I’ve been fascinated with rat baits since I saw my first spro rat about 5 years ago. So I purchased a red and black one and a broomstick of a rod to throw it on and had some pretty immediate success. Fast forward to May 5th, 2020 when Pizz Swimbaits released a black and red Star Wars themed rat called The Darth Maul Creep. I HAD to have one. I was able to catch the drop through clues, being a Star Wars fan. I could not have been more excited.
It was about 345 when we were unhooking the triton on a small lake in my area. New moon, flat calm, still dark for another hour or so, so I knew it was wake bait time. I grabbed my now beat-up trusty Darth Maul Pizz Creep out of my tackle box, because I rarely reached for much else, and had it snapped on before my buddy even had his rod locker open. Second cast of the day, I had a pretty good sniff…. bigggg swing and a miss. I was discouraged about missing what sounded like a good fish but also pretty excited that the fish were seemingly active. We made our way through the first Lilly pad cove and out to a wood pile that we had both been very eager to try in the dark sometime. It was a little exposed during the day being out towards the middle of the lake and not very deep, but we thought it might offer some good ambush points under the cover of darkness. I figured it had to be a slam dunk until we made about 20 casts over this wooded flat, to no avail. The phone rings. It’s Tanner’s old lady. He’s gabbing away about how she’s doing or whatever (I could care less) when I fired a long shot between two exposed stumps. I thought to myself (as I usually do) “that’s gotta be worth a fish”. No sooner than I cleared the gap did I get bit. Big toilet bowl flush of a bite and I was on. My buddy pulls the phone away from his head and goes “good one?” I wasn’t sure so I shrugged. Felt like maybe a decent one but I was gonna boat flip her. Got her about halfway back when she turned and started digging. She was ripping line off my spool and had my XH damn near doubled over. I said “Tanner, this feels good. Get the net.” He promptly hung up on his ol lady and grabbed the net. After 3 solid runs and a couple stalemates on the bottom, I had her in range and he scooped. It was still dark out and neither of us bothered to turn on our head lights but I can see his hand shaking as he’s holding the fish over the water with the net. He says “that’s the new state record, bud.” He then lifts the fish up for me to see. There in the net with my beat- ass Pizz Creep in her lips was the biggest bass I’d ever seen. I calmly unhooked her and put her in the live-well.
I couldn’t even utter a syllable. I set my rod down and sat in the bucket seat in the back of the boat. There I sat for 15 minutes in silence. After gathering myself I opened the live-well to make sure my fish Hadn’t escaped or something. Several hours go by, with me “checking” on this fish every 15 minutes while trying to continue to fish. Focus was nearly impossible knowing what was under my feet. Finally made out lap back to where I caught the giant and had some good light for pictures. After a pile of photos, we decided it was the moment of truth. Let’s weigh the ol’ gal. Clipped her on the scale and she racked out at 9-8. While she was about 2lbs shy of our state record, she was still the fish of a lifetime for many. I will never forget the short, fat Washington giant on my past, present, and future favorite rat bait. The image of the lazy wake, and subtle sound of that bait, right before that giant green gorilla came flying up from the depths to smash it, will be engrained in my head forever.
What can I say? Big bass love the hype.
I’m fairly new to the Swimbait game. This is my third season throwing big swimbaits and my second season since abandoning conventional gear for swimbaits only. When I first got into swimbaits I acquired as many different baits as I could. I found myself being too complacent and not spending enough time gaining confidence in one particular bait. That all changed when I was able to get my hands on “The Natural” Runt Wake/Crank. Within the first few casts from shore I had landed a quality 4lb largemouth bass. From that moment on my confidence in the runt took off. It caught fish after fish. I could not put it down and the confidence continued to grow. I don’t claim to be a great angler and I definitely don’t understand everything there is to know about fishing but fishing this bait gives me the confidence to try different techniques and evolve my skills as an angler. A majority of my catches have come slowly waking the runt, my PB largemouth at 6lbs 6ozs and my PB smallmouth at 4 lbs, but the bait is so versatile. I’ve caught fish steady cranking, fast cranking, cranking and pausing and even working the bait like a jerk bait. All techniques have been successful. Just recently every one of those techniques worked on one particular body of water. I couldn’t miss a fish no matter how I fished it. I caught about 10-12 quality bass using all techniques in the same 4 hour window. Outside of Paul’s incredible painting skills, he also puts an enormous amount of effort into each bait, making sure it is ready to fish and fish effectively with no imperfections, visual or functional. Paul makes many different baits and lays some amazing paint on all of them and I’m lucky enough to have been able to acquire a few of them, mostly gill/crappie profile baits, but for me, “The Natural” Runt Wake/Crank is the best of the bunch. It truly stays true to its name as “The Natural”!
I obtained my Carp Wake through the Boxborough Expo in Massachusetts. The bait was not for sale, it was in a raffle for $5 per entry. I somehow got 1 of my 4 tickets picked and won the bait as I was driving back home to Pittsburgh PA with my great friend Marty. I was driving and he had the live drawing up on his phone. When my name was called we just lost our minds! What a way to cap off an incredible weekend, little did I know that my win was going to lead me to an even more incredible moment just months later.
A few months go by and Marty and I make plans to drive back up to New England to do some fishing in New Hampshire with our buddies Eric and Ryan. Couple days before we are set to hit the road Marty says he suddenly can’t make it due to a weekend work obligation that just popped up. I am crushed as I was looking forward to nothing but fishing and fun with my friends for the next 4 days, but I didn’t let the bad news stop me. I hopped on the internet and bought a plane ticket to NH, told Ryan and Eric my new plan, and had Ryan pick me up on the way to Eric’s.
We fish all through the night, every night, for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Lots of good fish caught along the way but lots of time and effort behind them all. Starting at 8PM and fishing until 11AM, just grinding for the right bite. My time is running out, its Saturday at about midnight and we decide to try one more place Eric is confident in and we hadn’t touched yet that weekend. He says if I’m going to get the fish I came for then this is the place. We launch around 1am and I have my carp wake tied on and ready to go, searching for a giant, go big or go home. I hadn’t tossed the bait yet this trip, but I had a feeling like “ah I’m tossing the biggest wake I got if I want to attract the biggest fish I can.”. I make one cast, nothing, make a second cast and get bit! Oh baby fish on!!! I barely feel anything though… I get it in, and the fish is smaller than the bait itself. I take a pic and laugh and tell Eric his spot is super legit. Toss the fish back and make cast number 3 and within one reel turn I get smashed and the fish dives straight down. This time I feel the weight and know it’s a good one. I say, “get the net dude it’s a good one be ready” and within a few seconds it was all over. Fish came right in and Eric scooped it with ease. The fish was so big thank goodness because Eric had a giant hole in his net and the fish is halfway through the hole! Eric instantly turns to me and says, “That’s a 7, you just got a 7 plus dude”. The fish went 7 pounds 10 ounces. My new personal best!
Smiles from ear to ear…I did it! I came up to New Hampshire for a weekend to chase giant bass with some of my favorite people and capped it all off by catching a true giant. This was the biggest bass I had ever seen or held in my lifetime, and I caught it on the bait I won the last time I was in New England hanging with these same friends. Its amazing how things work out. Sometimes its luck, sometimes you just want it bad enough, and sometimes both luck and desire come together to create the perfect moment. Sometimes you don’t know how or why it happened, but you are glad it did. One thing I know for sure though, Bass love the Hype!
Current swimbait PB 6-6k late August 2020 in Maine. Windy morning with blue bird skies. Pulled up to a big rocky shoal with 3-5’ of water in friends boat. Didn’t have a cast at the shoal on first cast so I cast out the PEW PEW S2 to where it dropped off to 20’. Slow retrieve back to the boat and saw a big follower slowly tracking the S2 . Paused bait for a second and the fish paused, then two 1/2 reel turns and she hammered it. Me and my buddy both thought she was over 7# but she weighed 6-6 on three different scales…..my two biggest fish for the year were on the PEW PEW S2
Pizz Crappie Glide On September 7, 2020, I was invited to fish a 100 acre pond with my friend, Zac. I couldn’t sleep the night before in anticipation as I had seen pictures of several dd bass coming out of these waters. We arrived at 8:00 with lots of gear, me throwing swimbaits and Zac throwing conventional, mostly plastic worms. I knew it was going to be a tough day with sunny skies, no wind and clear water due to lots of grass. It was hot and slow. I was on my 9th hour of not a bite. My buddy was catching his share of dinks. Around 5:00 or so, the sun started setting behind the trees. I put on my Pizz crappie glide thinking it could clear the 6”-12” of water above the grass. It had a black, bottom and silver sides. I threw into the shade, not sure if my bait was in 6 feet of water or 6 inches of water. I turned the handle 2 times and stopped. Immediately I had a hit. It felt big. This was the bite I had been waiting for. The fight was on. The hooks were embedded in her calloused mouth as I horsed her in. She had a few lunges under the boat and I was fearful she’d wrap on the trolling motor. Zac was able to snag her with the net as I pulled her along side the boat. The crappie had to be pried out with a set of pliers and then the pics, hoots, hollers and high fives began. The fish weighed 10-3. That was my first dd since 1989. It took 31 years on a Pizz crappie glide to catch my second biggest bass of my life! Bass love the hype!