March 27th, 2011
Water Wolf Lures “Shadzilla X” – Creating Controlled Chaos is Everythingby Jamie Wilson May 16, 2013
Twitch-twitch, pause… twitch-twitch, pause…BANG!!! Your drag starts to scream, and your heart starts pumping nitro…you just hooked a Musky my friend. (Above photo by Chris Huskilson)
Water Wolf lures has created a phenomenal bait to put you into this very situation; the “Shadzilla X”. This very unique, hollow bodied plastic jerk-bait is almost neutrally buoyant and super flexible with its durability being a key asset to the Musky, and trophy Pike angler alike. “What happens during the pause” you ask? At rest, the “Shadzilla X” sinks horizontally with a seductive side-to-side “hammock” style rocking action that results in not only unparalleled action, but eye-catching flash as well. An erratic action is achieved by snapping or twitching the rod tip, which sends this bait darting randomly and rolling on its side. This action and cadence mimics a fleeing baitfish which big toothy critters key in on throughout the season.
Water Wolf Lures pro-staffer and Musky-man extraordinaire, Chris Huskilson knows how to fool finicky, neutral Muskies. When Chris helped test the prototype Shadzilla X last season, he immediately saw the potential of this giant soft jerk bait.
Chris’ set up of choice when fishing the “Shadzilla X”- G Loomis 8’ extra-heavy (technique specific for Musky) fast action casting rod, Shimano Curado 300EJ (large arbor/low profile) casting reel spooled with Power Pro braided line tied to a custom 100lb fluorocarbon leader. Chris notes that the GLoomis rod has a little extra tip action needed to allow for more erratic side-to-side darting action.
Chris counts on the “Shadzilla X” year ‘round, altering locations and techniques accordingly with changing seasonal conditions. In the warm summer months, Chris focuses on shallow weed flats immediately adjacent to deeper water of about 6-10 feet. Steep drop-offs can hold a bevy of forage for hungry predators, so keying in on these areas during the dog days should be “plan A”.
Chris spends full days on the water to take advantage of feeding windows. Dusk periods are often the most productive. In my experience, large fish seem to be taken as the sun starts to set.
That’s the where and when, now here is the how. “The key is to hit the bait (snapping the rod tip in a downward motion) on slack line which dramatically increases its erratic side-to-side darting action/motion”.
Chris works the “Shadzilla X” with a twitch-pause…twitch-twitch pause, jerk bait style cadence. Also, he reports that all strikes occur on the pause. The flash of the erratic cadence catches their eye and can also be felt by the fish’s lateral line, and that seductive rocking action on the fall seals the deal.
As fall nears and water temperatures drop, Chris slows down his presentation dramatically, targeting areas such as points, and off shore humps adjacent to water of around 12-18 feet . He imparts a twitch-pause, twitch-pause cadence, often pausing for a second or two longer than in the summer. Chris also notes “it wobbles side-to-side on the fall and more often than not, this is when strikes occur”.
There truly is no bad time to target Musky with the “Shadzilla X”. Slow down the cadence in colder water and in post-frontal conditions, fish the bait more aggressively in the summer season. Once you begin to eliminate water and locate fish, the overall tactics and concepts are fairly straight forward.
This became evident to Water Wolf Lures pro-staffer Mathew Heayn while he was out on the water doing some field testing with Mike Nabulsi, co-owner of Water Wolf Lures. The Musky were in a negative, post-spawn mood and the bite was understandably very tough. The Shadzilla X was being put through its paces as a prototype. Matt got the feel for this big bait’s ability to dart side to side erratically, and like Chris, he got his first fish of the year just as the lure was paused.
Matt was fishing the Shadzilla X rigged an alternate way. “Basically, you can remove the split rings and treble hooks, push (re-rig) the wire frame back into the bait, then you pop the hook hangers out of the flat side of the body. Put your trebles back on and you have an ultra slow presentation that gives the “Shadzilla X” the ultimate dying bait fish appearance”.
Now for the where and when: Matthew Heayn laid it out for me. “We were in deep water casting into the shallows”. Matt continues to reveal that his Musky was caught on a weed to bare bottom transition, while employing short pauses during a fairly consistent twitch/pause, jerk bait-style retrieve (important to note: the Musky hit on the pause). This goes right along with Chris Huskilson’s recommendations of fishing the bait on a faster retrieve during the warmer months of summer. You see, as the water warms, the metabolism of these predators speeds up so in turn, the strike zone widens as a result.
First impression: When I first viewed a video of the “Shadzilla X” it was like a revelation. Just the way it rocked side-to-side as it fell horizontally, along with the incredibly realistic tail whipping action was enough for me. Its rate of fall and action is reminiscent of a stickworm’s quivering action which, by the way, is one of the most effective presentations for fooling just about anything that swims. With its erratic side-to-side darting and falling rocking action, the “Shadzilla X” can be presented in a variety of ways to help you net your next personal best fish of the year.
Available in two sizes (10” and 13”), and in six colors mimicking Musky forage bases such as Perch, Sucker, Cisco and Walleye, this is truly the cutting edge new bait of 2013 and beyond. Don’t miss out.
About AuthorMore info about author
Jamie Wilson is a passionate lifelong multi-species angler specializing in both smallmouth and largemouth Bass. He is a writer for such online publications as of course, Angling Authority, Rahfish, Exist to Fish, ODU Magazine and Fishulo/Scout. Along with being a tournament angler, Jamie comes to us representing the Canadian Bass Angler Fan Page, and he is a staff member/promotional team member for Rage Fish Attractants,Lake Fork Tackle, Rod Sox, Fizards, Easthill Outdoors, Riverrun Tackle, Musky Innovations, Bumblelure, Kamooki Lures ltd. and Bill's Bait and Tackle. Jamie is also the owner of J.W. Media.More by Jamie Wilson