The one overriding concept of BBZ thinking is to never stop learning. Never stop evaluating what you’re doing, how you’re doing it or how you can improve. The BBZ is evolving and, at this early point in the process, nothing is sacred. If a technique can be improved, so be it.
Since we wrote the “Big Bass Zone," the evolution of big baits has moved forward. Yes, we stand by everything in the book, but we recognize that the pool of knowledge is expanding. In fact, this BassFan column is an ongoing to addendum to the book.
With Bill Siemantel’s work on his new BBZ1 swimbait for Spro, a new wrinkle has emerged. It’s a small detail, but one that needs to be addressed.
In the “Big Bass Zone,” we stress the advantage of having metal-to-metal connections between line and lure. Coupled with heavier baits, the stresses inflicted by big bass tackle are enormous. Anything you can do to lessen line wear and abrasion is a positive.
New Thinking Required
However, what Bill discovered in the design process of the BBZ1 demands a fresh look at line-to-lure attachments. In the past, most swimbaits featured either a crankbait lip or a line tie that extended vertically from the top of the head. In both cases, a snap made sense.
With both styles, the weight of the snap itself didn’t make a difference in performance. If tension was relaxed on the line, the snap fell against the lip or the head and didn’t pull the line down into the path of the bait.
With the BBZ1 this all changed. Here is a swimbait with a line-tie at the nose, no lip and the uncanny ability to keep moving forward even when line tension is eliminated. Moreover, the BBZ1 can – with a subtle, sharp pop of the rod tip – arc around 180 degrees from the direction of pull. Suddenly, a following a bass is challenged by a potential victim.
This ability to slide forward and turn makes a snap less desirable. Once the tension is relaxed, the snap falls forward, pulling the line down with it. The result should be obvious: the lure runs right over the line.
Although monofilament should be less of a problem, faster-sinking fluorocarbon will be a fouled lure waiting to happen. No matter how you slice it, compromises must be made. Yes, metal to metal is the optimal situation, but not at the expense of lure performance.
While the direct connection of line to tie is a small consideration, it merely illustrates how every decision at this level of bass fishing can make a difference. Is this a tradeoff? Of course, but it is a necessary one to stay ahead of the curve.
In big bass fishing, you only get so many chances. After having evaluated a situation, made the perfect cast and the correct retrieve, a fouled bait is probably worse than a missed strike or even a break off. Now a bass has actually seen your bait in the worst possible way. Better to get the lure in the zone with a direct tie and rely on the abrasion resistance of your line than to make a presentation bulletproof and miss an opportunity altogether.
The beauty of this lesson is that lure design is moving forward in the world of swim baits. The BBZ1 has set a new standard and we must respond. As more lures reach the marketplace, the same diligence must be applied to every situation.