UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper Review

Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper Review
Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper

A bit of an offshoot of the popular finesse jigs made by Keitech, the Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper purports to do the job just as well or better for a cheaper price. It’s an American-made alternative designed by Bassmaster Elite Series pro and smallmouth expert Jamie Hartman (he’s got five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League AOY points titles to his credit, too), and it’s pretty dang good. Regretfully, I haven’t tangled with any smallmouths in my time with the jig, but I’ve caught plenty of largemouths on it to sell me.

 

Solid construction

Doing anything radically new with a jig is pretty hard, but the Lil’ Creeper has a handful of nice touches that set it apart. It’s a pretty standard finesse football jig, but the hook is amazingly sharp right off the bat, and the skirt is super-fine. The skirt is attached with a non-standard round rubber band that seems to flare the strands out really well. I haven’t seen the first sign of one wearing out or coming off yet. The hook is a short-shank model from Owner, and it’s a really nice size that just feels and looks right. I’ve fished the bait on 12- and 15-pound test, and though the hook will bend some when hung, it has been a champ with bass on the line.

One detail I like is the bait keeper. It’s just a standard lead barb, but its shape really does a good job holding plastics in place, which is a feature that some finesse jigs lack. I haven’t used the 1/4-ounce size, but the 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes have gotten the job done for me. The skirt only comes in five colors, which is probably plenty. I can’t imagine needing anything outside of what they offer. 

The weedguard is very sparse. It works fine in rock, but around wood the bait gets pretty sticky, which is somewhat to be expected considering the jig’s purpose. If the guard was a little more substantial, it might not hook fish as well, and that would be a crying shame.

 

The fishing

Designed for smallmouths, the jig is built with their slightly tougher, more compact mouths in mind. Up north, you might be fishing it a long way from the boat in 10 to 20 feet of water. I put the jig to work in 15 to 30 feet this winter on Kentucky Lake. Fishing deep rock, I didn’t get hung more than I expected, and I hooked and landed fish with remarkable consistency. Typically jig fish are pretty easy to land, but this little dude goes above and beyond the call of duty. I almost always hooked fish fairly deep in the top of the mouth, and the hook held up well for plenty of bass. Smallmouths are a unique challenge for tackle, but based on recommendations from a few pros and my confidence with the jig, I think it’s up to the task.

I usually tipped the jig with a smallish craw, and that seemed to perform well. The Jackall Chunk Craw and the Zoom Z Craw Jr. trimmed down a little both performed well when threaded on the hook. I never tried it with a chunk, but I would imagine it works well if that’s your style. I also think a smaller Keitech Swing Impact FAT (perhaps the 3.3-inch size) would work very well as a trailer.

I mostly fished the jig on a 7-foot, 2-inch, medium-heavy-power, fast-action Shimano Cumara (one of the original black ones), which is a fairly soft rod. Not that the jig can’t take it, but I don’t think you need a flipping stick to fish it effectively. A lighter Texas-rig rod or maybe a small swimbait rod paired with midweight fluorocarbon is probably the ticket in most scenarios.  

 

 

The verdict

It’s a very good jig. That said, the Keitech jigs (casting and football) and the new Picasso Aaron Martens Tungsten Football Jig offer stiff competition. The tungsten jigs have the edge on metal density, but they are more expensive, and I don’t see how you can beat the rest of the package the Lil’ Creeper provides. If tungsten isn’t a must for you, or you’re searching for a new finesse football package, I think the Lil’ Creeper is worthy of consideration for more than the wicked cute name.

 

Details

Company: Riot Baits

Product: Riot Baits Lil’ Creeper

Colors: 5

Weights: 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 ounce

Price: $4.79 each

Tags: jody-white  article  tech-tackle-reviews 

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Wrapping up Practice with Osborne

Last season, Jordan Osborne made the top 10 in the season opener on Sam Rayburn, and he’s got the chance to kick things off in a similar style this week. READ MORE »

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

John Cox Making Most of Opportunities

In addition to finishing second in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit standings last season, John Cox finished runner-up in the Bassmaster Central Open standings and fourth in the Eastern Open standings, qualifying him to fish the Pro Circuit and Bassmaster Elite Series this year. While many pros were faced with some either-or decisions this offseason, Cox chose both – fishing the Pro Circuit and Elite Series – and he’s not even a bit nervous about doing both. READ MORE »

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

Tackle Warehouse Teams with FLW

FLW, the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, announced today that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Tackle Warehouse, the sport’s leading online retailer that offers the guaranteed lowest prices on bass fishing tackle from every top brand. Effective immediately, Tackle Warehouse becomes the official tackle retailer of FLW and assumes title sponsorship of the FLW Pro Circuit, professional bass fishing’s premier five-fish-limit tournament series. READ MORE »

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

Day 2 of Practice with Miller

At just 20 years old, Colby Miller is pretty young to be a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit. However, the Elmer, La., native isn’t lacking in accolades, as he’s now finished 24th or better in points in the Southwestern Division of the FLW Series two years in a row. Additionally, he’s starting the season close to home – Miller guides for bass and crappie on nearby Toledo Bend, and he’s got a lot of tournament time in on Sam Rayburn. READ MORE »

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Rookie Profile: Laramy Strickland

Being a rookie on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit can be daunting no matter what age you are. This year, there are 28 newcomers eager to prove themselves against some of the best in the game. And while the bulk of them have been chasing the dream for a while, 22-year-old Laramy Strickland of Bushnell, Fla., will be one of the younger pros looking to make a name in the industry. READ MORE »

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

Riding Rayburn with Tutt

One of the nicest and most experienced pros on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Jim Tutt has fished about everywhere, but he calls Texas home. Last year, Tutt finished fifth in the season-opener on Sam Rayburn, and it’s also where he earned one of his three FLW Series-level wins. READ MORE »

How to Prep Like a Pro

How to Prep Like a Pro

When it comes to getting ready for a season of tournaments, there are plenty of ways to do it. But, there’s no denying that for most people, being prepared will lead to better performance on the water. READ MORE »

Previewing the 2020 Pro Circuit

Previewing the 2020 Pro Circuit

With the kickoff of the 2020 FLW Pro Circuit coming up January 23 on Sam Rayburn, we've put together previews of every stop of the regular season. Below you'll find an overload of information on the fisheries, prospective patterns and anglers to watch throughout every minute of the season.  READ MORE »

2020 Harris Chain Preview

2020 Harris Chain Preview

One of the most fun places FLW visits, the Harris Chain is a collection of lakes in central Florida that includes Lake Harris, Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, Lake Eustis, Lake Dora, Lake Carlton, Horseshoe Lake, Little Lake Harris, Lake Denham and Lake Beauclair. In all, the pros have the run of 10 lakes, plus the myriad residential canals, rivers and backwaters that spread out off of them. READ MORE »

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

2020 Lake Hartwell Preview

Built on the Savannah, Tugaloo and Seneca rivers on the border of South Carolina and Georgia, Lake Hartwell is a fairly typical example of a Southeastern spotted bass and largemouth fishery. Though there are shad and bream, the primary forage is blueback herring. Hartwell has very little vegetation outside of flooded dog fennel, and the primary cover types are docks, rock, shoreline wood, brush and cane piles. READ MORE »

2020 Detroit River Preview

2020 Detroit River Preview

Though the Pro Circuit finale takes off from the Detroit River, that’s hardly the only place the pros will be fishing. Takeoff is near the southern mouth of the river, giving pros easy access to the west end of Lake Erie. At the other end of the river is Lake St. Clair, which has been home to some of the most epic smallmouth beatdowns on record in recent years. READ MORE »

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Bulldog Division Kicks off at Lake Lanier

Perhaps the hottest spotted bass lake in the East, Lanier should be rocking for the Bulldog Division opener. With lots of plump wintertime spotted bass coming to the scale, along with some largemouths, it would be no surprise to see a winning weight in excess of 20 pounds.   READ MORE »

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

Choo Choo Division Kicks off at Lake Guntersville

According to pro Casey Martin, who once won a BFL on Guntersville with a whopping 40 pounds, 11 ounces, it’s not unreasonable to expect a mid- or upper 20s bag to win this time. READ MORE »

Silver Carp Found In Chickamauga

Silver Carp Found In Chickamauga

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources received a report on Jan. 10 that a silver carp was captured on Chickamauga Lake in October. READ MORE »

The Importance of Having a Mentor

The Importance of Having a Mentor

If you want a chance to have a pro as your personal coach and mentor for 2020, keep reading. READ MORE »

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

Florida Spawn: Key on Bottom Hardness

According to FLW Pro Circuit angler Tim Frederick, who’s lived in Florida since he was 4 years old, one of the most important factors for successfully locating both spawning and staging bass in the coming weeks is bottom hardness. In most situations, the harder the bottom the better, but there’s more to it than that. READ MORE »

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

Check-In Time: Matt Becker

From time to time, FLW checks in with its anglers to find out what they’ve been up to, what they’re listening to, who they’re following and where they’re heading while out on the tournament trail. This week, we caught up with Matt Becker.  READ MORE »

FLW Series Championship Returns to Cumberland

FLW Series Championship Returns to Cumberland

FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), in conjunction with the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission, announced today that the 2020 FLW Series Championship will be held at Lake Cumberland in Burnside and Somerset, Kentucky, Nov. 5-7, 2020. READ MORE »

FLW PHOENIX BONUS Announced for 2020

FLW PHOENIX BONUS Announced for 2020

Phoenix Boats has announced the creation and details of the brand new FLW PHOENIX BONUS for the 2020 FLW tournament season. READ MORE »

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

The Top 19 Stories of 2019

From the beginning, 2019 was a good year of fishing. The FLW Tour got off to a rollicking start on Sam Rayburn, and it really stayed pretty great from there, with a lot of good fishing and a killer Angler of the Year race. Beyond the Tour, all the other circuits had plenty of highlights, too. We saw impressive feats accomplished at all levels and some very exciting individual events. READ MORE »