Subtle design features make a big difference
It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to bass fishing soft plastics. I'm sure you've all realized that many of them look and perform very similarly. Often times, an angler's purchase boils down to brand allegiance more than anything.
I'll tell you what, though; I've been thoroughly impressed by the Culprit Incredi-Craw. I've been pitching and flipping shallow cover with it for most of the fall and winter with excellent results. It may not be the most eye-catching bait when you first see it, but it has several subtle features that have made it one of my go-to baits when I'm picking apart the shallows.
I'll quickly go over the most noteworthy characteristics I've learned about throughout my testing.
They choke it
Simply stated, they flat-out choke on this bait. Whether it's a 16-incher or a 4-pounder, they really seem to grab this bait and hold on. It does have a nice scent to it, so perhaps that what makes the hookup ratio so high.
It's also important to remember that I've been testing this bait in a notoriously tough time of year for bass fishing. I've been fishing in high 40-degree, muddy water with daytime highs ranging from 42 degrees to 70 degrees. Bipolar weather makes for tough fishing and lots of short strikes normally, but the Culprit Incredi-Craw has consistently produced on every fishing trip. So far, if they bite it, I catch 'em.
When I was rigging the Incredi-Craw for the first time, I immediately told my wife, "Man, I love that."
I was talking about the beefy head of the bait. So many creature baits you find will have an unusually slender head section that tears after just a few bites or sometimes even a single fish catch. I don't like running through baits so quickly. I don't like spending money.
This bait, however, is super durable and the head section stays rigged correctly after repeated skips, flips and fish catches. It rarely slides down the shank of the hook and it stays put. And if it does happen to slide down, I'd bet a pretty penny that you can slide it back up above the bend and keep using it for several more fish catches.
Again, while this may add a lot of "sex appeal" to the bait, it's a very practical design feature that deserves credit.
Beefy head results in efficiency
As you can see in this photo, the bass did manage to pull the Incredi-Craw down the shank of the hook. Upon further inspection, however, you'll notice that there is no tearing or ripping on the head. This allowed me to slide it right back into place and keep fishing without any re-rigging.
It's dense, allowing for easy casting
Another one of my favorite things about this bait has been its weight. It seems to be a bit denser than many other soft plastics I've used. This has allowed me to make some super long casts and pitches in some really tight places.
My boat is getting some work done to it right now, so I've been beating the bank for the last few weeks. The density of this bait has allowed me to sneak down some pretty heavily wooded shorelines and make quick flips in close quarters without sacrificing casting distance. The bass haven't been in the shallows due to the cold water temperatures, so making longer casts parallel to depth changes has been a huge deal.
My mind has been running rampant with different ways I'll continue to utilize this bait. It's going to make a good jig trailer and an excellent Carolina rig addition as well.
Before testing this bait, I hadn't fished a Culprit soft-plastic in years. I'll be honest, though--that's going to change. I'm definitely a customer now.