Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the Z-Man MinnowZ. This little swimbait is made with Z-Man’s proprietary ElaZtech material, which is super stretchy and durable, making it a great little bait for lots of applications. The genre of small paddle tail swimbaits has exploded in recent years with the advent of the umbrella rig over a decade ago and the rise in popularity of a single swimbait fished on a jighead as well.
We’ve been pretty pleased with what we’ve seen from the Z-Man MinnowZ and have actually found a few ways where it really stands out from the rest of the crowd of baits that are seemingly similar to it.
For starters, let’s look at the packaging. Now this isn’t unique to Z-Man, but I do like what they did with the packaging of the MinnowZ. Not a full clamshell package but kind of more like a half clamshell, Z-Man uses a plastic tray to keep the swimbaits straight and separated. Then they slid the tray down into a tight bag to ensure the baits can’t move around and pile up on each other. Soft plastics have a tendency to bend when they’re loosely packaged. This leads to them losing their original shape and not working correctly. So I like it whenever there’s some rigidness to the packaging of soft plastics.
If you’ve read many (or any) of the reviews we’ve written on Z-Man soft plastic baits, you’ve heard us talk about ElaZtech by now. Still, it’s always worth noting because it is so different. This material is unique to Z-Man, though they do also use it to make a few baits for Strike King in their 3X series of soft plastics. ElaZtech is super durable, super stretchy and it floats. These three attributes set ElaZtech apart from the materials used to make all other soft plastic baits.
And though there are a few cases where a traditional soft-plastic material might work better, quite often it’s the other way around and these unique attributes of ElaZtech make Z-Man’s soft baits better suited for particular tasks. Let’s look at that relative to the MinnowZ in particular.
When fishing with a small paddle tail swimbait, you typically find yourself having to re-rig pretty regularly. Often times, the weak point for this style of bait lies at the tail end. Bass and other fish are prone to short strike swimbaits and if we prematurely set the hook, the fish bite the tail off. That’s not likely to happen with the MinnowZ though. The ElaZtech material is so durable that the fish would about have to have a pair of scissors to cut through it. This makes the MinnowZ a fantastic bait to use on umbrella rigs, as a single swimbait ridged on a jighead and especially as a trailer, in my personal opinion.
Used as a trailer
Though this bait is great rigged alone on a jighead and rigged as a group on an umbrella rig, my favorite use for it personally is as a trailer on a ChatterBait. It fits the new ChatterBait MiniMax particularly well, but works well as a trailer on most vibrating jigs and spinnerbaits, for that matter. The main reason I like it for a trailer is again its durability. I like to use trailers and trailer hooks with ChatterBaits and spinnerbaits. The only problem, when a short striking fish tears the tail off your trailer, you have to take the trailer hook and trailer hook keeper off to replace the soft plastic trailer. The durability of the ElaZtech material ensures that I have to do this far less often. I’d say conservatively, the MinnowZ last 10 times longer than most other baits as a trailer.
Size and color
The MinnowZ come in at 3 inches in length, again making them the perfect size to be fished on a jighead, umbrella rig or as a trailer on several different baits. Available in 18 color choices, you have quite a bit to choose from there as well. Z-Man has a storied history as a company of offering great products for dozens of species in both fresh and salt water, and you can see that even in the color choices and application of just this one product. The MinnowZ come in a wide array of colors, many two-tone, some with chartreuse tails and several with eye-catching glitter and tinsel worked into the material, helping them fit in or standout in nearly any water clarity.