I’m a fairly low-maintenance angler. I’ll tinker and modify certain baits and lures when I really have to, but given the choice I’d rather take something straight from the package and go fishing.
For several years I’ve used the Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw for this very reason. There are no modifications necessary and it’s a bona fide fish catcher. It’s not the sexiest looking crawfish imitation bait in my opinion but don’t tell the bass that— they can’t seem to get enough of it
There are four things I really like about this bait.
- Great action for finicky bass
- It’s tough
- I can use it several different ways
- Small profile is perfect for thick cover
If I’m fishing an area I’m confident in without getting any bites, I’ll almost always downsize my offering before moving on to new water. To be totally honest, you can read it in our articles until you’re blue in the face but until you experience the effectiveness of a more subtle profile first-hand, it won’t quite be the same.
That moment for me came many years ago while using the Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and, to this very day, it continues to prove the value of downsizing in tough conditions.
Many bass anglers are attracted to the most realistic, biggest, natural-looking soft plastics on the market. If it looks real to us, it must look good to the bass, right? That may be true, but I’m willing to bet I’ve had over 50 experiences in which I’ve been getting skunked until I tied on a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw.
Is it a magic bait? No. But I do believe its unique action appeals to finicky bass.
The Ultra Vibe Speed Craw only measures 3 inches, so its not a big bait by any stretch of the imagination. But as you let it fall to the bottom, drag it or hop it, its two pincers come to life and produce an awesome vibration while moving a bunch of water. While most other crawfish imitators have a very deliberate, slow-waving action in the water, the pincers of this bait almost resemble little jackhammers— as strange as it may sound. As you move it through the water, they quickly paddle and thump behind the bait, just like the tail of the Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm.
I think what makes this bait so effective is the fact that it doesn’t overpower cautious bass when the fishing is tough. Just this afternoon I was flipping a larger craw around a stretch of blowdowns and didn’t get a bite. I rigged up this bait, went through the same trees and caught a 16-pound limit. The small profile and quick-moving pincers of this bait have definitely saved me on slow days.
Additionally, I believe the small size of the Ultra Vibe Speed Craw contributes to an outstanding hookup ratio. When you rig it on a 3/0 or 4/0 Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook, there’s no room for a bass to “peck” at it; even if the fish sucks it in halfway, you’ll be able to firmly set the hook before it has a chance to spit the bait.
Less re-rigging and more fishing
Whether I’m having one of those special “catching” days or just fishing around annoying little bluegill, I never really have to worry about running out of Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craws. These little guys are very resilient and last for an astounding number of fish catches. Remember that nice limit of bass I caught today? I only used one of these baits, hence the teeth marks in some of my photos.
There aren’t many big appendages for the bass to “nip” at and you also won’t notice any legs or pincers flying off into the water while fighting bass. This is great for the longevity of these baits but it’s also beneficial to our fisheries.
I’ve also noticed that the Ultra Vibe Speed Craw holds up very well to skipping. My local fisheries are filled with docks and I love skipping these baits underneath them. The head stays put on the hook and the hook point stays buried in the plastic without constant re-rigging.
I can use it several different ways
- Weighted Texas rig— If it looks “fishy”, pitch this bait to it on a lightweight Texas rig. I’ll start by dragging it and I’ll hop it in tight areas. I’ll also swim this bait like a swim jig before making another casts to let those little legs do their thing. It can work excellently on cloudy days.
- Weightless Texas rig— I don’t really pitch or flip this bait weightless, but I’ll definitely swim it on the surface around shallow cover, especially when vegetation is present. A miniature Zoom Horny Toad is the best way I can describe it.
- Jig trailer—If the bass won’t touch your jig with a larger trailer, this is an excellent approach in cooler water temperatures and during seasonal transitions. You can also throw one on the back of your bladed swim jig for excellent action.
- Carolina rig—This isn’t my favorite rig to fish, but the double-splash rig can be great when you’re targeting lethargic warm and cold-water bass. This bait looks fairly dainty on a C-rig, but I think that’s what makes it so special.
For whatever reason, I’m drawn to fishing really thick cover. It doesn’t always pan-out, but it’s always a blast when it works. I like to use very sleek, compact baits so I can thoroughly dissect very small areas.
This bait performs very well in these situations. I don’t have to shake, jiggle and wiggle my rod tip to make it fall to the bottom— it does this on its own very easily with very little effort.
I’ve always love fishing with the Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw and I totally recommend it whether you fish larger fisheries or small ponds.