June 26, 2018
By Cory Schmidt
Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater, too. For most anglers, the term "enough lures" just doesn't compute. Shake a tacklebox full of hardbaits around a group of fish-heads and you'll attract more interested looks than rattling lure amongst a school of largemouths.
The same could probably be said relative to fishing writers and other industry types, who crowd around and fog the glass encasing all the new hardbaits at the annual ICAST show. There's some pretty cool stuff in there. Not just the latest and greatest lures from the classic American fishing companies, but quite a few intriguing or otherwise unusual entries from lure-makers in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan. It's not always easy to get your hands on baits from across the ocean, but eventually, the best ones become obtainable via great tackle resources like Tackle Warehouseand Lee's Global Tackle.
Until then, take a sneak peek at a few of the new hardbaits exhibited at the fishing industry's big dance—the best and brightest lures at the 2018 ICAST show.
The new Rack-It combines deflection, action and sound for a versatile square-bill crankbait. The molded-in square-bill is shaved on its edges, and features ideal pull point placement which produces an aggressive, erratic hunting action at most retrieve speeds. A rattle chamber inside a unique "butyrate" body gives off a sound totally new to the bass. The 2.75-inch Rack-It runs 4 to 6 feet, and wears two size-4 treble hooks. MSRP: $6.99, www.banditlures.com.
Bassmaster Elite Series angler Justin Lucas says fishing the new Berkley Choppo provides "one of the most fun and exciting experiences you'll ever have with a surface lure." A shad-profile, tail-spinning bait, Choppo employs a durable, cupped propeller tail to maximize surface spray and sound. The lure's precision balancing keeps it swimming straight and raising a ruckus at a variety of retrieve speeds. Available in two sizes (3-2/7" and 4-1/4") and ten custom paint finishes, the Choppo will sell for $9.99, www.berkley-fishing.com.
Berkley Flicker Shad Shallow & Jointed
With design input from professional walleye anglers, Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz, two new additions to the popular Flicker Shad series offer a rolling, "flicker" action, imitating the scaly flashes of fleeing baitfish. Flicker Shad Jointed models swim with an even more exaggerated action and tail wag. For targeting shallower fish, the new Flicker Shad Shallow carries the same shad-profile, and rolling action as the original Flicker Shad. Individually tank tested to ensure out-of-the package success, both new baits sport internal rattles and Fusion19 hooks in two sizes (2" and 2-3/4"). Retail price runs $4.99 to $5.99, depending on size, www.berkley-fishing.com.
Bill Lewis Lures MR-6
Targeting depths in the key mid 6-foot range, this high-performance crank measures 2.25-inches and contains an internal weight transfer for long-casting abilities in a small size. The flattened sides and tapered tail combine to produce accentuated vibration and a low-pitch "knocking" sound with a tight wiggle. The MR-6 carries larger size 4 Mustad Triple Grip hooks, yet maintains perfect action. Buoyancy is balanced to rise slowly when retrieve is stopped. MSRP: $7.99, www.rat-l-trap.com.
Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow
The new 4.5-inch Jointed Wake Minnow is a mirror image of the original 5-3/8-incher, intended for pressured fish and to imitate smaller baitfish. The lure's buoyancy and bill design makes the lure v-wake just beneath the surface. The Jointed Wake Minnow can be retrieved slow and steady or worked like a jerkbait. HD patterning, 3d body and internal rattles add fish-eye candy. MSRP: $8.99, www.bomberlures.com.
Cotton Cordell Minnow
The casting and trolling Minnow relies on a specially contoured lip to swim with an erratic action. The 4-inch minnowbait comes in two different lip sizes—a 5/16-ounce, small lip version runs 6 to 8 feet, while a 7/16-ounce, large lip size dives 12 to 14 feet. An internal tungsten ball aids in diving-depth. Black nickel #6 hooks are sharp out of the package and withstand both fresh- and saltwater applications. MSRP: $5.49, www.cottoncordelllures.com.
LIVETARGET Yellow Perch Rattlebait
On the coattails of LIVETARGET's Golden Shiner Rattlebait, a now-classic lure for big walleyes plus big prespawn bass, the baitfish-mimicking lure company has released a new Yellow Perch Rattlebait. Three sizes, starting at 2-inches and ¼-ounce, each Rattlebait features a perfectly-balanced internal composition for precise or long-distance casting, as well as vertical presentations. Loud, harmonic rattles can be heard from well below the water's surface. Four ultra-realistic patterns replicate the common color phases of perch in American and European waters, including a Glow/UV version. Available late fall 2018, the LIVETARGET Yellow Perch Rattlebait will retail for $14.49, www.livetargetlures.com.
Four new colors highlight the Megabass Kanata—a large, slim-profile jerkbait, ideal for predators targeting elongated forage. The bait boasts tremendous casting distance, due to its Triple-Tungsten Moving-Balancer System. Four new colors include Sexy Shad, Mat Shad, Ozark Shad and MB Gizzard Shad, $24.99 each. www.megabassusa.com
A competition-ready flatside crankbait, the SonicSideswims in a tight, high-pitch action, tailored for cold water situations, long casts and stability during fast retrieves. The lip is built from tough, 1mm circuit board material and double reinforced, yielding extra responsiveness and durable for working along riprap and other solid objects. Internal weights are fixed in placed for silence and positioned for optimal action, castabilty and stability. The 2.6-inch, ½-ounce floating crank runs 4 to 6 feet on the retrieve. Available in 15 colors, at $19.99 each. www.megabassusa.com
Rapala RipStop Size 12
Unleashed at last year's ICAST show, the RipStop now consists of a second #12 size (4-3/4"), just over an inch longer than the original #9. The finesseful jerkbait calls on its boot tail to create a fast ripping, hard stopping, flashing swimbait action. Just before the RipStop 12 comes to rest, the lure shows off a subtle shimmy, subtle head lift and super slow rise. Three No. 5 VMC Black Nickel hooks arm the lure, while 14 proven colors give anglers plenty of condition-matching options. Retail price is $10.99, www.rapala.com.
Rapala Shad Dancer 04
Merging the accentuated action of Rapala's Tail Dancer with a smaller shad profile, the new size 4 Shad Dancer offers multi-species excitement in a 1-1/2-inch balsa bait. Swimming with a silent, aggressive, sweeping tail action, the Shad Dancer 04 dives 7 to 10 feet, cast or trolled. Two No. 8 VMC Black Nickel hooks stay sharp. Twenty-one diverse colors are offered in both 04 and original 05 sizes, $7.99 each, www.rapala.com.
Strike King KVD 1.5 Deep
The Kevin VanDam signature series squarebill crank boasts wild hunting action, and a new, deeper depth of up to 9 feet. Retail price is $7.49, www.strikeking.com.
Strike King KVD Mega Dawg
A bigger, badder surface walker, the KVD Mega Dawg traverses the surface in wide, back-and-forth walking movements. The new upsized surface lure measures 6-1/2-inches, casts like a missile and wears three 1/0 VMC treble hooks, $14.99 each. www.strikeking.com
Yo-Zuri — Crystal Minnow Freshwater Series
Newly patterned to target freshwater predators, Yo-Zuri'sCrystal Minnow Freshwater Series features five baitfish-mimicking colors and five brighter patterns for stained water. Built with Yo-Zuri's traditionally distinctive flat sides and prism finishes, these minnow-profile baits swim erratically and produce flashes of reflected light. All Crystal Minnow Freshwater lures offer Japanese black nickel split rings, treble hooks and holographic 3D eyes. Two-piece, molded body and bill make this one of the toughest and truest running minnows yet. Three sizes—3-1/2-, 4-3/8- and 5-1/4-inches—all float and dive to approximately 3 feet. MSRP $8.99 to 9.99. www.yo-zuri.com