The Outdoor Blogger Network did it to me again. Two bass fishing related reviews during what I typically consider the off-season. Maybe April isn't really the off-season, but I never have much luck until bass start the annual spawning ritual.
Berkley Havoc Product Line
|Berkley Havoc Soft Baits|
The biggest marketing push for this bait comes from the big names listed as “designers.” Names like Skeet Reese, Bobby Lane, Mike Iaconelli, Steve Klein are plastered all over the brand. I am not sure what it means to “design” a bait but 'tis the info granted. The benefit of the doubt is granted and I assume the pros actually provided creative juice.
About a week after winning the OBN contest, the baits arrived and I realized what I was up against. I knew I would be getting eight bags to review but I hadn't though much about what that really meant. Eight bags...each different and demanding some level of individual attention. It was a daunting task to undertake; performing eight product reviews under the guise of just one. I toyed with the idea of trickling out these reviews and covering one bait per shot. However, I've opted instead to lump it into a single authoritative review.
Havoc Soft Bait Details
|Berkley Havoc "The Deuce"|
Right out of the gate, I was least impressed by The Deuce...total snooze fest. In the full Havoc lineup, this is by far the least original and they seem to know it; it comes in a pack of 10 instead of 8. However, every angler worth his salt can stand behind the classic twister tail design as a fish catching machine. I Texas rigged this bait with a 3/0 wide gap worm hook and a 3/16 oz bullet weight. The 3/0 hook was way to large and the bait was barely large enough. A 2/0 or 1/0 hook should work a bit better and the 3/16 oz should be considered a maximum.
|Berkley Havoc "Craw Fatty"|
If you know some water where the fishies dine on craw, this is the bait for you. I Texas rigged the Craw Fatty with a 3/0 wide gap worm hook, this hook size seemed to fit great. A 4/0 or 2/0 would probably also work in a pinch. I also used a heavier 1/4 oz bullet weight to get it down quickly. Fishing as a jig trailer would probably also work but I'm always a fan of pork in that set up.
|Berkley Havoc "Pit Boss"|
I rigged and fished the Pit Boss similarly to the Craw Fatty. A 3/0 hook was again a great choice and the 1/4 oz bullet weight took the bait to the bottom. However this bait's design also lends itself to a "cast and retrieve" presentation. The four appendages flutter in low frequency as the bait is pulled through water. “Whoomp, whoomp, whoomp” is the best way I can put the action into words. The whoomp has proven irresistible to at lease one fish.
|Berkley Havoc "Devil Spear"|
From the get-go I couldn't wait to try the Devil Spear. The bait is so far from being like anything I've fished before. If it were not for this bait, I would be totally unimpressed by the Havoc baits I received. I rigged it with a 3/0 hook, which is about the smallest I would use as the fat body will inhibit hookupability. A 4/0 is perhaps a better fit but I like a lighter weight to maximize the amount of time falling. The tail gives great action while falling and reeling.
|Devil Spear Texas Rig|
Launching the kayak shortly after noon it was evident my favorite lake was high and muddy. Water levels were at least four feet higher than normal and visibility was down to inches. I pulled out my thermometer and took a reading...52F. The conditions would have to do because this particular lake is known by some (mostly me) to contain a healthy crawdad population, and the bass here love 'em.
The plan was to try each bait for thirty minutes. A short length of time to get a feel for each bait, but using this strategy I had four hours of fishing lined up with the baits available. By the end of the day, perhaps thirty minutes each would be enough to reveal the big picture.
|Pit Boss Scores First|
Flash forward about an hour and I was on the opposite bank. This side has a steep slope and the high water pushed the shoreline up into some thick woody cover. The depth falls very quickly to 10-20' and the brush provides shade for some excellent August bassing. Not great prespawn water, but it was shielded from the wind and I was working my way back to the ramp. Having caught a fish and thrown most of the baits, I was ready to get home and eat some steak.
|Devil Spear Scores Best|
With the new year barely underway, I have already surpassed the three pound mark and have something respectable to talk about if anyone asks. But three pounds is not really very tough, and by December I will have had plenty of cracks at something bigger. I am looking forward to adding the Devil Spear to my regular lineup, and for this lake I'll probably bring along the Craw Fatty and Pit Boss too.
|Handful of Havoc|
Three and a half pounds won't stick as big bass of the year. I have my eye on something closer to six and I now have another bait to help make it happen.
Disclaimer: The Berkley Havoc soft baits I used for this review were provided free of charge in exchange for an honest product review. I've done my best to be honest, and I hope you can tell I'm mostly unimpressed by everything I received but the Devil Spear. The deal was arranged by The Outdoor Blogger Network and I was one of a few blogger selected for the review - so make sure you go read what they think too.