Editor’s Note: Need some new gear for a late-summer angling adventure? Looking for the next best thing for 2018? Military Times outdoors columnist Ken Perrotte has you covered. Read all about the latest lures below, and click the links for reviews on boats, accessories and reels. Items with an asterisk (*) earned best-in-class honors at this year’s American Sportfishing Association’s ICAST show, short for International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, in Orlando, Florida. Prices all are MSRP unless noted.
LUNKERHUNT PROP SERIES*
Lunkerhunt regularly comes up with creative, lifelike lures. Company reps tell me they’re striking deals to have their products in most military exchanges soon. This prop series is a hybrid, combining topwater, weedless, hollow-body soft plastics design with a water-churning, hard-plastic twist. Patterns used in the series are extremely realistic. The soft plastic is silky supple.
The series features The Prop Frog, Prop Fish Sunfish and Prop Fish Shad. All lures splash and gurgle on the retrieve and float during any pauses. The Prop Frog is designed to churn water over open pockets. The feet are harder plastic and spin through the water. It comes in eight color patterns.
The Sunfish and Shad patterns replicate two popular freshwater gamefish forage species. Unlike the frog, the fish patterns have a single integrated tail propeller. They mimic baitfish breaking the water. Each has six available patterns. $8.99. Available late fall.
Rapala calls this lure a cross between a hard-plastic bait and a soft-body swimbait. The plastic boot tail design creates lots of movement in the water, mimicking live minnows akin to a swimbait. The front lip lets it dive to 3 to 4 feet. It can be fished as a twitch bait, jerkbait, or cast and reeled in with steady or variable-speed retrieves, like most crankbaits. It’s equipped with two VMC light-wire treble hooks, weighs .25 ounces and is available in 14 color patterns. $9.99. Available now.
This new lure is designed to take a beating. It’s made using a patent-pending foam-injected molding process that gives the bait similar properties to balsa wood while maintaining the strength of plastic. It has a 3-D eye, a one-piece wire design and a one-piece bill and rattle chamber.
Foam is injected around the wire and the rattle chamber increasing the lure’s strength. It weighs half an ounce and is 2¼ inches long. Expect lots of wobble on the retrieve with the lure routinely hunting 2 to 5 feet deep and zig-zagging 6 to 8 inches off the center line, helped by two divots on the bill designed to change water direction moving over the bait. It’s available in 11 color patterns. $9.99. Available now.
MATZUO FURIKO PENDULUM CRANKBAIT
Matzuo America also has a new, shallow-running square bill crankbait. It features a patent-pending, internal-weighted pendulum made of tungsten that swings 360 degrees, banging into side‐mounted brass blades and a front-mounted sound resonator. It makes a racket underwater. When you stop or slow your retrieve, the pendulum keeps the lure swaying as it floats upward.
It’ll come in 2.5- and 3-inch models and eight color patterns, diving from 2.5 feet to 6 feet, depending on the size. They’ll sport Matzuo treble hooks. $6.99. Available in January.
LIVE TARGET HOLLOW BODY MULLET*
Small mullet are saltwater gamefish snack foods. This soft, hollow-body lure is designed for easy flipping into cover — around docks, mangrove edges, grass lines and more. You can also walk it across open water to trigger explosive strikes.
It has a stout, corrosion-resistant, custom single hook that’s balance-weighted for better casting. It comes in three sizes: 3¾ inches, ⅜-ounce; 4½ inches, ½-ounce; and 5⅜ inches, ⅝-ounce. Each size is available in three color patterns. $13.49-$14.49. Available in November.
LIVE TARGET BAITBALL SPINNER RIG
Some people will note this is somewhat similar to an Alabama rig, but the folks at Live Target swear their prototypes were in development prior to the advent of the mini-umbrella rigs.
This new lure mimics a small cluster of fleeing baitfish. Three smaller, realistic teaser bodies and willow blade at the top of the lure create a commotion. The larger lure, with the hook, is just below. Any fish feeding up or directly from the side is likely to nail the target minnow body.
It comes in eight colors and three sizes. Additional teaser and target body patterns are available to swap out. $13.49-$15.49 (add-ons $7.99). Available in November.
YO-ZURI HYDRO MINNOW
This new Hydro Minnow LC is a sharp-looking, hard-plastic lure designed for saltwater inshore and coastal fishing. It comes in two sizes (6- and 6¾-inch) and 10 color patterns. It has an internal weight-transferring function designed to help you make long, tough casts, even in the wind. The treble hooks and split rings are heavy duty. $9.99-$11.99. Available in late fall.
ROAD RUNNER GO-GO RUNNER
This new lure from Road Runner takes this popular, proven design and tweaks it with a curly tail minnow body with the tail molded at a 90-degree angle to generate extra sound and vibration. The head has prism eyes and integrated No. 1- or No. 2-sized hooks. It has a willow blade and comes in eight shad-inspired colors. $2.99. Available now.
BERKLEY SNAP JIG
This is a nice new jig head that looks to be great with soft plastics in the 3-to-4-inch range. The extended baitkeeper helps keep plastics securely positioned. It has a secondary eye on the bottom to add anything from stinger hooks to trebles to blades, and it comes in eight colors. $5.99. Available in September.