December 02, 2014
By Ned Kehde
There are several Midwest finesse anglers and Finesse News Network members, such as Brent Frazee of Parkville, Missouri, who spend some of their hours afloat in pursuit of crappie with the same tackle that they employ to pursue largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, and Johnson Fishing's new Crappie Buster series of baits and tackle will catch the eyes of some of these finesse anglers, as well as the various species these anglers pursue.
Lying near the heart of this new series is the Beetle Spin, which has played a significant role in Midwest finesse anglers' repertoire since the late Chuck Woods of Kansas City created it in the 1950s. And since those days, the Beetle and its sibling the Beetle Spin have waylaid untold numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, white bass, green sunfish, bluegill, trout, black crappie, and white crappie. In our eyes, the Beetle affixed to a tiny jig was the angling world's first stickbait or Senk0-style bait. Back in those halcyon days of the 1960s in the angling world, several of us preferred employing the Beetle without the jig-spinner component, and we recommend today's anglers to continue employing that method.
The Beetle Spin in Johnson Fishing's Crappie Kit has a 1/32-ounce jig, a jig spinner, and five Beetle bodies in two sizes: one-inchers and two-inchers. This package retails for $1.39.
In addition to the Beetle Spin, the Crappie Buster Series is comprised of five new baits and an attractant.
One of the lures is a crankbait, and it is called the Crappie Buster Shad Crank. One is an underspin jig, which is called the Crappie Buster Spin'R Grub. Three are soft-plastic baits that anglers can affix to standard jigs or Johnson Fishing's underspin jig. The names of these three baits are: Crappie Buster Tube, Crappie Buster Shad Tail, and Crappie Buster Shad Tube. The name of the attractant is Crappie Buster Shad Scales.
Here are some details about these three new baits and the attractant:
(1) The Crappie Buster Tube is 1 3/4-inches long. Its torso is three-quarters of an inch long. Ten tentacles extend off the backend of its torso. These tentacles are an inch long, and they are thin and exceedingly flexible, which allows them to undulate alluringly. The torso is hollow, and that feature allows anglers to load it with a scent, such as Crappie Buster Shad Scales. It can be affixed to either an internal or external jig.
It is available in the following colors: Black Chartreuse Glow, Black/Blue Sparkle, Black/Chartreuse Red Sparkle, Blue Sparkle/Chartreuse, Blue/Pearly Glow, Chartreuse Red Sparkle, Chocolate/Chartreuse Glow, Grape/Chartreuse, Grape/Clear Sparkle, Grape/Pearl, Green/Chartreuse Sparkle, Lime/Chartreuse Glow, Orange/Chartreuse Glow, Orange/Chartreuse Pepper, Orange/Chartreuse Sparkle, Pink Pearl, Pink Sparkle, Pink/Chartreuse Glow, Red/Chartreuse Glow, Red/Chartreuse Sparkle, Red/Pearl, White/Chartreuse, and White/Chartreuse Sparkle.
A package of 12 sells for $1.99.
(2) The Crappie Buster Shad Tube is two inches long. It is endowed with 10 skinny and extremely supple tentacles that are an inch long, and they exhibit what the folks at Johnson Fishing call a "lifelike swimming action." Its torso is shad shaped and an inch long. Its hollow torso can be filled to the brim with Crappie Buster Shad Scales. Anglers can rig it on an external jig, internal jig or unweighted hook. Its head is solid plastic, which allows it to be firmly affixed to the collar of an external jig and to the eye stem of the hook of an internal jig.
It is available in the following colors: Clear Chartreuse Sparkle, Grape-Chartreuse, Green-Chartreuse Sparkle, Junebug-Chartreuse, Lemon-White, Midnight-Pink, Neon Blue-Pearl, Orange Pepper-Chartreuse, Pearl Blue Sparkle-Chartreuse, Pink-Chicken, Pumpkin Pepper-Yellow, and Red-Yellow Sparkle.
Anglers can purchase a package of eight for $1.99.
The Crappie Buster Shad Tail is two inches long. Its torso is almost an inch long, and it possesses the same shad-shaped torso that the Crappie Buster Shad Tube has. But its torso is thinner than that of its sibling. And rather than being festooned with ten tentacles as its sibling is, it possesses a single straight tail that is a touch longer than an inch, and it quivers almost incessantly. Its head is solid plastic, and this feature allows it to stay steadfastly attached to the collar of a jig. The torso is hollow, which allows anglers to rig it onto an internal jig, and they can also pump that cavity full of scent and Crappie Buster Shad Scales.
It is available in the following 12 colors: Clear Chartreuse Sparkle, Grape-Chartreuse, Green-Chartreuse Sparkle, Junebug-Chartreuse, Lemon-White, Midnight-Pink, Neon Blue-Pearl, Orange Pepper-Chartreuse, Pearl Blue Sparkle-Chartreuse, Pink-Chicken, Pumpkin Pepper-Yellow, and Red-Yellow Sparkle.
A package of 12 can be purchased for $1.99.
(3) The Crappie Buster Spin' R Grub is Johnson Fishing's addition to the world of the underspin jig. The great lineage of the underspin jig reaches back to Bull Shoals Reservoir along the Arkansas and Missouri border in 1958. It was the creation of the late Bert Hall of Forsyth, Missouri. (For more information about the history of the underspin, please consult this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/panfish/spinners-for-panfish/.)
Johnson Fishing's rendition is available in three sizes: 1/32-, 1/16, and 1/8-ounce models. It features a keel-headed jig, which allows the Spin'R Grub to run straight as an arrow at a variety of speeds. From the tip of its nose to the beginning of its collar, the head of the 1/8-ounce model is five-sixteenths of an inch long. From the top of the eye of the hook to the bottom of the keel, the head is about a half of an inch wide. The head is graced with two silver-holographic eyes. The shape of the head is similar to the head on a modern-day swimbait jig. The 1/8-ounce model is endowed with a double-ring collar (which Johnson Fishing calls a reverse tubing baitkeeper) that is seven-sixteenths of an inch long, and this double-ring feature helps to keep a soft-plastic bait firmly attached. Along the keel and at the bottom of the head, there is a small and stout ring to which a split ring is attached. The split ring is attached to the top of a ball bearing swivel, and to the bottom of the ball bearing swivel, another split ring is attached. An Indiana spinner blade, which is nine-sixteenths of an inch long, is affixed to the bottom split ring.
All three sizes of the Crappie Buster Spin' R Grub is available in the following colors: Black/Fluorescent, Orange, Chartreuse/Black, Chartreuse/Chartreuse, Fluorescent Red/Clear Chartreuse Sparkle, Fluorescent Red/White, Pink/Pearl, White/Hot Pink, and White/White.
Each package of the Crappie Buster Spin' R Grub contains one underspin jig and three two-inch curly-tailed grubs. Anglers can purchase a package for $1.99. Anglers can also affix a variety of other soft-plastic baits ( such as a Beetle, Crappie Buster Tube, Crappie Buster Shad Tube, and Crappie Buster Shad Tail) to the underspin jig.
(4) According to the lure designers and engineers at Johnson Fishing, the Crappie Buster Shad Crank was designed to replicate many of the features of a threadfin shad, such as its head, eyes, and gill plates. In the eyes of many anglers, it also parallels many of the features of one of its Pure Fishing siblings, which is Berkley's Flicker Shad. (For more information about the Flicker Shad, please read the gear guide at this link: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/berkley-flicker-shad-pro-series-crankbaits/.)
There are two sizes of the Crappie Buster Shad Crank. One is 2 1/8 inches long, and it weighs three-eighths of an ounce. The other is 2 1/2-inches long, and it weights a one-quarter of an ounce. Besides emulating some of the features of a threadfin shad, they are embellished with an internal rattle system, and the 2 1/8-incher sports two red No. 8 treble hooks, and the 2 1/2-incher has two red No. 5 treble hooks.
They are suspending baits. The 2 1/2-incher can be retrieved or trolled into water depths that ranged from four to eight feet, and the 2 1/2-incher can dive into eight to 12 feet of water.
They are available in the following colors: Black Gold Sunset, Chartreuse Pearl, Classic Shad, Goldfish, Midnight Pink, Threadfin Shad, Pink Shad, Pink Shine, Purple Chartreuse, and Racy Shad.
Anglers can purchase it for $3.99.
(5) Crappie Buster Shad Scales is a gel that is packaged in a plastic tube. The gel is scented with a shad-flavoring and intermixed with thousands of minuscule reflective chips, which simulate scales that have been knocked off the body of a threadfin shad. Each tube contains 0.63 ounces of this gel, which will fill the torsos of 150 to 200 Crappie Buster Tubes, Crappie Buster Shad Tails, or Crappie Buster Shad Tubes. Each application of the gel will be effective for 15 to 20 minutes.
It is available in the following colors: Black, Chartreuse, Gold, Orange, Pink, Pearl Glow, Rainbow, and Silver.
One container can be purchased for $3.99.
Here is a short historical note about the effectiveness of the Beetle Spin and underspin baits, like the Crappie Buster Spin' R Grub, are for alluring black bass:
Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, is one of the pioneers of Midwest finesse fishing, and he competed in the first Bassmaster Classic, which was staged at Lake Mead, Nevada, on Oct. 20-22, 1971. Reese said that Bill Fletcher of Mountain Home, Arkansas, also competed in that first Classic, and Fletcher used the underspin jig that Bert Hall created and manufactured to catch some of the 22-pounds of largemouth bass that he caught to garner tenth place. Reese, by the way, used the Beetle Spin to catch some of the 23.8 pounds of largemouth bass that he caught to finish in seventh place. And to this day, both of these baits are as effective as they were for Fletcher and Reese in 1971.