July 18, 2014 by Jody White
ICAST featured a bevy of topwaters, ranging from almost totally new concepts to throwback baits that wouldn’t have looked too out of place in a tackle box 20 years ago.
Jackall brought two new topwaters to the fray this year in the Binksy and the Pompadour. The Binksy is immediately one of the most interesting baits on the market today. It is a popping bait with a blade on the belly and a prop on the tail. The blade and prop add flash when the bait moves, and the blade serves the added purpose of stopping the bait short on the pause so that it can be worked nearly in place. Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury already had it in mind for the Walmart FLW Tour’s stop on Lake Eufaula in May 2015. The Binksy is set to retail for $14.99.
The Pompadour is more of a throwback bait. It is similar to a Heddon Crazy Crawler, but it has trademark Japanese quality baked into it and a prop on a moving arm to add flash and bubbles. The Pompadour promises to be a dynamite night bait or potentially a wake bait alternative around the spawn. The Pompadour comes in six colors and is expected to retail for $22.99.
The Keroll Max is another throwback bait. Marketed in Japan for catfish, the Keroll Max is very similar to a Jitterbug. It comes with two feathered trebles and a slot on the back to insert a glow stick for night-fishing. The front mouth area is molded with very unique cups, and the various killer paint jobs coat all but the very front of the bait for a level of realism heretofore unseen in a jittering bait. The Keroll Max comes in six colors and will retail for $15.99.
Plenty of companies have taken a shot at making a true soft-plastic topwater, but Z-Man might have finally done it with the Pop Shadz. The Pop Shadz can easily float a 5/0 EWG hook and “walks great,” according to Keystone Light pro Casey Martin. The Pop Shadz certainly looks like a winner. It is 5 inches long, comes in a pack of three and includes the legendary durability of ElaZtech plastic. The Pop Shadz will retail for $7.99.
Megabass introduced the X-Plose as an addition to the growing number of spybaits on the market. The X-Plose actually comes in a few different models, and the topwater version figures to be interesting on lakes where prop baits are major players. It has props of differing sizes, which makes it “wobble” through the water on a straight retrieve, and a weight system that keeps the bait from rolling. The topwater X-Plose retails for $23.99.
Livingston brought three new topwaters to the table at this year’s ICAST. The first is a popper that figures to become a staple with those who want EBS sound-emiting technology in their baits. The new Pop N Walk is said to spit and walk as well as any other high-quality popper and could be a game-changer around fish that need a little extra motivation to bite.
Livingston has also introduced a pair of walking baits: the Walking Boss and the Walking Boss Part II. The Walking Boss is a solid-feeling example of the bigger walking baits on the market, and it should perform admirably. The Walking Boss Part II is much more unique – it has a jointed tail section that is said to give it a very wide walk, almost like a smaller Lunker Punker. All three of the new topwaters are part of the Team Livingston Series and incorporate EBS, and they come with four different sounds (one of them silent) that you can swap through to find exactly what best triggers the fish. The three new topwaters each retail for $16.99 and will be available in January 2015.
Deps and ima
Deps didn’t bring a new topwater to Orlando, but it has an older bait worthy of mention. In 2010 Deps introduced the Buzzjet, a waking bait with a prop, alongside the Spiral Minnow, an elongated wake bait with three hooks, a prop and an aggressive rattle system. The Spiral Minnow has a number of BBs packed into its stomach that roll back and forth over ridges as the bait wiggles through the water. It never attained the same popularity as the Buzzjet, but it has produced some great results for some and fits with the current trend of adding propellers to surface lures. The Spiral Minnow retails for about $30.
The ima Skimmer has been a great walking bait for a while, and it is now joined by a bigger size. The Skimmer Grande 125 has the same fish-calling action as the standard Skimmer but moves a little more water and will deftly imitate a larger forage size. The standard Skimmer was a killer in clear water around small baitfish, and the Grande ought to add more versatility to the line. The Skimmer Grande 125 retails for $10.99.
There could have been an entirely separate show for wake baits, and Rapala joined the game with the BX Waking Minnow. The Waking Minnow is built along roughly the same lines as the Buckeye Wake Up (designed in part by Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi) and brings a Rapala twist to the category as well as the company’s Balsa Extreme technology. The Balsa Extreme (BX) series is a super-durable line of balsa baits with a polymer coating that is the same thickness as Rapala’s standard lacquer, but it adds strength and weight for castability. The BX Waking Minnow retails for $12.99.