Not every new product makes it to the big show (ICAST). Some designers and manufacturers don't have the dollars or opportunity to show there. One such item is the new S.O.B. series of crankbaits from Enigma Tackle. They were debuted at Tackle-X on the Kirchman Foundation's Lake X property in Central Florida, next to a banner that read "The best new hard bait of 2014 isn't at ICAST. It's right here!"
For most crankbaits, depth is the limiting factor is depth ... always has been.
But with the S.O.B. series depth is not the challenge. With an S.O.B. (it's an acronym for "Stands On Bottom") you can fish the same crankbait 3 feet deep or 30 feet deep or even deeper on a conventional cast and retrieve. There's no need for "long-lining" or "strolling" and you don't lose the action or posture of a conventional crankbait.
For starters, S.O.B. crankbaits sink. You must have suspected that, but it's not really what makes them different. After all, sinking hard baits have been around for decades.
What's different is the weight system and action of the S.O.B. lineup, which is the brainchild of Mississippi lure designer Dave Shumaker.
"With the growing popularity of long-lining and fishing crankbaits at extreme depths," I wanted to build a lure that would go to the bottom in 20, 30 or 50 feet of water without the necessity of trolling or making what amounts to a 200-yard cast. I created it with the S.O.B. series.
"My liquid weight system balances the lure properly so that it swims like a conventional crankbait, even at extreme depths. That's important because you want the lip to deflect off cover and structure to trigger strikes and prevent snags."
"What makes the S.O.B.s so versatile," says Shumaker, "is that you can fish them like conventional crankbaits — throw them out and wind them in — or you can let them sink to the depth you want and reach fish other lures can't, at least not on a conventional cast and retrieve."
The sink rate for an S.O.B. is about a foot per second, but it can vary depending upon water temperature (slower when it's really cold), line type (faster with fluorocarbon) and the tension you put on your line (give it some slack so it can do its thing).
Because the baits don't float, snagging them on the bottom can mean a lost lure more often than with conventional floating crankbaits which will sometimes float free even after you break them off, but Shumaker maintains this is a minor issue.
"I call it the S.O.B. because it will stand on the bottom — nose down and tail up. At that attitude, it deflects off most snags. If it does snag, though, a good plug knocker comes in handy. If that doesn't get the bait free, try getting right over the top of it or even behind and pulling from a different angle. And because you don't need super-thin line to get the baits deep, you can use line heavy enough to pull the hooks free when you need to. I use thin wire VMC trebles that are extremely sharp, but will give under pressure."
The stand-up factor also allows you to fish the lure like a jig, bouncing it along the bottom. It also makes the lure an effective bed-fishing bait. According to Shumaker, "the bluegill color is great for bedding bass. It sinks to the nest nose down, looking for all the world like a marauding panfish. Big female bass won't stand for that!"
S.O.B.s come in two models and each of those comes in two sizes. There are square bills sized 150 and 250 (think 1.5 and 2.5 in the standard nomenclature of other lure companies) and a couple of DD models (also 150 and 250). The DDs have bigger diver lips, like a conventional deep diving crankbait.
Shumaker makes his baits in 16 standards colors, but will also custom paint lures at no additional cost for orders of 10 or more. S.O.B.s retail for $14.99.