Monday, July 24, 2023

Z-Man® pro Brian ‘B.Lat’ Latimer gets tricky with gnarly new creature bait


Traditional creature baits exhibit three stand-out qualities:  They crash through grass and kick around in woodcover like a wrecking ball. The baits elicit big bites in heavy cover. And if they’re made from run of the mill plastisol, one or two bass are all you get before adding another shredded bait to the scrap heap.

A quick glance at the new Z-Man® Gremlin™ might mislead you to believe it’s like other baits in the category. But comparisons to every other creature end at the superficial level, as the Gremlin’s next-level anatomy reveals all kinds of sneaky-valuable bass catching talents. Built for off-road, heavy cover flipping and punching, the new Gremlin is equally effective on a Carolina rig, swimjig or swing head jig—or a gnarly looking trailer on the back of a ChatterBait® bladed jig.

“Too many creature baits flap super aggressively, all offering more or less the same general action,” notes Z-Man pro Brian “B.Lat” Latimer. “Bass, especially those 5- and 7-pound kickers, get conditioned to these same repetitive movements. It’s why one goal in designing the Gremlin was to create a refined, less aggressive tail action. The bait’s body and appendages have been contoured to perform at a high level, especially during summer and fall when tons of anglers are all targeting the same bass.

“We knew, of course, that injecting the bait with ElaZtech® would solve the durability issue,” notes the YouTube rockstar. “I mean, who wouldn’t rather catch a dozen or more bass on a single bait versus switching it out every few fish? Awesome. But then, we took the game one step beyond our regular homebrewed ElaZtech recipe.”

Stretching the properties of the next-gen superplastic material it conjured nearly twenty years ago, Z-Man boosted the Gremlin with a brand-new soft plastics formulation. “In the past, one of the challenges with ElaZtech has been that it’s so soft that when you flip the baits in heavy cover, the hook can punch through the body too easily,” B.Lat explains. “Super excited to say the Gremlin is the first bait composed of Z-Man’s new ElaZtech Flipping Formula—perfected for heavy cover, combat style fishing.”

To allow the hook to quickly penetrate the material on a hookset yet remain fully weedless throughout the retrieve, the advanced Flipping Formula was developed right in Z-Man’s U.S. based laboratory. “Concepting, sculpting and pouring baits right in our South Carolina labs lets us perfect every element of bait-building, hands-on, as opposed to struggling to communicate with secondary agents across the ocean,” affirms Jose Chavez, Z-Man Director of Product Development.

“The new Flipping material is even tougher than our regular ElaZtech formula, yet it still holds the hookpoint in check during the retrieve. Makes Texas rigging much easier, too. And you’ll notice the Gremlin still feels extra soft and fishes as freely and fluidly as other ElaZtech baits, but in a sturdier formula that’s perfectly suited to flipping grass and brush with a big hook and heavy tungsten weight.”

Z-Man's Gremlin features a new ElaZtech 'Flipping Formula' for optimized Texas rigging and hook penetration.

Zooming in on the Gremlin’s anatomy, Chavez calls attention to several purpose-driven elements. “The bait was built with a nice meaty body and polygonal shaped core that holds the hookpoint securely, even when you drag it through heavy cover. The material itself is tougher, yet the bait’s ribbed torso yields a soft texture, compressing easily inside a bass’ jaws. The deep-cut ribs increase water displacement, and trap and exude air bubbles for even more underwater presence.”

Examination of the Gremlin’s twin tails reveals attributes not possible with traditional PVC. “Connection points between torso and legs are razor thin by intent,” notes Chavez. “This allows for a very specific, consistent action. You’ll notice the two side flappers, too, which help align the legs, keeping them spread apart without sticking together—a common complaint with traditional creatures. You can also detach the flappers, which give the legs a much more aggressive, flaring action. Essentially, the side arms dictate the bait’s activity level, which can be customized by the angler.”

“One key to the Gremlin’s bass catching success lies in its subtle, curly tail action,” adds B.Lat. “You want to retrieve the bait with more of a slow swim, as opposed to hopping it along bottom. Swim and stop. Those little tails continuously churn and spiral—more like tiny, subtle twisters than broad, thumping grubs. These refined little tail twitches send all the right signals to heavily pressured bass, just enough vibration to attract attention without sending up red flags.”

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