The Best New Lures for 2019

The Best New Lures for 2019
These tantalizing new designs will keep your line tight for the foreseeable future

BY DAVID A. BROWN JULY 20, 2018

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Most of us still enjoy marveling at and using classic lures. But, modern designs, materials, and raw creativity have resulted in some impressive new creations that get fish to bite. Each year, we see unique twists and tweaks to some tried-and-true standards, as well as the occasional eye-catching innovation. This year, the tackle companies at ICAST brought some of both.

LIVETARGET Hollow Body Craw

LIVETARGET Hollow Body Craw
From the eyes to the pincers, this lure looks like a real mudbug.

LIVETARGET Lures

Crawfish imitators regularly adorn the backsides of jigs and Texas rigs, but LIVETARGET’S innovative approach creates an all-in-one package with several nice details. For starters, the three-dimensional body design—including pincers—is very realistic, while the orientation of the weighted tail section ensures the bait moves in the authentic backward-scooting motion of a fleeing crawdad. The bait’s silicone skirt mimics a crawfish’s legs and antennae, and its hollow body accepts rattles and add-on scent. It’s available in three sizes: 1 1/2-inch, 1/2-ounce; 1 ¾-inch, 5/8-ounce; and 2-inch, 3/4-ounce. Eight bio-realistic color schemes allow anglers to match the craw’s regional and molting variations. $9.99-$11.49 (includes one fully assembled body and one spare pincer)

Jackall Chop Cut

Jackall Chop Cut
The Jackall Chop Cut merges functionality with appearance.

Jackall Lures

This bait’s asymmetrical prop design ensures proper rotation and creates different sounds depending on the retrieve speed. A front wire with an attached swivel allows you to cast freely without having to worry about your fishing line tangling with the prop. Another nice aspect is the swiveling feathered front hook, which helps prevent bass from spitting the lure. The hooks also have a special coating that facilitates easier penetration for efficient hook sets. The 3.25-inch ChopCut topwater weighs 0.8-ounce and comes in six colors. $22.99

Terminator Shudder Bait

Terminator Shudder Bait
The Terminal Shudder Bait is built to push more water—creating a tantalizing disturbance that gets fish to strike.

Terminator Shudder Bait

Terminator’s new Shudder Bait pushes more water. Resembling a bladed jig, this creation replaces the usual flat metal blade with a cupped plastic swimming lip that catches and displaces water ahead of it. The result is a unique side-to-side shimmy with loads of bite-triggering vibrations that are particularly important in mud-stained water. The 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes make this bait heavy enough for targeted underhand casts, as well as open water chunking and winding. The jig head comes in five colors, is pre-rigged with one of nine lifelike interchangeable silicone skirts, and can be paired with one of six blade colors. $7.99

Strike King KVD 1.5D

Strike King KVD 1.5D
The Strike King KVD 1.5D is a tried-and-true design adapted to a deeper water-level.

Strike King

Bassmaster Elite pro Kevin VanDam’s signature Strike King KVD 1.5 square-bill crankbait has become one of the most popular tools for bumping around shallow cover since he won the 2011 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta with it. Now, after several years of R&D, Strike King introduced the KVD 1.5 Deep, a bait that extends the same hunting action of the shallower version down to 10 feet deep. It comes in 25 of VanDam’s selected color patterns. $7.49

Westin Salty the Shrimp R n’ R

westin salty the shrimp R N R lure
This soft-body lure offers realistic action and a solid hook.

Westin

The double R’s stand for “rigged” and “ready,” and that’s how Westin created this soft-body shrimp with a weighted head. A glass/steel rattle stick inside each bait ensures attractive sounds, while the long whiskers mimic a shrimp’s antennae. The jointed body produces lifelike action, and the ultra-sharp, strong Japanese-style sea fishing hook (No. 1 and 1/0 sizes) ensures you catch what bites. $7.99

Booyah Melee

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Booyah Melee
This bait was a cornerstone to Jason Christie’s third-place finish at the 2018 Bassmaster Classic.

Booyah Baits

One of the key baits that Bassmaster Elite pro Jason Christie used in his third-place performance at the 2018 Bassmaster Classic, the Melee has a lead-core head covered with polycarbonate. The blade is positioned in a notch behind the bait’s eye, and when it strikes the head, it creates a distinctive sound that drives bass crazy. The thinner blade on the Melee adds to the bait’s vibration and action during the retrieve, while a long shank 5/0 hook, with a wire keeper, securely holds a trailer. Made to stay down in the water column, the Melee will reach those deep stumps, lay-downs, brush piles, and grass beds. Available in 3/8- and 1⁄2-ounce weights with nine head and blade color combinations. $8.99

Bill Lewis MR-6

Bill Lewis MR-6
The Bill Lewis MR-6 works wonders in pressured fisheries.

Rat-L-Trap

The company best known for its iconic Rat-L-Trap lipless baits introduces its new medium diving crankbait that’ll work the 6-foot zone. Made with a small profile (2 1/4 inches, 1/2 ounce), the bait’s flat sides and tapered tail give it that heavy vibration fish can’t resist. Fitted with size 4 Mustad Triple Grip hooks, it’s balanced for a slow rise when stopped. The MR-6 emits a low-pitch knocking sound ideal for pressured fisheries. $7.99

Larew Wheeler Target Toad

Larew Wheeler Target Toad
The Larew Wheeler Target Toad is big, heavy, and catches lunker bass.

Larew

Designed with input from Bassmaster Elite pro Jacob Wheeler, this 4.25-inch bait has a thick, wide head that won’t split when rigging on buzzbaits and other trailers. The entire bait is bulkier than most toads. The bigger profile and added weight allow for extra-long casts. The Target Toad includes Larew’s proven long-legged design, which creates easy swimming and lots of kicking action at any retrieve speed. The Target Toad has a hook groove on the underside and horizontal ribs across its mid-back section for specialty hooks. Colors include solids and laminates. $5.99 for a 5-pack

Z-Man Cross EyeZ Football Head Jig

Z-Man Cross EyeZ Football Head Jig
The CrossEyeZ Football Jig is made to bounce off the bottom.

ZMan

Expanding a collection that also includes flipping, finesse, and swim jigs, Z-Man’s CrossEyeZ Football Jig is built for that bottom contact game. A longer shank, light-wire 5/0 VMC black nickel hook acts similarly to a trailer hook by snaring more bass on the hook sets, especially at long range. The single Y-guard deflects snags and also moves out of the way when fish bite. Exclusive Z-Man silicone skirts feature strand colors and quantities selected by Bassmaster Elite pro and jig expert David Walker. Skirts are affixed to the jig head with copper wire, rather than rubber bands, for maximum skirt flare and durability. Available in 1/2- and 3/4-ounce with eight color patterns. $4.99

Thundermist JigEye

Thundermist JigEye
The versatile Thundermist JigEye works on open water and ice fishing.

Thundermist Lures

Playing on a predator’s instinct to attack the head of its prey, Thundermist places a treble hook next to a realistic-looking eye, which sits below a center-weight topped by a spoon-style spinner. Effective for open water, fresh and salt, as well as ice fishing, the Stingnose comes in a “Minnow” version (1/16-, 1/8-, 3/16- and 1/4-, 3/8-, 3/4- and 1 3/4-ounce weights), and the 2 3/4-ounce “Stingnose Smelt.” $3.99-$6.99

13 Fishing PRO V Lipless Bait

13 Fishing PRO V Lipless Bait
The PRO V’s holographic eye caps off a solid all-around crankbait.

13 Fishing

Built with a compact form that delivers a tight wobbling action, the PRO V swims nose-down to protect against snags. When paused, it falls nearly horizontally with a shimmy on the drop that tantalizes predators. Made with an HD holographic eye, the bait’s weight-forward design fosters long casting and swimming without rolling, tumbling, or spiraling. Fitted with Mustad KVD Triple Grip trebles, the PRO V comes with multi or single pitch rattles in 3/4-ounce weight. (1/2- and 1-ounce models coming soon.) $11.99

Greenfish Gaff Swim Jig

Green fish gaff swim jig
This swim jig is ready for dense underwater vegetation.

Greenfish Tackle

With heavy cover and dense vegetation in mind, the Gaff features a heavy-duty 5/0 Mustad heavy wire hook that’s up to the task of winching the largest bass out of its fortress. Featuring a hand-tied skirt and a wire keeper that holds a trailer in place, it comes in 1/4- and 3/8–ounce weights with seven colors. $5.29

River2Sea Worldwide Spoon

River2Sea Worldwide Spoon
When this glittery spoon glides on the fall, be ready for the strike.

River2Sea

This jigging spoon was designed by FLW Tour pro James Watson, an Ozark spooning expert. In addition to the high-definition eye, the lure’s most noticeable detail is its cupped body and weighted rear section, which make the bait glide away on the fall. This action works well under docks, on ledges, and in open water. Complementing the size 2 4X strong rear treble is a single size 6 stinger harness. $9.99

Berkley Spin Bomb

Berkley Spin Bomb
There’s nothing that sets off a fish’s predatory instinct like a lure that mimics a wounded prey.

Berkley

This one will make an impact for anglers fishing a bream bed or fry guarder pattern, which mimics the coloring of panfish. Following the general shape of these common species, the Spin Bomb emits a distinct shuddering action when paused—like wounded prey. The cupped design’s clear plastic props can spin at slower speeds with maximum spray. Twitching, ripping, or steady retrieving will activate that enticing action. Measuring 2 2/5 inches long and weighing 2/5 ounce, the Spin Bomb carries a set of Fusion 19TM hooks (feathered rear).

Big Bite Baits Suicide Buzz

Big Bite Baits Suicide Buzz
A topwater blade with a soft-plastic shad makes a tantalizing combo.

Big Bite Baits

Pairing one of its most productive soft plastics, the Suicide Shad, with the topwater commotion of a buzzbait, Big Bite Baits offers a ready-made profile that anglers have been improvising for a while now. Out of the box, the blade emits an enticing squeak, but tuned properly, it’ll clack against the bait’s head for added commotion. It features a quick rising head designed to promptly plane to the surface. The head also has a double wire keeper to firmly hold the swimbait in place. Head and blade colors perfectly match the swimbait, and each pack comes with a spare bait. Available in 1/4- and 3/8-ounce weights and in four colors. $6.99

Best Chatterbaits for Bass

Best Chatterbaits for Bass
Steve Quinn July 30th, 2018

Back in 2003, the father-and-son lures design team of Ron Davis Sr. and Ron Davis Jr began tinkering with a new lure unlike any before. Ron Jr. reports, “My father named this lure the ChatterBait during a fishing trip to the Saluda River. While reeling it in, he said it was enough to make his teeth chatter.”

Its beginnings were humble. “In 2004, we sold about 5,000 lures,” Davis reported. “But the following year, we demonstrated it at outdoor shows, including the Bassmaster Classic, and sales jumped to 25,000.”

They were poised for further expansion in what had become RAD (Ronald Anthony Davis) Lures when FLW pro Bryan Thrift used one to win a Stren Series tournament at Lake Okeechobee in Florida in early January 2006. “Four of the top-10 finishers used our lure. Suddenly we had orders for 500,000 baits,” Ron Davis Jr. recalls. “But at 10 cents apiece for the hook alone, we couldn’t afford to make them.” Anglers were spending $100 apiece on eBay for one lure.

The solution eventually came when the Davis duo sold the patents and rights to build and distribute ChatterBaits to Z-Man in 2008. The lure continued its winning ways as Brett Hite, then fishing the FLW Tour, won consecutive events on Lake Toho in Florida and across the country on the California Delta with a Phoenix Lures Vibrator, another bladed jig. Phoenix, along with other lure makers was forced by Z-Man’s patent enforcement to alter construction of their lure to comply with their patent details.

Thus Z-man ChatterBaits dominate the market, with no fewer than nine different models.

But other bladed jigs continue to have strong followings, and new innovations arrive with each ICAST fishing industry show. At the 2018 Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, half of the Top 10 made regular use of a bladed jig of some sort.

Original ChatterBait

This is the lure that started all the chatter and it still catches bass like crazy. And for only $4.99! ChatterBaits blast through vegetation, with the swinging blade mowing down stalks and keeping the hook clean most of the time. During the Prespawn Period, it’s often the best way to lure largemouths out of heavy cover. Its shuddering image and strong vibrations are deadly across the country. If it’s spring, a ChatterBait belongs on your front deck.

But don’t overlook it for working expansive sandflats or rocky bars where smallmouths roam. They’re just as dialed into the lure’s rod-bending vibration as largemouths. At times, you merely feel extra weight; otherwise, you’d best have a strong grip on your rod! It’s a great tool to cover water and find active fish.

ChatterBait Jack Hammer

Okay, top pro anglers can usually receive samples of nearly any lure they desire, and many also have deep pocket for lure acquisition, as it can be central to their professional success. But the prevalence of Z-Man’s relatively new Jack Hammer version of the ChatterBait among tournament winning angler’s arsenals speaks to something deeper. Reportedly, Z-Man came to an agreement with Evergreen International of Japan to offer a version that bladed jig guru Brett Hite had worked on with that company. While outwardly similar to the Original, it features many upgraded features: a flat bottom and lower center of gravity for stability while also exhibiting an erratic “hunting” action; thinner, but strong steel blade that immediately starts chattering as the retrieve begins; double-wire trailer keeper; Gamakatsu heavy-wire flipping hook; and premium hand-tied silicone skirt. For this deluxe model, the cost is $15.99, but they’ve proved so popular Z-Man has struggled to keep up with demand.

At the first 2018 Bassmaster Central Open of 2018, Z-Man pro Stephen Browning used a 3/8-ounce Jack Hammer to win on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett.

Strike King Naked Rage Blade

Don’t be shy! This one can get you noticed when searching deeper ledges and other offshore reservoir structure. Consider it a crossover between a bladed jig and a swimbait. With a hefty leadhead leading the way (1/2- or 3/8-ounce), it quickly plummets to a working depth, there the specially designed bill takes over. It both shields the hook from most snags and creates a shuddering motion that deep-dwelling bass have rarely seen.It’s bill is clear, so it’s hard for finicky bass to discriminate against. And it’s backed by the 4-inch Strike King Blade Minnow, with a ribbed body and fish-like tail to exhibit maximum movement at any retrieve speed. You can nail equal-opportunity largemouths, smallmouths, and spotted bass.

Z-Man ChatterBait Freedom

In another cooperative mover by Z-Man, they have teamed up with Freedom Tackle of Ontario to create the ChatterBait Freedom, using Freedom’s patented hook attachment system. It marries the ChatterBait’s action with Freedom’s head-to-hook attachment system, officially called the “Advanced Interchangeable Hook Design.” It allows anglers to customize their hook choice to match various trailers. It comes with a 5/0 VMC wide-gap hook, in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes.


Picasso Special FX Shock Blade

Combining the allure of a bladed jig with the charms of natural bucktail and feathers, the Shock Blade has a special place in blade-jiggers’ arsenal. Behind this head, which is perforated with a pair of large holes to create water flow, the hand-tied hair and hackle offer sinuous action and color palettes not available in today’s silicone skirt materials. The head is designed to keep the lure down in the water column, and the heavier models (3/4- and 1-ounce) ensure that you can plumb there depths of offshore ledges, offering a package of sight, sound, and vibration bass have never experienced. Deadly to say the least when worms, jigs, and crank baits start to fade.

On the Horizon

No surprise: lure makers have been busy devising new lures that borrow from the ChatterBait’s bag of tricks, without infringing on Z-Man’s patent. That’s not always easy. But I’ve seen and fished a few new ones that have great promise. Terminator has added the Shudder Bait, tested by Rapala’s esteemed pro staff for the last couple of years. With a novel plastic blade, it creates exaggerated side-to-side movement, with pounding vibration and lots of water displacement. It promises to be the deal in off-color waters.

After much research and testing, Booyah has released the Melee, a unique addition to the bladed jig world. With a weighted polycarbonate head and thin blade, it’s built to work around wood without excessive snagging, which has always been an issue with this lure type. Its blade is thin, intended to boost vibration and to create a special sound when it contacts the head. It also has a long-shank hook with a thin-wire keeper to secure a variety of trailers. Moreover, Z-Man’s patent protects it from competing commercial designs, but many garage lure makers have tinkered with parts to create “custom” lures not available on the market.

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