It is no secret fishing is a highly commercialized sport/hobby. Fishing television shows are essentially 30min commercials about resorts, guide services and tackle. Professional anglers receive sponsorship at levels rivaling NASCAR. Fishing articles are usually 2-5 page advertisements masquerading as reviews - when was the last time you read a bad tackle review?
....and we love it.
Recreational anglers (present company included) can't get enough of it. In 2006 the spend by recreational anglers in the US was $31,431,718,000 (yes thats $31 billion), and that money supported an estimated 533,000 jobs. That's a lot of money on the table and companies are looking for a piece. We are all looking for an edge and big companies such as Berkley have an obvious advantage. As advertising changes so do the baits we throw. Some call them hot lures, I like to call them fads.
The picture you see above is (chronologically from top to bottom) how I have seen the progression of hot bass lures over the past few years - check your local listings. On top is a Berkley Powerbait (of the 10 inch variety). Below that is Lunker City's Slug-Go followed by Gary Yamamoto's Senko. Finally, the newest thing I can't stop hearing about is the swimbait. It's too early to say which brand is going to run away with the swimbait craze, but not surprisingly it seems Berkley has an early lead. That reminds me...there are cheaper versions of each of these; the only exception being the Slug-Go, I've never seen a knock off Slug-Go.
Ask your parents and they'll tell you falling out of fashion is easy. It happens pretty quick - just do nothing. To stay afloat in this world you have to pay attention or you'll get behind. Throwing a Powerbait around these days can sometimes seem like showing up to a party in tight rolled Bugle Boys. But I'm here to tell you there is hope. It was easy for me to take the above picture because I have all these lure readily available. In fact I had a hard time choosing colors. With the exception of the swimbait that I haven't thrown yet, I still use them all.
While some have fallen out of favor with marketing divisions, these are all great baits and I think they all have a place. I still like throwing weighted Powerbaits into moderately (5-10 feet) deep water, and I often use them to work weed lines. Slug-Gos are a great jerk bait I find works best in shallow open water or above submerged cover. Senkos can not be beat for making a slow presentation plus they are great for skipping under brush and docks. Finally, although I don't have any experience with swimbaits it sounds like they work well in deep water over structure transitions.
To further my argument regarding fad baits and advertising, I present to the court Exhibit A.
It's obvious the above lure is a swimbait. It isn't obvious that I've had that lure (and two others just like it) in my tackle box for at least 6 years. I do not remember where I bought them and I don't remember the brand. What I do know is that none of the three have hook marks on them. Apparently I bought these and never got around to using them. Swimbaits are not new, Swimbait advertisements are. My advice is find what works for you, then sprinkle in some new stuff. Get in tune with what's catching fish now (on this day in this water), you'll do OK.
Now...can we talk about that hair cut?
Writing this has given me another post idea. Sneak peak: fish conditioning.