Ladson, SC (June 13, 2023) – A cool half mill’ and a bookcase crowded with shiny bass trophies ain’t a bad haul for a single unassuming softbait. “Over the last six or seven years, the 4-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ has produced some great tournament wins, from 150 boat derbies around my home waters in Ontario all the way to the Tennessee River,” notes Z-Man pro Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, who boated every one of his 2023 Bassmaster Classic winning bass on the same exceptional softbait. “Crazy to consider I’ve now won well over half a million dollars on the Jerk ShadZ alone.”
But overshadowed by dock-talk surrounding Gussy’s “best bait of all time,” whispers of a little secret have gradually leaked out. “During the 2023 Classic, when the bite got tough, I downsized to a slightly shortened bait to show bass a smaller, sub-4-inch profile,” he divulged. “Over the years, this modified Jerk ShadZ has tricked a bunch of critical smallmouths and certainly helped me secure the Classic win. Actually, whenever conditions get tough, a downsized bait can be a bigtime difference maker.”
So, when Z-Man recently put a new, finesse-sized 3.5-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ in Gussy’s hands, he was understandably excited.
“Really happy about adding the new, fingerling-sized Jerk ShadZ to my bag of tricks,” he admitted. “Many times, a minor adjustment in bait size can spur a major uptick in bites. During cold fronts or heavy fishing pressure, just a small tweak can produce bigtime. Sometimes, bass that hesitate to bite a bigger offering will entirely inhale a slightly smaller bait. It’s like switching focus from one baitfish year class to a smaller or younger one; works because it’s a better match for natural, prevailing forage.
Z-Man's new 3.5" Scented Jerk ShadZ - Gussy's Blue Glimmer.
“Gotta mention, too, that walleyes really like a slightly smaller bait. Rigged on a jighead, the new Jerk ShadZ will be a natural ‘eye producer, anywhere you throw it.”
On the surface, a half inch haircut might not sound significant. But shrink and re-scale the entire head, torso and tail proportionally and you’re immediately casting a beautiful little baitfish snack. Decidedly downsized from its 4-inch brethren, the new 3.5-inch Jerk ShadZ appeals to predators keyed on young shad, shiners, smelt and other minnow species.
An optimal match for interactive live-sonar style fishing, Gussy believes the new, subtler Jerk ShadZ will see extended playing time and a growing role in the coming season— from vertically ‘finesse moping’ on a jighead to dropshot rigging to working weedless or pitching docks with a 2/0 weedless hook.