Some baits are catch fish, and some catch fishermen. A first-of-its kind collaboration between two giants in the crappie lure business — TTI-Blakemore and Bobby Garland — has moved to the top of the list in the “Both” category.
It’s a dream match for anglers and a nightmare for crappie. It’s called the “Slab Runner” and it comes in 20 of Garland’s top colors, including the most popular: Blue Grass, Cajun Cricket, Monkey Milk, Electric Chicken and Lights Out. The lure has a color-flow design with the jighead and plastic body sporting the same color combos.
“Any time you introduce a new lure like this, it gets a lot of attention,” said Ron Stallings of TTI-Blakemore, manufacturer of the Road Runner head and spinner. “But early orders are showing it’s already catching fish, and it’s going to be a popular one with fishermen.”
The combination features the Road Runner, a leading jighead, with Garland’s Baby Shad plastic tail, a favorite soft-plastic tail for crappie.
“How can you go wrong with that?” Stallings asked.
The lure was revealed at last year’s ICAST sportfishing show and has started showing up on store shelves the past couple of months.
“One of the attractions of the Slab Runner is that it can be fished so many ways,” Stallings said. “For most of your fishermen in Louisiana, it’s best for casting and retrieving in shallow-water applications like along the banks and beside cypress trees. The lure can be fished super-slow or at a pretty good clip, based on what you find the fish want. The color combinations also work in just about any type of water.”
The Slab Runner comes in regular and weedless models, the latter having a small hook guard that keeps it from tangling. Slab Runners are available in a 1/16-ounce size with a No. 2 hook or a 1/8-ounce with a No. 1 hook. One pre-rigged bait and an extra Baby Shad come in each package, which sells for around $3.25 a pack.
The larger model is also good for vertical jigging or fishing with a slow retrieve over drop-offs, ledges and points, often good spots for crappie this time of the year. It also works for spider rigging and long-lining techniques.
The Road Runner is one of the oldest crappie lures that’s still at the top of anglers list. When it was first made in 1958, designer Bert Hall has been quoted as saying, “We just wanted a lure that would catch fish.”
Time has proven that he got what he wanted.
Cast past cover
When fishing a Slab Runner in shallow water, Stallings said the best method is to cast the bait past trees, pilings or edges of grassbeds and then reel the lure slowly past the cover. The flash of the spinner and the action of the tail gives crappie two different “live shad” looks.
In deeper water, you can count the lure down to the depth fish are suspended in and then begin the slow retrieve. Often, if weather or water changes have made fish a little finicky, they might hit the lure but miss it. Veteran fishermen know that you should turn the reel a couple more times, then pause. Fish will often hit it again if you can keep it in their strike zone for a few seconds.
There’s really no wrong way to fish the Slab Runner. Just keep it close to the fish and they’ll do the rest.