February 14, 2013
By Ned Kehde
TriggerX introduced the four-inch Aggression Probe worm to finesse anglers in 2011, and at the 2012 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades in July, they presented the 5 1/2-inch Aggression Probe worm.
Dan Quinn, who hails from Hudson, Wisconsin and is the Field Promotions Coordinator for Rapala, says that the Probe is endowed with a new polyvinyl chloride flotation formula. Its ability to float, combined with it flat belly, allows it to levitate horizontally above the bottom when its affixed to a drop-shot rig.
When finesse anglers attach it to a mushroom-style jig and hop or drag it across the bottom, the flotation formula allows the Probe's tail to rise well off the bottom and exhibit a provocative undulation. As anglers drag and hop the jig combo, they can at times enhance the retrieve by shaking it. And, of course, anglers can periodically deadstick it as they are hopping or dragging it across a lair.
If it is fastened to a darter-head jig or a small swimbait-style jig, anglers can employ the late Charlie Brewer's do-nothing retrieve, which allows this Probe-and-jig combo to slowly glide, slide and swim well off the bottom. The depth of the retrieve is controlled by the weight of the jig and the speed that the angler turns the handle of the spinning reel. During this slow-and-steady paced retrieve the tail of the Probe exhibits a subtle quiver.
Another finesse option is to rig the Probe on a split-shot rig, which will allow anglers to use their spinning rods to pull across the bottom at a variety of speeds, and the split-shot rig is another first-rate tool for deadsticking the Probe.
In a February 12 e-mail, Troy Lindner of Los Angeles described how, when and where he employs the 5 1/2-inch Probe.
When he is fishing clear-water environs that exhibit 10 feet or more of visibility, he works with a seven-foot, medium powered Quantum EXO spinning rod that is affixed to a Quantum's PT Series Accurist Spinning Reel. The reel is spooled with four to seven-pound-test Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon. If he plies brush piles, flooded timber or other snaggy lairs in clear water, he opts for 10 to 15-pound-test Sufix 832 Advanced Superline with a long, six- to seven-pound-test leader made from Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon.
Ninety percent of the time that Lindner uses the 5 1/2-inch Probe, it is employed on a drop-shot rig. His drop-shot sinker is a either a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce VMC Tungsten Drop Shot Ball Weight or VMC Tungsten Drop Shot Cylinder Weight.
Around open-water scenarios, Lindner nose hooks the Probe onto either a No. 1 or No. 2 VMC SureSet Drop Shot Hook or VMC SpinShot hook. When he works a drop-shot rig around reeds, tules, buckbrush, brushpiles, flooded timber or other obstacles, he Texas-rigs it on a 1/0 rebarb hook.
Lindner says the distance that he separates the hook and the sinker depends on the lake and conditions, as well as the disposition and location of the bass. The normally range is from 12 to 16 inches. But there have been occasions when Lindner has rigged them as close as four inches and as far apart as three feet.
On waterways where the water clarity is less than 10 feet, Lindner works with a seven-foot, medium-heavy power Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Rod and Quantum Smoke PT Spinning Reel. The reel is spooled with 10- to 15-pound-test Sufix 832 Advanced Superline and an eight- to 10-pound leader made with Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon. He uses the same hooks and sinkers that he works with in the clear-water environments.
When Lindner purses smallmouth and spotted bass, he has discovered that the most effective presentation is to cast and drag the drop-shot-and-Probe combo. He rarely shakes the rod while he drags, noting that the Probe has plenty of inherent action. He also wrote: "It's one of my go-to follow-up presentations with smallmouth bass that chase and miss an X-Rap or swimbait. I will also wacky rig it on the VMC circle hook when I fish the same areas for the second time or next day to give the bass different look on the drop shot."
For largemouth bass, Lindner casts the Probe on a drop-shot rig around pieces of wood and brush and along edges of tules and reeds. When he chases the largemouth bass on the California Delta, he spends a lot of time pitching the drop-shot-and-Probe combo into sparser patches of tules and aquatic vegetation.
Lindner says a vertical presentation is a dandy way to allure bass that are suspended in deep water and above flooded timber. For this deep-water presentation, Lindner works with either a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce VMC drop-shot sinker. He watches the position of the bass and the Probe via his sonar, and he keeps the Probe slightly above the suspended bass.
In regard to Lindner's favorite colors of the Probe, he likes the True Blue, Money and Bluegill hues in clear-water scenarios. He uses Emerald Oil, RB's Sauce, Cheap Shot and Muck in slightly stained water. When there is less than three feet of visibility, Lindner opts for Red Shad and Junebug. He said: "I don't think you need 100 different colors of worms. The basic five are blue, red, brown, green and purple. And some variations and cross overs of each is good enough for nearly all fishing situations. But I do prefer smaller flakes, and it is just a confidence thing with me."
In Lindner's eyes, "the Probe on a drop shot is 'anywhere-anytime' bait. There's not a tournament where I haven't thrown it. It's always tied on. The 5 ½-inch Probe is a great size for catching keeper-size and lunker-size bass."
At Clear Lake, California, he pitches it under docks and adjacent to pilings to catch largemouth bass. He casts and slowly drags it at Lake Oroville, California, to inveigle spotted bass. To catch largemouth bass at Lake Mead and smallmouth bass at Lake Havasu, Arizona, he employs it as a follow-up bait to catch the largemouth and smallmouth bass that follow a swimbait or a Rapala X-Rap but are reluctant to strike those two baits. And as noted above, he pitches it to the largemouth bass on the California Delta.
According to Lindner, the design of the Probe's tail generates an alluring action; thus he doesn't need to shake it. What's more, he says "the Ultrabite infused Trigger X plastic means I don't have to soak them over night in goo, which keeps my boat from smelling like an Italian restaurant (heavy garlic scents). The Probe doesn't tear after one bass, allowing me to catch several bass on each worm before having to change them."
The 5 1/2-inch Aggression Probe worm is available in 12 colors that are graced with a fine glitter and impregnated UltraBite pheromones. A package of 12 retails for $4.99