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Lure Review

A flexible mutant creature bait, the popular Zoom Baby Brush Hog

Date: 8/20/02
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Zoom
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.66

Introduction: More and more anglers across the country are reporting success with baits that look nothing like any one type of prey. These "freak" baits sport paddles, extra tails, and mutant appendages. Zoom was one of the very first manufacturers of these creature baits and we examine the veteran Baby Brush Hog to see what makes this mutated lure a favorite among bass fisherman.

Zoom Baby Brush Hog Specifications

Material Plastic (Salt impregnated)
Length 5 1/4"
Type Soft plastic
Colors/Patterns 20+ Available
Qty Per Pack 12
MSRP $3.19 (pack)

Impressions: Tournament pros and weekend warriors alike continue to use creature baits for landing bass under a variety of situations. While not the prettiest baits, freak lures like Zoom's Baby Brush Hog continue to deliver. Why would such an unrealistic lure that doesn't really look like any one type of bait work so well? We chose to review Zoom's Brush Hog because Edward Chambers at Zoom was the original inventor of the "freak bait." When originally designed Chambers sought to design a plastic bait that wouldn't go straight down like a jig.

There are a variety of ways to rig and fish the Baby Brush Hog and we take a look at this flexible lure to see just what makes this mutant so successful.


What the heck is the Brush Hog actually supposed to be?


The Design: Looking more like a mutant hybrid than any natural bait the Brush Hog sports appendages from head to toe. With a bullet like head similar to a Gitzit, the body has looped arms, paddles, and twin tails. Anglers have called the Brush Hog a cross between a snake and a frog, or a crayfish and a worm. The Baby Brush hog's flattened appendages and increased bulk make it thicker and more buoyant. So the bait seems to glide downwards rather than just falling down sharply. This characteristic makes it a favorite for pitching and flipping.

Zoom Baby Brush Hogs come in easy to reseal packs of 12pcs

The Material: Zoom produces the Brush Hog with soft plastic that is salt impregnated. The lures are packaged in a "zip-pak" which is easy to open, and one of the better packages on the market when it comes to resealing. The Baby Brush Hog's are super soft, making their appendages extremely active in the water. While the entire lure is almost rubbery in nature we found that appendages rarely broke off unless the lure became heavily snagged or ripped apart by striking bass. 

For the tests I used:

Complete Rig for fishing the Zoom Baby Brush Hog

Rod Kistler KDFPS76 (7'6)
Reel Shimano Chronarch100
Line 12lb Trilene Big Game

Flipping and Pitching: When I first started using the Zoom Baby Bush Hogs I remember describing them as "souped up lizards." Due to their design they are perfect for flipping and pitching into heavy cover. Dropping them directly over targets the Baby Brush Hogs can often entice strikes as they slowly sink down to the ground. The paddles on the back of the lure offer more resistance slowing down the drop as well as making the drop more erratic and lifelike. I'm not sure exactly what Bass think the Brush Hog is when they encounter it. Perhaps fish see it as a worm, lizard, or possibly even a crawfish. Whatever the case, bass will strike this lure if you have the patience to flip and pitch the lure in and around structure. I have had great success tossing it rigged weedless near tules. Just remember that this technique is best suited for a 7'6" flipping rod for the most accuracy, preferably a rod with plenty of muscle to tow fish out from snag city.

The Zoom Baby Brush Hog looks like a mutated lizard on steroids

Texas Rigging: Texas rigging the Zoom Brush Hog seems like the most natural way to fish this lure. During all the tests I ran the bait with Gamakatsu 3/0 wide gap rubber worm hooks. While the hook may seem large for the lure it works well by positioning the hook-point directly in the center of the lure. With the Baby Brush Hog being a relatively small creature bait I was very comfortable in my tests to run the hog with 12lb Trilene Big Game. If you were to use any larger brush hog you should consider moving up to heavier line. While some of the editors opted for split shotting, I prefer screw in 5/16 oz bullet weights which help keep the brush hog's head down and snag free. 

Texas rigging Brush Hog's is still the most popular style, and perfect for pitching and flipping


Carolina Rigging: Ironically the Baby Brush Hog was developed to be a Carolina Rigged lure by Zoom. Today many anglers are once again rigging the lure Carolina style to offer a new presentation to fish. I have had much more success fishing the Baby Brush Hog Carolina rigged than any of the larger sizes. This is probably because I find it much easier to drag and finesse the smaller sized lures across the lake bottom. Because the lure has so many arms and flippers it can be worked slowly emitting a great deal of sound and vibration for a soft plastic lure.


One advantage of the using a plastic Brush Hog is the ability to rig it weedless and work it in and out of heavy vegetation

Modifying: During our tests we found that the baby brush hog sometimes got more hits when damaged. For the longest time this continued to perplex us. The answer we would find was in the preference of the fish. One of the best things about this lure is the ability to be customized by anglers to match the interests of the local fish. I found that if the water is muddy it is best to leave all the appendages on the lure, and even possibly split the paddles with a knife to increase vibration and movement. For clear calm water a subtle presentation seemed to work better and I found cutting off the paddle appendages made the lure less intimidating to fish. Sometimes a slight modification seems to drive bass wild.

One problem I encountered was snagging on branches with the closed looped arms. To counter this I would cut the arms to separate them from the body. Doing this I even had success with the open arms while rigging the Brush Hog weightless wacky style and letting it drop very slowly near structure.

The Zoom Brush Hog is extremely soft yet surprisingly durable
(you can always tell a Zoom brush hog by looking on the tail and finding a raised "Zoom" name embossed on the lure)


The Details: The Zoom Brush Hogs may not look like other lures that imitate prey, but they work. The vibration and unique look of the lures is enough to entice fish to strike. Zoom makes the Baby Brush Hogs in a ton of colors, so matching a lure to conditions is not difficult. With a good balance of soft characteristics that make the lure seem to go wild in the water and surprisingly good durability, the Brush Hog is well suited for pitch and flip duty as well as lake bottom dragging. Perhaps one of the reason this lure is so popular is not only the many types of other baits it is able to imitate, but also the many styles and techniques that can be employed with this creature bait.



Zoom Baby Brush Hog Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A good design using good plastic and salt making this lure showcase increased action while remaining durable 8.5
Performance A good lure to target large and smallmouth bass 8.5
Price A good price for plastics, there are other more expensive creature baits, but few with a track record as good as Zoom's Brush Hogs 9
Features A lot of arms, legs, and paddles...putting a new spin on lures 9
Design (Ergonomics) A good design with few problems, the closed loop arm does sometimes snag up. 8
Application Good for multiple applications, pitching, flipping, Carolina rigging 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good action L Arms can snag
J Flexibility L Appendages sometimes rip off
J Good Performance  
J Good Price  

Conclusion: Zoom has created one of the longest lasting plastics in terms of popularity, and with good reason. The Zoom Brush Hog is among the most versatile plastics in terms of design and application. It is almost as much fun to modify the bait for your fishing as it is to flip this mutant into structure and be rewarded with a tug of war with a bass out of snag infested waters. Though anglers may never fully agree what makes this freak bait so enticing to bass, but whether your preference is fishing Texas or Carolina style the Zoom Baby Brush Hog can be an effective lure to add to your arsenal.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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