July 9, 2014 by Matt Williams
With a name like DieZel, I expected the MinnowZ from Z-Man to be one rough customer. What I didn’t expect was something tough enough to catch several dozen bass and still not need replacing. Then I remembered the nifty 4-inch swimbait is manufactured using ElaZtech, a super-soft, yet incredibly strong material that has made a name for itself as one of the most pliable and durable soft plastics used in the fresh- and saltwater fishing industries.
Just how tough is this guy? I’m hesitant to compare it to boot leather, but it is pretty darned close. I spent a considerable amount of time last spring using the DieZel MinnowZ as a stand-alone swimbait and for a trailer on my swim jigs and bladed jigs. Truthfully, I never tore one up so badly that it would no longer hold on the hook. In most cases, the only time I really found it necessary to change swimbaits was when I wanted to swap out for a different color.
Passing the stretch test
I’m in fairly decent shape for a 52-year-old man, but I met my match in the DieZel MinnowZ. Gripping the lure’s midsection with two hands, I was unable break it in two no matter how hard I tugged. I was able to pull the paddle tail off after stretching the lure nearly 3 feet long, but it didn’t come easy.
Translation: These swimbaits are made to take a beating. That means more fish per lure, which equals more time fishing and less time spent re-rigging – and more money in the fishing fund.
What is really cool about the ElaZtech material is that it is ultra-soft; it feels sort of like a Yamamoto Senko that has been left sitting in the sun too long. The supple construction allows the paddle tail to cop a unique thump and wag side-to-side as the swimbait moves through the water column, even at super-slow speeds.
There isn’t much you can’t do with the midsized swimbait. It can be fished solo in the upper water column on a weighted or unweighted swimbait hook, in deeper water on a jighead or umbrella rig, or dragged Carolina or Texas style. Chevy pro Luke Clausen says it really shines when used as a trailer on a bladed jig.
“It’s the perfect trailer for a [Z-Man Original] ChatterBait,” he said. “It has a totally different kick than other swimbait trailers. It really wags side-to-side and produces a lot of vibration as it works against the blade. Even at super-slow speeds it has a great action.”
The ElaZtech material works well with certain styles of hooks, but not so well with others. Probably the worst choice for swimbait fishing is a hook with a screw-in spring keeper. Simply put, the rubbery plastic doesn’t accept a spring very well. Z-Man recommends a 3/0 Gamakatsu EWG Superline hook with a 1/8-ounce (or heavier) belly weight. Even though you have to pull the belly weight through the body cavity to seat the head, the plastic springs back tight enough around the shank that slippage isn’t a problem – you can’t say that for most traditional soft-plastic swimbaits.
For jighead or umbrella rig applications, Clausen likes the Z-Man JigheadZ, which features a sharp pin that stabs into the head and holds in place using two barbs.
Hook Slot and Point Pocket
To ensure good hook penetration and snag-free fishing, the DieZel is designed with a hook slot on the belly and a divided dorsal fin on the back that hides the hook point.
Never store ElaZtech plastics in the same bag with traditional soft plastics. It creates a chemical reaction that will cause the lures to meld together and ruin everything in the pile.
Length: 4 inches
Price: $5.49 per five-pack