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Event Article:

On Location: 2009 Bassmaster Classic yields some exciting products

Date: 2/21/09

Shreveport, Louisiana: Red River

Event: Bassmaster 2009
Reviewer: Leo





Introduction: The Bassmaster Classic is the Super Bowl of bass fishing. It’s the event that kids aspire to fish in let alone win. Just qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic is enough to make an angler’s career, winning one makes the angler an instant household name within the fishing community and beyond.

Often overlooked by those less willing to travel the country is the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. The expo features many of the best retailers in the outdoors industry. Icast is typically the biggest show, but only tackle retailers and media are invited to Icast, so that leaves the Classic Expo for the outdoors consumer. This year’s show has 169 exhibitors with companies huge companies like Toyota and ESPN to regional fairly new companies like Black Dog Baits and Wingman Lures. Another cool thing about the Classic Expo is the fact that many of the biggest names in the sport have their own booths.  Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli, Skeet Reese, Gerald Swindle, John Crews and BASS founder Ray Scott all have booths to help spotlight their own products and the products of their sponsors.

Black Dog's Lunker Punkers were on hand at the Classic, proving this big bait isn't just a California only lure

Black Dog Bait Company: Black Dog Bait Company is proving that big baits aren’t just for California. Their booth was a hit and had people 3 deep when I arrived at their booth. After filtering through the visitors it was easy to see that Black Dog did as they always do, and cranked it up a notch with some new designed custom painted Lunker Punkers and Shellcrackers. There were over 20 custom colors, many of which have never been seen before. There were also some custom paint jobs by Tater Hog, the fellow big bait creator. The Louisiana crowd seemed pleased with the baits and the color selection offered by Black Dog. Many still seemed a little bewildered by the size of the bait while others pulled out the plastic to take home their new prized bait.

New Punkers painted by Vagabond made their public debut

For the first time at a trade show Black Dog had some of Vagabond’s version of their  Lunker Punker. Thanks to Cal’s report we already new about the Vagabond line of Lunker Punkers, but this was the first national show that Black Dog had them on display. It is easy to be mesmerized by the paint and finish of the new Vagabond line of Lunker Punkers in the pictures, they are even better in person. I’ll let the pictures do the talking for these.

New shad swimbaits from Nature Vision-Castaic follow the recent introduction of the Catch 22 trout swimbait

Nature Vision/Castaic Soft Baits: In January of 2008 Nature Vision Inc., the makers of the Aqua-Vu underwater camera as well as other products, purchased Castaic Soft Baits.  Since that time Nature Vision, Castaic Softbaits original owner Jason Scott and well known big fish hunter Mike Long have been hard at work redesigning a few series of Castaic’s baits.

Catch 22: The Catch 22 is a four piece soft plastic swimbait that is made on a flexible InnerArmor ™ fiber skeleton to provide better strength at the joints. Each bait comes with a guarantee to last for at least 22 bass, and they guarantee it by offering a free replacement (minus s/h of $7.95). 

The Catch 22 comes in 4 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch rainbow trout models. These are available at retailers currently.

Aqua-Vu Explorer 5/7: With an all new lighting system the Explorer system eliminates the reflections from underwater particles and debris that previously hampered the view of the underwater world.  The Explorer 5 displays a 5-inch diagonal image while the Explorer 7 provides a 7-inch diagonal image. The Explorer 5 also comes with a 50 foot camera cable and the Explorer 7 has a 100 foot camera cable.

Aqua-Vu Quad 4x4: The Quad 4x4 offers a very untraditional view of the underwater environment. Utilizing a 4 camera in one system the Quad 4x4 show 4 images simultaneously from beneath the boat.  With one single device lowered below the boat it will show a 360 degree view of the environment, essentially showing you forward, behind, left and right of the camera.

FishTV: Nature Vision Inc. also offers the FishTV plus and Fish TV 7 for those looking to explorer the depths on a budget.  The FishTV plus system retails at $129.99 while the Fish TV 7 retails for $199.99.  Both are readily available at retailers nationally.

The latest Biosonix units are in the pro's boats

Biosonix Systems: What do the last three Bassmaster Angler’s of the Year have in common? They all run a Biosonix Unit on their boat. That’s right, Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese and Mike Iaconelli all have an added advantage over the vast majority of us. They have technology “Turning the fish on” for them to help them load the boat.

RF300: Wes Higgins of BSX showed off the new boat mounted Biosonix RF300 unit.  This unit, new for 2009, can be mounted on the boat to reproduce natural sound signals to its speaker system.  The speaker system is mounted beneath water level to the boat as well.

The system comes with an SD card reader that will allow you to add custom downloaded sound patterns that are created by their pro staff.  Yes, that means you can download the same patterns KVD, Skeet and Ike are playing to the fish and add them to your system.  Also, included on the system are 4 preset sound patterns and 6 custom sound patterns to help “Turn the fish on”. 

Just a few weeks ago I was talking with Skeet Reese about the Biosonix unit and he stated, “It works. Plain and simple, it works and I’ll take every legal advantage I can when I am out on the water fishing against the best anglers in the world.”

New on the RF300 system, as compared to their previous model the T200-P, is a 5x5 LCD screen. The RF300 system is available now at retailers.

Rick Quade of Reaction Strike showed attendees the Mattlures swimbait rods and his newest swimbaits

Reaction Strike: Rick Quade of Reaction Strike was on hand to show off a host of new baits.  Reaction Strike seems to bring more baits to market than any other bait company I can think of. They always have new baits, some along the lines of other hot baits, but more and more they are coming out with new baits or at least old baits with new wrinkles. They have also released a new line of swimbait rods designed by and named for one of the best swimbait designers in the industry, Matt Servant of Mattlures.  

MattLures Swimbait Rods: There are two lines of MattLures swimbait rods. For lack of a better description, for this article we will call them a low end and a high end line.  Both lines come with 5 different rod length, strength and action combinations.  The high end comes with SIC guides and all top of the line components. The low end comes with Fuji Hardloy guides.  No matter which action you prefer for you big baits, the Mattlures series of rods should have a model to fit.

The one thing that sets these rods apart from other swimbait rods is the expandable handle. By expandable handle I mean the literally the handle below the reel extends down, instead of the typical above the reel telescopic rods often used in flipping sticks.  The expandable handle allows the rod to be used extended for extra casting control and distance with big baits or collapsed for less interference when working oversized top water baits like a Black Dog Lunker Punker.  The rods are on the market now and can be purchased at Tackle Warehouse.

The Revolution Shad gets a bill

Revolution Shad: Reaction Strikes entry to the 4” hard swimbait is the Revolution Shad.  The Revolution Shad is a 4 piece hard swimbait much like several other popular baits that are relatively new to the industry. This bait has been used on the water and does have a very nice swimming action.  The main difference between the Reaction Strike Revolution Shad and the other jointed hard baits that are new on the market is that they come in 4”, 5”, 7” and soon 9” and 12” as well.  The also have a 3 ½ inch bluegill swimbait that is very similar to the 4” Revolution Shad but has a slightly different body design and looks like a very nice bait.

Billed Revolution Shad: This is the bait that deserved the most attention. It’s the Revolution Shad with a bill so it can be cranked down. Adding the bill gives the bait a mix of characteristics similar to both a crankbait and a swimbait. This bait was on hand in the 4” version but, is expected to be released in a 5”, 6”,7” and 12” version in the near future.  Both the Revolution Shad and the Billed Revolution Shad will be available in approximately 35 colors.

Targeting big fish? Jackall's bringing back the Mask Frog Giant and introduces the new Swimming Ninja swimbait

Jackall: Ty Ono, Professional Japanese Angler and President of Jackall baits and Curt Arakawa were on hand to give us a tour of Jackall’s new baits. The are also happy to be reintroducing a bait that was successful in early 2008.  

Floating Mask Frog Giant: This is not a new bait as it was previously released about a year ago and reports are it sold very well for Tackle Warehouse.  It was pulled from production for about 6 months and is now back into production and should be readily available soon.  Made with the same plastics as the other Mask baits.  The soft plastic is not as soft as other soft frogs like a Zoom Horny Toad yet, not as hard as a hollow belly frog. It’s plastic is more of a “tweener” a firm plastic that feel like it should hold up to several fish before needing to be repaired or replaced.  The Mask Frog Giant rigs with a hook that is provided in the package and appears to be very weedless.  The legs come joined together to provide one action, yet they can be split to give the bait an entirely different action.

Swimming Ninja: Jackall’s first entry into the soft swimbait genre’ is the Swimming Ninja. The Swimming Ninja was made famous after Kota Kiryama had some high finishes on the BASS Elite Series events in 2008. The bait is again built with the same plastic as the Mask Frog and other Mask baits.  It’s got a paddle tail and appears to have all the makings for a successful swimbait.

A new bait from a new company, the ThinkTank Trigger Fish is in final test phase and has a jointed head in front of the line tie, so the head flops side to side as the body remains rigid and churns with a rear prop!

ThinkTank: A brand new lure company from Boston Massachusetts was on hand to introduce their first lure to the bass fishing market.  If a picture is worth a thousand words that what is video of 6, 7, 8 up to 10 pound bass coming completely out of the water to eat a bait worth. These fish weren’t just snatching the bait off the top of the water, these were giant largies coming 1 to 2 feet completely out of the water to attack this new surface bait called a Trigger Fish.

Trigger Fish: The trigger fish is really still in a testing and a final production phase yet, they were able to test this bait on Mexican waters for about a day just a week ago.  This top water bait has a jointed head in front of the line tie. Meaning the head literally flops back and forth on the retrieve while the rest of the bait is a solid piece with a prop near the tail. ThinkTank claims the bait can be guided left or right by the action you give it. This can be used to swim it under docks, down seawalls and into, near or down a weed line. This action is called the Z-Trieve. Final production on this lure is expected with a month and then the bait should become readily available soon after.

Gerald Swindle's 2Handee is designed to be a multipurpose tool for serious anglers

2 Handee: What do you call a device with the following: A stainless super sharp serrated knife blade, a clipper with super strong extra sharp cutting jaws, crankbait tuning notches, a jig eye reamer, a hook disgorger and a replaceable grooved sharpening stone all on a single non slip grip device? Well a 2Handee of course!

BASS Elite Series angler Gerald Swindle has teamed up with the guys from the 2 Handee Tackle Company to bring this product to market.  This one $15 device can replace up to 6 devices almost all serious anglers carry with them to the water. It appears to be quality built and is available with a belt or pocket clip that is pretty unique as well.  The clip doesn’t have a pouch like design that most utility tools have, instead it has two powerful magnets that will hold the 2 Handee in place on your side while not in use keeping the 2 Handee ready when you need it. 

Stay tuned for more coverage from the 2009 Bassmaster Classic!










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