Introducing Megabass's Honjikomi Bottle Shrimp
Impressions: Soft plastic baits from Megabass - we knew it had to happen sooner or later and truth be told, it has been happening in Japan for quite some time. It's only recently the manufacturer has decided to bring more western-styled (in shapes, sizes, and colors) to the North American Market.
Shrimp is a 4" long bait with super long, claw-like appendages
The Honjikomi Bottle Shrimp is really a craw style bait spec'd at four inches (4") in length. If I recall correctly, there are other sizes and possibly versions of this bait available in Japan including a 5" and a 2.4", but the 4" version is what is officially being offered here. It has super long claw appendages on a relatively compact body and is made from a super soft plastic infused with what the manufacturer calls an "organic blend of natural flavors".
main body is relatively compact with a meaty tail section facilitating
secure rigging of your hook
Performance: Normally I like to fish craw style baits as jig trailers but the Bottle Shrimp's claw appendages are so long, I felt more comfortable fishing this bait on a simple Texas rig and predominantly on the California Delta. I rigged it with a 4/0 sized punch hook by Gamakatsu.
On the top
side of the bait is this channel to help conceal the point of your hook
The bait itself has a top and bottom side with a channel on the top to help conceal your Texas rigged hook. The back end of the bait is nice and meaty making giving you a good amount of material through which to thread your hook.
Little eyeballs protrude from what would be the bait's head
ready to go with hook point concealed
Dropping one of these baits in our tank back at the lab to view its position underwater, we can see the claws on this bait have a tendency to float up giving it a very good crawdad defensive posture.
A quick check at the lab to see how the bait sits on the
Design/Ergonomics: What many anglers are not going to enjoy is, because of how soft and malleable the soft plastic is on this bait, each Bottle Shrimp is susceptible to premature wear depending on how aggressive the fish you catch strike the bait. I've had some of these baits last through half a dozen fish and others last through only one. It really varies.
After a few
fish, like many soft plastics, the bait will start to tear
end begins to tear, it's difficult to re-rig your hook
But one thing for sure is, once the bait starts to tear, it goes pretty quick. With some baits, you can re-thread your bait through the hook to get an extra fish or two out of them, but that's difficult to do with the bottle shrimp. At the same time, I believe that's part of why the bait is so effective - because it is so soft and malleable it just gives the fish something more realistic to hold onto.
view of the Bottle Shrimp's long, but slender profile
Price & Applications: This is where a lot of non-enthusiasts will balk. The Bottle Shrimp comes in one of six different colors packaged in resealable plastic bags at a cost of $8.99 for six baits. That breaks down to $1.49 per bait - far above the average we've been seeing of around $0.60 - $0.75 per bait. But again, this is Megabass, remember?
The two sides of this bait
As mentioned earlier my primary method of fishing this bait was Texas rigged either with a light weight and pitching to visible structure, or with a heavy weight punched into matted vegetation on the CA Delta. This bait actually slides through vegetation rather well thanks to the claws that seem to streamline through with the width of the bait.