A veteran saltwater fishing guide out of Sarasota, Florida, has an artificial bait that looks so much like the real thing, it’s irresistible to speckled trout, redfish and snook in the shallow waters he fishes along the coast.

Another professional angler and television personality, Henry Waszczuk, has the same realistic looking artificial lure in his arsenal, one blackfin tuna can’t resist in the warm waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

They both rely on LiveTarget’s Scaled Sardine twitchbait. LiveTarget’s floating and suspending models, which hit the market in 2012, are available in 3- and 3 ½-inch versions.

Waszczuk said the artificial lure “is the most lifelike representation of a sardine that I have ever seen … whether they are brand new or old classics, like the sardine twitchbait, they fool fish — every time.”

The North Port, Florida, outdoorsman starred as an offensive lineman in the CFL before spending his days at the office in a Boston Whaler. He is host of Fishing the Flats TV and Fins & Skins Celebrity TV Series.

In April, Waszczuk and his 33-foot Boston Whalers were 35 miles offshore from Venice, Florida, fishing in 100-foot depths.

“A group of fish that we also thought were AJs (amberjack) got active about 80 yards away, so we quickly repositioned the boat, and I grabbed a lure that has become a big confidence bait for me: a LiveTarget Sardine Twitchbait. I made a long cast out in front of the group, twitched it hard twice, and the water absolutely erupted with foam and fury,” Waszczuk said.

“I rig with 40-pound braid and 50-pound fluorocarbon leader, and this fish’s first run nearly spooled me … During battle, I started to realize that we weren’t hooked up with an amberjack. I was astonished with my first glimpse of the fish shimmering beneath the boat — indeed, we weren’t wrestling with a stout AJ, but instead a monster blackfin tuna, the biggest I had ever hooked on an artificial lure.”

The huge 35-pound blackfin was boated. 

“A fish that old and big has seen a lot of lures in its day, and I truly believe that my sardine twitchbait was the reason I was able to seal the deal,” Waszczuk said.

He won’t get an argument from Geoff Page, the Sarasota-based guide who’s been on LiveTarget’s pro staff three years. 

Page’s blowups on the artificial lure come in shallower water. Speckled trout, redfish and snook eat the lifelike sardine hard plastic bait. Most of the time they hit it hard with a bite that rocks your fishing rod.

When Page uses the topwater model, he relies on a few time-proven methods.

“For the floater, you can walk the dog and V-wake it just below the surface,” he said, noting it’s at its best on the toughest of days.

“When the fish are real spooky in real calm conditions, it’s really good,” he said.

The Scaled Sardine twitchbait suspending model works 1 to 2 feet deep, Page said, and is very effective.

Occasionally, he arms his Scaled Sardine twitchbaits with an in-line single hook, replacing treble hooks with a 2/0 Owner Single Replacement Hook X Strong. He believes the hookup/catch ratio improves.

“They are getting more popular with hard baits,” he said.


Realism is key

Vic Cook understands Page and Waszczuk’s fondness for the Scaled Sardine twitchbait. He’s proud of it, too. LiveTarget’s product and development exec, who has been with the company since its inception in 2007, was the lead designer on the vision and product development team.

“It’s one of our top saltwater lures in terms of catching all kinds of saltwater gamefish, probably our best-selling topwater lure,” Cook said. “It’s my favorite. It’s my go-to.”

Both 3-inch models weigh 7/16 ounces and the 3 ½-inch floater weighs 5/8 ounces ,while the suspending bait weighs 11/16 ounces, he said. They are available in four colors: ghost/natural, ghost/amber, silver/green and natural/metallic.

They all look and act like the real thing. Also, each has a rattle.

For more information on the Scaled Sardine twitchbait and other LiveTarget artificial lures, go to www.livetargetlures.com or call (888) 231-4448.