Bass, redfish smash new topwater
Russell Garner remembers the days in South Texas and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast when anglers modified jointed Redfins to make a “wake” bait that redfish found hard to resist.
Anglers would heat the lip and bend it down toward the back end of the body so the Redfin wouldn’t go as deep, he said.
The practice eventually spread to the point the modification was used to catch bass and stripers in inland lakes, he said.
Garner wanted to give anglers a “wake” bait right out of the package. So he started kicking around the idea seriously about five years ago. The Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow, two years in the making, hit the market in April 2017.
“I think it’ll be a great bait. This spring will be its first real heavily distributed spring, and I anticipate hearing good stories as topwater gets to be more of a deal. Topwater’s always fun,” Garner said.
He’s proud of the artificial lure’s look and action. It wasn’t easy, he confided.
“It’s pretty complicated … more difficult than building a deep-diving crank bait. It took us two years to get there, to get to the finish line,” he said.
At times during the design of a new artificial lure, he said, physics don’t allow the designer to get the product to do what they want it to do. In this case, the challenge was making a waking bait with an open cavity (air) in the body, he said. Solving that problem included weighting the artificial lure so that it performed as desired, as well as positioning the lip at the optimum angle.
“Obviously, to get it to swim, you’ve got to get the bait lip right under the water,” he said.
Durability was another factor in design. “You’ve got to make it strong enough to put up with big fish. It’s made pretty stout,” he said. “Redfish will tear something up if you don’t build it right.
“This bait is a wake minnow, jointed, and has incredible action. With it being jointed like this, we’ve got it working just right.”
Great waking action
The PRADCO Fishing brand manager and veteran artificial lure designer won’t get an argument from Jimmy Mason of Rogersville, Alabama — a bass fishing pro who praises the Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow. He started throwing prototypes more than a year ago and provided his input for the design.
Mason, 45, believes strongly in the finished product. It’s put keeper-sized bass in the boat for him at tournament time, and he’s caught redfish with it along the Alabama Gulf Coast.
His most productive tournament outing with the lure was during a Bassmaster Open in April at Chickamauga Lake.
“It’s a neat bait and it’s got such a great waking action. A lot of the bites are pretty aggressive. I’m using a long rod with a soft tip to help land that,” he said.
For years, Mason caught bass on a Bomber Long-A. It was one of his go-to baits when he started fishing Bassmaster Open tournaments in 2003 and, later, for a few years, Bassmaster Elites (and the Top150s that preceded the Elites). Now he focuses on Bassmaster Opens.
“I mean, I love the Long-A,” he said. “(But) you’ve got to fish it painstakingly slow on the retrieve, on a spinning rod with light braid, 15-pound braid.
“The Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow, you can fish on heavier tackle and you can fish a little faster,” he said. “I use up to 20-pound test Vicious Ultimate Co-Polymer line and a lot of times a 7-foot, 10-inch baitcasting rod. You don’t have to fight it going under and losing that waking action.
“It has more aggressive waking action than the Long-A, and it has a loud rattle on it. At the same time you can slow it down and get a very similar action to a Long-A.”
He takes advantage of the 5 3/8-inch long, ¾-ounce artificial lure’s capabilities. It has a 3D body and 3D eyes, a raised gill plate on the side and HD decoration to go along with sturdy hardware and No.2 black nickel treble hooks.
“You don’t use it for a target casting bait. I make as long of casts as I can,” he said, noting it draws suspended bass up from timber, the tops of trees and grass beds that haven’t reached the surface. With the prespawn and spawn the order of the day as you read this in March, Mason knows from experience that on clear lakes the bigger females “kind of suspend on points and deep pockets before they go into the pockets (or shallows at the back end of creeks) to spawn.” The Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow gets those fish to bite consistently, he said.
The lure is available in colors popular for saltwater and freshwater species, he said. Tennessee shad, bone flash, chrome/black and chrome/blue are among the favorites for bass, while mullet, chartreuse herring and gold/orange are some of the favorites for saltwater gamefish like redfish and speckled trout. Of course, some anglers might prefer a freshwater color for saltwater purposes, and vice versa.
Mason’s choice is bone flash for largemouth and smallmouth bass, and his backup is Tennessee shad.
“When I fish, I have both tied on. If I had to pick one, I’d pick bone flash. It’s a catcher,” he said.
For more information on the Bomber Jointed Wake Minnow and other PRADCO Fishing products call 1-800-531-1202 or go to www.pradcooutdoorbrands.com.