By Terry Brown
Allen Borden at ABT Lures builds creatively designed lures that allow form to meet function. His No. 1 design concern is building a product that runs true, extends beyond marketing hype and catches more fish than similar ones in the market at an affordable price. Helping anglers do so during transition times on the water is his forte.
We recently got a chance to fish one of his latest creations called the X-2 Mini Series, a good size and profile for fall fishing. I have limited access to small and medium sized lakes, from 650 to 12,000 acres that are highly pressured and have lower numbers of catchable bass than larger reservoirs in the south. I have always believed that anglers that can catch fish in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio would be hammers on more bass infested fisheries. Thinking out of the box and utilizing “out of the ordinary” baits can help put more fish in the boat. The small profile deeper diving Mini X-2 fits that bill.
Gizzard shad are the primary forage in our lakes. During the fall period they “ball up” and suspend over points and humps. They also will hang near the surface over deep water. Utilizing a bait that dives just below the schools with a similar profile can be “money” on bass chasing or waiting for an easy meal. Running the X-2 through the schools, even over deep water, in similar yet contrasting color patterns can lead to some unbelievable days on the water. I love to fish this pattern in the fall as it keeps me off the bank and allows me to get to fish that are not pressured by bank runners and target anglers.
Utilizing good side imaging technology is a must and this is when the Hydrowave shines. I typically will run my Hydrowave on 3 or 4 on schooling shad pattern delay most of the time but will change to frenzy delay after a bite or two. Limited trolling motor usage and a good pair of sunglasses are a must.
The ABT Mini X-2 is an anomaly as it brings deep-diving characteristics to a small profile bait. The bill design is the key as it not only allows to the bait to dive 10 to 14 feet but also gives it an erratic side to side wobble on a slow retrieve that allows bass to pick it out of the herd of baitfish. It sticks out in the school because of the color, lifelike scale pattern and side to side wobble. Retrieved slowly, it swims and mimics the shad to a "T." I like to cast past the shad schools, retrieve the bait to depth and use a stop and go retrieve under the schools.
I like to fish this bait on a 7-foot St. Croix Legend Extreme Medium Heavy rod with a Revo 5.4:1 Toro Winch reel and will utilize fluorocarbon line for this approach. I have been using Sunline Reaction FC this fall.
The 2-inch Mini X-2 casts well, has a large bearing rattle that gives it a throaty sound in the water, and an oval split ring attached to the line tie to allow for good knot connection and wobble on the crankbait. It has recessed 3D eyes and built-in fins and gill patterns on the front side of the bait. The lip blends well to the body style, and it pulls well on the retrieve. Strikes are detected simply by lack of wobble, almost like catching a weed or foreign object.
Although I have been fishing it in the fall in open water, it would seem it would be excellent in the early spring on rocky banks and staging areas prior to the spawn.
The ABT Mini X-2 comes in six colors, and I like Sexy American Shad, Midnight Shad, Purple Perch and Blue Back Chartreuse. Depending on type of day determines which color I choose. On bluebird sunny days, I like to use Sexy American Shad and Midnight Shad, and on cloudy or rainy days, I will go with the Blue Back Chartreuse or Purple Perch.
The Mini X-2 retails for $8.49 and is available at Tackle Warehouse.
Here is a great video of the Mini X-2 in action at Lake Havasu. Click here to view.