Berkley always has a lot of new tackle to debut at ICAST, so it’s usually one of our first stops at the show. But they are also really good about letting the media test product before the show even gets to Vegas. So we’ve had the baits, line and rigs in our hands for a while now and here’s some of the new stuff from Berkley that we think is pretty interesting.
Berkley released a new Trilene Braid for 2014. The braid comes in several popular colors. It’s fairly limp, holds its color thus far with a round-radial construction that is said to resist binding and digging into the spool. We haven’t had issues with that yet but have only been fishing it for a few weeks. We actually like the tracer color to for seeing the braid and using it with fluorocarbon leader.
Berkley released a new 100% Fluorocarbon XL line, and it’s a supple line that acts more like monofilament but with the proprieties you want in fluorocarbon fishing line. It seems to cast real well. It’s sensitive and seems to withstand a lot of fish without retying thus far. We’ve had some on a reel for a week or so, but so far it’s done pretty well. It’s said to be a little more limp than their other fluorocarbons for easier management. They consider it a premium fluorocarbon. The 10-pound test has a .011-inch diameter.
The Ripple Rig was meant to give anglers a smaller profile multi-bait rig that could be fished shallow, around cover and cast on normal medium-heavy rods instead of having to have big heavy tackle to heave it around. More of a finesse approach to fishing umbrella rigs. Jason actually got to test some of the early prototypes and can tell you it holds up well to fish. The arms of the two side baits are independent of the middle bait. When you get two fish it seems they pull less directly on each other with this type of rig.
Sticking with finesse alternatives to multi-bait rigs, the Mini Schooling Rig gives anglers the ability to fish two lures at once with a teaser blade in the middle. The wires are just a few inches long and sturdy and the split ring closes the rig down into a compact profile.
Berkley released a few new shapes in the Havoc line of soft plastics. Flat Dawg is a soft stick bait made with a flatter profile that seems to have a good shimmy in the water. Its flatter profile will make it great on a wacky rig, although o-rings might be a little cumbersome to use with the flatter profile. We’ll have to test that in the next few months.
The Back Slide is an interesting bait. It’s also a somewhat stick bait type plastic, but it’s got a unique heavier soft plastic section in the tail that causes the bait to glide backwards. It enables the bait to get under cover. The little legs vibrate as it glides along in the water. I can see this being a cool lure for skipping under docks and over hanging trees and such.
Johnson released a new Beetle Spin ‘R Bait. It’s got the beetle body and the safety-pin spinner arm they’ve become known for but the added a skirt, some beads and painted heads. I can see these being a pond killer or pretty tough in the creeks or on the lakes when bass are really feeding on small forage. You get 2 for $2.99. They come in 1/16, 1/8 and 1/4-ounce sizes. Making them a pretty versatile an affordable option for the tackle box.