Several small baits rolled into one powerhouse
By Jerry McBride
Canadian lure manufacturer LiveTarget will introduce two more lines into their BaitBall series. BaitBalls, which emulate tightly schooled shad or other forage species, will be offered in both lipped (Threadfin Shad Crankbait) and non-lipped (Threadfin Shad Rattlebait) versions.
The lipped, floating Threadfin Shad Crankbait will be available in eight colors and three sizes, 2.75, 3, and 3.5. The Threadfin Shad Rattlebait is listed in six colors and 3.5- and 4-inch versions.
I got the chance to test both versions of the new BaitBall Magnums a month prior to their release, which is scheduled (hopefully) to happen sometime before Christmas. Cast or trolled, the big lip drags the Threadfin Shad Crankbait deep quickly.
Trolled at just over two knots, the 3.5 consistently bumped the bottom in 20 feet of water. Stick to the 5/8-ounce model if using light tackle. The 3.5 weighs almost 1½ ounces and between the lip and the inch-wide body, it puts up sufficient wobbling resistance on the retrieve that the vibration resonated through the kayak when trolled.
Though heavier (almost two ounces), the more streamlined Rattlebait is easier to cast and retrieve.
Unlike the high-frequency attraction of LT's somewhat similar Pinfish, both new BaitBall Magnums feature low-frequency, one-knocker rattle systems.
LIVETARGET lists both lures among their many new freshwater products. I put them through a testing procedure slightly more rigorous than largemouth bass can provide.
Many freshwater lures don't stand up well in the saltwater environment--split rings and treble hooks often react adversely to heavier, more powerful fish. The BaitBall Magnums arrived trimmed with heavy-duty hardware that appeared adequate; my concern was that, because the lures are not through-wired, the hook anchors might pull out of the plastic.
Testing both models on heavy tackle, no-stretch braid setups against 15- to 30-pound redfish alleviated my concerns. Other than scratched finishes, both models remained intact after releasing a dozen bull reds.
The suggested retail price for the new bait is $17.99-$19.99. You can find out more about the lures on the LiveTarget website