight, the 10XD looks like some kind of lure sight gag with its gargantuan profile. But Strike King’s own Phil Marks, who designed the bait, proved to the world that his mega-mauler was no joke when he won the FLW Tour open with it at Rayburn last fall, weighing in a 32-pound, 12-ounce bag the last day to win by over 16 pounds. The one that started the mega-crankbait craze: Strike King 10XD. Now Lucky Craft has also released a couple of behemoth crankers: The Skeet Reese Magnum Series featuring the SKT Mag 120DR (deep runner), weighing in at over 3 ounces and diving to 25 feet, and the SKT Mag 110MR (medium runner) weighing in at 2 ounces. Both of these mammoths are going to make waves, but the one to really watch here is the Mag 110MR because it is essentially a giant square bill crankbait. Traditional square-bill crankbaits are 2 to 3 inches in length and dive to about 5 feet. The SKT Mag 110MR just shattered that barrier at 4-1/2 inches long and labeled as reaching depths of 14 feet. Hello Guntersville, Chickamauga and Kentucky Lake! The Skeet Reese Magnum Series from Lucky Craft continues the mega-cranker trend.Not surprisingly the monster crankbait wave has, in turn, spurred on a whole revolution of new rods designed to handle the heft, bulk and depth of these enormous baits as well as the size of the bass these baits produce. Hence, more rod manufacturers are putting a “10XD” model into their line of rods. These rods are nearly 8 feet long and specifically designed to launch 2- to 4-ounce crankbaits on 15- to 20-pound test line. Check out 10XD models from Kistler (KLX Mark Rose Offshore 10XD rod), Halo Fishing (Xtra Deep Cranking Rod), Falcon (Lowrider XD Cranker) and 13 Fishing (Envy Black Crankenstein Rod) Crankbaits were not the only thing growing up on the show floor, either. Topwater spook-type baits are getting bigger – and louder – as well. Instead of stopping at 4-1/2 inches, the new benchmark in big spook-type baits looks to be 5 inches. Understandably, big topwaters are nothing new, but what doesHeddon's Chug'n Spook is big, loud and obnoxious on the surface. seem to be cutting the edge a bit in these baits is the contest to make them extremely loud (with a heavy “one-knocker” thunk) and to “spit” as much water as possible (with concave mouths). Pros have discovered that in certain situations, big bass will travel a long way to crush one of these hulking noisemakers, so big and obnoxious is in on top. Heddon’s new-ish Chug’n Spook is a perfect example of these bigger, noisier, splashier baits. The Chug’n Spook was actually released last year and is now earning a place in pros’ boxes to fit the big topwater bill. At nearly 5-inches in length and complete with the one-knocker sound, the lure gets it’s name from the fresh concave mouth that helps produce plenty of splash with the noise. Damiki's Rambler 120 topwater is big, loud and splashy.Damiki’s new Rambler 120 will get a lot of attention with its noisemaking ability, too. Checking in at 4-3/4 inch in size, the Rambler has tungsten and glass rattles as well as a concave mouth to produce a lot of racquet on the surface. Although it’s been around a couple of years, a well-kept secret among western pros in the surface-slashing department is Evergreen International’s Showerblows topwater. This lure is 5-inches in length and features more of a pencil popper-style body with a thinner, spitting mouth and broader base for a nearly 180-degree side-to-side slashing that stays in the strike zone longer with plenty of decibels to Evergreen International's Showerblows has been a big secret in the big topwater department for a couple of years.go around. Finally, moving away from the bait and tackle end of the spectrum to the electronics end, there’s no denying that underwater camera technology keeps getting better each year. Smaller cameras, more compact color monitors and now Aqua-Vu’s amazing “Looking Glass” technology are making underwater viewing a normal part of fishing. Much in the same way photo-editing software can “clear up” a foggy image to better see what’s behind the haze, Looking Glass is a unique software that constantly “clears-up” underwater video images from Aqua-Vu cameras. This is not to say Looking Glass is going to clear up the fresh flows of the Red River, but it does a pretty decent job of adding visibility to otherwise murky or green water. What were once just shadowy blobs far off in the distance can now be identified as to what exact species are lurking below. I’m not claiming to be Nostradamus here, but given the advancements in imaging technology on depthfinders in recent years and the remarkable improvements in clearing up video images at a distance, one would have to think that it will only be a matter of time before the two frontiers are combined into a single unit for unparalleled “vision” to what’s below in the water. Perhaps we will see that at next year’s ICAST.

Tags: blog  rob-newell 

/news/2015-05-23-brown-rallies-for-seminole-win

Brown Rallies for Seminole Win

When the Rayovac FLW Series event on Lake Seminole started on Thursday, hot, slick conditions prevailed. The air temperatures pushed into the 90’s, water temperatures hovered between 80 and 85 degrees – summertime was on. Or was it? READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-jeter-takes-co-angler-crown

Jeter Takes Co-Angler Crown

Call it a local’s sweep at the Rayovac FLW Series on Lake Seminole. While local pro Clint Brown of Bainbridge, Ga., won the boater Division, his Bainbridge neighbor, Greg Jeter won the Co-angler Division to make it a local twofer. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-23-lake-seminole-day-3-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 3 Midday Update

Second place pro Clint Brown was gaining some serious ground on Reneau as Brown had boxed four solid keepers for about 11 pounds on his very first spot – all caught from protected backwaters with a topwater. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-reneau-grabs-lead-on-seminole

Reneau Grabs Lead On Seminole

Though Reneau has weighed in 15-1 and 20-7 over two days for a total of 35 pounds, 8 ounces, he says he is only getting about six bites per day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-2

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 2

A shake-up occurred on day two of the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole. Day one was all about slow, summertime fishing in the lake’s deep timber. Overnight a frontal passage dropped water and air temperatures and left a north wind howling down the lake. As a result, the timber bite cooled off and those fishing shallower waters climbed up the leaderboard. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-22-lake-seminole-day-2-midday-update

Lake Seminole Day 2 Midday Update

The hot summer at Seminole turned back into spring this morning as a cold front blew through the area dropping air temps some 10 degrees with a blustery north wind. Sweatshirts were needed again as the cold air felt more like April than May. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-enfinger-leads-on-seminole

Enfinger Leads On Seminole

Enfinger said he got off to a “fast start” this morning, sacking a limit by 10 a.m., but he only upgraded twice after that, catching about eight keepers on the day. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-top-5-patterns-from-seminole-day-1

Top 5 Patterns From Seminole Day 1

Bradley Enfinger took the day-one lead at the Rayovac FLW Series presented by Evinrude on Lake Seminole fishing suspended bass in timber. Others in the top-5 fished both wood and grass on day one. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-lake-seminole-midday-update

Lake Seminole Midday Update

Lake Seminole is known to be more of a quality lake than a quantity lake and that trait showed on the morning of day one as anglers who were catching fish were not necessarily getting many bites, but 3-pound pluses seemed to be the norm for the ones hauled in over the gunnel. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-21-seminole-summer

Seminole Summer

Last week, the Walmart FLW Tour plied the waters of the Chattahoochee River on Lake Eufaula. This week, the Rayovac FLW Series moves 60 miles south on the “Hooch” to Lake Seminole for the final event of the Southeast Division. Running offshore brush piles was the dominant theme on Eufaula last week, leaving some to wonder if a similar pattern could work on Seminole, since the two legendary lakes are connected by the same river. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-19-blog-what-might-have-been-at-eufaula

Blog: What Might Have Been at Eufaula

Lake Eufaula is in the books, but ever since the tournament I haven’t slept very well. If you know me, you know I just “love” losing fish, but I think this latest event was the worst of my career. I finished 12th, which isn’t so bad, but the “what could have beens” got me again. On the last day of practice, I caught nearly 30 pounds, including one around 10 pounds and a 7 1/2-pounder, making it a day I’ll never forget. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-18-top-10-patterns-from-lake-eufaula

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Eufaula

Bryan Thrift won the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula by keying on isolated pieces of cover – brush piles, stumps, logs, rocks, etc. – for four days and hitting as many spots as possible during competition hours. Others in the top 10 fished a very similar program, but there were a few wild cards. Here’s the rundown of Eufaula’s top finishers. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-17-thrift-by-3

Thrift by 3

The “numbers game.” It’s a term that Bryan Thrift used to describe his fishing on Lake Eufaula back in 2013 when he finished runner-up to Randy Haynes in a Walmart FLW Tour event. The method to his numbers madness was to hit as many solitary objects – stumps, brush piles, rocks, logs – on the bottom of Lake Eufaula as humanly possible in an eight-hour tournament day. When Thrift saw that Lake Eufaula was back on the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour schedule for May of this year, he grinned that patented Bryan Thrift grin because he already knew how to crunch the numbers at Eufaula. And Thrift is still grinning. After sacking up a final-day catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces to top off 69-14 for the week, Thrift made the numbers work for his fourth FLW Tour win. He added another $125,000 to his bank account. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-morrow-marches-ahead

Morrow Marches Ahead

Day two at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State at Lake Eufaula challenged anglers with tougher conditions as clouds and wind hindered much of the offshore bite. But while some of the top 10 struggled to duplicate their success from day one, Troy Morrow moved from second up into the driver's seat with a day-two catch of 18 pounds, 1 ounce. His total for the event stands at 39-09, giving him a 1-04 lead over day-one leader Clent Davis. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-15-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-2

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 2

Troy Morrow took over the lead on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula. Morrow did most of his damage late in the day once other pros in earlier flights had checked in. He’s working a milk run of brush piles, as are many of the top pros, but the continued fishing pressure is starting to really affect the bite. Here’s how the rest of the top five is dealing with the pressure. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-top-5-patterns-from-lake-eufaula-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Lake Eufaula Day 1

Clent Davis, the day-one leader of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula, described his fishing methodology as being a “numbers game.” He’s hitting as many isolated pieces of offshore cover as possible in a single day. Some of the other leaders behind him used similar terminology to describe their fishing. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-05-14-davis-leads-stacked-top-10

Davis Leads Stacked Top 10

Ordinarily, when four professional bass anglers catch more than 20 pounds on the first day of a major tournament on Lake Eufaula in early summer, no one is surprised. This week, however, Eufaula is a bit off its game due to a cocktail of challenging conditions. Pros expected this to be a low-weight event. It won’t be, if the day-one weights are any indication. Clent Davis of Montevallo, Ala., weighed in a five-bass limit that registered 22 pounds, 9 ounces to take the lead by 1-01 over Georgia pro Troy Morrow. Adrian Avena and Ramie Colson Jr. are tied for third with 20-10, while the next five in the standings all topped 18 pounds. READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-12-blog-frogging-of-a-different-kind

Blog: Frogging of a Different Kind

As a bass fisherman, I have a special feeling for that time of year when I can start fishing a frog again. I’m not sure if the rush of adrenaline I feel is from that first explosion when a bass crashes the frog, or the anticipation of it. Whatever it is, I love it! READ MORE »

/tips/2015-05-06-blog-make-a-plan-and-work-the-plan-

Blog: Make a Plan and Work the Plan

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I’m bombarded with an array of emotions and a new to-do list every day. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the money. Make a Facebook post. Call mom. I don’t have enough time. I’m too tired. I’ll be treated poorly. Rig rods. Do sponsor work. People won’t like me. My son will miss me. I’ll miss my family. READ MORE »

/news/2015-04-28-top-10-patterns-from-beaver-lake

Top 10 Patterns from Beaver Lake

No matter what the conditions are at Beaver Lake, Matt Arey has an uncanny ability to dial up the right baits to match the appetite of the lake’s fickle bass. This year the Quaker State pro relied primarily on two baits for his win. The first was a 5-inch hand-poured swimbait teamed with a 7/0 Gamakatsu EWG Monster Worm Hook tied to 20-pound-test P-Line fluorocarbon. The second was a wacky-rigged Lunkerhunt Lunker Stick impaled on a Gamakatsu 1/0 split-shot/drop-shot hook. The power/finesse combination provided Arey with a search-and-destroy program. He would use the swimbait as a “search bait” to find fish and then follow up with the finesse of the wacky rig for bedders that would not commit to the swimbait. READ MORE »