Nishine Lure Works is a pretty cool brand I stumbled on a little while back while working on a review of their Chippawa RB Slow Float Crankbait. I had never heard of them before but was impressed by several of the little things they did with that crankbait to set it apart in an incredibly crowded market.
Flash forward to the second bait of theirs I came across, the Namazu Stick Bait, and I'm already noticing a trend; Nishine likes to do things a little different and they put a lot of effort into detail. So let's dive into my experiences with the Namazu Stick Bait and what I believe sets it apart.
A hybrid soft plastic
Though it's listed as a "stick bait", the Nishine Lure Works Namazu is really a bit more of a crossover, in my opinion, between a stick bait and a soft-plastic jerkbait. I tried rigging it weightless as a soft-plastic jerkbait and it works surprisingly well twitched along the top of the water. I was a little skeptical initially, thinking the whiskers might impede the action. But they don't and the bait walks and skips along the surface well.
Then too, just dead-sticking the Namazu worked well. The bait again is labeled a stick bait, so the obvious weightless dead-sticking option was the first way I sampled it. There's a nice shimmy to this lure on the fall rigged weightless. It has a good salt content and density to it. And the tapered tail makes for a pretty wicked wiggle towards the end of the bait.
A unique design
There are a lot of soft-plastic jerkbaits and stick baits that look like they were poured from the exact same mold. A lot of those were built to closely resemble the main trendsetters in those two demographics: a Zoom Super Fluke and Yamamoto Senko. It's hard to argue with the success of those two baits, so adding a similar offering to a brand's product line makes fiscal sense.
But I commend Nishine on doing something a little different and really unique with the Namazu Stick bait. I've often pondered if the intricate details on a lot of fast-moving baits are likely more effective at triggering me to buy them rather than a bass to bite them. With something moving as slow as a stick bait, however, I truly believe the smaller details like the little whiskers and gills may be enough to talk a wary bass into making that final commitment. This attention to detail is especially evident in a sight fishing or super clear-water scenario.
Also, if you sifted a net through the silt in the bottom of a creek, I doubt you could find a bait that better resembles some of the forage you'd find than the Namazu Stick Bait... which brings me to my next point.
The most natural presentation
Though I liked fishing this bait on a slow fall and working it along the surface like a jerk bait, I really like it best fished along the bottom. You can do this by rigging the bait on a shaky head, a lightweight Texas rig, a Tokyo rig or a Carolina rig. But there's a reason I like it on bottom best.
The Namazu Stick Bait best resembles a small catfish, which I never really considered being a major food source of bass before. But after thinking about it, especially in the muddy creeks I like to fish where we'll often intentionally fish for catfish when camping, it makes perfect sense that bass would eat them and even target them.
Bass are opportunistic feeders. Though there are certainly external factors like barometric pressure and water temperature that dictate their level of aggression, when they are in a mood to feed, they'll eat just about anything. Bass eat other bass, crawfish, crappie, shad, shiners and whatever else is available. I just hadn't thought of small catfish before. But Nishine did, so again, well done thinking outside the box and creating something a little different to try to trigger another bite.
There are several ways to rig the Namazu Stick Bait, which lead to lots of opportunities to catch bass out of one pack of baits. In addition to the presentations we talked about, I tried this bait out as a trailer on a ChatterBait and the tapered tail has a nice tight little kick to it. There's really a lot you can do with this bait and it gets bites. So that makes it a winner in my book.