They slither, swim, wiggle, pop, stink, sink and float, and fish swallow them the way we gobble up fried calamari. Whether made of plastic or real, biodegradable food, softbaits are hot. Here’s a sampling of some nifty new ones you’ll be fishing this season.
[BRACKET “1”]Snag Proof Pro Series Poppin’ Frog
Bigger, Beefier: Frog baits are hot this year and Snag Proof’s newest is the Pro Series Poppin’ Frog, a fat, heavy bait for beefy fish. The design makes it smack and spray copious amounts of water even with light rod twitches. Weedless Design: Owner hooks and a non-matting silicone skirt make the Poppin’ Frog as weedless as they come. All Snag Proof baits are hollow, so they’ll collapse when a fish chomps. ($6.95; 800-762-4773; greatlures.com) [BRACKET “2”] Storm Thunder Core Dawg
Hybrid Construction: Looking like a psychedelic salamander, the Thunder Core Dawg is a true hybrid. Soft-action tails and legs and squishy body skin form the outside of the lure. An internal solid polycarbonate core secures the hooks and the lip or bill. 3-D Profile: Thunder Core baits have an embedded holographic flash foil that shines through and gives dimension. The Dawg dives to 4 feet and lets you switch among four actions by changing hook placement. ($6.99; 952-933-7060; stormlures.com)
** [BRACKET “3”] Mann’s Hardnose Jerkbait**
Blended Plastics: Sure, you say, here’s a typical soft jerkbait with its fat body and whippy tail. Look closer. There’s more to this baby, and it lies beneath the skin. Like the other baits in the HardNose series-including Toad, Flippin’ Craw, Worm, Lizard and Saltwater Mullet-the Jerkbait features an internal head section made of harder plastic than the soft body. Result: It won’t ball up on the hook when you set. Long Lasting: The HardNose will last longer than typical softbaits, rigged with or without weights-saving you time, frustration and money._ ($3.39 per 10; 800-841-8435; mannsbait.com)_
** [BRACKET “4”] Food Source 4-Inch Minnow** Natural Flavors: Here’s a crippled minnow simulator in popular salt-and-pepper finish fairly bursting with anise and licorice flavor-and that’s just for starters. All Food Source lures-the styles include worms, grubs, trailers, shrimp and salmon eggs in a kaleidoscope of colors-are fabricated from protein. It’s real food. tempting Smell: The lure leaves a heavy scent trail to attract fish. And any fish that gulps it down can actually digest it. ($4.89 per 9; 866-375-8737; fslures.com) ** [BRACKET “5”] Berkley Powerbait Sinking Minnow**
Innovative Ballast: Aside from the proven chomp-it-longer Power Bait formula, this sinking stickbait has two internal weights that give the lure ends an enticingly subtle motion as the bait slowly drops. Built Tough: The midsection is reinforced to help keep this 5-incher intact when rigged wacky-style (hooked through the middle). Rig it Texas-style, Carolina-style or nose-hooked weightless. An internal mylar foil strip adds reflective allure._ ($2.99 for 5; 800-237-5539; berkley-fishing.com)_