September 22, 2020
By Thomas Allen
Berkley Hit Stick
Description and Application: The new Berkley Hit Stick was created out of necessity after extensive time in Research and Development at the Berkley labs. The design is a familiar floating minnow-bait profile, but what it’s constructed of is the key feature. The polycarbonate and ABS materials produce the kind of action expected from traditional balsa baits, but with exceptional durability to withstand countless toothy bites all while maintaining consistent action.
Offering multi-species versatility, the Hit Stick can be trolled or cast while delivering a high-speed rolling action that trailing fish will find hard to resist. The integrated FlashDisc technology offers internal weighting that not only increases casting distance and improves accuracy, but it aids in maintaining consistent action that can be fully relied upon. In other words, anglers can position on fish-holding structure and cover water more effectively while spooking fewer fish. It’s armed with ultra-sharp Fusion19 trebles and produces a high-pitch rattle to capture a predator’s attention from greater distances.
The bait comes in seven sizes: 3.5 (sinking), 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 and 23 eye-catching colors.
Staff Insight: I’m familiar with this gem of a new stickbait, after working with Dan Spengler, a Senior Product Manager in charge of hardbaits and terminal tackle development at the Berkley Lab in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He helped me write a “Next Gen Bootin’ for Walleyes” article for our October/November In-Fisherman magazine. Spengler, who is himself and exceptional angler, works with professional anglers and his counterparts at the Lab, to create and analyze new lure designs and prototypes. He considers the Hit Stick their best work to date.
Five years in the making, the design team, including walleye pros Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz, worked through 24 different versions, experimenting with several body shapes, pull points, and bill designs and angles. The Hit Stick casts like a bullet and the slow rise on the pause offers a completely different presentation option than a suspending stickbait. The weighting system also makes the lure start and stop on a dime, to create realistic darting with any rod tip snap.
On a slow grind the lure has a uniquely light balsa-like action but still rolls distinctively giving off a compelling wobble. Indeed, it’s probably the combination of flicker and flash and the unique vibration pattern that makes the Hit Stick such a hot option. There’s a size for most of our freshwater predators. So far, it’s proven deadly for pike and almost magical for walleyes. Can’t wait to put it into action for smallmouths. Casting or trolling, this looks like one for the ages.—Doug