Understanding the power of reduced superplastics
Ever wonder why, year after year, some of your biggest bass seem to chew through the smaller lures you cast? Why won’t those big old mouths leave you alone when all you want to do is catch crappies? And why, even when the water is cold or the bite is completely cut off, do smallmouth bass continue to chew those little baits aggressively?
Every season, but especially in the cold water periods of winter and spring, the 1- to 3-inch microbaits provide consistent, if not occasionally spectacular bites. And as you’ve probably figured out by now, while you’ll be fishing for a lot of smaller fish, some of the bass will be those 3- to 5-pound footballs.
When Bass Bites Small Things
It turns out that bass of all sizes feed on small things—invertebrates like crayfish, insect larvae, and small minnows—much more often than we might think. A study1 of largemouth bass diets, for example, revealed that among a sample of 43 adult bass, 30 of their stomachs contained invertebrates (insects and larvae), while only 19 contained fish; o 257 total invertebrates versus 118 fish. A separate study of smallmouth bass2 found that among 95 bass stomachs containing food, 58 contained small crayfish, while only 13 contained fish.
Unquestionably, while bass of both species derive higher caloric value and increased growth from a diet of larger baitfish, invertebrates and young fish (including fingerlings) can sustain bass during periods of cold water, while stronger foods are in short supply. Late winter through spring is a phase in which seabass may attack colonies of freshwater invertebrates as a means of maintenance feeding, nourishing until the baitfish begin to hatch. Invertebrates such as mayflies and mosquito larvae and aquatic worms known as oligochaetes may figure prominently in the diet of sea bass. As summer approaches, swarms of baby angling fish, tarpon, shiners, and newborn catfish enliven the menu.
Matching movement on the form
As predatory opportunists, bass eat them all. And yet, while combining prevailing hatches with realistic lures can visually appeal to bass, particularly in clear water and especially smallmouth bass, success in angling often stems from the lively movements of the cast. lure instead of just the body shape. In short, a generalist forage profile and silhouette, such as a black Micro TRD™, marabou jig, or green Tiny TicklerZ™ squash will induce bites in almost any environment.
Relative to lure sizes, artificial soft lures 1 to 3 inches in size rarely fail to attract attack, even on the toughest days, because bass pick up fewer negative cues as the size of the bait is reduced. .
Throw something like a Z-Man Micro TRD™ or Shad FryZ™ 1-3/4-inch swimbait and you might be faced with continuous hits from bass, trout, walleye and panfish alike, often all on the same day. These little soft lures not only move subtly and organically, but also cut out a super convincing, unassuming profile of aquatic life. Again, even if the bait doesn’t physically mimic any specific creature, bass rarely find fault with small “generalist” offerings. If an easy opportunity presents itself, you can bet that even a 4-pounder will open wide and break.
As fishing pressure increases, so does the need for micro. In many waters, as anglers insist on retrieving and catching largemouth bass with larger traditional lures, catch rates inevitably decline. In clear water, the ‘pressure effect’ is intensified. Meanwhile, you will gradually and then dramatically outperform other anglers with microbaits worked on tiny jigheads and light lines. As Bassmaster Classic champion Jeff Gustafson likes to say, tiny baits are like an after dinner mint for bass. Even if they have already fed, bass simply cannot resist the temptation. Micro baits present an unpretentious and non-threatening bite.
A case for superplastics
While almost any micro-sized crappie or panfish lure will inevitably fool some bass, select superplasticsoffer attractive benefits. Unlike traditional PVC plastics, Z-Man’s ElaZtech® Micro Finesse™ bait offers arm anglers a trifecta of benefits for catching bass.
First, by reducing downtime spent disposing of broken baits and reassembling new ones, super plastics offer unmatched abrasion (bite) resistance and durability. Retrieve right through schools of smaller nuisance fish without constantly bringing in bait with a docked tail. Given the material’s unlikely tail pecking resistance, anglers often catch dozens to over a hundred fish per bait. To create a unique, almost bulletproof lure, add a single drop of super glue to the collar of a Micro Finesse ShroomZ™ jighead before securing the soft bait in place. This also prevents the bait from falling off the hook, another time and hassle saver.
Equally impressive, Micro Finesse baits are easy to trigger underwater; powered by ElaZtech ultra-soft, tough and environmentally safe. Traditional, relatively rigid crappie-sized baits do not move as freely below the surface by comparison. By contrast, infinitely flexible superplastics spring to life with minimal effort on the part of the angler.
Finally, and perhaps most surprising of all, Z-Man Micro Finesse baits offer natural buoyancy. Unlike traditional PVC plastics, which rapidly plummet to the bottom and “die”, superplastics naturally float horizontally in water, remaining in the strike zone indefinitely. Mounting a Micro Finesse LarvaZ™ on a #8 to #12 hook and a finesse dropshot rig, for example, positions the bit perpetually above the bottom. In essence, the bait almost catches itself, not unlike live bait fishing.
Mounted on a 1/10 to 1/30 ounce Micro Finesse ShroomZ jighead, the same bait slightly slows the overall sink rate of the lure, which is critical for slow bass that don’t want to chase. Beyond their reduced sink rate and natural floating action, ElaZtech microbaits allow you to string a slightly heavier jig. You benefit from longer casts without drastically increasing your decay rate.
To further reduce the sinking rate of the lure, consider tying it directly to a 6 to 10 pound test braid. Like micro-superplastics, braided ‘superlines’ float and add even more float to tempt hard bass. To increase catch rates of any species – crappies, trout or bass – Micro Finesse super plastics reward anglers with the best combination of advantages: super soft and bouncy, inconceivably durable and an almost magical ability to float and swim in animation. suspended. Superlines. Superplastics. Super bass fishing, indeed.
Z-Man’s proprietary ElaZtech material is remarkably soft, flexible, and 10 times stronger than traditional soft plastics. ElaZtech resists nicks, cuts and tears better than other soft baits and boasts one of the highest fish per bait ratings in the industry. This unique material is naturally buoyant, creating a more visible, realistic and attractive target for game fish. Unlike most other soft plastic baits, ElaZtech is PVC-free, plastisol-free, phthalate-free, and non-toxic. All ElaZtech soft baits are manufactured at Z-Man’s headquarters in South Carolina, USA.
About Z-Man Fishing Products
A dynamic company based in Charleston, South Carolina, Z-Man Fishing Products has been fusing cutting-edge fishing tackle with technology for nearly three decades. Creator of the original ChatterBait®, Z-Man is also the renowned innovator of 10X Tough ElaZtech soft baits, quickly becoming the most sought after baits in freshwater and saltwater. Z-Man is one of the fastest growing lure brands in the world.