I’m in the process of weeding out a bunch of plastics from my boat. They add a bunch of unnecessary weight and let’s be honest—many of them look just alike. It’s hard to reinvent soft plastics. So if I haven’t fished ‘em in a while, they go straight into my bulk storage bins.
One bait that will never leave my boat is the Gene Larew Hoodaddy. I’ve fished this bait for years and it’s one of my favorite flipping and pitching baits. I know that regardless of where I’m fishing, this thing will catch ‘em. Period.
Here’s why it’s such an important part of my lineup.
Bulk without compromising my hookups
I primarily fish off-colored water, so I prefer a larger profile in my pitching and flipping baits. I want these plastics to move a bunch of water so the bass can sense them with their lateral lines. This often puts me in a tough situation, though: My hookup ratio can suffer, especially when they’re not eating it well.
The Gene Larew Hoodaddy to has a lot of bulk to it, but it still allows my hook to penetrate the bass’ mouth on nearly every hookset. The solid body is quite thin, but the ribs give it a much larger profile. I can Texas rig this bait without embedding the hook point into the solid body. Instead, I’m able to bury the hook point in the much thinner rings.
Not only does this make it incredibly weedless and near-impossible to snag, but it doesn’t put much plastic between the hook point and the bass. Even if I get a bite when my rod is too high and out of position, a quick—and ugly—hookset will usually do the trick.
Two sizes for two different scenarios
The Hoodaddy comes in two sizes—a 4 1/2-inch and a 6-inch. Lots of experimentation has helped me simplify my selection process while I’m on the water.
We’ve been in a drought in my area lately, so most of these photos showcase the 4 1/2-inch Hoodaddy Jr. model. I use this smaller version in clearer water and stick with the more natural green colors such as Sooner Run, Green Pumpkin Candy (great for fishing around bluegill) and Hoo-Did-It.
When I’m up the rivers plinking around in dirty water, I’ll usually go with the larger 6-inch Hoodaddy in darker colors such as Blackberry Sapphire, Black Blue and Junebug.
It works around all cover
This is one of those baits you can grab and catch bass nearly anywhere. Not only does the ribbed body move lots of water, but the legs and paddles are super soft and will undulate with very slight movements of your rod tip.
It’s not the best skipping bait for beginners because the rings will catch water, but for more experienced casters it is an excellent bait to put underneath boat docks and overhangs. It’s also one of my favorites whenever I’m pitching the edges of grass lines.
If I’m in particularly heavy cover, I’ll actually bite the ribbon-tail legs off to create a more compact profile that easily penetrates thick vegetation and wood. I still get the killer hook penetration and weedlessness, but with a little less resistance and it falls through the small openings.
The garlic scent is a bonus
Lots of guys are big on scent, so I figured I’d better mention the infused garlic scent of the Hoodaddy. It’s not an overwhelming smell, but it certainly covers any unnatural plastic smell even after hours of casting.
I don’t know if it’s going to make the bass swim from 10 feet away to eat it, but they do seem to hold onto this bait for an extended period of time before setting the hook.
I’ll flip and pitch this bait for years to come. As long as they keep making ‘em, I’ll have ‘em in my boat. If you fish a lot of shallow cover, this one is certainly worth a try.