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6 Off-the-Radar Fish-Catching Baits

Half-a-dozen of the best fish-catching baits we've discovered over the years.

by Lake-Link Staff

Thought we should let you in on a half-dozen of the best fish-catching baits we've discovered over the years, a few which have fallen under-the-radar given the onslaught of new baits coming out from the major manufacturers every year.

Pat Kalmerton with a nice smallie
A couple of the baits listed below have fallen out of production and are now hard-to-find, so best to dig into the web periodically and keep checking garage sales for some of these old goodies!

(1) Fitt Premium Lures' Willie Wannabe
If there was ever a magical cold-water smallmouth bait, the late Al Winco's original creations definitely qualify, now under the ownership of Fitt Premium Lures. Try the Helgra Leech, Willie Wannabe, and Undulator, all deadly on bronzebacks, especially in river habitat.

Just make sure to order the Helgraleech or Willie Wannabe with O-rings and added silicone hairs for the extra fee-they add a lot.

Willie Wannabe

(2) Original Willowcat
Speaking of river fish, live willowcats (aka madtoms) are hard to find in baitshops-and when they do come in-they go fast-fetching top dollar for their near magical quality at getting big walleyes to bite.

We've found that Liquid Willowcat's Original soft plastic willowcats and real willowcat-derived scent are a great substitute worked around the same wing dam edges and scour holes where you'd fish the real thing.

Oh, and by the way, they catch big bass and cats, too!

Liquid Willowcat's Original
(3) Echotail Blade Bait
Right now is blade bait time on rivers throughout the Walleye Belt. While most anglers are fishing a handful of original Heddon Sonar-type blades, serious blade bait anglers also carry an arsenal of Echotails, which not only act like a blade bait but have a curly-grub tail, offering walleyes and bass the best of both worlds-vibrating metal and a soft plastic.

Another bonus? Vibrations Tackle's Echotail design prevents the bait snagging itself on your line, a common problem with blade baits if you don't monitor the blade fall with a tight line.

But better get 'em quick? Looks like they're sold out in a lot of sizes and colors.

Echotail Blade Bait
(4) Luck-E-Strike Scrounger Jig Head
Before Ron Davis invented the ChatterBait and Z-Man put 'em on the map, there was a simple jig-head with a soft plastic collar that proved deadly dressed with just about any soft plastic for its erratic, vibrating action.

Available in a number of sizes and weights, Luck-E-Strike Scroungers have caught all kinds of fish everywhere, especially dressed with a shad or other forage-matching soft-plastic imitator.

(5) Evolve VibraGRUB
We discovered this bait 11 years ago when it was first introduced by now-defunct EVOLVE BAITS.

Called the VibraGRUB, this soft plastic is part grub, part leech, and is designed to undulate, giving the illusion that the bait is propelling itself underwater. Check out its action in this underwater video.

In many ways, the VibraGRUB was the "ultimate Reaper", a bait that could be fished on a jig head, as a trailer, weedless-rigged, on a dropshot, Texas-rigged, Carolina-rigged … even on an A-Rig.

Evolve VibraGRUB
Others were partial to the finesse applications of the 2-inch version for cold-water situations. Rigged on a small darter jig head or split-shot rig also produced loads of fish.

When the bait was available, you could get it in three sizes: 2-, 3- and 4-inches, and six colors.

But they're now hard-to-find and we're not sure what happened to Evolve Baits. Good luck finding them online!

6) Mann's Super George
The big, big brother to Mann's Bait Company's Little George and Big George, the Super George was encased in plastic, featured a tail-spinner (like the rest), but had the addition of an internal knocker.

Ask any of the old guard of bass fishing and they'll tell you the bait caught mid- to deep-roaming bass like nothing else. Definitely worth paying the money for to have in your last-resort bass bait kit.

Mann's Super George

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