Here’s a subject that’s worthy of some discussion. Just how long should a good bait last, or how many bass should it catch before being relegated to the junk pile?
This one popped into my head after receiving an e-mail recently from In-Fisherman field editor Ned Kehde. Ned is a big proponent of the Z-Man Elaztech baits, that super strong soft plastic material that also goes into the Strike King 3X baits. I believe the material was first employed around 2005 into the bait market. Still not exactly sure what it is made of, other than something that doesn’t play well with traditional soft plastic materials. These baits are kind of like the old Stretch Armstrong toy – pull the thing until it stretches a couple feet and then watch it snap back into place as if nothing ever happened. Ned had stated in the e-mail that at present, he was up to 134 bass caught on the same 4″ finesse worm and still going strong.
Contrast this with the comments of one Rick Clunn I have sitting in the article archives when he was asked about the Stanley Vibrashaft spinnerbaits breaking after a dozen or so bass:
“The consumer generally wants the spinnerbait to last longer than he does. And he’s willing to sacrifice some strikes with a spinnerbait that lasts. That’s a little foolish.
“To me, if a spinnerbait catches 10 or 15 fish, that’s more than most lures ever catch for you. So why not go ahead and use a new one. Don’t take a chance on the bait breaking when a fish hits it.”
So on the one hand, you have baits like the Elaztech plastics that might get you 100 or more bass before needing to be replaced. On the other hand, you have things like the venerable Senko and Sweet Beaver that seem to practically fall off the hook if you look at them funny – just pray that the bass doesn’t come up shaking his head violently upon landing…but they flat catch fish.
So where is your breaking point? Are you a Mend-It glue, Wormizer, epoxy kind of guy, or are baits cheap and disposable and better fished fresh? Willing to pay extra for a finely tuned and crafted bait that might not last a full season, or would you rather have something titanium that always snaps back into place and looks good as new?