September 12, 2014
By Ned Kehde
Savage Gear introduced its TPE Panic Popping Shrimp to the angling world on July 15 at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida. But it didn't catch the eye of any Midwest finesse anglers.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Midwest finesse anglers have overlooked it is that we think of a shrimp-style bait as being solely in the domain of saltwater anglers. But during the late winter and early spring of 2014, Bob Gum of Kansas City began using Z-Man Fishing Products' ShrimpZ affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig, and it inveigled an impressive array of largemouth bass at a northeastern Kansas power-plant reservoir, where the fishing had been subpar for weeks on end.
The TPE Panic Popping Shrimp is not the typical soft-plastic bait, which are made out of polyvinyl chloride. PVC baits are very fragile, and many of them are unable to endure more than one or two donnybrooks with a feisty largemouth bass. The TPE Panic Popping Shrimp is constructed from Thermo Plastic Elastomer, and the entire bait is inner laced with a nylon mesh, which, according to the folks at Savage Gear, makes it practically "indestructible no matter how vicious the strikes are."
Its appearance is similar to Savage Gear's 3D Shrimp, which was originally designed and constructed around a three-dimensional scan of a live shrimp. But according to the designers at Savage Gear, the antennae and legs of the TPE Panic Popping Shrimp radiate "out in a much different, more deliberate manner" than the ones on the 3D Shrimp.
TPE Panic Popping Shrimp has two antennae, and one extends from each side of its head and near its eyes. Although its eyes are tiny, they are quite distinct. Each side of its torso or carapace is adorned with four appendages or pereiopods, which the folks at Savage Gear describe as legs. Its tail is solid, but it is designed so that it exhibits the six anatomical features on a shrimp's tail that are called abdominal segments. The end of these six abdominal segments is adorned with a fan-shaped attachment, which includes a shrimp's uropods and telson.
It is four inches long. It is predrilled with a hook channel that runs through the entire length of its body, which allows anglers to rig it through its head or tail. It is also endowed with an internal belly weight, which allows anglers to employ it without a sinker or a jig.
When anglers rig it through the head, the TPE Panic Popping Shrimp falls backwards as it plummets toward the bottom. It was designed for saltwater anglers to employ under a popping cork, and recently a couple Midwest finesse anglers have been using cork presentations for alluring suspended largemouth bass and spotted bass that are inhabiting relatively shallow water during the cold-water periods of the year. The folks at Savage Gear say that anglers can also affix it to a Carolina rig, drop-shot rig, and stand-up-style jig.
It weighs three-eighths of an ounce, which might be too heavy for most Midwest finesse anglers' tastes. It is available in eight hues: Avocado, Blue Pearl, Brown, Chartreuse Glow, Golden, Natural, Pink Glow, and Red. The suggested retail price for a package of two baits and one hook is $8.99. Savage Gear warns anglers not to store the TPE Panic Popping Shrimp with standard PVC soft plastics, because PVC will react and harm the Thermo Plastic Elastomer.
In the months to come, we would like receive reports from finesse anglers who used the TPE Panic Popping Shrimp or other shrimp-style baits for catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. Please post those reports to the comment section below.