Not even COVID-19 could stop ICAST—the annual fishing-tackle trade show—from happening. Granted, this year’s show “happened” virtually, but I was still able to get a sneak peek at the year’s best new freshwater and saltwater fishing lures for largemouth bass, walleyes, striped bass, and more. There is an exciting mix of brand-new baits, plus improved designs on proven fish-catchers. Here is our roundup on the 10 best new lures for the 2021 fishing season.
Savage Gear 3D Lizard Craw
It’s time to break away from the standard plastic lizard. Always pushing the creative boundaries of what’s possible in shapes, sizes, and designs, Savage Gear introduced their salamander doppelganger with the new 3D Lizard Craw. The bait is perfect for a Texas or Carolina rig, as a trailer for skirted jigs, and even for flipping purposes. The lure’s ribbed design puts out subtle vibrations and its even scent infused to trigger more reaction and aggression strikes. Color options include mudbug, green pumpkin, and mojito. The lure is available in 4- and 6-inch sizes.
VMC Moon Tail Jig
Most bucktails need to be enhanced with bait strips, rubber trailers, or live bait—not the VMC Moon Tail Jig. VMC has so much confidence in the jig that they tout “you can fish it right out of the package without a trailer or bait.” Elongated, swaying bucktail fibers resemble a minnow’s lifelike action and they’re infused with a smattering of tinsel for flash. The jig has a squashed, flat-head design with an oversized eye for species like walleye and pike to key in on. Four UV finishes reflect light energy to increase jig visibility. You can fish the jig all sorts of ways: ply shallow water; back-troll with it; rip it through weeds; or bounce it over deep-water structure. The lure comes in several colors and in 1/8-, 1/4-, and 3/8-ounce weights.
Doormat fluke, consider yourselves on notice. Z-Man’s new 6-inch DoormatadorZ grubs are engineered to put a hurting on the trophy fluke and other saltwater species, such as black sea bass, striped bass, and redfish. The bait sports a super-active, exaggerated curly tail that mimics bait species like squid, herring, spearing, and sand eels. One of the killer aspects of this bait is that it’s naturally buoyant and continues to put out tail action even when it’s stopped on the bottom. Infused with Pro-Cure scent, the grub can be continually refreshed with the Pro-Cure Gel to ensure a consistent stink-bait to attract all species. It’s almost like fishing live bait.
SPRO E Pop 80
Whenever a bucketmouth bass senses that there’s something knocking on the surface, you can bet he’s going to check it out. The new E Pop 80 from SPRO is built with noisy popping action thanks to an ingrained knocking rattle. The lure is built tough, and has a No. 4 Gamakatsu feather treble hook on the back to give anglers confidence of a solid hookset. Nine color choices include black skeleton, nasty shad, and pumpkin seed.
Pradco Arbogast Jointed Jitterbug 2.0
The original, and iconic, Fred Arbogast Jitterbug will always have a place in the tackle box—but lures, much like anything else nowadays, evolve. Here is the 2.0 edition of the Arbogast Jitterbug. Constructed in the same fashion as the original lure, the 2.0 bait has a lower pull-point that ensures an intense action, leading to knee-knocking strikes. Updated hook hangers allow free movement of hooks so they don’t slow down forward momentum; and the jointed presentation brings the lure alive in a swaggering fashion, while the black-nickel finish on the hooks hide them from prying eyes of fish. Cool additions are sick new color patterns along with the feathered rear treble drifts, which add a fluttering, enticing action even when the lure is stopped.
Shimano Orca FB 150
How do you make a lure look alive in the water without even moving it? Shimano’s extraordinary Flash Boost (FB) technology is one way to do it. The FB is ingrained in the new line of Orca sinking pencil baits to emit a constant fish-attracting flash, even on the pause. The Flash Boost technology suspends foil on small springs inside the lure body so it mimics the movements and flash of an injured baitfish. Equipped with 3X hooks and split rings and through-wire construction, the Orca FB 150 has all the strength needed to tackle even the largest of fish, including tuna.
Berkley Hit Stick
When I saw this thing work through the water, I almost jumped in to hit it. As Berkley states, the Hit Stick has a devious combination of high-speed rolling action with the finesse lightness of balsa wood that largemouth bass and smallmouth bass won’t be able to resist. Comprised of a patent-pending FlashDisc design, the lure showcases the durability and castability that you’d expect from a Berkley lure.
In true Frankenstein fashion, Rapala mutated a blade bait with a lipless crankbait and come up with the V-Blade. Built to be versatile enough to fish all year round, the V-Blade can be cast, jigged, bounced, you-name-it… Tie it to the wide front dorsal fin hole to impart a lazy, slow fall action, or tie it to the rear hole for a fast, head-down approach. As Rapala states, “There is no wrong way to fish it.”
Yo-Zuri 3DB Jerkbait 110
After three-plus years of collaboration between the Yo-Zuri Japanese product-development team and their U.S. bass pro staff, the Yo-Zuri 3DB Jerkbait 100 is ready to hit the water. Sleek, flat sides impart a smooth darting action with perfect balance, and the lure sits like a well-trained bird dog on the pause with a slight head-down posture. A smart weight-transfer system allows for long casts, and color patterns were cherrypicked by the top bass pros to cover any and all prime largemouth conditions. Color patterns are also internal finishes so you can whack it against trees and stumps all day long without worrying about ever having the paint chip off.
Lunkerhunt Easy Prey
Lunkerhunt’s Easy Prey capitalizes on the weeding-out-the-weak mindset of aggressive predatory fish. Mimicking an injured bait flailing through its final moments, the Easy Prey’s broken-headed profile sits horizontally in the water, exhibiting a hurt baitfish at rest. Once the lure is twitched or jerked, it kicks back to life with a vertical wobble, enticing any gamefish around to immediately pounce upon it before it makes an escape.