An Edisto Island, S.C., artificial lure designer knows first-hand just how good the ChatterBait was when it was born and how good it is now, as it has won more money this year than ever before for pro bass anglers on the FLW and Bassmaster Elite series circuits across the United States.
Ron Davis also knows first-hand there is a new and improved bladed swim jig on the market today that has so many advantages over the ChatterBait.
After all, the 41-year-old Davis and his father, also Ron Davis, of Rock Hill, S.C., designed the original ChatterBait.
But that was several years ago, and after it was on the market three years they sold the rights to Z-Man Products in 2008.
During a three-year non-compete period, the Davises were busy creating the Strike King Lure Company’s Rage Blade. FLW and Bassmaster Elite angler Greg Hackney of Gonzales is so thankful they did, because it is catching bass in and away from competition.
“It’s a totally radical design,” Hackney said about the new artificial lure he has been using since spring 2013.
Davis and his father take that as a compliment.
The difference is in the placement of the connection, a patent-pending Herculink; the blade doesn’t ride on the same plane as the hook point, which increases hookup-and-catch ratios and reduces hang-ups.
“We call it the second generation of the bladed swim jig design. It addresses some of the complaints and problems in the initial (ChatterBait) design,” said the younger Davis, owner/president of Davis Fishing Technologies Inc.
He gave most of the credit for the design to his father, who tinkered about three decades with the idea for a bladed swim jig design before coming up with the ChatterBait, and then immersed himself into coming up with an even better mousetrap, the Rage Blade.
“We worked on it together. He’s very gifted and talented,” Davis said about his father.
Hackney is benefitting from the artificial lure designer’s expertise.
Two Top 10 finishes for him this year were credited to the Rage Blade, he said, along with a third-place finish in an FLW tournament at Lake Sam Rayburn and a sixth-place showing in a Bassmaster Elite tournament at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee.
At Rayburn, bass were feeding on shad, which prompted him to tie on a Rage Blade with a silver blade and a Swimming Shiner. At Chickamauga, he relied on a ½-ounce model with a green pumpkin blade.
“I’ve been fishing both tours this year. It’s been tough but enjoyable, and lucrative,” Hackney said two weeks after winning the FLW stop at Pickwick Lake in Alabama.
By mid-July, he had won $139,000 in FLW events and $91,750 on the Elite tour.
The personable 40-year-old all-around outdoorsman, who also hosts Sportsman TV show, demonstrated the new artificial lure’s effectiveness in a televised bass fishing segment earlier in 2014.
The Rage Blade has emerged as a go-to artificial lure for Hackney.
“The Rage Blade took off fast early this year. Consumers are just now figuring out exactly what it’s about,” Davis said.
In slightly to heavily stained water, or heavy vegetation, Rage Blades have been the rage. The results have been extremely positive ever since anglers got their hands on them, he said.
If you like these Rage Blades, you’ll love the one Strike King introduced in July at the ICAST show in Orlando, Fla.
Actually, the main characteristic is a clear blade. Made of a durable material that’s a lot softer than a crankbait’s bill, the clear blade took the Davises three years to perfect, which means anglers can tie on a bladed swim jig that is effective in clear water and schooling fish, Ron Davis said.
“It’s definitely going to fill the niche,” he said.
It’s quite the weapon, featuring a strong Gamakatsu hook and quality components front to back.
“The No. 1 thing about it is it is much more weedless the way it is made, the way the blade is attached to it,” Hackney said.
Davis said, “It definitely comes through cover, hard cover (wood).”
Even more important than its weedlessness is the fact the hookup ratio is phenomenal, noting its 100 percent while fishing for redfish and just a few percentage points below that fishing for bass, according to Hackney.
Phil Marks, Strike King products manager and Raycom FLW series pro, said, “About three years of development and field testing went into this bait to get it right. But it was worth it because the hookup ratios are significantly better, and it comes through cover extremely well.”
Hackney said he usually throws a size heavier than he would throw normally. If he is in a place where a 3/8-ounce artificial lure would work, he uses the ½-ounce Rage Blade and covers the same depth as the 3/8-ounce model, he said.
“It’s a really great bait,” he said. “When I fish for redfish, I throw it with the skirt. When I’m fishing for bass, I take the skirt off.”
Strike King has two soft plastics to attach to it — the Swimming Shiner and a swim bait-like Blade Minnow. Davis credited the design of the soft plastics to Marks.
The Rage Blade’s versatility was evident when Hackney did a television fishing show at Delacroix. With the Rage Blade, he caught 25 bass and 12 redfish, he said.
For more information on the Rage Blade and other Strike King Lure Co. products, go to www.strikeking.com.