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A couple of weeks ago I covered rods and reels from companies of which you may or may not have heard. The feedback tells me I need to cover more of these companies.

This week we are going to highlight plastic bait companies that may or may not be on your fishing radar.

Because fish are creatures of nature and do two things exceptionally well, swim and eat, bait companies are always designing the latest and greatest based on the latter. What do they eat and why do baits get hot in the marketplace and then fall out of favor?

Companies that seize opportunity quickly spend research and development dollars trying to figure that puzzle out. Some lures entice more bites due to shape, scent, color or action. Anglers have to be purchase-conscious as some lures are designed to catch anglers, too.

I will give you some ideas and recommended companies below to help eliminate bad choices and allow you to spend money wisely, whether purchasing at your local tackle store or on the internet.

Zoom Bait Company: I believe this is the premier plastic bait company in the marketplace. It will never bring any product to the market that doesn’t work correctly or won’t catch fish. Time and again, design after design, anglers at the top level choose Zoom.

Headed up by stellar products such as the Z-Hog, the Ol’Monster Worm, the Zoom Lizard and the Brush Hog, each design is tested by an elite pro staff well before hitting the market. Corrections, if needed, are made and distribution begins.

Zoom is a large company but is run like a mom and pop operation. I believe that is truly what separates it from other plastic companies. Its model is unique and the company takes its business very seriously. Folks there listen to anglers and many of their products are due to hundreds of hours testing on the water. Other companies who have emulated their model have been successful.

Reaction Innovations: Headed by mad scientist and pro angler Andre Moore, RI also has very unique designs and is not a knockoff shop. They do it their way with their designs and as a result many of their baits get copied over and over.

The top-selling Sweet Beaver is a plastic crawfish imitator unlike any other with flat sides, ribbed body and appendages that are subtle and precise. The color selection for this bait makes it a mainstay all over the country. Other great shapes include the Twerk trailer, the Skinny Dipper Swimbait and the Flirt Worm. Their colors are amazing and have unique names, too.

Yamamoto Custom Baits: Known for the most copied bait on the planet, the Senko, this family business in Texas has a strong following all over the country because of designs and plastic consistency. The company has an obsession about quality and colors. The new Zako is a swimbait that can be fished solo, but also is a favorite for Chatterbait enthusiasts with its tight wobble and wide tail.

Other great products worth a look include the PyschoDad, the Kreature and Flappin Hog. The difference for Yamamoto is plastic formulation that is soft and supple. Actions are enticing as a result.

XZone: A relative newcomer out of Canada, this company is growing a strong following for all species and has both hand-poured and machine-made baits. The Slammer is a finesse bait that has a leadership position for smallmouth enthusiasts, but the new Punisher and Swammer Swimbaits are gaining popularity with largemouth fans, too.

The new Ned Zone worm will win over the large number of folks now relying on fishing the Ned Rig, an amazing finesse technique that is hotter than Texas Chili. X Zone is a sister company of Rod Glove.

Choosing baits from any of these companies can give the beginning angler peace of mind that their purchases will catch fish. Savvy weekenders and pros already know and rely on these companies when money is on the line.

The next genre of products we will cover will be line choices. I hope to take the guesswork out of this large segment and make it easier to choose the right line for the technique.

Sam Leman trail

Randy and Rob Hakes won the latest SLEBTT event on Evergreen this past weekend with five fish weighing 14.97 pounds. Second place was Tim Murray and Dave Whalen with 14.15.

Big bass was caught by Loren Peters and Randy Ferguson (5.86 pounds). The next SLEBTT is June 16 on Lake Bloomington.

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Terry Brown is President of Wired2Fish.com, an industry leading, daily website and social media fishing centered community that provides information on products, industry newsmakers and fishing techniques. You can read more by going to www.Wired2Fish.com.

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