1999 Bassmaster Classic champion Davy Hite hopped in Bassmater Elite Series pro Jacob Wheeler’s boat on the final day before a tow vehicle took it from Cherokee Lake to the weigh-in Feb. 12.

Hite’s “First Look with Davy Hite: Jacob Wheeler” is all about what the top contenders were throwing in the Elite.

Hite watched as Wheeler clipped off three artificial lures and talked about each one of them. The second on his list was Storm’s 360GT Searchbait, which is now hitting the market.

The two Storm pro staffers enjoyed talking about how it played a role in Wheeler’s victory on Cherokee Lake.

“That 360 is the deal,” Hite said as they sat on the bow of Wheeler’s Legend.

“It is. It really is. It’s special. And those fish, they absolutely demolish that thing,” Wheeler said.

While it wasn’t his primary lure on the way to the top at Lake Cherokee, it accounted for two of his biggest bass during the week, Wheeler said in the interview that can be seen at Bassmaster.com.

Hite certainly didn’t have to be sold on the effectiveness of the new soft plastic, which features a lifelike, single-ball rattling jighead with 3D holographic eyes with a realistic, phthalate-free soft body and a toe-in boot tail for enticing, vibrating action.

“I’ve been fishing the 360GT since about November,” said Hite, who helped design the jighead and had input on the lure’s colors.

“I enjoy fishing for all different species (with it),” he said. “I just enjoy it. The first time I went, I caught speckled trout on them. The next time I went, I caught a 20-pound striped bass.

“Then I bass fished in December, January and February. I bass fished on Lake Murray — which is my home lake — Lake Greenwood and Strom Thurmond Reservoir.

“You can catch any species on that swimbait. That’s why I think it’s going to be a hit.”

There are three factors about the lure that impress him.

First, Hite said, the molded head fits perfectly to the swimbait. That makes it equally valuable to experienced bass anglers and novices, he said.

Second, clearly seen entrance and exit holes help the average bass angler know the best spot to bring out the hook point. 

“It’s simple, and it’s going to run straight,” Hite added.

Third, the rattle in the jighead is the coup de grace, “which is huge. If you’re fishing stained water, the rattle is very helpful,” he explained.

It’s a true cast-and-reel artificial lure enhanced by the tail’s design, which Hite said does a couple things.

“First, it makes the bait vibrate — so the fish can feel it in the water,” he said. “Second, its slim tail going to the boot makes the bait move side to side, just like a fish trying to propel through the water,” Hite said.

The 360GT Searchbait has deadly armament. Jigheads, which have an extended “leg” on the line-tie, include a VMC Coastal Black hook with a 60-degree angle on the line-tie to keep the soft plastic in the ideal swimming posture.

They are available in 11 colors.

Hite said his favorite colors are herring and pearl ice for bass and chartreuse iIce for speckled trout.

Other colors are gaga, Houdini, hot olive, Marilyn, smokin’ ghost, smelt, tru blue and volunteer.

They are available in three sizes: 3½ inches (1/8 ounce), 4½ inches (¼ ounce) and 5½ inches (3/8 ounce).

Hite said the size he throws depends on the area and the species targeted. He said the 4 ½-incher is the most versatile.

The new artificial lure’s popularity is sure to grow, Hite and other pro staffers agreed.

Wheeler said the lure is a great tool to fool bass.

“I’m always looking for a searchbait that I can throw out there that looks realistic and can cover a lot of water,” he said. “The 360GT Searchbait does just that with an amazing, lifelike action.

“It’s crazy. This bait is in a league all its own.”

He also said he expected it to give him an advantage on the Bassmaster Elite tour from New York to Florida. It already helped make a difference in the 2017 opener on Cherokee Lake.

By the way, the GT stands for “Go-To,” as in go-to bait.

“This is truly a ‘go-to’ bait,” Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame angler Al Lindner said in the news release. “This is the closest thing that I could think of to what you’d call a universal bait. Fish love it.” 

For more information on the 360GT Searchbait go to www.Storm360GT.com