This new lure helps bass fishermen get throught the thick stuff
Excite Baits, known first for its X-Lock, then Maximus plastic worm and Raptor Tail Craw, among other artificial lures, has another hit on its hands that has bass anglers happily punchin’ with the Sucka Punch.
Inspired and designed by Bassmaster Elite angler Tyler Rivet, Sucka Punch presents a different profile and a hook slot on the side rather than the flat side of the body. Based on its popularity, it’s just what the punchin’ world needed.
“It’s one of those baits,” Lloyd Walker, Xcite Baits founder and owner, said. He deflected any and all credit to Rivet.
“That was 100 percent Tyler,” Walker said about the 29-year-old Louisiana outdoorsman. The new soft plastic hit the water, er, the market, in January 2023, Walker said.
“It took off like crazy,” he said. “People are buying them and coming back for more and more. They’re saying now it’s their favorite punching bait.”
It definitely is Rivet’s punchin’ bait of choice as he enters his fifth year as a pro bass angler on the Bassmaster Elite Series. On his bio page at Bassmaster.com, his signature technique/strengths are listed as punchin’ and froggin’, so it’s no surprise he’s designing a plastic frog following his success with the Sucka Punch.
Walker got his first look at the proposed punchin’ bait on a napkin. Yep.
‘“He literally drew his idea up on a napkin and sent it to me,” Walker said. “I didn’t think it would work.”
The artificial lure manufacturer relayed that belief when he got in touch with Rivet. When Walker called, the pro bass angler was modifying an existing soft plastic, cutting slits in the side and snipping here and there.
“He (Rivet) said, ‘It works.’ He was very adamant about it,” Walker said.
Long story short, Xcite Baits made a prototype of it, the first of many starting around October 2021.
“We made several prototypes,” Walker said. “We wanted to get it where it was fishable, getting good hookups. When we design baits, we’re fishermen. It has to work. It took a while. We worked on that bait for over a year.”
Side slot is key
The hook slot on the side was the key. When the bass anglers field tested the prototypes, they found with each hookset the hook buried solidly in the fish’s mouth. An added bonus, Rivet said later, is that it makes it even more weedless. Fittingly, the twin “legs,” the only appendages Rivet wanted, were added at the end.
“We put the design on the outside last,” Walker said.
Because of the side slot and lack of appendages on the sides, Sucka Punch baits slide through the thickest vegetation easier. That enables bass anglers to use a lighter weight. Rivet, for example, likes to use a ¾-ounce weight rather than a 1- or 1 ¼-ounce weight.
“He wanted something he could use with a lesser weight to get it through the thick stuff and he’s a puncher. He knows a lot more about punchin’ than I do,” Walker said, adding he learned more and more about the technique by building so many prototypes and fishing it.
His home waters around Lewisville, Texas, however, don’t have much vegetation, he said, so he uses Sucka Punches to flip deadfalls and other structure without getting hung up. He uses either a 3/0 or 4/0 hook, while Rivet favors a 4/0.
The 3 ½-inch Sucka Punch also is used as a soft plastic trailer on bladed jigs and swim jigs, he said, noting the legs don’t have a “tremendous kick” but just enough kick, “the right amount.”
While Rivet’s favorite colors are June bug and green pumpkin, Walker said his first choice is the Magic Craw” color Sucka Punch.
For more information about the Xcite Baits Sucka Punch and other Xcite Baits products, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (940) 324-3507.