Michael Neal of Dayton, Tennessee, worked with Big Bite Baits of Eufaula, Alabama, to create a soft-plastic finesse bait that has caught the attention of a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers.
Neal is a 26-year-old professional black bass angler, who competes on the FLW Tour, Bassmaster's Opens, and other tournament venues.
His creation is a stick-style bait that is called The Limit Maker, which Big Bite Baits introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show on July 12 at Orlando, Florida.
The Limit Maker is 3 3/4-inches long, and it possesses a solid head, body and tail.
Its head is a half of an inch long. It is smooth skinned. Each side of the head is embellished with a small but distinct eye. Its nose is relatively blunt.
The circumference of the biggest part of its torso is 1 1/4 inches. Each side of the torso is adorned with a long and thin fin, and each fin is 1 5/16 inches long. The widest portion of the fin is about an 1/8 of an inch. The fins allow The Limit Maker to execute a gliding motif as it plummets towards the bottom. The torso is etched with a multitude of minuscule ribs. There is no differentiation in its belly and its back; therefore, it can be rigged with either one of them up or down, and when one of them becomes torn, an angler can turn it over and rerig it with the untorn side up.
Its slender and needle-shaped tail is 15/16 of an inch long. The largest part of its tail is where it joins the torso, and at that junction, its circumference is a 1/2 of an inch. The tip of the tail is minuscule. The tail vibrates, gyrates, and undulates with the slightest provocation, as does the torso.
It is durable enough to withstand 10 significant donnybrooks with feisty largemouth bass or smallmouth bass or spotted bass.
It is available in the following colors: Chick Magnet, Easy Money, Green Pumpkin, Silver Smoke/Blue, Tilapia, Vegas Flash, Watermelon/Chartreuse, Watermelon Red, and Watermelon Red/Ghost.
It is impregnated with salt and scent.
A package of 10 costs $4.69.
(1) The Limit Maker was designed to be used with a 1/16-, 1/8-, and 3/16-ounce The Limit Maker Jig Head. It is a mushroom-style head. It features a 3/0 Gamakatsu hook with a 60-degree flat-eye. A bait keeper radiates from the back of the head and parallels the shank of the hook. From the tip of its head to the bend of the hook shank, it is 1 15/16 inches long. After the hook is totally inserted into The Limit Maker, the shank of the hook encompasses 1 1/2 inches of its torso, which dramatically inhibits the vibrations, gyrations, and undulations of the torso, but its tail still shakes dramatically. Neal says the 3/0 hook eliminates the short-strike woes that small hooks create. The 3/0 hook also allows him to use it and The Limit Maker as a Texas-rigged shaky-head jig combo. It is available in two colors: Black or Green Pumpkin. A package of four can be purchased for $5.99.
(2) On Aug. 28, we talked to Neal about his experiences with The Limit Maker.
Since Dec. 16, 2016, he field tested it a lot at Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee, which is a 36,240-acre reservoir on the Tennessee River and Hiwassee River. Chickamauga is his home lake. And at times, he worked with it at all of the venues on the 2017 FLW Tour.
He rigs it on The Limit Maker Head Jig, as well as on a drop-shot rig and a shaky -head jig. When he employs it on a shaky-head, it is rigged Texas-style to make it weedless.
His favorite color is silver smoke/blue.
He uses four presentations with The Limit Maker affixed to The Limit Maker Head Jig.
One of them is called the burn and stop. He uses it around concentrations of black bass. These concentrations can be foraging on or near the surface. They can be suspended somewhere between the surface and the bottom. And they also can be in a school near the bottom. He executes this retrieve by holding his rod at the 1:30 position, and he makes five to six rapid rotations of the reel's handle, and then he makes a one-second pause, which is followed by another five to six rapid rotations of the reel's handle and another one-second pause. He repeats this burn-and-stop presentation until the rig is well past the concentration of black bass.
He calls the second presentation the short hop, and he retrieves it along the bottom by consecutively moving his rod from the two o'clock position to the 12:00 o'clock position and back to the two o'clock position.
His third presentation is similar to the Midwest finesse anglers' swim-and-glide retrieve. Neal holds his rod at the two o'clock position, and he swims The Limit Maker about a foot above the bottom. If the bottom is flat, he makes about five revolutions of the reel's handle, and then he pauses for a second or two and allows the rig to glide towards the bottom. If the bottom has a significant slope, he will make two or three revolutions of the reel's handle, and the pause will be two to three seconds.
There are times when he uses a retrieve that Midwest finesse anglers call the drag-and-shake presentation. Neal executes this presentation by holding his rod at the two o'clock position and shakes it as The Limit Maker traverses along the bottom.
Neal calls The Limit Maker a "numbers bait." And at many of the difficult venues that he has to fish as a professional tournament angler, it has helped to catch a limit of black bass. And when the fishing is not horrendously trying, he has been able to catch six to eight black bass an hour by wielding The Limit Maker affixed to The Limit Maker Head Jig, which is a very respectable catch rate in the world of tournament fishing.
We asked him when and why he uses the 1/16-ouncer, 1/8-ouncer, and 3/16-ouncer. He said: "I always go as light as I can get away with," explaining that the "wind and other factors that move the bait, such as current," are what govern the weight of the jig that he uses.
Day in, day out, most of the fish that he catches on The Limit Maker are extracted out of six to 10 feet of water.
When Neal is dissecting ledges or other kinds of deep-water lairs, Neal employs The Limit Maker on a drop-shot rig, and then he finds that the sliver smoke/blue hue is an excellent baitfish imitator on a drop-shot rig.
Here is a link to a YouTube that features Michael Neal talking about The Limit Maker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_ShPwnmv6s.
(3) Most Midwest finesse anglers will opt for a smaller jig than The Limit Maker Jig Head that Neal prefers. Some of their mushroom-style jigs will have hooks as small as a No. 4, which will allow the torso of The Limit Maker to quiver, pulsate, and throb alluringly. See the photograph below.