by Tim Huffman
ICAST is the largest international fishing industry show in the world. Manufactures and media vote on the best products in each category and those were presented in the previous issue of CrappieNow.
This issue we visit with several of the CrappieNow sponsors who were displaying products at the ICAST show. We let them tell you what products to check out for your upcoming fishing seasons. One of the fun things about crappie fishing is the new, got-to-have ‘stuff’.
Rockport Rattlers- Outlaw Max Jighead
“We came out this year with the Outlaw Max,” says owner Charles Seblatura. “We are excited about the bait and it’s success. It was designed by Whitey Outlaw and me based upon our already proven Rockport Rattler head. We know there are situations where this jig out-catches all other jigs on the market, so we wanted to magnify on that to get a better hook rate for the really big crappie.
“The huge slabs in shallow water run so fast they get off single hook jigs. So, we added a couple more hooks to create our Outlaw Max. The jig has three separate hooks to allow you to add plastic, a minnow or both to the center hook. This jig turned strike-to-catch ratio way up. Whitey has included the jig in his fishing and he and Mike Parrott have already wrapped up Crappie Masters Angler Team of the Year Award.”
BnM Poles- Redesigned Sam Heaton 7-Foot Super-Sensitive
“One of the things we always try to do at BnM,” says Sam Heaton, “is to make quality, classy products. For many years crappie fishermen had to make their own rods if they wanted the best quality. But we believe the crappie fishermen deserve the same quality poles that the bass and saltwater fishermen have available and have strived to give them the best possible. The new Sam Heaton 7-foot Super Sensitive meets that standard because it uses IM-6 graphite, the best line guides and more. We had to put more money into this pole so we really don’t make more off of it but that’s okay. I’m in my final phase of my fishing career so what I do now is sort of my last hoorah…I want to leave crappie fishermen with a product they’ll love using and will give them years of service.”
What’s different about it? “The blank is different with a combination of IM-6 graphite wraps, a cork handle giving comfort and better feel, along with Dyna-Flo line guides. My favorite techniques include jig-and-cork and vertical jigging. One technique I’ve been doing is shooting docks with it. Once you learn to back off from the dock a little the pole gives better distance and outstanding sensitivity.”
Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits- Chikara 100, 200, 300 Crankbait.
The new Chikara dives to 10 feet cranking, much deeper when trolling, and is available in 16 different hues. It should work great for crappie trolling. “The primary new baits that could be of interest to the crappie fishermen,” says Ken Sasaki, “is our new lineup of crankbaits. Our engineering and testing guarantees everything is just right for the best bait possible.”
Yamamoto has other outstanding crappie baits that have been around a few years. One of the fishermen’s favorite is the Yamaminnow. It has a shad body, tough plastic for long lasting, single tail for good action and strong colors.
“I love to be around the crappie fishermen,” says Sasaki. “I hope to make it to the Crappie Masters Classic again but my schedule is busy so I’m not sure if I can be there this year. It’s always a good event.”
Bass Assassin/ Panfish Assassin- Lit-L Dumplin
“The Little Dumplin,” says owner Robin Shiver, “was created by an older gentleman in Tennessee. He said, “Son, if you want to catch more crappie than you have every caught before try this bait.” I saw the color combinations and how pretty it was. Right then I knew we could do something with the bait. We learned when the crappie quit biting you can put one of these on and if they are going to bite at all they’ll hit it. You can put a 2-inch curly on the Lit-l Dumplin head with the mylar and the it gives a whole new look and life. We say the only thing better is dynamite.”
“Another one of our baits is the Crappie Dappler in the 2-inch swim bait. Dappler has been great this year. It has more swimming action. Better than a minnow with nearly 30 colors to choose.”
Lew’s – Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Reel
“A new baitcaster is the Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Reel,” says Andrew Upshaw. “It’s a one-piece composite frame, four stainless steel ball bearings, magnetic control system, aluminum spool, and soft touch knobs for only $39.99. It’s purpose is to fish crankbaits so the crappie fisherman has a little stronger reel to do the job, but the reel can be use for other purposes, too.”
Fishermen wanting a high quality spinning reel can check out the Lew’s new High Speed Spinning Reel. “It’s a 10 bearing reel that comes in four sizes. It’s a rugged reel with soft touch knobs.”
Bobby Garland- Itty Bits Swimmer
“We have a new bait called the Itty Bits Swimmer,” says Gary Dollahon. “It’s 1.25-inches long in the shape of our Baby Shad Swimmer. It’s extremely small to have a jointed body, scent tube underneath, and the shad body. We believe this bait will have a lot of applications from trout, ice fishing, perch, bluegill to crappie fishing. There is a 1/48 and 1/64-ounce head that matches to the baits. We are very excited about this bait and see crappie fishing using them any time the cold water or overall conditions call for downsizing a bait. Mixing this smaller Itty-Bits offering with all of the Bobby Garland colors gives a crappie fisherman a very unique, lifelike bait.”
Mo Glo Slab Jam introduced last year is one of the hottest attractants on the tournament trail.
Johnson Fishing- Crappie Buster Crappie Baits
“Everyone knows the Crappie Beetle Spin and Silver Minnow,” says Johnson’s Chris Pitsilos. “But what we’ve done is create a new series of crappie plastics, crappie crankbaits, and crappie attractants. We are working with Crappie Masters and with CrappieNow Magazine to help get the word out about these baits.
“The Crappie Buster Tube is a 1.75-inch tube with a 40/60 split, meaning 40 percent is body and 60 percent is tail for more action in the water. We have 24 colors and a 12-pack sells for $1.99. Our second one is the Shad Tube with a single tail to immulate a shad. It’s the only hollow, straight-tail bait on the market. Other new baits include a Spinner Grub that has a good value.”
Pitsilos continues, “The crappie Masters Classic was won on a Berkley Flicker Shad. What we did is make a 2 1/8-inch and a 2 1/2-inch Johnson Crappie Shad bait with some of the same characteristics but with slightly different features. The crankbaits come with red hooks, run 6-8 feet and 8-12 feet respectively on a cast, so they’ll go much deeper when trolled. An aggressive crappie will hit any bait pulled fast. But what will the bait and crappie do when you have to go slow? Does your bait dive to the right depth and move with the right action? Our new crappie cranks will maintain their actions and trigger bites even at very slow speeds.”
“One more important product in our lineup is Johnson Shad Scales. This is an attractant product. One component is gel for a base to hold everything together. It has a synthetic attractant in it that outperforms, by up to 500%, all the others in our testing. It has fleck to simulate scales. And a shad odor attractant smell.”
TTI-Blakemore- New Glow Color Road Runner
TJ Stallings says, “One of the exciting things we’ve spent a lot of time developing is a new glow paint color for our Road Runner heads. Straight glow doesn’t look appealing although it has high glow properties. So we went a step further creating a combination that gives a great painted look and has good glow properties. We know both the fishermen and fish will like it.”
“Another new item is a barb made for securing hollow body tubes to the head. However, all a fisherman has to do is bend the barb down and lift it back up causing it to break off. Now the same head works great with solid plastics. This makes a very versatile jighead.”
“Also, we have a ‘No Bling’ jighead. It has the Road Runner head but no swivel and blade. There are times in current or when fishing deep that no blade can be an advantage.”