Brian Waldman of Indianapolis, Indiana, is a long time Finesse News Network member and contributor. In December of 2018, Waldman hooked us up with Derrick Holmes of Indianapolis, who is the proprietor of AirBaits. After that introduction, we conversed with Holmes by emails and the telephone.
Holmes says that the genesis of AirBaits occurred in 2016, when he was wedded to wielding a Megabass Ito Vision 110. At the time, he wanted to create a soft-plastic rendition of the Vision 110 that would allow him to skip it under docks and around other locales, where it is difficult to cast and retrieve a hard-plastic jerkbait. In October of 2016, he began manufacturing it in his garage, and ultimately he named this soft-plastic jerkbait AirBait. In an email, Holmes wrote: “There is not a soft plastic lure, let alone a solid jerkbait, that is as soft as it is and as buoyant as it is. I think it’s not only a new patented lure, but a new lure category.” What’s more, his manufacturing system, which is a machine-injection system, emulates the alluring features of hand-poured soft-plastic baits.
Holmes is 36 years old, and he has been fishing for 31 of those years. He acquired a bachelor’s degree in business marketing at Indiana State University, where he also studied limnology and zoology. Some of his studies focused on the benthic and littoral zones of waterways, as well as nekton and seston dispersion. He also studied about the various species of shad and their diets that consist of microorganisms and detritus. He is currently employed as a service writer for Ray Skillman Auto Group.
AirBaits is still in its infancy. But since the fall of 2016, he has created three other baits, and they are named AirRig, AirWorm, and Bubble. He wrote in an email on Mar. 4 that he hopes that anglers will be able to purchase them on May 1.
In February, Holmes sent us an AirRig so that we could meticulously examine and describe it.
It is a 3 1/2-inch stick-style bait.
The AirRig’s epidermis is encircled with scores of tiny ribs.
There is no demarcation that separates its anterior and posterior sections.
It is cone shaped, which makes the end of its posterior section look similar to a finely sharpened wood pencil. Thus, as the posterior section of the torso approaches the tail, the torso’s dimensions are considerably smaller than they are at the beginning of the anterior section.
The end of its anterior section is dome shaped. The tip of this dome is somewhat flat. Some anglers might describe this flat section as being the tip of its head, some folks might describe it as its mouth, and an anatomist might call it the peristomium. It is the spot on the AirRig that a Midwest finesse angler will insert the hook and collar of a mushroom-style jig.
Adjacent to the tip of the head, the AirRig’s torso is about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches.
A half of an inch from its peristomium, the torso is about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches.
The torso is about three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 5/16 inches at 1 1/2 inches from its peristomium.
At two inches from the peristomium, the torso is about five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/8 inches.
At 2 1/2 inches from the peristomium, the torso becomes about a quarter of an inch wide with a circumference of about seven-eighths of an inch.
At a half on an inch from the tip of AirRig’s posterior section or the tip of its tail or anus, the torso has a width of about one-eighth of an inch and a circumference of about five-eighths of an inch.
Near the tip of the tail, the width diminishes to one-sixteenth of an inch with a circumference of seven-sixteenths of an inch.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Black, Bone, Brown, Chartreuse, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Orange, Green Pumpkin Purple, Junebug, Plum, Real Red, Roadkill, Watermelon, Watermelon/Black Flake, Watermelon/Red Flake, and White. There are eight laminated hues: Black and Deep Blue, Green Pumpkin and Deep Blue,
Green Pumpkin and Violet, Green Pumpkin Orange, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Red and Black,Watermelon and Brown, and Watermelon and Chartreuse. Holmes said that some of these colors will change in different water temperatures. They will also be different in the sunlight than they are in the shade.
Holmes says the AirRig is exceptionally soft and surprisingly durable.
It is impregnated with anise and garlic.
It is available in two different buoyancy formulas. Holmes describes one as a buoyant AirRig, and the other is a super buoyant AirRig.
When Midwest finesse anglers are employing the AirRig that is affixed to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, they will employ it with all six of the standard Midwest finesse presentations or slight variations of those retrieves.
We have noted in many of our Midwest Finesse columns that a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers are inveterate customizers of soft-plastic baits, and it is likely that some of them will customize the AirRig. One of their tactics will be to shorten it by amputating its peristomium and a portion of its anterior section, making it a 2 3/4- or three-inch AirRig.
What’s more, many Midwest finesse anglers are frugal, and when the AirBait’s anterior section becomes too tattered and torn to stay affixed to a mushroom-style jig, these frugal souls will remove three-quarters of an inch of its anus and posterior section, and they will affix the mushroom-style jig to the posterior section. Across the years, Midwest finesse anglers have found that there spells when their black bass quarries exhibit a preference for soft-plastic stick-style baits that are rigged ass-backwards.
A package of 10 costs $7.95.
(1) Here is a link to AirBait’s website: https://airbaits.com/
(2) Here is a link to the Midwest Finesse column that describes how Midwest finesse anglers can retrieve the AirRig affixed to a small mushroom-style jig: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946
(3) In the weeks to come, we hope to publish gear guides about the AirBait, AirWorm, and Bubbler.
(4) Here is a link to Brian Waldman’s website and his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/brian.waldman.7798: https://www.bigindianabass.com/
(5) Here is a link to a Nov. 17, 2011 Midwest Finesse column about Waldman: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/the-manifold-virtues-of-the-small-hair-jig-according-to-brian-waldman/156614