I knew about Z-Man lures well before I went to ICAST 2012. I have a couple of friends that swear by them, and I receive packs of lures from my editor at Blade Kayak Fishing Journal. They are extremely popular in Australia, so he sends me some from time to time.
I didn’t know just how popular they were until I talked Glenn Young, Z-Man’s National Sales Manager. We met during ICAST, and talked about their popularity “Down Under.” With a complete line of both saltwater and freshwater lures, I had honestly not heard of them that much here in the Tampa Bay area.
This past weekend, I asked my good friend Greg Becker if he would help me evaluate these lures. Conditions were a bit windier than we would have liked, but we did manage to find some redfish and flounder that were willing to cooperate in this study. The lure we chose was the 5” “Scented Jerk ShadZ” in Smoky Shad.
- 10X Tough ElaZtech construction for extreme durability
- Salt-impregnated, split-tail jerk shad body with hook slot for weedless rigging and solid hooksets
- Impregnated with 100% Natural scents
- 5” length
- Offered in 8 colors – Pearl, New Penny, Shiner, Smoky Shad, Rootbeer Gold, Electric Chicken, Houdini, Redbone
- 5 per pack
Before we decided to try these lures out, I did some testing on exactly what types of hooks would work best for rigging. Glenn recommended Gamakatsu Weighted Superline EWG hooks. I went with a 3/0, 1/8 oz. size. (I would have preferred a 4/0, but couldn’t find any) I had tried my go-to Slayer, Inc. weedless hook, but had a hard time getting the “Screw Bait Keeper” to dig into the bait. This is when I called Glenn to get his recommendation. Z-Man used to make hooks for these lures, but have since discontinued them. Greg did use the Slayer hook and had no problems getting it to start. He’s got mad rigging skills! I think any type of hook that has the “bayonet” style of bait keeper would work just fine.
One of the aspects of the Z-Man lures that they push over all others is its durability. Made of “10X Tough ElaZtech,” you can literally stretch these lures like an old Stretch Armstrong doll and not rip them apart.
Robert Becker demonstrates the durability of the 5" Scented Jerk Shadz™
That also means those pesky puffers and pinfish will not take chunks out of them as you work the grass flats. Nothing is more frustrating than to tie on a brand new plastic bait, only to lose half of it on the first cast to those lure-robbing bandits. With an impregnated scent that lasted all day (I caught fish and my first cast and continued after several hours - I even caught one “dead sticking” it while I ate my lunch), these lures will definitely be a plus on the flats. Worked just like any other jerk bait, it had good action through the water. The redfish seemed to like it.
We also found that just dragging them along the bottom would produce strikes from flounder.
All in all I found these lures to be good producers. With the added scent and unmatched durability Z-Man baits would make a great addition to any tackle box or milk crate. With an extensive line of lures including ShrimpZ, GrubZ, MinnowZ, StreakZ Curly TailZ, and Jerk ShadZ, just to mention a few, check them out and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.