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Monday, September 17, 2018
Z-MAN Drop Shot Baits Dominating Elites
MDJ credits his first Elite with to Z-MAN..
Roughly twelve years prior to his top 5 finish at the recent Bassmaster Elite Series event at the St. Lawrence River, professional angler David Walker cast his first ElaZtech® bait.
At the time, Walker and a number of his colleagues viewed the new material mostly as a fad, a bait trend that wouldn’t last. Turns out, with an increasing number of victories to its credit, the “alternative” softbaits might be more analogous to high-performance superlines and the way anglers once viewed them relative to monofilament.
“When I first fished some of the early ElaZtech baits, I remember having a hard time believing how soft and yet how durable they were,” recalls Walker. “It took a bit of experimenting with rigging, and trying the different shapes and bait styles. But pretty much right away I realized just how deadly these baits could be—particularly as a jig or swimbait trailer.”
For Walker and other anglers, however, the big revelation occurred following early trials with a dropshot rig. “The more you fish ElaZtech on a dropshot, the more you appreciate just how much the baits elevate your game. I mean, you’re not supposed to do things like catch over a hundred bass on a single softbait.”
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 2017 that Z-Man— the principal ElaZtech innovators— released their first dropshot-specific bait. A collaborative design by company confidants, biologists and industry insiders, the Trick ShotZ™ exhibits several radical qualities.
“We knew ElaZtech’s unique characteristics would translate into a truly special dropshot bait,” said Lonnie King, fishing writer and co-designer of the Trick ShotZ. “With ElaZtech, it was possible to sculpt an ultra-refined profile—including a paddle tail, distinct ribs and a thin caudal peduncle— without any worries about fragility. The bait’s super soft, slim anatomy would make it move and articulate like mad. We also wanted to pack the bait with salt, yet maintain buoyancy. The material itself allowed us to do things with the Trick ShotZ that would have been impossible with traditional PVC.”
Not surprisingly, Walker’s initial impressions of the bait were dead on. “It’s almost inconceivable that you can call out the most desirable traits of a dropshot presentation and get them all in a single bait.”
Action – The most advantageous element of a successful dropshot rig, bait movement is a direct reflection of shape and the material itself; specifically, relative thickness and softness of the plastic. “It’s easy to get a large bait to move underwater,” Walker observes. “But finding small, 3 or 4 inch baits that aren’t rigid, and those that articulate, wiggle and swim is really rare.
“At the (late August) St. Lawrence event, I used a Z-Man Trick ShotZ and continually marveled at how beautifully it moved underwater. This bait shimmies and looks super lively. Smallmouth bass simply can’t say no to it; it’s like ElaZtech is their Kryptonite.”