July 01, 2019
By Ned Kehde
AirBaits’ Bubbler is an unique soft-plastic finesse bait.
Derrick Holmes of Indianapolis, Indiana, who is the proprietor of AirBaits, said that he and some friends were brainstorming in November of 2018 about soft-plastic baits, and during this get together, the Bubbler was conceived.
In February, he sent us a prototype to work with and examine.
It is a 3 5/8-inch tube.
But it is not like the traditional tube that the late Bobby Garland created in the early 1980s. He called it the Fat Gitzit. Until the 1983 U.S. Open at Lake Mead, Nevada, Garland had kept it a secret, but he fished with the late Guido Hibdon at that tournament. After Hibdon discovered the manifold virtues of the Fat Gitzit, it became a prominent tool in Hibdon’s repertoire and the repertoire of the early practitioners of Midwest finesse fishing.
Garland’s Fat Gitzit and the scores of tubes that others have manufactured since the 1980s are adorned with an array of tentacles. The Bubbler, however, is devoid of tentacles.
And except for the first half of an inch, the Bubbler’s torso is hollow. The solid area is designed to provide a firm spot for anglers to affix a jig or a short segment of the shank of an offset hook.
Holmes manufactures it from what he described in Mar. 7 email as a “super buoyant material,” saying that it is “the most buoyant [soft-plastic] lure I personally have ever played with.” Consequentially, when the Bubbler is affixed to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, its tail and entire torso will be elevated from a 75- to 90-degree angle from the bottom of a lake or stream when it is being retrieved with a drag-and-deadstick presentation or a drag-and-shake presentation or a hop-and-bounce presentation. And when a Midwest finesse angler employs a straight swimming retrieve or the swim-glide-and-shake presentation, the Bubbler’s buoyancy will allow it to glide and swim rather subtly and effortlessly.
The Bubble is graced with an anterior section and a posterior section.
The anterior section, which includes its head, is 1 3/4 inches long.
Its head is dome shaped with a width of about three-eighths of an inch and a circumference of about 1 7/16 inches.
At a half of an inch from the tip of the head, the torso is about a half of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/2 inches.
Slightly above the junction of the anterior section and the posterior section, the torso has a width of about three-eighths of an inch and a circumference of about 1 7/16 inches.
The posterior section is 1 3/4 inches long. At the tip of the posterior section, which might be described as its anus, it has a width of about five-sixteenths of an inch and a circumference of about 1 1/16 inches. The Holmes said that the anus was designed to expel air bubbles when anglers executes a shaking motif during the retrieve, but when anglers execute a deadsticking motif, bubbles will not radiate out the hollow torso and its anus. In a Mar. 7 email, Holmes wrote that the material and design of the Bubbler allows it to trap air inside the torso’s anterior section.
Its epidermis is smooth.
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.
According to Holmes, they are easy for anglers to dye with products like that Spike-It’s Dip-N-Glo Worm Dye.
Midwest finesse anglers will affix the Bubbler to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, and the head of the jig will not be inserted inside the hollow cavity of the Bubbler’s torso, which is the way Guido Hibdon originally taught his Midwest finesse colleagues how to fish with a tube . Because the Bubbler is so buoyant, Holmes says that it will float on the surface when it is affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig, and the only way to get it to sink is to remove all of the air inside the cavity of its hollow torso. But during our research with the prototype, we found that it will slowly sink without removing the air, and it will exhibit a delicate gliding motif as it sinks when it is affixed to a 1/16-, 1/20-, and 1/32-ounce jig.
As we have noted many times our Midwest finesse columns, Midwest finesse anglers are inveterate customizers. And the Bubbler’s posterior section looks as if it will be an easy area to customize. Some of these Midwest finesse anglers might also trim a portion of the first half inch of its anterior section, which will allow them to insert a tube jig inside the cavity and adjacent to the tip of the anterior section.
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: http://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.