Each year there are hundreds of new baits introduced by dozens of manufacturers both big and small. Hard plastic, soft plastic, metal and hybrid super strong materials are all shaped and painted into the next greatest thing. Sometimes it’s difficult to see trends but we’ve identified a couple.
Worth noting, too is that a couple major soft plastics manufacturers experienced some serious changes. Yamamoto was sold and the founder/owner of ZOOM Baits passed. We’re still waiting to see how that might affect two of the bigger players in the soft plastic bait market. Oh, and Pure Fishing bought Plano and one of the first things they did was introduce fishing backpack systems for young bike-riding, boat-less anglers. Smart!
The influence of Berkley’s wildly popular Frittside crankbaits last season can be see in the profusion of similar baits coming out this year.
Something called the Bait Finesse System may be trending. Bait Finesse System (BFS) was developed in Japan by anglers targeting finicky trout still wanting to use baitcasting reels. The light reel/rod tactics were then adopted successfully to catch intensely pressured largemouth bass that had became harder to catch with traditional lures. Smaller lures and lighter lines were still effective, and could be used in open water, however with very light lures, existing rods and reels lacked the accuracy necessary for pitching around heavy cover. Seeing a potential new market, manufacturers have responded with reels and rods designed specifically to pitch lighter lures. We’ll see if this Japanese trend catches on in the American market this season.
The following is a round up of many of the new products you’ll find in tackle shops in the coming year from national and regional bait providers.
Abu Garcia engineering is displayed in the new Abu Garcia Max LP (low profile) baitcasting reels. These reels feature a machined-aluminum spool, power disk drag system and a MagTrax braking system. You can choose up to a 7.1:1 retrieve ratio model. They all feature oversized co-molded soft touch knobs for long casting comfort on marathon days and 4+1 to 7+1 stainless steel for ultimate performance at a low price.
The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur Pro Rocket Round reel series is the 100th anniversary model that calls on the heritage of dependability and durability with a commemorative reel that will give anglers years of service. It features four stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing, a carbon matrix drag system and 5.3:1 gear ratio with 6-pin centrifugal braking system.
The most sensitive rod that Abu Garcia has ever made, the Abu Garcia Zenon features a premium carbon blank with their exclusive Powerlux 1000 resin system. The Zenon delivers an ultra-light, powerful and sensitive blank with higher break strengths and improved impact and fracture resistance.
The wide array of Berkley jigs are now paired with an irresistible PowerBait flavored skirt and Fusion19 hook. Berkley offers seven different styles of jig: football jig, swim jig, skippin’ jig, flippin’ jig, heavy cover jig, and a finesse jig that feature the new Powerbait silicone skirts.
The Berkley Powerbait Agent E is an all-new soft plastic bait designed by Bassmaster Classic and MLF Bass Pro Tour Champion Edwin Evers. It’s a bottom-dwelling, flat-bottomed swimbait that has an ultra-low center of gravity and internal weighting to skid along the bottom and is available in
2.25”, 3” and 3.75-inch versions. A custom designed fluorocarbon hook-keeper is invisible to fish and sheds the nastiest grass and debris while easily collapsing to hook the slightest bites. The bait’s side-to-side kicking action demands attention even at the slowest speeds as it skids, crawls, hops and slide its way into the hardest to reach places.
Designed by Major League Fishing Pro Scott Suggs, the new Berkley Crash Craw is a compact craw profile that allows the bait to excel in a variety of situation. A rib design hides the hook for effortless gliding through heavy cover and extended ribs provide a tremendous amount of surface area for a mouth full of PowerBait flavor. The bait comes 3-1/2 inch and 4-1/4 inch.
The PowerBait Gilly is a Pro Design by Bassmaster Classic Champion Mike “IKE” Iaconelli with heavy Japanese design and technique influence. It displays an unbelievable natural presentation with its shape, action and color options. It is infused with PowerBait flavor ensuring you have the chance to set the hook on every bite.
Pro designed by arguably the best jerkbait fisherman in the world and two-time Bassmaster Classic Champion Hank Cherry, the Berkley Stunna jerkbait has all the refinements to excel. The bait offers a slow sink to trigger finicky fish while being weighted perfectly for long distance casting. There are two versions that dive up to four feet and nine feet.
The Berkley Little General Max Scent is a 2-3/4-inch stick bait profile with ribbed texture to kick up debris and provide more surface area for maximum scent and flavor. This is an ideal bait to pair up with any Half Head or Ned Rig style jighead.
The Berkley Lil’ Trooper Max Scent is a 2-1/2-inch compact crawfish imitation that is deal for Ned rig applications. The Lil’ Trooper also makes for a great trailer on smaller skirted jigs.
Guide Mack Farr fishes the clear, deep waters of Lake Lanier in Georgia. He fishes for bass (largemouth and spotted) and striper. He’s developed his own line of Capt. Mack’s Super Spoons to catch them and regional anglers are taking notice. The 1/2 and one-ounce versions in chartruese with chartruese prizm tape are the hottest bait to use flutter spooning up fish in clear waters. www.captmacks.com
The Untangled 2.0 Collection sunglasses are built from recycled fishing nets and other sustainable materials like recycled aluminum logos and mineral glass lenses. Discarded fishing nets are the most harmful form of plastic pollution in our oceans. Working hand in hand with its partner Bureo, Costa is taking discarded fishing nets and giving them a new life in its collection of core performance frames.
In addition to the added features, the updated NetPlus material is available in three new colors – dark grey, plum and light grey. One of the new frames, Santiago [named after Chile’s capital], offers a protective, maximum coverage frame specifically designed for fishermen. Hooding and side shields prevent light from leaking, keeper-ready temples and Hydrolite rubber grips keep your frames locked in place, and the vented nose pad helps reduce fogging. www.costa.com
This Australian company has created one of the most intriguing new topwater baits we’ve seen in a while. The OG Herring is a cigar-shaped topwater that does more than just walk the dog. When paired with a 7’6” baitcasting rod and high rate of retrieve reel it literally has a baitfish like action and no two retrieves are the same. It darts, dips, wanders and pops up just like a herring or shad and from the looks of the videos shot with it on Lake Lanier, it’s going to be a must-have if you are fishing clear, herring/alewive lakes like Anna, Smith Mountain, Moomaw and even Buggs. The 30-gram size is 5-1/2 inches – slightly larger than a Super Spook. www.castfishing.com
The new Steez CT 70 is packed to the gills with the kind of high-tech advancements you’ve come to expect from the Daiwa team, but the finer touches significantly enhance this reel as well. Start with the 90-mm handle length and oversize handle knobs that make this reel a pleasure to crank while providing the extra power needed to separate big bass from heavy cover. The reel features a magnesium frame, handle side, and side plate keeps the reel extremely rigid and lightweight while special paints and coatings ensure it is also saltwater capable.
The Steez CT70 features Daiwa’s celebrated Hyper Drive design that uses special cut gearing with a smaller tooth pattern so more gear teeth engage at the same time while a dual-bearing, supported pinion gear keeps everything in precise alignment
Two more enhancements stacking the deck for the CT70 are its T-Wing System and an ultralight G1 Duralumin SV (Stress-Free Versatile) long-cast spool. Daiwa’s pioneering T-wing System utilizes separate aperture settings for casting and retrieving. Barely noticeable to the eye, this advancement improves casting distance and accuracy by more evenly packing line on the spool. SV spool baitcasting technology also enhances casting distance by automatically adjusting spool tension at the beginning and end of each cast to overcome spool inertia and eliminate overruns when throwing lightweight and standard-weight lures.
The new Deps Cover Scatworm has been huge in Japan and is now coming to America. This is 2.5, 3.5 and 4”. The Deps Evoke Zero 120 is a topwater bait with a rotating Ryugi quad hook on the belly and a rotating rear section (like a Whopper Plopper).
Dobyns is introducing an entry-level rod called the Maverick series for $99, six baitcasters and five spinning rod models.
Measuring just 3.5 inches and available in eight colors to match any type of forage or water conditions, the new Showerblow SB-77.7 features the same built-in tungsten weight transfer system as their popular larger sizes to both increase casting distance and provide a loud, fish-calling knock on the retrieve. Showerblow’s unique aerodynamic shape and weight transfer system allow you to reach out to surface breaking fish or the back of coves with pinpoint accuracy. Its pencil-popper shape makes it perfect for walk-the-dog retrieves while a scooped face adds extra splash with every twitch of the rod. Regional anglers should be thrilled.
The new Lew’s Tournament Light LFS should be a popular reel this season. Key to the extreme light weight of the Tournament Lite is the wildly popular LFS one-piece aluminum frame with C45 carbon side plates, paired with an aircraft-grade double anodized Duralumin 34mm spool. The reel weighs in for the fight at only 5.3oz. This is a critical benefit for all-day fishing, particularly in heavier applications. The reel boasts Lew’s hard aluminum alloy Speed Gears, which were cut on high quality Hamai CNC gear hobbling machines and the battle tested P2 Super Pinion bearing supported pinion gear.
Combining the strength of a hard-sided tackle box with the lightweight portability of a soft-sided tackle bag, the premium EVA constructed Atlas Tackle Pack is a completely new take on tackle storage. Built up from the sturdy foundation of a waterproof HDPE base surrounded by ultra-durable EVA panels, the Atlas includes Plano’s patented magnetic Dropzone™, bungee cord rod holder, tool holders, water-resistant cell-phone storage, internal zippered mesh pockets, molded side pockets and comfortable shoulder straps.
The new full-sized Plano Weekend Series Tackle Backpack holds up to three 3700 StowAway utility boxes, with two boxes included. The durable shoulder straps distribute weight for a comfortable carry even when the backpack is filled with tackle, tools and gear. Notable upgrades include a water resistant sunglasses pocket and a zippered front pocket with laser cut MOLLE tool holder.
The new IxI SHAD TX takes the collaboration between Megabass founder Yuki Ito and Imakatsu founder Katsutaka Imae to new depth ranges of 13ft. With exceptional aerodynamics and hydrodynamics powered by the patented Megabass LBO moving balancer technology, the 2-1/4in long IxI SHAD TX outdistances, out-dives and outperforms lures in its class. Available now in limited quantities. This one will be tricky to obtain but a worthwhile bait to have.
The popular Mini Flip Jig now has a swimming sibling called Ike’s Mini Swim Jig. Structured on a VMC 30-degree, vertical line tie, 3/0 hook, the Mini Swim Jig features a compact design and the same fine cut skirt of the Mini Flip Jig, but its big 3D eyes really stand out on the keeled head. A new super spike keeper will keep your soft plastic on the hook until the bass completely chew it off! The Mini Swim Jig will come in three sizes of 3/16, 5/16, and 7/16 ounce. Each size will come in 10 bass catching colors to cover any swim jig situation. The Ike’s Mini Swim Jig will retail for $5.49.
For 2022 you’ll find hellgrammites, swimbaits (the Winnow), a drop shot bait (Nikko Leech) and a crawdad available at area dealers and online. These baits are made from an incredibly tough, proprietary material that permits anglers to catch dozens of fish on each bait. Some Japanese shops even rent out individual Winnows to anglers with over 100-fish per bait tallies. Their hellgrammite is the #1-selling bait of its kind in the US. All are scented with Nikko’s own special blend of fish attractant. www.nikkobaits.com
The new Chick Magnet is flat-sided crankbait that follows the Frittside trend. The blue rock craw pattern looks to be hot. The bait is ideal in the three-to-six-foot depth range and anglers will certainly see the design’s benefit for targeting fish in tougher conditions; the Chick Magnet excels in cool water, when fishing pressure is high, or after a weather front has made finding a bite more challenging.
The new 6XD Hard Knock combines the time-tested 6XD and applied the popular Hard Knock technology to it. Strike King maintained the exact same shape, weight and proven action, but added a single weight configuration that adds a deep thumping sound that makes it have a different appeal to offshore bass.
The new Rapala DT8 fills a much-needed and overdue cap between DT6 and DT10; all designed by David Fritts and made from top grade balsa. Rapala combined the DT6 body and DT10 reconfigured lip to reach depths of 8-10’ depending on line diameter. The new Rapala OG Tiny 4 T is a thin, flat-sided balsa bait with a tight wobble and finesse-like action. The thin design and lightweight circuit board lip moves less water and provides a sensitive feel of bottom structure. The Tiny runs to about four feet, is 2-1/4 inches long, weighs 5/16 ounce and sports a pair of No. 5 VMC Hybrid Trebles and comes in 19 colors, which were hand-picked by Ott DeFoe.
Rapala’s new Mid BX Brat crankbait features a balsa-wood core within a brawny hard-plastic shell. Encasing a balsa core in copolymer armor allows a BX Brat to bounce off cover and trigger bites without hanging up often and getting beat up. The new BX Mid Brat dives as deep as 5 feet. It measures 2 inches, weighs 7/16th an ounce and comes armed with two sticky sharp VMC No. 4 black-nickel, round-bend treble hooks. BX Brats are available now in three models – BXBB03, the original; BXBB06, the Big Brat; and now BXBB05, the Mid Brat.
Continuing to add to the tournament-tested and dependable Curado lineup of low-profile reels, the new Curado MGL 150 is the lightest weight Curado to date. It features a combination of 150-size spool combined with a MagnumLite (MGL) Spool, Shimano engineered the Curado MGL 150 for anglers to fish different techniques with various lure types and sizes with ease — and with greater casting distance and accuracy. Shimano engineers built the Curado MGL 150 to handle giants with a rigid aluminum HAGANE Body and durable Cross Carbon Drag. Precision gearing lies nestled at the heart of the Curado MGL 150 with Shimano reel technologies such as X-Ship, MicroModule Gearing and SilentTune to create an unmatched reeling experience. The Shimano Curado MGL 150 will be available soon in three gear ratios with both right- and left-hand retrieve options.
Shimano engineered the new Shimano Sustain FJ family of spinning reels to be strong, sensitive, and ready to rise to any coastal saltwater or freshwater challenge. One of the strongest in the MagnumLite series of spinning reels, the Sustain features a redesigned MagnumLite (MGL) Rotor for light start-up rotation and faster hooksets with increased sensitivity. An Aluminum HAGANE Body reduces reel flex when winding against hard-fighting game fish and translates angler effort directly into cranking power. Lighter than its predecessor, Sustain now features Long Stroke Spool to enhance casting distance. MicroModule II gearing combined with Shimano’s HAGANE Gear and SilentDrive technologies provide anglers with smooth reeling performance. The Shimano Sustain will be available soon in four sizes from 2500 to 5000 – perfect for the demanding freshwater or inshore angler.
Conceived for tournament anglers competing at the highest level, passionate recreational bassers, or anyone in between, St. Croix’s all-new Victory Series of high-performance American-made technique-specific bass rods are poised to deliver more wins on the water – however they’re defined. The NEW Victory 17 expands St. Croix’s landmark Victory series to 25 total models, giving bass anglers of all levels unprecedented choice in selecting the proper tools for a complete range of bass presentations. From finesse techniques; bombing hair jigs and spy baits; to crankbaits; chatterbaits; flippin’, pitching and punching; to heaving and retrieving 8-ounce swimbaits, it’s all there in this complete and balanced assortment of high-performance, technology-laden, American-crafted rods – backed by a 15-year transferable warranty – that cost a fraction of other “elite-level” rods in the marketplace.
Handcrafted in the USA for extreme sensitivity using St. Croix’s most exotic materials and technologies, the Legend Xtreme Freshwater Series grows for 2022 with a new 7’3” MLXF spinning model ideal for Ned rig presentations and a new 7’6” MHMF casting model optimized for presenting football jigs. Retail prices are $660 and $670 respectively and include a 15-year warranty.
The new Hardcore Shad 60SF features a magnetic weight transfer system said to result in long, accurate casts up to 30% farther than the top competition. Upon landing, the weights shift to the front of the lure and are locked in place by a magnet, providing a well-balanced diving action. This bait reaches a depth range of 4-5ft and is an exceptional choice for targeting largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass, trout and walleye. The bait comes in 10 color patterns and features a “power coating” that protects the finishes from chipping or fading. The terminal tackle is top of line with high quality black nickel split rings and round bend black nickel treble hooks.
6th Sense’s new Munch 40 crankbait is 2.5 inches, weighs 7/16 oz. and dives 2-3 feet. The new Axis Metal 2.0 crankbait is a unique bait with a side-to-side, pivoting metal diving lip. It dives 2-5 feet with an erratic, hunting action.