Choosing the Right Bait to Match the Current
Updated: Oct 16
Z-Man® has created a wide array of baits that are crafted to excel in every platform. Specifically speaking, you can see that the Z-Man crew put some time and thought into how well the baits would perform in certain current systems. Let's discuss which style of bait you should choose for different current systems.
When I'm fishing a spot where there is very minimal water flow or no current (i.e., approaching low tide, low tide, near high tide, or high tide), the first thing I like to do is downgrade the weight of my Trout Eye or Redfish Eye jighead. Downgrading my weight not only prevents me from getting hung up on the bottom, but the lighter weight will allows the buoyancy of the Z-Man bait to sit in the water column longer providing a slower descent which allows predator fish more time to observe and attack it. When I'm fishing in very shallow water (18" or less), I prefer using weighted hooks.
Once I have the correct weight, I choose my plastic. For situations with little to no water flow, I prefer to throw stick baits like the Z-Man Finesse TRD or the Trout Trick baits. If these baits even get a chance to make it to the bottom before getting attacked, you can impose some serious action on the baits with very minor movements which tend to stand out on bottoms with little water flow. Also, these buoyant baits are going to sit up-right which helps make them a more attractive target. Another great bait I like to throw in these conditions are the rigged EZ ShrimpZ. I love to throw these around structure when targeting redfish. These come rigged from Z-Man with a weighted hook that you can adjust as you get into shallower water. This is critical as you have less water and more structure to fish around. One thing to keep in mind is that you are going to have to work these baits slower than you would a paddletail, they can still be used as search baits but the speed of your retrieve should be drastically reduced.
In moderate to heavy current situations obviously, we want to upgrade the weight of our jighead to get us in the strike zone, but we also want a bait that is going to self-impose a lot of action on its own. Lucky for us, Z-Man makes some great baits that do just that. My go-to bait in this situation is the Z-Man Scented PaddlerZ. This is a paddletail bait that Z-Man crafted and cut notches into to provide more action. Years ago, when I began fishing this bait I was skeptical that it would hinder the overall profile of the bait. However, years later and many fish later, the Scented PaddlerZ has proven to be peerless. When paired with an adequate weighted jighead to match the current conditions, this is a bait that you can cast into the current and there is no need to impose any additional action. The bait is working itself using the force of the current which means you just keep your line tight and wait for the strike. If I am out of Scented PaddlerZ, I go to my other array of Z-Man paddletail baits such as the DieZel MinnowZ, MinnowZ, or the Swimmin' Trout Trick . All of these baits impose a ton of action supplied by the current.
I hope this information helps you in your next catch.