Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Casting’s greatest hits 2020

By Dan Durbin
Contributing Writer


With youth sports mostly shut down, don’t be surprised when youth replace bats with 6-foot, 6-inch medium-actions for bass, walleye, and pike. Get out there and cast the lures below this spring and try not to worry that things being thrown have hooks instead of laces.


Keep casting.

Rapala Shad Dancer

Rapala’s new No. 7 Shad Dancer dives four to five feet deeper than the No. 5 and presents a bigger baitfish profile to match the hatch on water bodies where fish target larger forage species. At 2¾ inches long, the new No. 7 Shad Dancer is ¾-inch longer than the original No. 5 model. It will dive 9 to 14 feet deep, where the No. 5 and No. 4 max out at 7 to 10 feet. It weighs 9⁄16-ounce and comes armed with bigger VMC trebles than does the original Shad Dancer.


Berkley PowerBait Flute Worm

Delivering balsa actions with the durability and casting performance of a plastic bait, the Frittside is a key bait for tough conditions when fish are sluggish or heavily pressured. The classic flat side profile mimics a variety of species and creates the most flash of any Berkley crankbait. The Frittside comes in 18 colors across three sizes, five, seven and nine which run five, seven and nine feet deep respectively. The seven and nine models feature a weighted bill to get the bait down to running depth quickly. 


The PowerBait Flute Worm is a finesse worm with integrated O-ring locations primarily designed to be fished on a Neko rig. It features a tapered “flute-style” tail that twitches and moves with subtle movements, and a blunt head that is perfect for inserting weights, allowing the bait to be used to stomp the bottom when hopping a Neko rig.


VMC Tokyo Rig

Imagine a drop-shot rig on steroids – with a big hook and indestructible metal leader. That’s a Tokyo Rig. It comprises a heavy-duty hook, barrel-swivel, welded O-ring, and a 2½-inch rigid-wire dropper arm to which you can attach a weight or two of your choice. The original model featured a wide gap hook, but the new Flippin’ Hook and Worm Hook models make the fishing system more versatile.


The new Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook Tokyo Rig excels for flipping solid-body, soft-plastic baits, like beavers, in submerged vegetation. The Heavy-Duty Worm Hook Tokyo Rig is perfect for pitching smaller soft-plastic creature baits and worms around heavy cover.


Storm 360GT Searchbait Swimmer

The Storm 360GT Searchbait Swimmer Jigs are available now in two new sizes – one a quarter-ounce lighter than the original model, and one a quarter-ounce heavier. The new 1⁄8-ounce 360GT Swimmer Jig comes armed with a 2/0 VMC Coastal Black Hook and pre-rigged on a 3½-inch 360GT Searchbait soft-plastic, boot-tail swimbait body. The new 3⁄8-ounce Swimmer Jig comes armed with a 7/0 hook and pre-rigged on a 5½-inch body. Additional features of 360GT Searchbait Swimmer Jigs include an accessory hanger behind the lip, a lifelike design, 3D holographic eyes, a single-ball rattle, an exclusive VMC Coastal Black Hook and an extended, 60-degree line-tie leg.


Blue Fox Candyback Classic Vibrax
Blue Fox

Candybacks are Classic Vibrax spinners that combine three complementary color flourishes: a colored bell accented with metallic flecks, a shiny front side of the metal blade tipped with a color that matches the bell and a transparent, fluorescent complementary color covering the blade’s back side. The new size 60-00 Candyback Vibrax weighs just 7⁄64 of an ounce and features a size 0 blade. The new size 60-10 model weighs 1⁄8 ounce and features a size 1 blade. The new size 60-20 model weighs 3⁄16-ounce and features a size 2 blade.


Westin Freddy the Frog

The original Westin Swim glidebait is an established favorite lure of predator anglers in Europe, and now for the first time available in the U.S. You can fish this multipurpose lure with a steady retrieve, to create the action of a wounded, panicked baitfish. As soon as you turn the reel handle, the unique S-curve swimming action of the Swim is working. The Westin Swim is available in 14 colors and three sizes in the United States.


Freddy the Frog comes hopping onto the scene as your new favorite topwater bait. Freddy has free moving, jointed legs, which gives him all kind of moves on the surface of the water. An internal glass rattle gives extra sound.


Al’s Goldfish Forty-niner
Al’s Goldfish

The Al’s Goldfish Forty-Niner has long been valued as a trolling lure and casting lure in open water for bass, trout and salmon, and as an outstanding ice jig for large freshwater species such as lake trout, walleye and northern pike. The popular lure has a distinctive shape and erratic action and now comes in a smaller version weighing in at 1⁄4 ounce, and measuring 13⁄4-inch long.


Kalin’s Tickle Tail

If you’re looking for a bait that can simply be cast out and reeled in, the new Tickle Tail Swim Bait is a proven fish-catcher for almost any fresh or salt water game fish. What stands out on the lure are the dozens of waving appendages with balls on the end that wobble, bounce, and vibrate creating water flow down the sides of the bait that fish have never felt before. Adding this feature along with the traditional paddle tail is sure to trigger more strikes for the fisherman! Available in 3.8- and 4.8-inch.


River2Sea Phat Mat Daddy

The Phat Mat Daddy is designed to be fished over the thickest, nastiest cover and even in open water. The softness of the plastic and placement of the hook on the top of the bait helps the frog be more weedless, and increases the fish landing percentage. The weight allows the fish to feel the frog’s presence atop the mat.


Daiwa Double Clutch

The Double Clutch continues to set the standard as the ultimate suspending jerkbait. An innovative tungsten sliding weight transfer system allows the Double Clutch to cast like a bullet and swim with a unique twitching and darting action on the retrieve. The slim bill design causes the lure to track straight and deep, getting into the strike zone quickly. Internal dampening washers keep lure noise to a minimum to enhance the finesse appeal of the bait.


Jackall Keeburn

With its lightweight circuit board body design to offer bigtime vibration and movement that excels over traditional metal vibration baits, Jackall Lures introduces its new Keeburn blade bait. The Keeburn will trigger strikes via “yo-yo” retrieves or vertical jigging, especially in colder water situations. It has an instantly strong wobbling action with the turn of the reel handle when being retrieved, plus has the stability to fall straight down with as subtle, fish-enticing flutter action.


Strike King Thunder Cricket
Strike King

From the snap, to the paint, to the hook, every single component on the Thunder Cricket is premium and serves a purpose. The Thunder Cricket has the perfect action and vibration to get bass to bite. It also has all premium components to make sure that every bite makes it into your boat. 


Also from Strike King comes The KVD 2.5 Wake Bait. It’s built off of the very popular KVD 2.5 Squarebill design that anglers love. The difference is the unique bill design that is angled so the bait wakes the surface of the water instead of diving. Additionally, internal rattles create a unique clacking sound that drives fish crazy.

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