We're in a bit of a tackle war in the bass fishing world these days. Companies are constantly sprinting to come up with new baits and to put their own spin on proven classics. Rarely do the new spins work as well as the originators of each genre. But occasionally, a fresh set of eyes and a tweak or two produce an excellent bait that's just different enough to get people excited.
That is the case with the Zoom Zlinky Stick Worm in my opinion. Hundreds of thousands of fish have been caught on soft-plastic stick baits at this point. And there's very little that can be improved upon in that category since the beauty of the bait type is its simplicity.
But, there is a lot that can go wrong when building a bait of this genre as we've seen with some baits like this. So let's dive into the slight differences between this bait and others like it and discuss some of the reasons a soft-plastic stick bait in general is such a good lure to have in your boat.
Soft and salty
Perhaps the two most important characteristics of a soft-plastic stick bait are softness and the right salt content. Both are needed to create the shimmying action on the fall when rigged wacky style. And for the various finesse presentations a worm like this will be used in, softness is key for hookups. Many baits like this have fallen short of the correct combination.
The Zoom Zlinky has just the right amount of salt and softness. One Zlinky will typically last you a few fish, but even if you burn through a few more baits, you'll be doing so primarily because you're getting a few more bites over a harder stick bait.
This is a small one, but a big one at the same time. Some companies have tried to create a soft plastic stick bait and in an effort to be different, they have tweaked the diameter of the bait a bit too much. Though some of these tweaks have created a different profile and slightly different action, they took a step away from what is the necessary diameter for a bait like this.
That perfect diameter isn't so much about creating the right action, but rather fitting one of the accessories paired with a soft-plastic stick bait the most, an O-ring. Most anglers now use some sort of tool to put an O-ring on their bait when building out a wacky rig. I use the VMC Wacky Rig Tool for instance.
Use a worm that is too skinny and the bait will slip out of the O-ring on a hard cast or during a fight. Use a worm that is too thick and it either won't fit in the tool or if you can get the O-ring onto the bait, it will cut through the plastic and eventually lead to the bait being torn in half. The Zoom Zlinky is the perfect diameter to fit snug inside an O-ring.
One reason soft-plastic stick baits in general are so effective is their versatility. You can use these baits for some of the most productive techniques out there like a Texas rig, weightless Texas rig, wacky rig, Ned rig, Neko rig and Carolina rig among others.
So anytime you find a good soft plastic stick bait like the Zoom Zlinky, you've found yourself a great bait to stockpile and know you'll have something good to use for a wide range of techniques.
Lastly, the difference maker. Zoom incorporated a hook slot into the back of the Zlinky so that you can leave your hook point exposed if you'd like, but still not snag cover. This is important with ultra-finesse presentations when you're using a light-wire hook, light line and don't want to deliver a hard hookset.
This slot is also useful in power-fishing scenarios when you will be laying the wood to 'em. This little recess gives you a section of the bait that is thinner and therefore has less plastic to penetrate during the hookset.
But it also creates a little bit of a weed guard in a way. You can take a straight shank hook on a flipping setup for example and bring the tip of the point right to the bottom of that recess without worrying about your hook point barely popping through and snagging as you drag the bait across cover.
The Zoom Zlinky is a solid bait; it has everything you'd want in a stick bait. The Zlinky is soft and salty which gives it a great shimmy, the right size for wacky rigging, extremely versatile so you can use it in many ways and has just a little something different with the hook slot on the back.
Pair this handful of characteristics with the fact that it's a Zoom Bait Company product and you have no reason not to try a pack out yourself. Zoom is one of the few companies that make a little of everything and do it extremely well. At $4.59 per 10-pack, the price point is more than competitive. This is one I think we'll see gain a lot of popularity over the years.