Until now, Clam Outdoors has done all its best work above the ice.
This winter, with the introduction of Clam Pro Tackle, the company is plunging into the icy waters with a full range of new jigs, rigs, spoons, hard baits, and more – very much including a pro-staff selection of Maki soft plastics.
In the winter, under cover of ice, fish get a better look at their food than at any other time of year. Cold water slows their metabolism, adding to the pickiness factor. To convince a fish to open its mouth, clamp down and hold, things have to look, feel, and even taste right.
Can you make bug and baitfish imitators out of plastic that look and feel real? That completely fool fish?
It’s tough, but Maki Plastic, under the direction of innovator Scott Brauer, achieves the closest thing to real. Maki makes the softest, supplest, best fish-catchin’ plastics available. That’s why Clam™ pros chose five Maki favorites for the new Clam Pro Tackle™ collection.
“We knew what we wanted,” says Clam’s Nick Chiodo. “When it came to plastics, we chose the ones our pros use.”
They’re hand-poured, and infused with Maki Juice, worm particles and fish proteins in an anise-based formula. Both soft and resilient to the touch, which is difficult to achieve. They look, feel, and taste real to the ultimate judges: the fish you are trying to catch.
Think iced-over fish are hard to convince?
Try passing the Dave Genz test. Since he was a little kid, Genz has been a diehard live bait fisherman. But when shown something that works, he can be won over.
“Scott (Brauer) thinks about what he’s trying to do,” says Genz, who has become a convert. “He studies how creatures swim in the water, and makes plastics that duplicate those movements. The things fish are willing to bite have to be right. These hand pours have a softness that’s amazing. The texture feels natural to the fish. They feel like a worm or a bug, and you can’t stop them from quivering. The beating of your heart will make ‘em quiver.”
Here is a tour of the Clam Pro Tackle plastics lineup.
Amazing fact: Maki has found a way to infuse glow paint into the formula on some colors. Glow extends the bite in low light, such as pre-dawn, after sunset, and on dark days.
Each plastic is available in six colors, three of which glow.
We think of it as a five-legged water spider. Like independent tentacles, they wash with subtle currents and movements. Undulate in a fish’s face and beg to be sucked in. Lots of customizing potential. Try nipping off the head and using half the ‘tail’ with its remaining three legs. Play with it, to match the hatch and whims of the fish.
Simple as a screwdriver, but deadly and versatile. Nip hook or thread it on. Fish it horizontally or curl it into the hook shank on a vertical jig for an ‘upward’ orientation. Trim it and it becomes an awesome little whip tail. Pound it on the bottom, so it looks like a bloodworm coming out. Float it upward, making it twitch and swim. Just make sure you have a good grip on your rod
With two wings and a dragon’s tail, the Draggi is an amazing flutter and swim bait. Swims downward as it sinks, paddles flapping. Amazing when fish are hitting on the drop, or apt to swim up and meet food items as they’re slowly falling. The dragon’s tail has a mind of its own, often dancing back and forth or swimming behind the wings.
Brainchild of Clam pro James Vladyka, the Jamei is a bug and shrimp imitator. “Thread the hook through main body,” he says, “toward the twin tails. Make sure it’s on there straight. Slide it all the way on, so it fishes horizontally, or put it on the hook only far enough that the twin tails face upward. This gives amazing action.” As with many plastics, a dab of super glue holds it in place and lets you fish harder with less time spent adjusting things.
Another deceptively simple creation, the Polli produces almost random, whip-tail movements when paired with any of Clam’s Tungsten Drop Series jigs. Best rigged by nip-hooking either end. We most often hook it in the larger head. Sometimes you have to fish small to catch big. The Polli shines under tough conditions: cold front, heavy fishing pressure, lots of sniffers. Stands up to close study. Never stops moving. Forces fish to sample it.
For the full story behind new Clam Pro Tackle, check out the full-color catalog at www.clamoutdoors.com. The catalog is loaded with QR codes that lead directly to videos showing these new baits in action.
We don’t want to just sell you tackle. We want you to catch fish with it.
Images courtesy Clam Outdoors