There are a lot of knock-offs in the soft plastic realm of bass fishing. I test countless shapes, sizes and colors throughout the year and only a few products make the cut onto Wired2Fish because I can’t answer the key question: What about this bait is different than the rest of ‘em?
I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about the Ned rig recently, which is an incredibly finesse technique involving a small stick worm and a lightweight mushroom-shaped jighead. It took me a long time to try it, but after several professionals told me I was crazy if I didn’t have one rigged and ready to go at all times, I succumbed to the pressure and tried it out.
I used the Z-Man Hula StickZ with these small jigheads and I’ll be completely honest—they catch the heck out of the bass. If you’re looking for an excellent way to catch bass in tough conditions, you might want to continue reading.
Lots of action in a small package
The Z-Man Hula StickZ aren’t a big bait by any means; you’ll probably be shocked by their diminutive stature when you first take them out of the package. Measuring only 4 inches in length, they’re the epitome of finesse fishing.
When rigged on a lightweight Z-Man Finesse Shroomz Jighead, this bait has an incredible action that, when presented to lethargic bass, is remarkably effective.
It’s made from Elaztech and if you’re not familiar with the material, it’s very soft, stretchy and resilient. You can stretch it approximately 4 or 5 times its original length without the bait ripping or tearing. This softness translates into an awesome underwater action.
The tentacle-covered tail of the Hula Stickz actually floats off the bottom at the jighead keeps the nose-end of the bait pegged on the bottom. A lot of soft plastics are claimed to “float”, but that’s rarely the case. This particular bait stays elevated off the bottom and with the slightest twitch of your rod tip, will sway back and forth while its tentacles wave from side to side.
The exaggerated action of this bait makes the dead-sticking technique quite effective when you’re targeting wary bass. You don’t have to move your rod tip; instead just pop the slack in your line and the Z-Man Hula StickZ will do the rest of the work for you.
To give this bait even more action, I’ve been rolling it between my thumb and forefinger before rigging it on the Finesse Shroomz Jighead. This softens the plastic even more and seems to make a noticeable difference underwater.
I’ve caught over 20 bass on a single Hula StickZ with no ripping, tearing or shredding to speak of. At $3.99 per 6-pack, thats an awesome value that’s difficult to beat.
To keep the head of the bait secured to the jighead, I’ve been applying a small drop of super glue and it’s darn near impossible to sling it off or get it balled up around the bend of the hook.
Whether you’re getting those annoying bluegill bites or you’re catching quality bass, this bait holds up better than any I’ve tested this year. Even the thin tentacles remain intact after more than a dozen fish catches.
Great color selection
I’m impressed by Z-Man’s color availability for the Hula StickZ. The colors and flake are consistent from package to package and the two-toned color options provide a great flash in the water.
For clear water, I’ve enjoyed most of my success with Watermelon Red and in dirtier water, Junebug has been an excellent choice. They also have some great craw-imitation colors that, when coupled with the bait’s lifelike tentacles, is a near-perfect imitation of a defensive or threatened crawfish.
The Ned rig with the Z-Man Hula StickZ is quickly becoming my bail-out plan when the fishing gets tough. There’s something about this combination that catches ‘em time and time again. These soft plastics stand up to dozens of fish catches, they’re inexpensive and most importantly, they produce a bunch of nice bass.