NetBait B Bugs are back

(Photos courtesy NetBait)

NetBait brought its beaver-style bait back just like it was

Sometimes you don’t miss something until it’s gone. But NetBait B Bugs were at least one Bassmaster Elite Series pro’s favorite soft plastic before the beaver-style bait was cut from the lineup and they’ve been his go-to soft plastic since being reintroduced in 2021.

Now he’s glad they are back.

“Well, actually, I used it a lot before it was discontinued. I finished fourth in a Toyota Series championship a long time ago, flippin’ it,” Scott Canterbury said. “I still use it. It doesn’t have to be just around vegetation. Wood, too, even docks. I’m happy they brought it back. I think the B Bug is my favorite so far. It’s just a good bait, a little more durable than other baits out there, a little more buoyant. I’ve had great success on it.”

The 45-year-old Canterbury who lives in St. Clair County, Alabama, just east of Birmingham, said he keeps it in his tournament lure lineup.

“I’ll use it some, for sure,” he said. “I carry all those baits. Yes. I will be using it some, for sure.”

Walt Roberts, 55, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, also knows how effective they are. Roberts has been in the fishing tackle industry a dozen years, the past three years with American Baitworks as brand manager for NetBaits and Halo Fishing Rods.

Roberts said NetBait’s original owner, Braxton McNaughton of Greenville, Alabama, created B Bugs that were well-received by bass anglers across the U.S. McNaughton started the precursor to NetBait in the mid-1970s. His son, Kent McNaughton, started NetBait in 1998.

B Bugs were discontinued from the NetBait lineup several years ago, Roberts said, because of the proliferation of beaver-style soft plastics. Times changed and various issues impacted delivery of artificial lures and everything else.

It’s back

“We introduced it back last year. We saw the need for a Beaver-style bait,” Roberts said, adding coronavirus-related issues disrupted the supply chain, prompting bass anglers to clamor for soft plastics that were hard to get.

“So we introduced our beaver-style bait,” he said. “We came back with the original design. We thought that was as good as it could get based on its earlier popularity.”

“It has been doing really well,” Canterbury said. “It’s become one of the top-selling baits. I think the design of it moves a little more water than the original Beaver (Sweet Beaver). I’ve used it for a jig trailer and for flippin’ bites. The way the ribs are made it really moves a lot of water. It has really deep ribs in it.”

When he fishes it Texas-rigged, he puts it on a 4/0 straight shank flippin’ hook under a ¼- or 3/8-ounce weight and ties it to 15- or 20-pound test P-Line flourocarbon. He uses a heavier weight depending on the type of grass he’s fishing. In heavy vegetation he’ll switch to 65-pound P-Line XTCB 9 Braided Fishing Line.

Canterbury and Roberts both said the NetBait B Bug is sought after by bass fishing pros, bass club anglers and weekenders. The bass pro believes it will help everybody catch more bass.

Pick a color

NetBait B Bugs are available in 15 colors, foremost among them pumpkin and black/blue. Other colors gaining popularity are “swirl colors” such as Alabama Swirl, Hemotoma Swirl (black/blue), Green pumpkin/Texas Red Swirl, Natural Craw Swirl and Sun Gill Swirl.

NetBait’s B Bugs have a leg, or tail, up on other beaver-style soft plastics, Roberts said. They are more buoyant than similar products in part because they are made with anise oil rather than additives like salt that cause them to sink.

However, NetBait B Bugs will be rolling off the assembly line soon with BaitFuel, a fish attractant water-based liquid which will cause those models to lose their buoyancy. The non-BaitFuel soft plastics still will have high-floating capability.

Roberts said NetBait B Bugs with BaitFuel will be a “game-changer.”

Canterbury can attest to that. NetBait’s Flat Sided Shad were responsible for the bulk of the bass he weighed during the Elites’ swing to the Northeast on Lake Champlain and at the St. Lawrence River.

“I thought it was just the shape of the bait,” he said. “I had no idea about the new scent. I thought it was just the bait.”

He can’t wait to try a BaitFueled NetBait B Bug, too.

For more information about the NetBait B Bug and other American Baitworks products, call (844) 466-5738 or go to

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About Don Shoopman 560 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.