2018 ICAST New Softbaits

2018 ICAST New Softbaits

Artificial softbaits of all shapes and sizes are staple selections in the arsenals of serious anglers targeting a variety of fish species. The baits' strike-triggering actions, lifelike feel, natural scent and wide range of color options have made them top presentations for a variety of applications and, often, an excellent alternative to live bait.

There's plenty of new softbaits to get excited about at the 2018 Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades—better known as ICAST. Following is a sample of hot new options sure to help you put more fish in the boat.

Berkley PowerBait MaxScent

Since its debut in 1989, Berkley's PowerBait lineup has become a favorite of anglers worldwide for its ability to make fish hang on longer after they strike. For 2018, the PowerBait legacy expands to include more than 600 new sizes and shapes.

One of the major introductions of interest to bass anglers is the expansion of the PowerBait MaxScent family with eight new shapes and sizes, including Lizard (pictured), Power Chunk, Critter Hawg, Flat Worm, Flatnose Jerk Shad, and Hit Worm Magnum.

The latest innovation in the time-tested PowerBait clan, MaxScent baits release a super-charged scent field that attracts bass and makes them strike—but they're also infused with PowerBait flavoring to keep fish from letting go before you can set the hook.

Scientifically proven to catch 45 percent more fish than original PowerBait, MaxScent baits will now be available in 13 shapes, 16 sizes and 47 forage-inspired colorations. All carry an MSRP of $6.99. berkley-fishing.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

D-I-Y Ripper Swimbaits

Do-It Molds feeds the appetites of serious anglers who like to make their own baits by unveiling the new 5-cavity, 3-inch Ripper Swimbait Mold— part of its Essential Series line of D-I-Y soft-plastic molds.

The new 3-inch Essential Series Ripper is a scaled down version of Do-It's popular 3.5-inch Ripper. The smaller bait's downsized profile is great for mimicking early season baitfish, and a solid option for cold water and cold front scenarios when walleyes, bass and other predators aren't in the mood for a big meal.

The new 3-inch Ripper mold kicks out ready-to-fish swimbaits, which can be poured in a variety of custom color and consistency combinations using Do-It's full line of soft-plastic supplies including plastisol, glitters, and colorants. Retails for $42. do-itmolds.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

Killer Imports

Japan Import Tackle is quietly making a name for itself among serious North American bass fans by bringing incredibly innovative baits to the U.S. The company's Munenori Kajiwara says two of 2018's most notable new arrivals are the 5.5-inch Fish Arrow AirBag Shad and 2.6-inch RAID Japan Battle Hog.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

Retailing for $10 per 5-pack, the AirBag Shad is a hollow-bodied swimbait with beefy shad tail. The bait floats when paired with a 6/0 hook; by using a wire sinker, you can suspend it or dial in a wickedly slow sink. Also works well as a topwater or swim jig trailer.

Designed as a finesse version of the popular 3.8-inch Battle Hog, the new 2.6-inch model excels for smallmouths and tough-bite largies.

Among its many attributes, the Battle Hog features large arms sporting triangle-shaped claws that cause the appendages to move up and down and right-to-left, unlike the arms on conventional craws baits that simply wave in a vertical manner.

The Battle Hog's claws also feature a profusion of ribs that hold air and release small bubble trails. As a bonus, the bait's short legs provide a fine pitch vibration, while the long legs generate a slow action. Collectively, the two different size legs produce complex vibrations that entice finicky bass to bite.

The Battle Hog also features twin antennas fine-tuned to create natural movement with the slightest water pressure or rod action. Priced at $10 per 7 baits. japanimporttackle.com

2018 ICAST Softbaits

LIVETARGET Hollow Body Craw

Call them crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, or whatever you like. Bass love 'em. LIVETARGET acknowledges this affinity with the unique new Hollow Body Craw. A blend of two distinct lure families—bass jigs and hollow-bodied topwaters—the bait excels on the bottom and in heavy cover.

Features include a lifelike three-dimensional anatomy, snag-resistant design, hollow head and body cavity, internal jig weight, custom hook, silicon skirting, and natural, reverse locomotion that imitates the way real crayfish swim. You can also squeeze scent and rattle tubes into the hollow body.

The new Hollow Body Craw comes in three lengths and weights (1½-inch, ½-ounce; 1¾-inch, 5/8-ounce; and 2-inch, ¾-ounce), in eight realistic color schemes, so you can match the look of regional or molting variations of craws coast to coast. Suggested retails run $9.99-$11.49. livetargetlures.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

Storm 360GT Searchbait Swimmer

Built for targeting bass and other predators in strike zones deeper than typical swimbaits dive, this new 4 ½-inch, ¼-ounce bait has a lipped jig head to boost running depth.

The lifelike head also features 3D holographic eyes, a single-ball rattle, an exclusive 4/0 VMC Coastal Black hook, and an extended, 60-degree line tie leg. There's even a handy accessory hanger behind the lip for attaching a treble hook or spinner blade.

There's more to the 360GT Searchbait Swimmer than the jig, of course. The phthalate-free, soft-plastic body sports a prodigious, toe-in boot tail that kicks even at slow speeds. Available in 11 color patterns. storm.fishing

2018 ICAST Softbaits

YUM Pulse

The original 4½-inch Pulse swimbait was such a rock star, YUM is expanding its Pulse options with a 3½-inch version. The smaller bait retains the bulky shape, but the reduced size makes it a knockout whenever the fish, forage, or conditions dictate downsizing.

The Pulse's paddle-tail generates a ruckus to attract predators from a distance, while the slanted ribs push the body down through the water column and into the strike zone. The tail and ribs also cooperate to an accentuated rolling action.

Look for the 3½-inch Pulse in 14 catchy colors, all selling for $2.99 per 8-pack. yumbaits.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

YUM Tip Toad

The bass-busting toad bait genre takes a giant leap forward with the introduction of YUM's new Tip Toad. Once considered a hard-to-master presentation practiced only by elite bass anglers, toad bait fishing becomes a no-brainer thanks to the Tip Toad's easy-to-fish nature.

For starters, the 4½-inch, solid-bodied Tip Toad planes quickly, with no special manipulation. Plus, the bait's precision-placed tails—which brandish hard-thumping, custom-shaped feet—create maximum water displacement, generating a distinctive splutter that mimics a fleeing frog or baitfish.

Added amenities include a belly hook notch that provides perfect hook alignment when rigged with a 4/0 or 5/0 frog or wide-gap hook. Since you fish it weightless, like any toad bait, the 3/8-ounce body is a godsend for long, accurate casts.

For best results, the folks at YUM recommend fishing the Tip Toad on a 6-foot, 10-inch to 7-foot, 4-inch, medium heavy graphite casting rod, paired with a high-speed reel spooled with stout braided line. The combination allows you to zip the bait over thick vegetation, in brushy cover, and around docks. Just don't be afraid to throw in in open water, too.

The Tip Toad comes in 10 tempting color patterns. Suggested retail is $2.99 per 5-count bag. yumbaits.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

Z-Man Finesse TRD CrawZ

Billed as a next-generation softbait, the buoyant little 2½-inch TRD CrawZ gives a lively, standup, claw-waving performance even tight-lipped bass find hard to resist.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

The TRD CrawZ pairs nicely with the company's pivoting Finesse BulletZ Weedless Jighead, which animates the softbait as it traverses a variety of substrates and crawls through thick cover unfishable with lesser finesse jig designs. The bait also works wonders with mushroom and NedlockZ jig heads, as well as dropshot setups. Look for the TRD CrawZ in 10 colors, sold in six-packs for $4.49.

In other Z-Man news, the TRD MinnowZ is back. Due to popular demand, Z-Man is re-releasing the TRD MinnowZ (originally called the Rain MinnowZ) at ICAST. A Ned Rig classic, the extremely durable, 3½-inch, buoyant bait also shines on a drop-shot rig and for jerking and swimming.

Packing a mixture of the fish-catching attributes of a reaper, stick-style bait, and worm in one deadly package, the TRD MinnowZ is sold in 8-packs retailing for $4.49 and comes in 10 custom colors. zmanfishing.com.

2018 ICAST Softbaits

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Fish Recipes

Catfish Dinner with Homemade Chips and Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with...


Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

Boats & Motors

Technical Notes: Calculating Prop Performance

In-Fisherman - May 01, 2019

In-Fisherman Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Largemouth Bass: Tricks of Our Trade

The In-Fisherman staff reveals insider swimming jig tips and tricks for big bass.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

Striped Bass Livebait Trolling Tactics

Host Doug Stange meets up with guide Fred McClintock to troll big livebait behind planer boards next to the flooded timber along the banks of the Cumberland River in effort to catch giant striped bass.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...


Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...


Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

See More Stories

More Baits


Minn Kota Wins "Best Boating Accessory" with MEGA Down Imaging

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 13, 2018

Minn Kota,'has earned top honors at the fishing industry's most prestigious trade show, the


New BOOYAH Squelcher Buzz Bait

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 12, 2018

This new buzz bait is going to catch some bigguns.


Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait

Ned Kehde - June 18, 2017

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait is a power-angler's tool. Zako is the Japanese word

See More Baits

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.