After almost 10 months of on-the-water experimentation — and countless hook changes, weight adjustments and buoyancy tweaks — Matrix Shad soft plastic paddletail creator Chas Champagne last week rolled out a brand new topwater lure called the Matrix Mullet that’s already developing quite a reputation for snagging big speckled trout.

“It’s a 4-inch pencil bait that walks the dog, with a good compact density for long distance casting,” Champagne said. “We put extra rattles in it to get loud action, and it’s equipped with heavy-duty black nickel No. 6 treble hooks.”

Although he knows one day he will, Champagne said he has yet to break a single treble while reeling in countless specks, reds and bass during the design phase of the lure, and doesn’t believe any hook modifications after purchase are necessary.

“Lots of avid topwater gurus buy all these baits and the first thing they do is go home and put different hooks on them,” he said. “We’ve basically eliminated that step. If you don’t like these hooks, I don’t know what to tell you — these are some seriously good hooks.”

Another feature of the Matrix Mullet is nickel-plated split rings, as well as an included split ring on the nose of the lure.

“A lot of bait companies don’t do that,” Champagne said. “I don’t even tie a loop knot. The jump ring acts as a loop knot, so you can tie whatever knot you want. 

“You can tie a loop knot, too, and you’ll have even more separation.”

The topwater lure is currently available in five colors that were named in an online contest by the company’s customers: mojito, blue steel, purple rain, bayou bengal and prom night.

“The paint job is like when you wrap a boat, so it really pops,” Champagne said. “It’s really shiny, and it holds up really good.”

Champagne said he ultimately decided to go with the 4-inch model because of the variety of fish here that will smash that size topwater.

“I want the 10-inch bass to hit it, I want the 13-inch speckled trout to hit it and I want the 17-inch red to hit it,” he said. “I didn’t want to have a big 7-inch bait where you have to be on giant trout just to get a hit.

“Because I can promise you a 6- or 8-pound trout will hit this just as much as they’ll hit anything else, but that 10-inch bass is not going to be as thrilled to hit a 7-inch bait as it is to hit this. Everything I make, I want it to be able to catch everything.”

Matrix Mullet topwater lures cost $7.99 each, and are available at your local retailer or online by clicking here