Berkley's PowerBait Sick Fish

Berkley's PowerBait Sick Fish
A Clear Bream Sick Fish.

When Berkley recently reintroduced its PowerBait Sick Fish to the angling world, it announced that “the ever-popular Skeet Reese design has been taken to the next level.” They proclaimed that its “super life-like shape and action make it look real,” and it possesses the “colors to match baitfish everywhere.”

We asked Hunter Cole of Columbia, South Carolina, who is Berkley’s media and public relations manager, to help us in our endeavor to publish a gear guide about it. He responded by sending us five of the three-inch Sick Fish to experiment with and examine.

Here are some details about it:

Upon comparing the Sick Fish to Joe Tomelleri’s exquisite drawings in his and Mark Eberle’s “Fishes of the Central United States,” Berkley has replicated many of the features of a red shiner, as well as some of the features of the common shiner, golden shiner, and sand shiner.

Its head is adorned with images of the following features: gill membranes, branchiostegals, preopercles, maxillaries, a snout, and a pair of eyes. What’s more, its eyes are three dimensional.

The length of its head, which stretches from the tip of its snout to the end of its gill membrane, is a half of an inch long. The distance from the top of its predorsal area to the bottom edge of its breast is a half of an inch. The length of its predorsal area, which stretches from the tip of its snout to the first ray of the dorsal fin is 1 5/16 inches. The circumference of the largest portion of its predorsal area is 1 3/8 inches.

The skin of its dorsal area and the sides of its body are festooned with images of scales. The skin of its ventral area from the tip of its mandible to the junction of its tail is smooth and silky or devoid of the images of scales.

Its triangular-shaped dorsal fin is three-sixteenths of an inch by seven-sixteenths of an inch by seven-sixteenths of an inch. It is embellished with five rays. A minor hook slot, which is a quarter of an inch long, is situated immediately in front of the first ray of the dorsal fin.

Its ventral area is endowed with five fins: two pectoral fins, two pelvic fins, and one anal fin.

Its two pectoral fins are triangular shaped and possess the following dimensions: a quarter of an inch by five-sixteenths of an inch by five-sixteenths of an inch. Each of these fins possesses five rays.

Its two pelvic fins are triangular shaped and possess these dimensions: a quarter of an inch by three-eighths of an inch by three-eighths of an inch. Each fin has four rays.

The size of its triangular-shaped anal fin is a quarter of an inch by five-sixteenths of an inch by five-sixteenths of an inch. It is endowed with three rays.

The top portion of its caudal or tail fin exhibits the features that ichthyologists call a heteroceral, which has a small v-shaped notch added to the middle of the outside fin. Its dimensions are five-eighths of an inch by a quarter of an inch by a half of an inch. It has five rays.

Unlike the top portion of the tail, its bottom portion is not realistic. Instead, it possesses a paddle like the tails on a paddle-tail or boot-tail grub. The skin on one side of the paddle is smooth, and on the other side, it possesses nine fins. It is five-eighths of an inch long and nine-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot.

Berkley recommends that anglers affix the Sick Fish upon a weighted swimbait hook, but Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. And when they wield it on that jig, they will be able to use all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves.

A Chartreuse Shad Sick Fish affixed to an unpainted 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.

It is available in the following colors: Black Violet Frog, Blue Shiner Gold, Chartreuse Shad, Clear Bream, Ghost Ayu, Ghost Minnow, Green Black, Green Mist, Green Penny, Light Hitch, Swamp Gas, and Tennessee Shad.

It is not buoyant, and it sinks quite rapidly.

A package of five costs $3.99.


(1) Here is the link to Berkley’s website:

(2) Here are the links to two Midwest Finesse columns about the Berkley’s Havoc Sick Fish, which is the predecessor of the new PowerBait Sick Fish:;

(3) Here is the link to a Midwest Finesse column that describes how to employ the Sick Fish with the six Midwest finesse retrieves:

(4) For more information about the scents that Berkley employs, see Steve Quinn’s insights in his article entitled “Berkley Takes New Soft Baits To The Max.” Here is the link to Quinn’s article:

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