(Note: This is part 1 of a 3-part story on Lucky Craft hardbaits. Part 1 covers crankbaits, including 7 lipped and 5 lipless cranks. Part 2 presents 6 of Lucky Craft’s best jerkbaits. Part 3 floats 4 of the finest topwater options. Those are my 22 lucky-est choices among Lucky Craft USA’s 75 bass models. I hope you’ll find a bait or tip or two here that may be lucky for you too!)

Lucky Craft Moonsault CB Series

Way back when Lucky Craft was first getting into the North American market, the Moonsault CB series were the first crankbaits introduced here by Lucky Craft. Originally designed for the Japanese angler’s style of fishing, the Moonsault CB’s are characterized by having hooks on the small side with sensitive balances. By sensitive, I mean they work very well on a slow retrieve, but on moderate to fast retrieves, may tend to become unbalanced and act flippant.

Reason is, Japanese anglers tend to use lighter tackle, smaller hooks and appreciate more fine-tuned balance in lures versus North American anglers who use heavier tackle, prefer larger hooks and desire more lure stability than our Japanese counterparts.

Nevertheless, two Moonsault models, the CB-200 and CB-350, have proven themselves admirably in the USA. They’ve pretty much always been the two most popular Moonsault models here, recognizing they have finer balances requiring lighter hooks and a relatively lighter tackle approach to cranking.

Top down: CB-350’s 1st & 3rd. CB-200’s 2nd & 4th.

Lucky Craft Moonsault CB-200 ~ Medium-Running Crankbait

Model: Moonsault CB-200
Type: Floating/Diving Crankbait
Weight: 7/16 oz (12.2g)
Length: 2-1/4" (60mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 6 feet

The CB-200 is one of the first few baits that Lucky Craft introduced to the USA way back when, and it still continues to be popular with many anglers today.

The CB-200 is a good medium-running crankbait that has withstood the test of time.

The medium-running depth of the CB-200 is well-suited to the needs of a large group of anglers, including (but not limited to) shore anglers or those who fish typically smaller waters.

It’s well worth trying the CB-200 if you have not already.

Lucky Craft Moonsault CB-350 ~ Deep-Diving Crankbait

Model: Moonsault CB-350
Type: Slow-Rising, Deep-Diving Crankbait
Weight: 1/2 oz (14.6g)
Length: 2-1/2" (62mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 8-10 feet

If you use deep-diving cranks, then you need to try the venerable CB-350. It’s a time-proven winner.

The CB-350 is a deep-diving crankbait that has withstood the test of time. The CB-350 is one of the first few that Lucky Craft USA introduced here, and it still continues to be popular with many anglers today.

Only one other Moonsault model (the CB-200 medium-runner) is as popular as the CB-350.

The CB-350 combines all the best features of fat-bodied crankbaits, rattling vibration baits, and suspending jerkbaits into one lure. It has the long bill, fat body, and deep-diving qualities of a crankbait. Internal weights shift position so it casts far and dives quickly, seeking bottom fast. Inside, it has seven separate rattling chambers and a center wall that reverberates its rattles loudly! It’s not as loud as a lipless bait, but makes a good chatter for a crankbait. Plus it’s got a better internal suspension system than most jerkbaits.

It’s best when it gets to bottom about 8 to 10 feet down. Once there, it fishes most effectively when you use it as a bottom-suspending jerkbait. It suspends and rises lazily when you pause the retrieve. Pause to let it rise a little, then sweep and twitch or jerk it to activate the rattles and cause erratic quick-wiggling motion until it digs or bounces bottom again. Then pause and hold on! You don’t necessarily need to hit bottom again – although that’s always a helpful strike-triggering option. Just sweep and twitch it like a dying shad and reel slowly. The CB350 has a fast but tight wiggle even at a slow pace retrieve. The supple swimming movement can be enhanced by adding a long, thin feather tail.

Lucky Craft Flat CB Series

When Lucky Craft was first feeling out the North American market, Lucky Craft shortly realized a difference exists between Japanese anglers who tend to use lighter tackle, smaller hooks and appreciate more delicate balance in lures versus North American anglers who use heavier tackle, prefer larger hooks and desire more lure stability than our Japanese counterparts. So Lucky Craft developed the Flat CB series (MR, DR, D-12, D-20) specifically tuned for the North American angler, with more stable actions and bigger hooks that could be fished on relatively heavier cranking gear.

Top down: Flat CB D-20, D-12, DR and MR..

Lucky Craft Flat CB MR ~ Medium-Running Crankbait

Model: Flat CB MR
Type: Floating/Diving Crankbait
Weight: 3/8 oz (10.5g)
Length: 2-1/2" (63mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks:
Two #4 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 4-5 feet

Shallow-running and medium-running baits are far more popular than deep-divers. There are simply more places and situations where shallow or medium-divers can be used compared to deep-runners. So it’s no surprise that the Flat CB MR (Medium Runner) is by far the most popular model in the Flat CB series. The other Flat CB series models (DR, D12, D20) run deeper and are not as popular as the MR model.

I’d say the Flat CB MR works down around 5 feet more or less with 10 lb. test line, and can be used with 12 to 14 lb. test line, not getting quite as deep.

One of my favorite modifications with this lure is to replace the tail treble with a feathered one. I fancy the feathers enhance the movement and appearance of this particular bait. That’s not the case with all crankbaits, but the Flat CB MR is one I routinely tag with a feather tail.

I like to use the Flat CB MR a lot like I use a lipless crank. It is stable and easy to crank at moderate to fast paces. Similar to a lipless crankbait, the Flat CB MR has a flat-sided body and a tight, fast wriggle. The advantage is in snaggy areas, the Flat CB MR is not prone to get stuck as easily as a lipless. So I often go to the Flat CB MR whenever fish are whacking lipless crankbaits in shallow or flooded brush or snaggy areas where the lipless gets snagged often. It’s great to slam the Flat CB MR through shallow rocks and boulder beds too. These are places that lipless baits get snagged fairly easily – but the Flat CB MR with a similar action, does not get snagged as much or as badly. It’s diving bill serves to bounce it off cover and shield the hooks from snags. If the Flat CB MR does get stuck, it’s often the diving bill, not so much the hooks, that’s jammed in a snag. So it can often be backed out of snags more easily than a lipless.

Bassdozer says: "The Flat CB MR and DR have nice, beefy hooks but are prone to tangle. You may want to experiment with shorter shank yet strong hooks that won’t tangle that much."

Lucky Craft Flat CB DR ~ Deep-Running Crankbait

Model: Flat CB DR
Type: Floating/Diving Crankbait
Weight: 1/2 oz (11g)
Length: 2-1/2" (63mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #4 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 8-10 feet

The DR designation stands for Deep Runner. It works down around 10 feet with 10 lb test, and slightly less with 12 lb test.

The Flat CB DR is a money bait. I know of a number of tournaments won with the help of the Flat CB DR. Guys tend to use it in conjunction with the CB-350. Both these baits will get into the 8-10 foot range.

Flat CB DR (top) and CB-350 upgraded with Mustad #36300BLN X-strong, X-short size #4 trebles. This eliminates chronic tangling on the DR (and MR not shown) and is one size larger, yet won’t tangle on the CB-350 (bottom).

One of the most productive places for these deep divers are the tire reefs, other barrier reefs, and floating breakwaters anchored around the perimeters of boat marinas to break the force of wind-driven waves. These man-made reefs and barriers make a safe harbor within the marinas, and they are also bass magnets at times. These types of floating bass cover tend to be out in open water, with little shade. In clear water, bass tend to suspend deeper under the floating breakwaters where depth equates to shade. These suspended bass are deeper than the average crankbait can reach them, but not so deep that a crankbait swimming in the 8-10 foot range can’t entice them.

But deep diving crankbaits can be used in shallow water too. Many times I am bouncing, digging and rooting along the bottom in water as shallow as a few feet, even with these 8-10 foot divers. In fact, it is commonplace around ledges, bars and depth breaks to not get many hits while the crank is in deeper open water. Strikes rarely come until the deep diver gets up on the nearby shallow bar or ledge and starts stuttering across the gravel or digging in the sand. At that point, bass will materialize out of deep water, swimming onto the bar or ledge to pluck the bottom-gouging crankbait off the shallow bottom, often only a few feet deep.

At times I replace the tail treble on the Flat CB DR with a feathered one, but it’s hardly necessary to do this.

Lucky Craft Flat CB D-12 ~ Deep-Diving Crankbait

Model: Flat CB D-12
Type: Floating/Diving Crankbait
Weight: 3/4 oz (22g)
Length: 3" (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks:
Two #2 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 12 feet

True to its name, the D-12 gets down toward the 12 foot depth range more or less. It is a heavy duty crankbait that’s larger and gets deeper than most other crankbaits anglers typically use – and it dredges up larger bass than most anglers typically catch as well. It’s hard work to throw all day, but you can be well-rewarded by the D-12. You may not get as many, but they’ll be heavy.

Bassdozer says: "One little thing to remember with the Flat CB’s (MR, DR, D12, D20) is to give them all a yank before cranking. Internally they have a large metal ball that moves in a chamber to the back of the bait to help maximize casting distance. The ball does not always automatically roll back down the chamber behind the diving bill at the completion of a cast. So you may need to yank them first to help roll the ball down into the diving position before you crank. If you start cranking without first yanking, they’ll struggle on the surface and won’t dive deeply until the ball rolls out of the back."

Lucky Craft Flat CB D-20 ~ Super Deep-Diving Crankbait

Model: Flat CB D-20
Type: Floating/Diving Crankbait
Weight: 3/4 oz (23.5g)
Length: 3" (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks:
Two #2 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 15-18 feet

There are only a few crankbaits that can get deeper than 15 feet (without trolling) and that handle well at that level. It’s by far the rarest class of crankbaits, the super deep divers. So when Lucky Craft came out with the super deep D-20 some years ago, it was immediately deployed with good results by a savvy cadre of the sport’s top national and top regional pro anglers. The pros who have been using these all along desire to keep it low, and a number of regional level tournaments have quietly been won over the years on it.

With a lot of recent focus on fishing deep cranks on the top national BASS and FLW Pro Tours, particularly in 2008, the D-20 has been getting a lot of play and much press recently from the Lucky Craft national pro staff anglers, so you should see the D-20 grow in popularity going forward.

The D-20’s much larger and dives deeper than most anglers typically use. Indeed, it’s about as extreme and heavy duty as a bass crankbait gets to be. There are few bigger crankbaits for bass (or that dive as deep), and those few that are this big, they are not as solidly-constructed as the D-20. It’s heavy duty.

It’s hard work to throw all day, but you can be well-rewarded by large bass landed on the super deep D-20. I’m super serious.

Lucky Craft Fat CB BDS-3 ~ Shallow-Diving Crankbait

Model: Fat CB BDS-3
Type: Floating/Shallow Diving Crankbait
Weight: 1/2 oz (14g)
Length: 3" (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks:
Two #2 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Runs over/through emergent or submerged shallow cover, say 2-5 feet deep

The BDS-3 is the most popular size in the Fat CB BDS series. If you try just one BDS model, this is the one you want. The Fat CB BDS-3 is a relatively chunky, shallow-running, brawny bait with a wide wobble and rolling action. It has the perfect size, heft and hooks for brawling with bass in thick cover using relatively heavier line and cranking gear. It is buoyant and designed to perform somewhat like a balsa wood lure, except it is durable hard plastic construction that holds up to repeated, rugged use.

Heavy duty Fat CB BDS-3 is nearly indestructible.

Its lip design, hook positions and outstanding obstacle deflection qualities let the BDS-3 waltz right through the thickest of cover. It’s ideal for fishing through laydowns, stump fields, docks, rocky shallow areas, tough-stalked weeds and other shallow thick cover. It doesn’t rattle because the internal weighting is fixed-weight for quick deflection recovery. After the bait hits an object, it comes right back to proper position to continue the retrieve.

Lucky Craft LV Series ~ Lipless Crankbaits

The LV 200, 300 and 500 sound as if they should all be a common series of sizes of the same lure model. They’re not. No two LV models are remotely related to each other. The LV 200, 300 and 500 are totally different lures. Each is designed quite differently and are best used for completely different techniques as described in the following sections.

Top down: LV-200 single-knocker, LV-300 silent and LV-500 rattling models.

Lucky Craft LV-200 ~ Lipless Crankbait

Model: LV-200
Type: Sinking, Knocker
Weight: 5/8 oz (18g)
Length: 3" (72.5mm)
Factory Hooks: #4 Belly, #6 Tail VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 4 feet

Most all lipless cranks vibrate rapidly when retrieved, but not all rattle.

The LV-200 is one of the rare ones that doesn’t rattle. It’s known as a ‘single knocker’ type lipless bait. Instead of rattling, the LV-200 emits a steady tom-tom beat from a single heavy metal ball affixed to a loose metal plate inside. The LV-200 is a knocking type instead of a rattling type.

The LV200 emits a single-thump like a heartbeat as opposed to the incessant, raucous chatter of  ‘normal’ rattling baits.

Lucky Craft LV-300 ~ Lipless Crankbait

Model: LV-300
Type: Sinking, Silent, Countdown
Weight: 3/4 oz (21.5g)
Length: 3" (69mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 4 feet

As odd as it is for the LV-200 to contain only one ball to make it thump like a lonesome drum, the LV-300 has absolutely zero rattles inside.

The LV-300 vibrates like the dickens when retrieved, but doesn’t have any noise-making parts inside.

The LV-300 is silent like Charlie Chan, the silent movie star of the thirties… but that’s not bad.

Both these non-rattling lipless baits, the LV-200 thumper and silent LV-300 have helped me catch buckets of ‘extra’ bass whenever I use lipless lures. It’s so simple yet deadly. I first go down a bank and pull the initial receptive fish with a ‘normal’ high-chattering bait such as the noisy LV-500 or LVR D-7. This initial noisiness ‘wakes up’ the bass so to speak. Once fish are exposed to fan-casting with high-chatterers, it can quickly become counterproductive to go back down the same bank again with the same high-chattering baits. The repeated noisiness (an attractant at first), can become a repellant that only serves to alienate fish by continuing to throw the very loud, harsh rattle baits. So what I do next is go down the same bank again with the quieter, single-thumping LV-200 or silent LV-300, often helping myself to catch another few good fish with this non-rattling approach the second time. It’s a similar profile, similar vibration without the high-chatter. A few more fish always seem to fall for it.

The LV-200 and LV-300 are non-rattling lipless baits that perform well where you or other anglers have already peppered the bass with noisier lipless baits.

Either one can be the winning ticket when everyone and their uncle has been bombarding the bass with noisy rattling baits. If you’re serious about lipless fishing, the LV-200 and LV-30 are must-haves.

Best of all, almost no one else uses them. The LV-200 and LV-300 are virtually unknown and unused Lucky Craft baits.

So if you’re looking for a pair of secret lures that really do produce (especially when fish have been shown way too many of the noisier models), there you have them.

Another tactic I like with the LV-300, when bass are suspended or simply schooling over structure (points, channels, ledges, etc.), I’ll tend to position the boat over a high spot or over the shallowest spot, and cast toward deeper, open water. Then simply let the LV-300 pendulum fall in an arc toward me.

The LV-300 is forward-weighted to run head down when retrieved, and this also helps it fall head down while sinking. It won’t tailspin as it falls, and has a little more realistic and natural falling action than some other lipless cranks. It swaggers a little side to side as it falls forward toward you, head first. It tends to attract strikes (and can be worked with angler-imparted action) as it swaggers or glides side to side on the fall. You need to practice with it, and see what it does on different line sizes, with different slack or loose line pressure, discovering how best to make it pendulum head-first in a hunting, zigzag manner.

With suspended bass, the key is how far to let the LV-300 sink at first. When I let it get down to where I think the fish are, I’ll give it one flip. This is an attention-getter. It signals something is not quite right. It’s just like a shad in trouble that flips up on its side, making an attempt to right itself. I then let it fall again and give it two flips. Then let it pendulum fall in toward me again. All the while it is coming back to me in a pendulum arc, and give it three more flips. Just pop it quick, to give it a short, erratic, struggling movement. It moves at most one foot when you flip it. It’s just an attention-getter that shows bass something is not right. I basically let the LV-300 swing back in to me, through the fish, above any cover, over any structure, and pop it once, twice or three times. On its way back in, as the bottom becomes shallower (remember to have  the boat directly atop the high spot), it’s advantageous if the crankbait bumps into brush or anything else as it arcs down closer to the bottom. That obstacle impact is a great strike trigger, and because it’s falling nose first, its posture helps protect the hooks from snags. This may not seem like it would matter much, but the nose-down posture truly affords a lot of hook protection from snags. More often than not, the LV-300 will get nipped as it bounces off anything in its path. Once it reaches bottom, lift it up and let it swagger and sway on its way back down as you bring it in the rest of the way back to the boat.

Bassdozer says: "When time comes to replace the stock hooks on the LV-200, LV-300 and LV-500, upsize them all to two #4 trebles that won’t tangle. Bigging up the hooks like this will not affect the action or how many strikes you get – and you’ll hook, hold and land more fish."

Lucky Craft LV-500 ~ Lipless Crankbait

Model: LV-500
Type: Sinking, Rattling
Weight: 3/4 oz (23g)
Length: 3" (75mm)
Factory Hooks: #4 Belly, #6 Tail VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 8 feet

In comparison to the virtually unknown LV-200 and LV-300, the LV-500 is the number one choice of many anglers among all Lucky Craft’s lipless baits.

The body size of the LV-500 matches that of most other 1/2 oz rattlebaits. However, the LV-500 is 3/4 oz so it casts longer distance and it descends much deeper than most others. This is the reason I rely on the LV-500 – it covers more distance much deeper than most any other rattlebait.

It isn’t a good idea to let the LV-500 sink. When you cast, you must begin the retrieve immediately. If you wait to let the LV-500 settle deeper, it tends to tailspin and twirl around, snaring the fishing line in the hooks. So pay attention to how you use it. Don’t give the LV-500 too much time to fall on a loose line.

Just burn it back! The LV-500 casts further and covers more water than other rattlebaits. On it’s own, the LV-500 will seek a consistent running depth about 8 feet deep. You don’t need to let it sink or count it down or anything. Just start winding it in, and next thing you know, it will seek its own running level around the 8 foot mark.

Depending on line type and line diameter, it will seek a working level of 7 to 10 feet deep all by itself. This is below where most other rattlebaits will stay on a retrieve. Best of all, you can burn the LV-500, and it will still stay that deep.

A favorite LV-500 tactic for me is to burn deep points. In lakes with lots of points, this can become an LV-500 pattern many days, where a bass or two will belt the LV-500 (usually retrieved fast) on practically every point. Once you uncover a pattern and it seems repeatable on a few points, then you can run from point to point to point, and repeatedly present the LV-500 the same way each time – and pull a good bass or two off each point. In this way, the LV-500 functions as a highly productive pattern bait – not just for points, but for whatever other repeatable pattern you can produce with the LV-500. Keep in mind, it is a deep runner, but you cannot count it down or pause it without frequently snarling the line.

When bass want that deeper running depth (which is often the case on bluffs or deep points), the LV-500’s the best lipless crank in my bag! But it may be used for many different tactics too. More and more anglers are using it all the time, making the LV-500 one of the most popular lipless in Lucky Craft’s line-up.

Lucky Craft LVR Series ~ Lipless Crankbaits

Lucky Craft’s LVR models are a related series – essentially the same lure design in several different sizes. The middle sizes, the LVR D-7 and D-10 are the two I find most useful. The LVR Mini is a bit too light and the LVR D-15 a bit too big for everyday usage. But the LVR D-7 and D-10 are just right!

LVR D-10 (top) and LVR D-7.

Lucky Craft LVR D-7 ~ Lipless Crankbait

Model: LVR D-7
Type: Sinking, Rattling
Weight: 1/2 oz (14g)
Length: 2-3/4" (70mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #4 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 3-5 feet

The D-7 is the most popular model in Lucky Craft’s LVR series. If you were going to use just two Lucky Craft lipless models, the LVR D-7 and the LV-500 (in the LV series) would make the ideal duo.

The design of the LVR D-7 is thinner and to me, the LVR D-7 tends to ride higher with a little less vibration and less chatter than usual. I’m not saying it doesn’t chatter a lot, but it is ‘less loud’ than other popular brands. It’s most useful for me in shallow situations, when I want to keep a rattlebait high, or where I want to rattle through snaggy cover that grabs and snags other rattlebaits way too often, the LVR D-7 gets the nod.

Most all lipless cranks sink. However a D-7 may actually rise for the first few feet and first few seconds of a retrieve, even breaking the surface before it will start to hunker back down to its normal underwater running depth. You may wonder why this initial rise may be desirable? Good question. It’s beneficial when fishing areas of submerged weed clumps, scattered underwater brush or irregular rock beds, stump fields and so on. A lipless crank that initially rises up and over snags at the start of a retrieve provides a presentation advantage when fishing snaggy cover. It gives you – and the lure – a chance to start clean and thereby gain control over the retrieve without immediately getting snagged in dense cover (as often happens) during the critical first few seconds.

Lucky Craft LVR D-10 ~ Lipless Crankbait

Model: LVR D-10
Type: Sinking, Rattling
Weight: 3/4 oz (23.5g)
Length: 3-1/8" (80mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #2 Belly VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 4-6 feet

The LVR D-10 has a bigger profile than most lipless baits. That’s the simple reason I use it – to appeal to bigger bass. If you throw the LVR D-10 all day, you will bag a bigger average size of bass than if you threw standard size baits like the LVR D-7 or LV-500 in the same places. It’s that simple.

Since the deep-bodied D-10 is built to be ‘selective’ for big bass, that makes it a good ‘kicker fish’ bait for tournaments. There are two schools of thought on this. First is to go for broke, fishing with the big D-10 right out of the starting gate. The second strategy is to fill out a limit of small fish with a standard size lipless, such as the D-7 or LV-500. Once you’ve gotten to the stage where all you’re doing is culling clones without really upgrading your weight, then switch to the bigger profile D-10 to go for that necessary kicker. Whatever strategy you use, a bigger lipless like the D-10 does bag bigger bass than average.

Bassdozer says: "I like to hang feathered trebles off the back of the LVR D-7 and the LV-200. I feel feathers enhance the everyday action and appearance of those two lipless models in particular. When you add feathers, you’ll find that fish will tend to strike directly at the feathers – or engulf the lure from behind, feathers first. This contradicts a popular strike theory that says fish nip or bite at the tail of a hard bait because the bait is the wrong color, wrong size or wrong something. According to this theory, fish striking at the tail aren’t overly-enthused with the lure, and the tail bites are supposed to signal to or alert the angler to toss them a better color or different bait than this bogus one. This theory is not true – at least not with feathered tails. Fish strike the feathered back hook because they like it, because that’s where the action is. Many days when weak and missed strikes occur, adding a feathered tail will result in solid or engulfing strikes – at the back feathers or from behind. Bass can become more interested and excited to strike the feather tail than the lure itself."

Lucky Craft Crankbait Color Considerations

Lucky Craft is legendary for it’s artful, natural baitfish colors. Where Lucky Craft lures excel, what they do better than many other vendors, are complex yet natural finishes. Lucky Craft colors tend to be muted, diffused, subtle, softer colors that blend into each other and blend into the underwater environment.

They’re not known for their bright chartreuse-based, fire tiger or other bold color patterns. You won’t see a lot of red throat splashes, red eyes or other gaudy lipstick either. Although adding your own red replacement hooks may make a nice accent at times.

The four most popular colors across most every Lucky Craft product model are:

  1. Chartreuse Shad #250 is said to be ‘the’ most popular Lucky Craft color. If you had to limit yourself to just one color, Chartreuse Shad is it.

  2. Ghost Minnow  #238 is considered the most popular clear water color currently in the Lucky Craft line-up.

  3. Aurora Black #052 is flashy, yes, but not nearly so flashy as MS American Shad. Aurora Black is much more subdued and subtle.

  4. MS American Shad #270 is one of Lucky Craft’s (or any other vendor’s) most beautiful colors. The ‘MS’ means ‘Magic Scales’. It is a high flash color for when fish want a lot of flash in a lure. Yet it is still natural. It is truly a special experience to fish with it.

MS Herring #254 is another of the most beautiful of all Lucky Craft colors. It is similar to MS American Shad in that they are both high flash colors. However, MS Herring does not come in every crankbait model.

Mad Craw #286 (left) and Spring Craw #070 (right) are quite popular colors for lipped crankbaits and lipless.

~ End of part 1 (of 3) ~

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!


(Note: This is part 2 of a 3-part story on Lucky Craft hardbaits. Part 1 covers crankbaits, including 7 lipped and 5 lipless cranks. Part 2 presents 6 of Lucky Craft’s best jerkbaits. Part 3 floats 4 of the finest topwater options. Those are my 22 lucky-est choices among Lucky Craft USA’s 75 bass models. I hope you’ll find a bait or tip or two here that may be lucky for you too!)

Lucky Craft Pointer 100

Model: Pointer 100
Type: Suspending
Weight: 5/8 oz  (16.5g)
Length: 4" (100mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #5 VMC
Depth: Approx. 4-5 feet (on 12 lb. line)

Lucky Craft Pointer 100 DD

Model: Pointer 100 DD
Type: Suspending
Weight: 5/8 oz  (16.5g)
Length: 5" (100mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #5 VMC
Depth: Approx. 6-8 feet (on 12 lb. line)

Pointer 100

Okay, here we go. The Pointer 100 is the king of Lucky Craft’s whole product line. It’s the best-selling Lucky Craft lure model in the USA. So if you wanted to know, what is the best Lucky Craft bait? This is it.

Compared to the Pointer 78, the Pointer 100 is a bigger, bulkier suspending jerkbait. This is the perfect size jerkbait. It is easy to use, easy to cast even on heavier gear. That ease of use, due to its bigger, heavier size, makes it the most popular Lucky Craft jerkbait in the USA today.

I tend to use it on a heavier rod and at least 12 lb test or heavier, for targeting better than average bass – or for snubbing up on and controlling fish close to bad cover. The heavier gear lets me wrestle a stuck lure or a wild hog away from snags. I can pull just a little harder with the Pointer 100. It’s a solidly-built jerkbait. I estimate the Pointer 100 runs 4 to 5 feet deep on 12 lb line.

Pointer 100 DD

Compared to the Pointer 78DD or Staysee 90, the Pointer 100DD is a bigger, bulkier suspending jerkbait. The fact that it’s brawny size makes it easy to handle, that makes the Pointer 100 DD popular. The deeper-diving Pointer 100 DD isn’t nearly as popular as the standard Pointer 100, but it’s no slacker either.

I tend to use it on a heavier rod and at least 12 lb test, for targeting better than average bass – same as with the standard Pointer 100, except the 100 DD gets deeper.

I estimate the Pointer 100 DD runs 6 to 8 feet casting on 12 lb line. It can get down even deeper by burning it back in at a blurring speed. Burning the Pointer 100 DD works best when you jerk and give slack to let it stand still every twenty feet during the retrieve, which is when most strikes occur. Fish will race along behind it while you burn it as fast as you can for twenty feet, and tend to react by striking when it darts and suddenly stands still. That’s just one unorthodox retrieve that works. However, it is very versatile. One of the best of the brawny, power fishing jerkbaits on the market.

Top down: Pointer 78, 100, 78DD and 100DD.

Lucky Craft Pointer 78

Model: Pointer 78
Type: Suspending
Weight: 3/8 oz  (10.2g)
Length: 3" (78mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 2-4 feet (on 10 lb. line)

Lucky Craft Pointer 78 DD

Model: Pointer 78 DD
Type: Suspending
Weight: 1/3 oz  (9.6g)
Length: 3" (78mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: Two #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 4-7 feet (on 10 lb. line)

Pointer 78

I must say, of all Lucky Craft lures I have fished, the Pointer 78 has the most life-like action. Something in the design of the Pointer 78 gives it an occasional irregular action which is very special because it approximates the mindless dalliance of a real bait better than the mechanical metronome of most other baits.

Truly a treasure, the Pointer 78 is absolutely perfect for subsurface twitching, jerking or ripping tactics all season long! It works from subsurface down a few feet.

Keep in mind, the Pointer 78 is a small bait and cannot be thrown on heavy tackle. It is at its best with lighter tackle – 10 lb test gear or less.

Pointer 78 DD

Nearly as good as the original Pointer 78 – and deadly, deadly, deadly in the deeper 4 to 7 foot range that the Pointer 78 DD is designed to plumb.

Bassdozer says: "Lucky Craft was really the first company in the USA to offer high quality suspending jerkbaits right out of the box. Before Lucky Craft, anglers had to add weight (lead wire, slugs, SuspenDots and so on) to existing jerkbaits in order to get them to suspend properly. Lucky Craft did away with the need to jury-rig jerkbaits. As precise as they are, there are still a few weighting tricks to tweak Lucky Craft baits! The Pointer 78 and 78 DD have fixed weights (no moving weights or rattles) that center the lure balance right at the belly hook hanger. Adding three SuspenDots stacked on each other over the hook hanger of the 78DD will cause the 78 DD (bottom) to truly suspend. Without the SuspenDots, the 78DD floats up when paused. Adding the same to the 78 (top in photo) will cause it to fall perfectly horizontal when paused, with a body quiver remindful of a Senko."

Three SuspenDots stacked on Pointer 78 (top) and 78 DD (bottom) fine-tune the action.

Lucky Craft Staysee 90 ~ Deep-Diving Jerkbait

Model: Staysee 90
Type: Suspending, Deep-Diving
7/16 oz (12.5g)
3-1/2" (91mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 10 feet (on 10 lb. line)

Of all Lucky Craft lures I have used, be they crankbaits, lipless, jerkbaits or topwaters, the Staysee 90 has one of the most life-like actions.

When it comes to jerkbaits, they can be divided into two broad groups:

  1. Lights: Where smaller bass abound, or in clear water, or with lighter gear, I am basically going to cover the water column with the smaller, lighter range of jerkbaits: the Pointer 78 to get a few feet deep, the Pointer 78DD to get six feet deep, the Bevy Shad 75 to reach about 8 feet deep, and the StaySee 90 to dredge even deeper to about ten feet down.

  2. Heavies: Where bigger bass are found, or in snaggy cover or with heavier tackle, I will go to bigger jerkbaits such as the Pointer 100, 100DD and others in the 100+ size range. Here still I will use the Staysee 90 to delve deeper than the others.

Whether you use the bigger ‘power’ jerkbaits (the 100’s) or the smaller ‘finesse’ ones (like the 78’s), the Staysee 90 fits in with either group, and the Staysee dives the deepest of all. When the jerkbait bite is on, I am basically going to use the Staysee to reach deeper than any other Lucky Craft jerkbait.

A tip from Lucky Craft pro Gary Dobyns is to affix a couple of SuspenDots under the chin, where the bill joins the body. This lets the Staysee reach another foot or two deeper down to 12 feet.

Affixing the next size bigger trebles to the Staysee beefs it up tremendously. With upsized hooks, it becomes a great, great deep-diving jerkbait. It has not gotten the full attention it deserves, but that’s okay by me.

Staysee 90 with one size bigger short-shank hooks.

Lucky Craft Bevy Shad 75 ~ Hybrid Crankbait/Jerkbait

Model: Bevy Shad 75
Type: Suspending, Deep-Diving, Hybrid Crankbait/Jerkbait
Weight: 3/8 oz (10g)
Length: 3″ (75mm) excluding lip
Factory Hooks: #6 VMC Black Nickel
Depth: Approx. 8 feet (on 10 lb. line)

The Bevy Shad is kind of a hybrid jerkbait/crankbait. I don’t think it’s ever become popular. Uncertainty over what the Bevy is, confuses many anglers.

The Bevy Shad has a more crankbait-shaped bill and a more crankbait-shaped body than most other slim minnow jerkbaits. Is the Bevy Shad a jerkbait? A crankbait? Two baits in one? Does how a lure looks define it, or does the suspension system inside it define it? Or does how you fish it (crank it or jerk it) make something a crankbait or a jerkbait? Disturbing as such questions may be, should we really care?

Bottom line, the Bevy Shad is a great fish-catcher. It’s versatile, letting you offer different presentations with one bait.

It can be used 100% of the time as if it is a jerkbait, and that’s how I favor it in the cool weather months – or it can be cranked.

The Bevy Shad is not a big lure. It’s approx. the same size as a Pointer 78 or 78DD, except the Bevy has a deeper belly and dives a little deeper.

The Bevy Shad (bottom) is approx. the same size as a Pointer 78DD ( top).

The Bevy Shad has a fast, tight wriggle like a swimming shad. It darts widely like a disoriented shad when paused and twitched. It works deeper than most any other jerkbait (except the Staysee 90). It’s effective working depth is about 8 feet down on 10 lb. line. When it comes to 8 feet deep, there is hardly any other jerkbait that get down there.

The Bevy Shad is internally balanced to swim with a nose-down angle until it reaches its maximum depth where it will level off and swim on a horizontal plane. Its nose-down nature and arrow-shaped bill is good for bouncing the hooks away to deter snags in cover or on bottom, and then suspend and twitch it after it bounces off bottom or cover. When suspended, it dips its nose down into a feeding posture which often infuriates following bass to strike. In shallower water, the Bevy Shad sinks slowly as opposed to suspending as in deeper depths. This nose-down dip and settling towards bottom in a feeding posture is awesome over shallow spring spawning sites.

As shown, I often fish the Bevy Shads with feather tails. I have experienced high catch rates with feathers on Bevy Shads. I am not one to indiscriminately hang feather tails on all my hardbaits. In the Bevy Shad’s case, however, this feather tail seems to enhance the lifelike allure of the Bevy Shad. Add a long thin feather tail and watch as the feathers makes the Bevy Shad come alive! It adds a kind of fluid squiggle to the Bevy’s wiggle. This trick, adding the feather tail, has been bevy, bevy good to me!

Jerk it. Crank it. But above all use it.

Lucky Craft Jerkbait Color Considerations

Jerkbaits often work best in clear or lightly-stained water, and you suspend or pause a jerkbait motionless underwater. Fish swim up and decide to eat it while it sits there perfectly still, often taking a good look at it first. For these reasons, many of the best jerkbait colors tend to be natural baitfish colors, including silver- or gold-sided, pale white-bellied or semi-transparent ‘ghost’ minnow patterns. Not too gaudy. Of course, there are always exceptions, but that’s a safe rule when it comes to jerkbait color selection.

It’s no coincidence that Lucky Craft is legendary for it’s artful, natural baitfish colors, especially for jerkbaits. Lucky Craft colors tend to be muted, diffused, subtle, softer colors that blend into each other and blend into the underwater environment.

The four most popular natural baitfish colors produced by Lucky Craft are:

  1. Chartreuse Shad #250 is said to be ‘the’ most popular Lucky Craft color. If you had to limit yourself to just one color, Chartreuse Shad is it.

  2. Ghost Minnow #238 is considered the most popular clear water color currently in the Lucky Craft line-up.

  3. Aurora Black #052 is flashy, yes, but not nearly so flashy as MS American Shad. Aurora Black is much more subdued and subtle.

  4. MS American Shad #270 is one of Lucky Craft’s (or any other vendor’s) most beautiful colors. The ‘MS’ means ‘Magic Scales’. It is a high flash color for when fish want a lot of flash in a lure. Yet it is still natural. It is truly a special experience to fish with it.

MS Herring #254 is another of the most beautiful of all Lucky Craft colors. It is similar to MS American Shad in that they are both high flash colors. However, MS Herring does not come in every jerkbait model.

Listed below are two relatively unknown jerkbait colors that have produced many, many bass for me. These colors don’t come in every jerkbait model:

  1. Golden Shiner #239 has always been a favorite and most productive jerkbait hue for me.

  2. Misty Shad #284 is another uncommon yet highly productive jerkbait color.

~ End of part 2 (of 3) ~

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!

(Note: This is part 3 of a 3-part story on Lucky Craft hardbaits. Part 1 covers crankbaits, including 7 lipped and 5 lipless cranks. Part 2 presents 6 of Lucky Craft’s best jerkbaits. Part 3 floats 4 of the finest topwater options. Those are my 22 lucky-est choices among Lucky Craft USA’s 75 bass models. I hope you’ll find a bait or tip or two here that may be lucky for you too!)

Lucky Craft Sammy Series

I wonder who came up with ‘walking the dog’? Walking puppy or walking puppet would have been a better name because the Sammy certainly is a puppet. Like Pinocchio, the Sammy is utterly lifeless until you, the puppet master, pull its string.

When given the proper action, the Sammy will zigzag on the surface side to side like a wounded baitfish.

When I cast out, I want the Sammy to make a big splash as it hits the water. I want to trick bass into thinking this big splash was made by another bass that just smacked a shad on the surface. I want bass to hear a big splash, think it was another bass blasting a meal, and see my injured Sammy limping away from the scene of the crime! When bass think other bass are feeding, they get very competitive and want a piece of the Sammy for themselves before other bass get it. They get greedy and lose caution. So I cast out, let it splash loudly like a feeding bass and immediately start the zigzag retrieve with no hesitation. Bass rocket up and belt it!

When bass hit a walking bait, they often miss it. I do not think the bass can clearly see it because of all the surface disturbance. In fact, I have seen many bass swimming along underneath and behind walking baits. Apparently, the bass are trying to get a clear look at it. I do not think they can see it well. Often, the bass will be zigzagging its own head from side to side, trying to get a better look at a walking bait from the left and from the right. Have you ever seen bass do this? They will follow walking baits for a while, trying to get a clear view of them.

When they’ve seen enough, the bass will boil up behind it and blast a walking bait. Never stop giving it the zigzag action with the rod tip even when a bass is cartwheeling all over it. As I say, they often miss it. If you keep zigzagging, they will belt you two, three, four times until you finally feel solid weight on the rod tip…and the bass is on!

Because bass have such a problem hitting a walking bait, I like to help them out by putting the biggest hooks I can possibly fit on my walking baits without ruining the action. With the Sammy, I will put size #2 hooks on the 3/4 oz Sammy 115. I put a pair of heavier, longer shank #4 hooks on the 1/2 oz Sammy 100.

Even with bigger hooks on them, bass will still miss walking baits when they swipe at them. With the Sammy, the heavier hooks slow down the frantic, splashy action a little. The heavier hooks give the Sammy a bit slower, more stable zigzag that leaves a vee wake on the surface. I think this slower action helps bass hit them more accurately and the larger hooks are harder to avoid.

Sammy Actions

With the bigger hooks, I give action to the Sammy in three ways:

  1. I give very short movements of only 3 to 4 inches to the rod tip, and I turn the reel handle slowly so the Sammy comes across the surface at a medium pace. The only thing I like to see is one inch of the Sammy’s nose twitching back and forth, which leaves a rippling vee trail wake behind it. The rest of the body stays underwater. This is the retrieve I use in open water away from shore or cover. I use this retrieve when active fish can not be seen breaking the surface. It is the most life-like retrieve of all, but takes more time because it is moderately slow. This is a finesse fishing presentation, and can really pull fish up from deep water when nothing else will.

  2. When active bass can be seen breaking the surface here and there, you do not need to go so slow. I do the same as above (move the rod tip 3 to 4 inches) but I turn the reel handle faster so the Sammy zigzags across the surface at a fast pace. This fast pace seems better for fish that are up on top competing with each other for food. Still, I usually only want to see the nose of the Sammy come out of the water on this faster retrieve for active fish, and the heavier hooks help keep the rest of the body lower in the water. Instead of or in addition to heavier hooks, you can also stick a couple of Storm SuspenDots or SuspenStrip adhesive weights under the tail to make it lay lower.

  3. When I fish up against shoreline or cover, I do something different. In this case, I use longer, slower movement of the rod tip, and I want to see the entire side of the Sammy come out of the water on every zig or zag. I try to make this happen in slow motion so the Sammy kind of hangs there between each zig or zag. The whole Sammy should move side to side – not just the nose. It looks very much like a dying fish. This slow, sweeping tactic keeps the Sammy hanging next to cover where bass are hiding. It draws them out. Almost pausing in between feeble flips and dying flops is fine. Retrieves #1 and #2 above would go past shoreline cover too quickly – not hang there long enough to infuriate bass to come out of their hiding holes deep inside the cover like tactic #3.

Lucky Craft Sammy 100

Model: Sammy 100
Type: Floating/Walking
Weight: 1/2 oz  (13.5g)
Length: 4" (98.5mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #4 VMC Black Nickel

Lucky Craft Sammy 115

Model: Sammy 115
Type: Floating/Walking
Weight: 5/8 oz  (18.5g)
Length: 4-1/2" (115mm)
Factory Hooks: Two #4 VMC Black Nickel

Sammy 100 (top) and Sammy 115.

When to Use Sammy 100 or Sammy 115

The Sammy 100 is by far the most popular Sammy size across the USA. The 100 out-sells other Sammy sizes by a wide margin. Indeed, the Sammy 100 is one of the most popular of all Lucky Craft lures of any kind. So if you were going to rely on or wanted to try only one size of Sammy, the 100 is certainly it.

The bigger Sammy 115 is a distant second in terms of popularity. There are two smaller (65 and 85) and one larger (128) sizes of Sammy also. All do work well, but the 65, 85 and 128 are not as popular as the 100 nor even the distant second-best seller, the Sammy 115.

In terms of  my own personal favorite size, it is the Sammy 115. It casts extremely well. When replaced with #2 hooks, the Sammy 115 becomes very special to fish in deeper, calm water using a slow, gentle walk-the-dog action that makes the nose barely twitch without splashing as described above.

I favor the bigger Sammy 115 for covering deep water on big lakes and large reservoirs.

I downsize to the Sammy 100 in shallower water (where fish can be spookier), on smaller bodies of water, or whenever the fish show no interest in the 115, that’s when I’ll break out the Sammy 100.

Lucky Craft Gunfish 95

Model: Gunfish 95
Type: Floating/Walking/Skating/Splashing
Weight: 3/8 oz  (12g)
Length: 4" (95mm)
Factory Hooks: #5 Belly; #6 Feather Tail VMC Black Nickel

Lucky Craft Gunfish 115

Model: Gunfish 115
Type: Floating/Walking/Skating/Splashing
Weight: 5/8 oz  (19g)
Length: 4-1/2" (115mm)
Factory Hooks: #4 Belly; #5 Feather Tail VMC Black Nickel

Gunfish 115 (top) and Gunfish 95.

The Gunfish is unique in shape and different in action compared to other walking baits like the Sammy. The Gunfish has a more spitty, slashy, frantic action. It skates its body side to side rather than roll or waddle like other walking baits. Many anglers tend to work the Gunfish faster and more frantically than they would a Sammy. With its flat, dished face, the Gunfish throws a splash like a popper, and walks the dog like a Sammy. So it combines features of both a popper and a walking bait into one. However, it is first and foremost a walking bait, so the best action is to keep it walking, not pop-and-pause it. Just keep it walking, and it will splash and spit from its mouth as it sashays side-to-side. Get a good, consistent cadence going, and don’t stop the action, especially not when a fish is slashing at it. Just keep it coming like nothing’s happening, until the striking fish finally hooks itself.

The Gunfish throws more surface commotion than a Sammy, so the Gunfish may be at its very best when there’s a little wind smear or surface chop rather than a slick calm day. However, give it a try any time, and let the fish tell you what they want.

Both the Gunfish 115 and 95 are top-selling Gunfish models. The 95 and 115 are about equal in sales, and they both work well.

One more thing to keep in mind is that fish see poppers and walking baits every day on every body of water. What fish don’t see all the time is the Gunfish with its little different action. Because it isn’t so commonly used, you’ll often see Lucky Craft’s top tour pros opt for the Gunfish whenever there’s a topwater bite. Reason is, even at the top tour level, fish haven’t really seen the Gunfish before and most pros (except the LC pros) aren’t going to be throwing it. In many places, the Gunfish is still a fresh new lure that fish have not seen much, and there’s something to be said for that.

Lucky Craft Topwater Color Considerations

I like the natural baitfish colors of topwaters for all water clarities from clear, stained or dark. I have always found that natural baitfish colors work with topwaters under most conditions. I have not really found many conditions with topwater baits where brighter or bolder colors work better than natural ones. Of course there are always exceptions, but you can’t go wrong with the natural colors – white-bellied or semi-translucent ‘ghost’ colors with darker backs, optionally with silver or gold flash sides. Those will work most of the time. Some of the Lucky Craft colors along these lines include:

  • #052 Aurora Black

  • #237 Ghost Blue Shad

  • #238 Ghost Minnow

  • #250 Chartreuse Shad

  • #254 MS Herring

  • #262 Laser Clear Ghost

  • #268 Pearl Ayu

  • #270 MS American Shad

About the only time that natural baitfish colors will be a disadvantage is when you are targeting bass, but other species like stripers keep hitting your topwater lures. The trick is to try an unorthodox color then, find one that stripers won’t hit as eagerly, thereby allowing bass more time to crash the party.

#247 MS Black is a beautiful ‘magic scale’ (MS) black finish that is popular for night fishing- or any time there’s low light or dark water.

Also, once you get an old, beat up Sammy or Gunfish, you can spray one with a light coat of flat black, but don’t do too good a job of painting it so that some of the black can wear off during use, thereby revealing some of the original finish underneath. It will look ugly, but try it anytime you may need a secret smile.

~ End of part 3 (of 3) ~

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!

Type: Suspending, Slow Floating Jerkbait
Weight: 1/2 oz
Length: 4-1/2″ (110.5 mm)

The ONE-TEN is considered to be one of if not ‘the’ very best and most productive jerkbaits ever made.

Nevertheless, the Vision ONE-TEN is still hard to find / hard to get.

I know of a number of top pros on the national BASS and FLW tours who have relied on the Ito Vision 110 jerkbait for years, but have successfully kept it secret out of the media for years.

Yuki Ito is the lure designer who is responsible for all Megabass lure concepts. Ito designed the ONE-TEN specifically for the modern American angler to be able to ‘power fish’ with a jerkbait. That was a revolutionary concept back in 2000 when Ito introduced it.

Enjoy Power Fishing. ONE-TEN is a true power jerkbait designed for hard-core power fishermen. Around the time it was created (approx. 2000), most jerkbaits used in the USA were lighter, smaller, more delicate models requiring relatively lighter tackle. The Ito Vision 100 was one of the first built with the robust size body and features made for a little heavier tackle than other jerkbaits of the time.

Tight Rolling Action. Unlike other jerkbaits, ONE-TEN has quite flat sides and a slight caved-in belly which contribute to ONE-TEN’s unique tight-rolling action.

ONE-TEN’s unique underbelly design allows it to tight-roll even in rough conditions or current.

Inside are twin precision balancers made of tungsten composite material. The quick and responsive movement of the tungsten material improves ONE-TEN’s castability and jerking action.

In terms of angler-imparted action, the ONE-TEN is ideal for faster tempo jerking with shorter distance darts.

Super High Castability. ONE-TEN’s spherical balancers made of tungsten composite move to the very rear of the bait, reducing vibration and wobble caused by air resistance in flight. The tungsten balancers are also critical to ONE-TEN’s crisp jerking action.

Equipped with Katsuage Treble Hooks. ONE-TEN is equipped with Megabass original Katsuage hooks. These have an out-barb, out-point and are wide gap with a ‘near-center’ seat for the hook to stay pinned. These trebles are specifically designed for jerkbait bites, which are often tricky hooksets.

USA Packaging. The Ito Vision One-Ten (X-110) is packaged for the USA in the heat-sealed blister card as shown with English language text on the package. The same lure packaged for sale in Japan comes in a heavy plastic clamshell case with Japanese language text.

The manufacturer, Megabass, states that, “The lures are the same. The only difference is the packaging. The Japanese lures are in a hard plastic case opposed to the blister pack used in the USA. The other difference is the color selections. Particular colors are only available for the American market because they work well here. Otherwise, they are produced by the same company and manufactured the same,” confirms Megabass.

Megabass Ito Vision ONE TEN 110 ~ HT Ito Wakasagi

Megabass Ito Vision ONE TEN 110 ~ GP Skeleton Tennessee

Megabass Ito Vision ONE TEN 110 ~ M Black Back Stardust Shad

Megabass Ito Vision ONE TEN 110 ~ Ellegy Bone

Megabass Ito Vision ONE TEN 110 ~ GG Deadly Black Illusion

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!

Type: Topwater, Walking, Rolling, Splashing, Diving
Weight: 1/2 oz
Length: 3-3/8″ (78 mm)

The POP-MAX is one of the very best bass lures that Megabass offers, and it is relatively hard to get / hard to find.

The POP-MAX is categorized as a popper, but it is much more than that. It is equipped with a large and complex series of six water intakes and a water pressure chamber which makes what you might call a more natural ‘bio-sound’ compared to other poppers. POP-MAX is more dynamic than other poppers. Its action is based on dog-walking, side-rolling, but it also grabs so much water each time it turns its head, it really agitates the surface each time it rolls from one side to the other.

The original POP-MAX mold was carved out by Yuki Ito rather than relying on computer design programs. As expected of Megabass, the overall quality of the finish and paint patterns are impeccable. Also, POP-MAX features a unique water flow system which consists of six water intakes and a water chamber. Instead of the regular water-through system used for the smaller size Megabass POP-X, the POP-MAX utilizes a water-accumulating chamber inside, and as water pressure changes inside the POP-MAX chamber, it makes the cupped face act like a crankbait lip when filled with water. Furthermore, when paused, the water in the chamber goes out and lifts its head, ready for a splash with a gentle rod action. That gentle rod tip action is the key to make POP-MAX roll-walk dynamically, grabbing the water with each rolling action.

Since poppers tend to sit still more often than other lures, it is critical to look ‘real’ or ‘natural.’

POP-MAX is one of the most realistic, beautiful and intricately-detailed bass lures you will ever see.

If there is any topwater bait which looks more convincingly natural and more detailed than POP-MAX, please let me know.

Back Bone Rib Balancer System. The internal body is a complex construction of ‘balancer ribs’ inside. This construction concept is unique to the Pop-Max, and is there in order to increase its structural integrity – and at the same time raise the center of gravity or balance point higher up on the bait. This internal construction is not readily visible. From the outside, the structural design does not reveal itself, but it is what gives POP-Max its unique balance and rolling action. POP-MAX is the only Megabass product with this internal ribbed construction. When you walk the dog with it, due to the high center of gravity of the ribs inside, it causes the dynamic roll that displays the vulnerable stomach of POP-MAX each time it rolls.

High Impact Resin. The body resin material is especially able to absorb impact, states Megabass. So the lure is not fragile and not prone to break due to the cut-out water duct intakes.

Water Intakes and Pressure Chamber. The water from the six water intakes does not flow through, but water accumulates and builds up water pressure within a water chamber inside. With delicate rod action, the water pressure changes inside, and some water is discharged by the pressure build-up. The pressure discharge helps the POP-MAX to roll and to walk. The water chamber, when filled and under pressure, also causes the cupped face to act a little like a crankbait lip, and causes the POP-MAX to dog walk as it dives underwater easily.

Pausing the POP-MAX releases the water pressure inside the water chamber, and that’s the time to pop it lightly, like a typical topwater popper, to make a splash.

POP-MAX (1st and 3rd) has a huge body size compared to conventional poppers, yet POP-MAX responds sensitively to gentle rod movements.

Super long distance casting, even in a stiff breeze.

Megabass Pop MAX ~ M Hasu

Megabass Pop MAX ~ GG Bass

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!

Sébile USA, Ltd.

Have you heard of lure concept designer, Patrick Sébile and his innovative hard baits?

Read on and you will learn a little of the man and his lures here.

In the near future, you will hear much more, as the legend of the man and his lures grows rapidly.

He has literally fished in almost every corner of the world.

He has fished in 57 different countries over the past 25 years.

He holds over 300 French, European and world fishing tackle records.

For 15 years a full-time fishing guide, Sébile worked out of clubs and lodges on the exotic shores of Morocco, the Ivory Coast and Guinea Bissau.

Sébile has been involved with a number of different fishing tackle and lure companies during his career. He has designed a number of fishing lures for them, and had his hand in designing some of the industry’s most popular rods, hooks and terminal tackle.

He has written six books and hundreds of articles for many different magazines, covering every facet of lure angling.

And recently, the International Game Fish Association named him the number-one salt water angler in the world.

Sébile founds company in 2006. In 2006, Patrick Sébile marked a milestone when he started his own lure company.Only two years later, the company has sold its millionth lure and sales are taking off faster than a spool-stripping trophy bass headed for cover.Patrick Sébile is proud of the fact that his line of products – which now include over 200 different models – all have five important characteristics.“My lures must feature: 1) innovative designs, 2) realistic movements, 3) extreme sound, 4) sparkles of life, and 5) exceptional strength.”Tournament Wins with Sébile Baits. The number of fresh and saltwater tournaments for all species won by Patrick Sébile is said to be countless. But Sébile is most proud that some of his new baits have helped others win major tournaments. Stephen Johnston won the FLW Stren Series Texas Championship and $80,000 last year, throwing the Sébile Flatt Shad. This spring, Andrew Bostick and Mark Sepe made a Redfish Cup win in Florida on the Stick Shadd.

In the bass fishing world, it has been all about the Sébile Magic Swimmer. The double-jointed hard swimbait has played a big role in two BASS Elite Series wins this year, including Todd Faircloth’s win at Lake Amistad, Texas and Kenyon Hill’s triumph at Clarks Hill, Georgia.

Sébile wins EFFTEX 2008 hard bait competition. Like a trophy bass that stakes out its own territory, Sébile continued to make the tackle industry his domain when, the first time he entered the EFFTEX (the European equivalent of ICAST) new product competition, Sébile won the best of show award in the hard bait category, trumping all of the world’s best – Lucky Craft, Evergreen, Rapala, Strike Pro, everyone.”Upon winning the EFFTEX award, my counterparts at the big companies (who were also my competition) were happy for me. They told me they have never seen any company show so much innovation, so much success in such a short time. So much has happened for me in the last eight months. It has been more than I dreamed was ever possible,” exclaims Patrick.That award was won in June, 2008 at EFFTEX in Rome, Italy.The next month, July, Sébile appeared at ICAST in Vegas.From atop his ample, cast-long demo tank, Patrick cast his lures and a mesmerizing spell across the entire ICAST audience.

Series. Sébile emphasizes several lure series for bass:

  1. Possessed Series. Lures have transparent sides and bellies so fish can see the internal fluid filled and glitter scales. The fluid helps the erratic motion of the bait. First lure June 2006. First million.
    When the lure is moving, the entire lure body is in motion, and the internal fluid and scales slosh back and forth, adding additional visual movement within the lure body. It’s a ‘visual movement’ inside the lure that no other hard baits possess.
    “The Possessed series is not just about the color effect of the swirling glitter and visual movement of the fluid – but also about sound in the water,” Patrick tells us.
    “Just like rattles moving inside a bait make noise, the sound of the Possessed fluid movement makes noise too -an ultra low sound. Glass, steel, brass, lead, tungsten rattles are all going to make higher sounds whereas the vibration created by the Possessed fluid is ultra low – and more natural.”
    “Especially when fish are pressured and have seen too many noisy lures, they get shy and do not want to bite rattling lures. Also when there are lots of baitfish, when fish are full, they can be more selective as to lures and may show disinterest in noisy ones. These are good situations for the Possessed series, not because they are silent, but they make a soft, ultra-low sound attraction fish have not heard in a lure before,” reveals Sébile.
  2. Blood Red. Sébile’s newest fluid “blood” version of the Possessed series. The Blood Red Series was the EFFTEX winner. Has both see-through fluid and blood red fluid inside. The two different fluids do not blend. They break up and recombine in large globules – but always stay separate. In other words, it is not just a solid mass of red fluid inside. The visual attraction is enhanced since discrete beads or globs of the red are constantly shifting, changing shape and size, rolling on and through the second see-through fluid.
    Blood Red fluid sloshes back and forth as the lure moves, and even when the lure comes to rest, the Blood Red fluid continues to move inside. This helps keep the lure moving a little – even when the retrieve is paused.
    “Red inside the bait is more realistic than having red trebles,” says Patrick. “Even when stopped, the Blood Red fluid still moves and swirls. All fish want an easy meal. And the Blood Red fluid movement, even when the lure is paused, it sends a clue it is injured, hence the perfect time to strike it now!”
  3. Evidence Series. Sébile started off with fluid-filled lures, and his later Evidence series has rattles – no fluid inside.
    “The Evidence series has high level of sound due to rattles (no liquid),” Patrick mentions.

Models. Specific lure models Patrick recommends for bass are:

  1. Magic Swimmer 165 SK (Sinking). The ‘SK’ means ‘slow-sinking’ version. Weighs approx. 1-1/2 oz and measures 6 inches long. This three-piece lipless jointed swimbait casts farther than other jointed lures. One can make very long casts with it, and it swims naturally. The 165 SK was one of the most popular baits on the BASS Elite Series in 2008, helping account for two first places and other top ten finishes. The 165 SK can be waked on the surface or swam down to four feet, and retrieved steadily – or with rod pops and pauses.
    It’s well worth noting there are larger and smaller, fast-sinking and slow-sinking Magic Swimmers. Nine models in all from 3-1/2″ to 9″.

    Magic Swimmer ~ Evidence Series
  2. Stick Shadd 114. Patrick Sébile’s personal favorite model of all. The Stick Shad 114 and 90  models come in FT (topwater/wake) SU (subsurface suspending) and SK (sinking) versions. Weights vary by version.
    “I use the FT, SU and SK Stick Shadd not as three versions of the same lure, but three different lures. That is the best mindset for using them,” says Patrick of his favorite bait.
    “If I must choose one, I can do everything with the sinking (SK) Stick Shadd from the top (of the water) down,” says Patrick emphatically.

    Stick Shadd  ~ Possessed Series
  3. Flatt Shad. “This model is the 2nd or 3rd best seller in the product line,” claims . It has a bigger body than other lipless crankbaits, and puts out a superior vibration that extends the strike zone and neutralizes adverse conditions such as chop or current.
    “The most popular size is the 66. It is just under 3” long. The sinking 66 SK weighs 1/2 oz. The X-Heavy Sinking 66 XH-SK is heavier, weighing 3/4 oz. for the same body size.
    One of Sébile’s best tactics is letting it hit bottom and then jigging it a few inches off the bottom. Same as vertical jigging a spoon in deep water. With braided line, Sébile routinely jigs the Flatt Shad up to 50 feet deep.
    “The suspending 77 SU model is 3″, weighs 1/2 oz and suspends 12-18″ below the surface, making it a slow-sinking subsurface twitch bait. It can still have action in super shallow water at slow speeds,” says Patrick.
    “Indeed, all Flatt Shads will have action even when you go slow. The design concept includes a belly that is wider than the back. This causes big water turbulence on the sides and belly, That turbulence creates instability, which creates action. So you can go slow and can have action,” reveals Sébile.
    Another for bass angers with heavy tackle, the larger Flatt Shad 96 SK (sinking) is 4″ long and weighs 1-3/8 oz. It works 5 to 10 feet deep. “The 96 has action all the time, even on the sink,” says Patrick.

    Flatt Shad ~ Possessed Series
  4. Crankster. “Most crankbaits are not aerodynamic. Many will often spin in the air,” says Patrick Sébile.
    Yet the Crankster, the first time you try it. you will see it casts lie a rocket. The reason is it contains tungsten bead and oil together inside. When you cast it, 60% of the weight moves to the tail, for long distance and accurate casts,” says Patrick
    Another thing you will notice is there is only a small edge or juncture between the lip and body. In fact, you may almost say the lip is extended out away from the body – remindful of how a jackplate extends an outboard away from a boat hull.
    “Through lab testing, I discovered that in front of a lure, water turbulence causes a lure to lose about one-third of the lip’s effect. So by remodeling the lip the way it is on the Crankster, it works in harmony with the turbulence being created up front, which then creates the body action as the lure is cranked forward into that turbulence.’
    The photo shows the Blood Red series Crankster. In Sébile’s test tank, Patrick swam the Evidence series Crankster for everyone. If you ever want to hear a rattling crankbait make lifelike noise unlike any other rattling lure on the market, listen to the Crankster. It so sounds like something alive swimming – maybe a whole school of them. I’ve never heard another rattling lure that sounded as good. The one I listened to was the Crankster MR 65 FT Evidence series model weighing 5/8 oz and 2.6” long.

    Crankster ~ Blood Red Series

“Patrick Sébile has introduced the fishing world to a whole new concept in our Possessed series of hard baits that contain a unique glitter-filled fluid that resembles scales coming off a wounded baitfish,” says company CEO Dave Maynard.

“The fluid movements inside also create ultra-low frequency sound waves, and the movement of the fluid gives the illusion of muscle movement, a baitfish on the run. The unctuous oil and glitter within moves and flows almost constantly; it is never still,” says Dave.

“But it’s not only that. Some, no, many of the bait shapes are totally unprecedented.”

“The three-piece Magic Swimmer has caught almost every fish that swims for me, in countries far and wide,” says Dave Maynard. The Bonga jerk is also one of Dave’s favorites.

“Three-piece Magic Swimmer (top) is one of the Evidence series. Glitter and fluid-filled Bonga Jerk (bottom) is in the Possessed series. Sharp ‘power keel’ causes Bonga Jerk to slice into the water, and causes a huge swirl when jerked,” says Dave.

Glitter and fluid-filled Splasher (top), Koolie Minnow (center) and Sébile’s favorite, Stick Shadd (bottom).

“The Splasher’s ‘Power Keel’ helps you walk the dog expertly with a popper. If the Power Keel was cut off, the Splasher would go almost straight, not walk at all. The head is raised so only 30% of it’s mouth is in water. The other 70% of the flared cup is put there to spit,” says Patrick Sébile. “It has the possibility to make a big splash – if you want to make sure bass know you are there. The 3-1/2″ Splasher 90 (5/8 oz) in the Blood Red series is popular for bass,” recommends Patrick.


Magic Swimmer (first two). Slim Stick (bottom two). “With a very exaggerated but tight walking action, the Slim Stick pivots so easily it can even be made to walk backward,” claims Dave Maynard.

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!

RUSS: Hi, Kevin. Everybody wants to know what Mustad treble hooks you’ve been doing so well with lately. I know there are a couple of new Mustad models you’ve been using as well as some old reliables. There are many questions I have to ask you on this topic, Kevin. I think our interview today may take up to an hour of phone call time.

KEVIN: I don’t have a full hour now. I am giving seminars at a Bass Pro Shops store today, and I expect they’ll call me in to give the next presentation pretty soon. So let’s get started and run as far as we can before I need to leave. It’s doubtful we’ll get through the entire interview now, Russ.

RUSS: First, let us try just to briefly identify what are the ‘tools you use’ meaning the different Mustad treble hook models you use now. Could you quickly touch on what it is you like or what’s the unique advantage that each hook model holds for you? We don’t need to get too detailed now, because many of the later questions will touch back upon these same hooks. Just hone in on and quickly identify which models you use in order to get our discussion started today, Kevin.

Standard Round Bend Trebles

RUSS: First, there’s the traditional model #36102 Ultra Point round bend series that comes in: 1) black nickel, 2) red finish and 3) red with feathered tails.

KEVIN: I use a lot of different hooks. My main criteria for selecting one hook over another is the size of the line, type of bait and type of cover. When I use the #36102 is if fish are in open water, if I am using lighter line or with a smaller crankbait, a jerkbait or even topwaters where the weight of the hook may throw off the balance of the bait. I use the model #36102 in those cases. It is a strong but light weight hook.

I also use the #36102 in the feathered version (along with the Triple Grip feathered hooks). I use feathers not only on topwater lures but use jerkbaits with feathers too. Again, I match the treble to the lure, the technique and to the cover. I want the best hook for each situation.

L to R: #36102BLN, #36102R, #102RWCH round bend trebles.

Mustad’s feathered trebles are the best on the market. A few years ago when we identified the need to have feathered trebles in the Mustad product line, I said to them, “Hey, this is what we have to have,” and Jeff Pierce at Mustad listened. He’s a serious flytyer. He knew just the right grade of chicken feathers, the way they needed to be laid on the hook and tied down. They’re crafted with extra long feathers, so supple, and they’re laid on the hook just perfect! No other feather treble comes close.

Triple Grip Trebles

RUSS: There are four models of Triple Grip trebles for freshwater. First, there is the premium #36233 Ultra Point Triple Grip (1X-Short) series that comes in both black nickel and the feathered model you mentioned.

Then there are the Classic Triple Grips that come in three more models: the full-length #36242 in bronze and bright nickel finish; the #36243 1X-short in bronze and nickel; and the #36246 2X-short in bronze and red finish.

KEVIN: I make as much use as possible of the black nickel Ultra Point Triple Grip #36233BLN. It is currently the best bass treble hook on the planet.

The one other Classic Triple Grip treble I use a lot is the 2X-short model #36246, especially on lipless baits such as Strike King’s Red Eye Shad. I can fit two larger size hooks on the Red Eye Shad without the hooks tangling – two jumbo #2’s in these 2-extra short shank Triple Grips. I used this set-up to win the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Toho, Florida in March, 2008.

L to R: #36233BLN, #233BLNW, #36246BR Triple Grip trebles.

Mustad’s Two New Trebles for 2008

RUSS: One of the two new trebles this year is the Ultra Point #36300BLN Elite Series Treble, 1X-Strong, Short Shank, Extra Sharp.

KEVIN: The great thing about it is it’s a strong hook and I can use heavier line with it. It’s ideal for shallow cranks around laydowns, docks, heavy cover. I can use oversized hooks – larger hook sizes on shorter shanks.

Most recently, in June 2008, I used this hook to finish first on Kentucky Lake, Kentucky and second on Wheeler Lake, Alabama. At both events, I used Strike King Series 5 and Series 6 Sexy Shad crankbaits with up to #1 trebles (the 36300’s).

RUSS: The second new hook this year is the Ultra Point #36329BLN Elite Series Treble, 3X-Strong, Extra Sharp.

KEVIN: With so many different hooks available from Mustad, they are all good. What it comes down to is selecting the right hook wire diameter for the gear, the cover, the bait. The model #36329 is real strong. It doesn’t flex. With something like Strike King’s Series 1 crankbait, which is designed to be used around heavy cover, I can get two of these 3X #4’s on it. That’s heavy duty. With other cranks, where you’d have to put #4’s, you can get two #2’s on them instead with these heavy duty 3X trebles. They were originally designed for trophy peacock bass fishing on the Amazon, so you can imagine how strong these hooks are, even in relatively modest sizes (for peacock bass) like #2’s and #4’s.

What I like most about the 3X are the super hard black nickel finish and the bigger wire diameter. They’re so durable, far more than any other hook. They have an O’Shaughnessy style bend that really holds fish. I’ve won two tournaments on these 3X hooks.

On the Bassmaster Elite Tour at places like Falcon Lake earlier this year, I used Strike King’s King Shad swimbait with two 3X #1’s on that. That bigger wire diameter, when you hook a five-pounder in all those flooded trees on Falcon, this hook’s not going to flex.

Another situation where the 3X’s excel is you can really grind them into the bottom around gravel and rock beds. This would ruin the points on many other hooks, but not these. The points hold up around shell bars, gravel, rocks, you name it. The points are extremely durable, due to the harder finish they have. These are the finer points (pun intended) that win tournaments for me.

I won the Grand Lake, Oklahoma Bassmaster Elite in June, 2007 this way, fishing very rough bottom. I used Strike King Sexy Shad cranks with 3X #4’s on the Series 5 and #2’s on the Series 6 crankbait.

On jerkbaits for big smallmouth, these 3X are not going to open up either. This is the only hook I have ever been able to use on jerkbaits on the Great Lakes that they do not open. Two 3X #4’s or two #2’s, you get a five pound smallie on each hook, all other hooks will flex or open. Not this one.

The only thing is to watch out with jerkbaits, topwaters, and smaller cranks. They may get out of balance with such heavy hooks.

Bottom line, whether it’s big fish in heavy cover or monster Great Lakes smallies, the 3X are amazing hooks, and incredibly sharp.

RUSS: I definitely noticed that both new hooks, the 3X and the 1X-strong #36300 are extra sharp. They’re even sharper than any other Ultra Points. It seems every time Mustad comes out with a new hook model for bass, it leapfrogs past earlier hook models in terms of quality, sharpness and design.

KEVIN: The great thing about Mustad is they are the largest hook manufacturer in the world. They have the technology, the machinery and the expertise to do things right. Mustad constantly improve their hooks.

Kevin’s Winning Treble List

Ultra Point 36102BLN Black Nickel Round Bend, Short Shank
Ultra Point 36102R Red Round Bend, Short Shank
Ultra Point 102RW,
Ultra Point 102RWCH
Red Round Bend (36102R), Short Shank, White Feathers,
White/Chartreuse Feathers
Ultra Point 36233BLN Black Nickel Triple Grip, Short Shank, Wide Bend
Ultra Point 233BLNW,
Ultra Point 233BLNWCH
Black Nickel Triple Grip (36233BLN), Hand-Tied White Feathers,
White/Chartreuse Feathers
Classic 36246BR Bronze Triple Grip, 2X-Short Shank, Wide Bend
Ultra Point 36300BLN Black Nickel New! Elite Series, 1X-Strong, Short Shank, Extra Sharp
Ultra Point 36329BLN Black Nickel New! Elite Series, 3X-Strong, Extra Sharp

Treble Hook Finishes

RUSS: In terms of freshwater treble finishes, there are four. They are: 1) the black nickel, 2) bronze, 3) the shiny bright nickel and 4) the red treble hook finishes.

Is there one or more finishes – black nickel, shiny nickel, bronze, red – that you prefer more than the others? If so, why?

KEVIN: The black nickel finish is the best. It’s harder. It creates the sharpest point. However, I won’t hesitate to use other finishes, such as bronze on the 2X-short Triple Grip for the Strike King Red Eye Shad.

Red hooks are a good finish option too. When I do use them, I like the red just on the belly – or with the feathered tail hooks. I mainly use white feathers, however the chartreuse/white feathers are just wicked for smallmouth. Before Mustad offered the chartreuse/white feathers, I would use chartreuse-colored dye to spray part (or occasionally all) of the white feathers with chartreuse dye, but now that feathered trebles come tied in chartreuse/white, I don’t have to spray them myself.

RUSS: Do you ever select a hook finish just for the color? For example, use the shiny bright nickel finish to get flash – or use one of the other finishes because of the black, bronze or red color of it?

KEVIN: First and foremost, I select a hook based on the style of fishing being done, the size of the lure, the line, the cover and so on. In terms of finish, I usually want to take the fish’s attention away from the hook (with red being the exception).

The black nickel finish is the one I favor most because it increases the strength of the hook. Black nickel is stronger than the same hook in bronze or red (actually red is a gold-plated hook under the red dye).

RUSS: Can you tell us more about your feelings toward red treble hooks? Have you been in any situations where red trebles gave you an advantage over black, nickel or bronze finishes?

KEVIN: There have been plenty of times I feel that fish have targeted a red hook on my baits – either the red hook in the feathered tails or red hooks on the bait’s belly. I truly can’t say the red belly hook is the one they are going to pick out to strike, but if they do, I want them to target the belly so there’s another treble (on the tail) coming behind it. I don’t want them to target the tail which tends to make them strike short or just nip at the tail.

I use a lot of red hooks on topwaters, including the red hooks on the #102 feather trebles. I also use the red hooks on jerkbaits. Mostly in clear water. I like the way the red hook flashes. It gives the impression of a blood trail. I like the red hooks especially for spots and smallmouth, such as on Table Rock or the Great Lakes. These aggressive species seem to key in on it.

Replacing Trebles

KEVIN: Replacement trebles are so important. Especially with the increasing cost of fuel these days, anglers are spending a little less time on the water because of that. It is more important than ever not to skimp on the hooks. You can spend less time on the water, but more time catching, with the proper replacement hooks.

RUSS: What is your main reason for replacing the stock trebles on a bait, Kevin?

KEVIN: Lots of hooks that are factory-installed, even premium hooks from well-known brands, I throw them away. This probably amounts to thousands of dollars. I hate to be wasteful but most hooks that come pre-installed on baits are just not as strong, sharp or balanced. I am going to replace them with Mustad hooks that fit each anticipated fishing situation, that balance the bait, and produce the best strike-to-catch ratio.

RUSS: Do you ever do a straight-up replacement, just switch out the stock hooks for essentially the same size and shape of replacement hooks?

KEVIN: Yes, I do it all the time. My confidence is in Mustad.

Rightsizing Hooks

RUSS: In fishing magazines and articles, anglers are often told to be careful that upsizing hooks can wreck the action or fish-catching ability of a bait, as if there was some special balance that would be upset if you use different sizes than the factory-installed hooks. Do you find that upsizing hooks ever ruins or degrades the action of a bait?

KEVIN: It can. Certain baits such as topwaters and jerkbaits, upsizing without being careful and attentive, can hurt the action. On the other hand, there are an awful lot of baits you can put bigger hooks, and it doesn’t have that much effect.

RUSS: Does the fact you tend to suspend or pause a jerkbait more often than other hardbaits have any bearing on what hook styles you would use?

KEVIN: With jerkbaits, the wire diameter is more important. I pay a lot of attention to hook wire diameter when replacing hooks on jerkbaits.

RUSS: Do you ever downsize the hooks and switch to smaller hooks than the factory installed on a bait?

KEVIN: No. I don’t ever downsize.

RUSS: The most common hook sizes for freshwater bass seem to be #2 for large baits, #4 for medium, and #6 for small baits. Do you ever use smaller than a #6 treble hook?


RUSS: Do you ever use larger than a #2 treble hook?

KEVIN: I use a lot of #1 and even 1/0 trebles on bigger baits, especially now that the Bassmaster Elite stops at big fish waters like Amistad and Falcon, or in California, I rely on a lot of these bigger hooks.

On the #36300 model, I have them in up to 3/0 sizes on big swimbaits. Same with the 3X trebles, I have #2/0’s and #1/0’s on some swimbaits.

Mixing Hook Models

RUSS: In the most recent Classic you won (in 2005), it was reported that you used round bend trebles (#36102’s) on the belly hangers and a Triple Grip on the tail of a jerkbait. How often do you mix different hook models on the same bait and why?

KEVIN: Biggest reason I mix hook models is to get as much of the holding power of the Triple Grips – without tangling. The holding power of Triple Grips is phenomenal. You almost need pliers to unhook them.. However, I couldn’t put all Triple Grips on the jerkbait I used to win that Classic. I couldn’t put on all Triple Grips because they would tangle. The only way to keep the hooks from tangling was to put round bends on the belly. It’s often the tail hook that is the most important one. That the one that fish short strike at or nip, so I like to have the Triple Grip there.

Testing Trebles

RUSS: Do you test different models and sizes of hooks on different baits?

KEVIN: I have a swimming pool at home, and use it to look at baits and how hooks affect their actions. However, I kind of know what to expect through experience and close familiarity with each bait. What I find is that the hook style does not affect a bait but hook wire diameter (meaning hook weight) does. The biggest area to watch out for are the 3X-strong trebles, There you need to be cautious. They can cause a jerkbait to sink, for example, which is not necessarily negative, but I just like to know what each hook change will do. So I test them. I may use a smaller diameter split ring to compensate a little for the effect of a heavier hook. Of course with the 3X-strong treble, you better make sure the split ring is equally as strong. You can go to a smaller split ring, yet still a strong one.

RUSS: What are you looking for when you test a bait? How do you know that a certain arrangement of treble hooks is better or worse than another arrangement?

KEVIN: Basically, I want to make sure it is the best set-up, the best wire diameter and hook size for a bait. Sometimes you can put hooks on a bait, just eyeball it, and tell what’s needed. You can put two #2’s on, and see the hooks will just barely tangle. So you know you have to go to a #4 and a #2 in order not to tangle.

RUSS: Are you trying to just get the biggest and strongest hooks possible without marrying that a bait will still swim and support? Or are you trying to fine-tune the action or enhance the movement of a bait with different trebles?

KEVIN: Often what I want is to get away with the biggest, strongest hooks I can without hindering the action and without tangling.

RUSS: Do you use different treble hook models for different species – smallmouth, largemouth, spots?

KEVIN: No, I try to make Triple Grips work in as many situations as I can, because of their holding power. Smallmouth and spots tend to get hooks stuck on the outside of their mouths a lot, and the holding power of the Triple Grips is just so good.

Proper Installation

RUSS: There are two sides to a treble hook ring, and therefore two ways to attach any treble to a split ring. You can attach a treble so that two tines face up or so that a single tine faces up. Do you pay any attention to which hook side (whether one or two tines) faces up when you attach trebles to a bait?

KEVIN: Which way a treble faces can affect the action of a bait, especially topwaters and jerkbaits are the most sensitive. I like to have the body or belly of the bait cradled in the ‘Y’ made by the two treble tines. It is not nearly as important on the tail hook, but the belly hooks are critical. Overall, I look to have hooks balanced so the swinging hooks flow freely around the bait equally on both sides. I do not want the hooks to torque the bait to one side. I look at it in water, and if I can see a hook is causing the bait to lean over, I spin the hook around 180 degrees to re-attach it.

Russ, I am being called back in now to start the next seminar here at Bass Pro Shops. So I’ll have to wrap this part of our interview for today. To sum up treble selection, it’s making sure you have a strong enough hook in any situation for the cover being fished and the line size. With the different Mustad trebles I use, I have all the bases covered.

I’d love to continue our conversation at another time. Call me soon!

Visit www.bassdozer.com and www.bassdozerstore.com for more information. Thank you and good luck fishing!