Some of you read the title and are surely wondering what Z-Man ElaZtech is, so let’s start right there. Z-Man’s website defines ElaZtech as a proprietary “material that is remarkably soft, pliable and 10X tougher than traditional soft plastics.” What I’ve personally found from fishing with ElaZtech baits can be pretty simply stated— this stuff is super stretchy, tough and it floats.
Though Z-Man has a wide array of soft plastic body styles, these characteristics make their baits particularly appealing for five specific uses. So today, we’re going to look at these five uses of Z-Man ElaZtech, and I invite you to keep an open mind as to where you could apply this unique material as well.
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The Ned rig is perhaps the absolute best use of an ElaZtech bait. For those unfamiliar, the Ned rig consists of a small soft plastic lure rigged on a flat-topped jig head. These jig heads, or Ned heads, are designed this way so they’ll standup on the bottom. Adding a soft plastic bait to the back that has a natural buoyancy will ensure a Ned rig is almost always standing vertically on the bottom.
Ned rigs are also great baits for getting lots of bites, so having a super durable bait means you’ll be able to catch more fish per lure and spend less time re-rigging. Z-Man has specific Ned heads that they have designed to be used with their ElaZtech baits like the Finesse TRD, TRD CrawZ and TRD BugZ. But these baits can all be rigged on other Ned heads as well.
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The Carolina rig is another great presentation for incorporating ElaZtech baits like Z-Man’s StreakZ, ZinkerZ and FattyZ. The primary reason here is that these baits usually float, as long as you use a light-wire hook. With a Carolina rig, you have a weight, bead and swivel dragging along the bottom. Then there’s leader tied to the swivel with a hook and soft plastic attached to the opposite end of it. As the weight is drug along bottom, there’s a little silt cloud stirred up. This catches a fish’s attention and as the bass investigates, the soft plastic comes trailing along.
Now with ElaZtech baits that float, you’re able to elevate your bait up off the bottom a bit and get it into the line of site of a bass better, since their eyes are on the top of their heads. As you pull a Carolina rig along, the bait will ease back down to the bottom and then slowly float back up during the pause between drags. This will create a great attractant for a bass and present them with a bait they can’t miss.
Note: You may have to downsize your hook a little here or even use monofilament for your leader in order for some of these baits to float, as a heavy hook and fluorocarbon will counteract the buoyancy of the bait.
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Using ElazTech baits like their BatwingZ, Turbo CrawZ and Hella CrawZ to trailer a jig is another great way to take advantage of this material’s durability and buoyancy. If you’ve ever seen a live crawfish in a fishery or perhaps an aquarium, it will assume a defensive posture when threatened and lift its claws up in the direction of the threat. As you drag a football jig along or pitch a flipping jig around cover, the claws of these soft plastics will naturally float up and precisely mimic this defensive posture.
In addition, the durability of the ElaZtech material makes it great for trailing jigs as well. Bass have a tendency to grab crawfish by the claws to prevent the crawfish from pinching them. And unfortunately they do the same thing with your jig and inevitably snatch pincers and claws off of a lot of soft plastic trailers. That’s the last thing you’ll be worrying about when using ElaZtech soft plastics as it would take a barracuda to cut through this stuff clean on a single bite, and even that might not be possible.
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Shaky head and Texas rig
Similar to the Ned rig, having a soft plastic that floats makes for a great presentation when using a Texas rig or shaky head along the bottom. Baits like Z-Man’s Boar HogZ, LizardZ and Finesse WormZ all work great for these two presentations. I will caution you though, because of the stretch of the ElaZtech soft plastic, you don’t want to bury the hook deep inside the bait when rigging them weedless. If you do this, the hook will have a hard time breaking through the stretchy material and you won’t penetrate the bass.
Instead, run your hook point all the way through the bait. If the presentation allows for it, just leave the hook tip exposed but up tight against the bait. If you’re fishing close to wood or through vegetation, simply tuck the very point of the hook back under the skin of the bait and you’ll be able to fish through the cover but still be poised and ready to set the hook.
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Trailers for moving baits
This is my favorite use of ElaZtech. I often like to rig spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and ChatterBaits with a soft plastic trailer as well as a trailer hook. After both are in place, I’ll then add a trailer keeper. I use a small piece of surgical hose for my keeper so that my trailer hook can spin freely, but still can’t be pulled off the main hook. This is an awesome setup, but a pain to re-rig when a short-striking bass tears part of my soft plastic trailer off.
When using Z-Man’s MinnowZ and Spilt-tail TrailerZ, this isn’t a concern. On the rare occasion, one of the tails of the Split-tail TrailerZ will get wrapped around a limb and tear off or be cut by my braided line somehow, but typically I can fish all day without any concern about having to re-rig one of these trailers due to a short-striking bass.
Hopefully these five uses of ElaZtech soft plastics have started your wheels turning about ways to elevate your presentations. Doing just a little something different goes along way out on the water with so many anglers fishing these days. Capitalizing on this material’s durability and buoyancy can help you do just that.