October is the best month of the year to fish a crankbait for bass. Fish will be on sharp drops, and a lot of them will have moved up into that 7- to 10-foot range, especially toward the end of the month. You need to make long casts with a crankbait that’s got a wide wobble.
That’s why I’m so excited this month. On Oct. 6, six hard baits that I had a hand in designing will be available from Berkley. They were introduced at the ICAST show this past summer, and they’re already being shipped to retailers. You might not be able to put your hands on one until the latter part of the month, but you need to put them in front of a fish while they’re inclined to hit a plug.
I have been working with Berkley for the better part of 2 ½ years on some of these baits. We went into the project thinking that we really needed to come up with innovations that would make these baits stand out from the rest of the baits on the market, and I think we’ve hit that right on the nose.
These baits all run 10 feet or shallower, and I think they cover the entire spectrum of shallow- to medium-divers. All of them come in what are basically 12 different custom colors. There’s a lipless bait, a square-billed bait, a jerkbait, two diving baits and a bait that’s different from anything I’ve ever thrown. They named it well: Wild Thang.
I stumbled on the idea for the Wild Thang when I was experimenting with prototype baits; and glued a second lip down on top of a bait’s lip. It had an amazing action when retrieved, and it took six months to figure out how to make one that would run the same way.
Wild Thang dives about 5 feet, and it’s the best crankbait I’ve ever made. It really is on the edge. If tracks between 2 and 2 1/2 feet from side to side when you retrieve it; it changes direction almost with a 90-degree angle — a very aggressive bait. It’s fun to fish because it’s jumping around so much.
It took me literally three months to work all the kinks out of the Pit Bull, which is a square-billed bait that runs about 5 1/2 feet deep. You know, it’s hard to find a square-billed bait that will run track right every time, because they want to jump up to the surface. This one won’t. It’s got an octagonal, coffin bill, and it’s really a good bait.
The Digger is a diving bait that comes in two sizes, 6.5 and 8.5. The 6.5 bait will run about 7 feet deep, and the 8.5 will run 9 to 10 feet deep. This bait is similar to the old Bagley Killer B2; the angle of the lip is a little different. The finishes on this bait give it a lot of flash, and it comes in some really good crawdad colors.
The Cutter is a jerkbait that comes in three sizes, the 90+, 110+ and 110 Skinny. This bait has a unique lip for a jerkbait, and it will will run a little different from other jerkbaits. This bait gets a tremendous amount of roll from the water rolling across the lip. We worked on it for about two years. Another thing that’s different is that it doesn’t have built-in casting weight; we felt like the weight took away from the bait’s action. But it was designed so it would be as castable as any jerkbait with an internal weight.
The Bad Shad comes in Nos. 5 and 7. These are shad baits that are heavy enough that you should be able to fish them on a baitcaster. The No. 5 will run from 6 to 7 feet deep, and the No. 7 will run 8 or 9 feet deep. I think they will outperform any bait like them on the market. They’ve got a really, really tight wobble. You really have to throw it and retrieve it to appreciate it.
Last but not least is the War Pig, which is a lipless crankbait. We’ve worked on having more flat area on the bait, because the wobble on a lipless plug comes from water flowing over that flat nose. By adding more flat area, this bait wobbles more. It also acts like a square-billed crankbait as far as how it deflects off something. It comes in two sizes, 1/2- and 1/4-ounce.
Working on these baits has really been a treat for me. I have worked with other companies to develop or fine-tune crankbaits, but these are baits I was with before they came off the drafting table, and I’m proud of how well they turned out.
I hope you’ll look for them on the shelves and give them a try. Any more these days, you have to put something new and different in front of a fish, and I think we’ve done just that.