Conventional wisdom tends to make most of us utilize slow, subtle presentations throughout the winter months, but I’m a firm believer that reaction baits catch huge coldwater bass. I’m always looking to elicit a reaction strike when the weather turns frigid.
The SPRO Aruku Shad is one of my favorite lipless crankbaits, especially in the winter when a lake’s water levels are low. You’d be hard-pressed to find me fishing this time of year without one on my front deck.
Unique, nose-down action
The body design and distinctive line tie position of the Aruku Shad gives it a great action that really shines in the winter. When the sun comes out and warms the shallow water, you’ll notice a lot of bass positioning themselves in just inches of water, almost directly on the bank. Conventional crankbaits may catch a few of these fish, but the Aruku Shad is really tough to beat.
On the retrieve, the Aruku Shad swims nose-down regardless of the water depth. SPRO designed it to imitate the natural behavior of a shad feeding on the bottom, but it also plays a big role in decreasing your number of hang-ups when targeting ultra-shallow bass.
As it swims nose-down, the top-nose section of the lure acts similarly to a square-shaped bill on a shallow-running cranking. If you keep your rod tip fairly high throughout the retrieve, it will easily “tick” over any cover in its way such as rocks, limbs and grass. One of the biggest complaints anglers have about lipless crankbaits is their inability to come through cover but the Aruku Shad comes through most cover with ease.
They’ll know it’s there
There’s always a time and place for loud reaction baits. In clear, shallow water, these types of lures aren’t usually my first choice because they can spook wary bass. If you’re fishing in shallow water stained by winter precipitation, however, the Aruku Shad flat-out catches ‘em.
If you hold an Aruku Shad in one hand and any other lipless bait in the other, you’ll realize just how loud it really is. It has a high-pitched rattle that has continuously produced big bass for me over the years. Shallow winter bass can definitely be stubborn and I think a lot of my bites on the Aruku Shad are a result of a ticked-off bass more so than a hungry bass. Something about that loud rattle seems to irritate bass and trick them into biting, even if they’re not looking to feed.
Beat it up
I’ve fished with a lot of lipless baits that will either split on the side or lose their color after one day of fishing around shallow, hard-bottom areas. The Aruku Shad, however, is built like a tank and holds its own during collisions with cover and bass.
Because this lure avoids hang-ups so well, I’ve been using the same few Arukus for quite some time. Regardless of the color, I haven’t noticed any hook rash or scratches—even after catching a ton of bass on them.
I’m also impressed by how well the Aruku Shad’s eyes stay intact. If you look through my lipless crankbait box, you’ll find countless one-eyed lures. I can’t say for certain if the presence of both eyes makes a big difference in a lipless crankbait’s effectiveness, but it’s definitely a confidence thing for me. I want my lures to look as realistic as possible at all times.
Don’t worry about the hooks
If you’re like me, you’re probably sick and tired of constantly replacing treble hooks on your hard reaction baits. It wastes time and will also burn a hole in your wallet before you know it.
The Aruku Shad comes with outstanding Gamakatsu hooks. They’re super-sharp and fit the lure just right to avoid any crossing or tangling in windy conditions. They also hold up very well when fishing rocks and pea gravel, allowing me to fish with a clear head instead of worrying about the sharpness of my hooks.
Whether you’re looking for a way to catch moody winter bass or you’re trying to stock up for the prespawn on your favorite grass-filled fishery, I recommend looking into the SPRO Aruku Shad. It has a very unique action and sound, it’s durable and it’s always ready to catch fish straight out of the box.