The tackle industry really never takes a break. From the little guys that started out in their garages to the big boys like ZOOM if the stuff catches fish, anglers will find out about it and want some.
Here’s a sampling of some of the new stuff coming to a tackle shop near you.
This is a Texas-based company that started out airbrushing hyper-realistic finishes on plugs and has now expanded to hardbaits and softbaits.
The 6th Sense SplashBack™ will bring new life to your popper arsenal with a design and shape that has revolutionized topwater fishing. Utilizing a unique ‘vee’ keel style and flat sided shape, the SplashBack cuts through water with ease, making ‘walking the dog’ an easy task. The extra-wide mouth spits and chugs like no other surface lure while still creating the classic “bloop” sound when needed. At rest, the flat side profile results in side-to-side movement. On top of all that, add in an internal casting chamber/rattle, realistic 3D eyes, and lifelike surface detail and you have the most versatile topwater out there.
The 6th Sense Dogma™ was designed as a ‘walk-the-dog’ topwater lure. Being able to glide and turn with the twitch of the rod, the Dogma’s action and knocking rattle system is exactly what the 6th Sense Pro Fishing Team had in mind.
The Crush, Cloud 9 and Curve 55 are three more of 6th Sense’s crankbaits anglers in the know are looking to obtain this year.
There are two new combos beginning and mid-level anglers might consider this year from ABU Garcia. The Revo X spinning and baitcasting combos are strong contenders for your gear money.
The spinning combo features a Revo X reel with six stainless steel HPCR™ bearings + 1 roller bearing that provides increased corrosion protection, Carbon Matrix™ hybrid drag system for super smooth reliable drag performance, the IM-C6 (Insert molded C6) body design combines an X-craftic™ gearbox design with a C6 carbon body, which gives a lightweight construction that houses gears in perfect alignment, a lightweight graphite rotor, the Rocket line management system™ that provides better control of all types of fishing lines, the Rocket spool lip design™ allows better control of line coming off the spool, a machined aluminum braid-ready spool that allows braid to be tied directly to the spool without any slip, a stainless steel main shaft and components for improved corrosion resistance, the Everlast™ bail system for improved durability. The rods are single piece medium action graphite from 6’6” to 7’ with EVA foam grips and fast action tips.
The baitcasting combo features the Revo X reel with 7 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing provides smooth operation, an X2-Cräftic™ alloy frame for increased corrosion resistance, a Carbon Matrix™ hybrid drag system for super smooth reliable drag performance, a Duragear™ brass gear for extended gear life, the D2 Gear Design™ that provides a more efficient gear system while improving gear durability, the DuraClutch™ design that provides improved engagement and durability, a MagTrax™ brake system gives consistent brake pressure throughout the cast, a compact bent handle and star drag that provide a more ergonomic design. The rods are made from 30-ton graphite for a lightweight balanced design with high density EVA foam grips and stainless steel guides with zirconium inserts. Both combos retail for $150.
The new MaxScent line of Berkley PowerBait is said to have a super-charged scent field. The MaxScent line comes in a stickbait known as The General, a shaky worm called the D-Worm, a curl-tail worm called the Lunch Worm, a soft plastic jerkbait known as the Flatnose Minnow, a four-inch Hit Worm, a craw chuck known as the Meat Chunk and the over-sized Kingtail worm. Creature bait fans should check out the new PowerBait Bearded CrazyLeg Chigger Craw.
Berkley FireLine Ultra8Carrier has four times more abrasion resistant than original FireLine and casts 10% farther due to a process that makes it rounder with more consistent line structure.
Berry FlexIt Spoons
This spoon has been made for the past 30 years but just recently has been re-introduced online by Capt. Mack. This spoon is one of the most effective lures for cold lethargic bass. It features a reflective surface and patented flexible design. Anglers can literally bend it for more or less “flutterability” depending on the bite. Everything from largemouth and smallmouth to striper and walleye have been caught with it.
Area anglers have enjoyed catching fish of all sorts using jigging spoons. Capt. Mack Farr, a guide on Georgia’s Lake Lanier, has created a line of spoons aimed at the freshwater market that also work well in the Chesapeake Bay.
The innovative yet simple Captain Mack’s Super Spoon is a traditional lead core jigging spoon that is very effective for most all species of gamefish. The Super Spoon is available in 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and one-ounce models. Three color patterns are available: white/silver, white/blue, and white.
The Capt. Mack’s JigNShad spoons feature holographic patterns resembling baitfish with 3D holographic eyes. Colors available include chartreuse shad, natural shad, blue shad, sexy shad and silver shad. They come with super sharp Gamagatzu treble hooks.
Double D Baits
Dwayne Holler is another creative mind in the regional lure design and prodution market. His Double D Baits have become popular among lake and river anglers due to their intricate color patterns and high quality components. The unique Harvester Jig caught fire last year. The Double D Hybrid Jig has always been a top producer for river smallies. Tip it with a craw trailer and you have the Double D Bed Buster largemouth anglers crushed with last season. The Double D Bladed Jig far exceeds most Chatterbait-type products. You’ll find Dwayne at the Richmond Fishing Show selling his baits.
JB Custom Rods
Now offering four rod lines, JB Custom Rods will be at the Richmond Fishing Show selling the ESP, Stealth and new JB Stinger models. Jamey Caldwell has also teamed up with JB and designed the Wicked Series of rods that will also be on display.
John Ballard is a master rod builder, a North Carolina craftsman that had been producing some of the lightest and most sensitive rods available. His extensive use of spiral guide wraps, epoxy/graphite handles and other innovative materials and ideas sets him light years apart from mass rod producers.
Are custom rods expensive? They can be but they are worth it, and the new JB Stinger rods will retail for $129, so now you can get a custom rod for less than many mass-produced products. The spinning and casting Stingers have a striking yellow/black color scheme with EVA foam only on the butt section, epoxy/graphite on the foregrip and split trigger for better sensitivity.
New reels from Lew’s this season include the nearly neon orange Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP, the Superduty G Speed Spool LFS, the Custom Inshore Speed Spool SLP, the BB1 Pro Speed Spool, and the Team Lew’s Hypermag Speed Spool SLP.
The Crush SLP (super low profile) has a machined and double anodized aluminum u-shaped 32 mm spool, 10 stainless steel bear system, external multi-setting brake dual cast control system, a carbon fiber drag system, an external lube port, zirconia line guide and a massive anodized, bowed aluminum 95 mm handle with oversized Winn Dri-Tac knobs. This Lew’s reel retails for $159.
This company’s “match the hatch” philosophy has spawned a number of exciting creations—and this year it’s the BaitBall Spinner Rig. Part Alabama rig, part spinnerbait, it’s unlike any other lure out there. There are three top swimbait bodies that act as a strong visual target and pump out vibrations underwater. The single middle blade adds additional vibration and throws out flashing light. The larger swimbait—the only one with a hook—is set slightly behind the others, in order to draw the strike and increase hook-up ratios. The BaitBall Spinner Rig will be available in three sizes (small, medium, and large), each with two weight options.
The Prop Sunfish, in particular, has a topwater prop motion and the lifelike profile and pattern of a live sunfish. The hollow-bodied bait is similar to a topwater frog, in that it remains weedless and compresses when a fish strikes. But unlike many other topwater prop baits, the Lunkerhunt Prop Sunfish employs a single prop instead of two. This results in a subtle action that resembles baitfish breaking the surface. The Prop Sunfish is 3 inches long, weighs half an ounce, and comes in six patterns.
This Japanese bait company wowed the crowds several years back at the Richmond Fishing Expo when a presenter on the Bass Tub caught fish after fish on the unique Nikko Tadpole with zero damage to the plastic bait.
Nikko uses a proprietary material that permits the angler to use one bait for 20-40 fish. The baits remain supple and do not tear like normal soft plastics.
New for 2018 is the Nikko Hellgramite and Pinch Worm. The Hellgramite is three inches long and comes in four colors. Field testers have reported catching 50 river smallmouths before the baits showed much sign of wear!
The Nikko Pinch Worm offers anglers a unique and practical way of purchasing plastic worms. The bait is extruded into 12-inch lengths and packaged in pairs – 24 inches total. The angler can pinch off whatever amount of worm he or she wants to use, saving the rest. They can also trim and shape the bait using scissors to create worms for shaky head fishing, dropshotting, wacky worming, ned rigging and many more uses. The plastic is infused with scent, too.
Nikko also offers minnows, tadpoles and an awesome five-inch blue crab lookalike that looks to be a winner on the tidal James.
When Rapala says a lure is their latest and greatest, anglers should take notice. This year that lure is the new RipStop. Rapala has been dominating the jerkbait and slashbait marketplace lately with their various X-Raps, and the RipStop should continue that trend. This new jerkbait creates a fast ripping action that stops on a dime when paused due to a flared tail section. When suspending motionless the bait begs for punishment from onlooking predators. It can be fished a variety of ways, from jerking, twitching, pausing, and snapping, to a straight retrieve. It’s 3 inches long and weighs a ounce, and it will achieve depths greater than three to four feet. It comes in 14 different patterns to match water conditions.
Andre Moore, lure innovator has a new soft plastic bait meant to compete for your Brush Hog dollar. The Manbear Pig is a new four-inch creature bait like a Brush Hog with the famous Sweet Beaver/Reaction Innovation rib pattern on the sides.
Taking last year’s 3D Suicide Duck a step further, the 3D Bat is another truly unique topwater. The thinking behind this bait is that large predatory fish dine on birds and small mammals that end up on top of the water. Fortunately, the 3D Bat has a hard ABS plastic body and stainless steel wings so it can endure the punishment. Its action is a combination of a crawling topwater motion coupled with a high-pitched built-in rattle. The overall package is a frantic, noisy presentation that is sure to get the attention of big fish. The 3D Bat is available in three patterns: black, gray, and brown, and in two sizes: 4-inch, 1-ounce, and 5-inch long, 2-ounce.
The new Curado K will be a reel on the the wish list of many anglers this season. New technology includes the MicroModule gearing (multiple gear ratio models up to 8.5:1), a new SVS Infinity Braking system and a matte black, low profile body. This reel is more powerful, durable, quieter with better brakes and better gears and fits in your hand better due to the more ergonomic Hagane body style. This reel retails for $179.
The new Shadnasty four-inch swimbait is intended to redefine the paddle-tail swimbait market. At 4” long, it is the perfect choice for a swim jig, spinnerbait, chatterbait trailer, an Alabama rig, or fished alone on a weighted hook or underspin. With its meaty main body and tapered tail, you don’t have to sacrifice durability for the necessary kicking action from a swimbait. The ribbed design running the entirety of the bait adds to the vibration and sound produced while swimming. There are even recessed eye sockets in this bait for the easy addition of aftermarket eyes in the correct placement. Poured without salt, the bones of this bait are durable yet enticing to multiple species.
The new three-inch Raptor Tail craw chunk trailer has specially designed claws that give the Raptor Tail Chunk a realistic movement mimicking a fleeting crawfish. This chunk’s claws to float upward when it is stopped giving a fish a better target. Pair it up with a 2/0 hook and swim it around grass or flip it along laydowns to get even the most finicky bass to bite. 17 fish catching colors available.
The X Zone six-inch Whiplash Shad was designed with many key features such as a long soft tail that delivers unparalleled tail swing during retrieve and jerk. If left to fall down the water column the tail delivers a seductive quiver, which is not found in any other bait. This extremely versatile soft plastic jerkbait is available in seven colors.