Back Hooks: Next Trend in Crankbaits?

Longtime bass anglers have come to expect a new crankbait craze to sweep the country every decade or so.

 Alphabet plugs, chunky medium-divers like the Bagley Balsa B and Cordell Big O, were the rage in the '70s.

 Then in the '80s and '90s, BASS pros Paul Elias, David Fritts and Mark Davis made long-billed crankbaits, plugs that plunged to depths of 20 feet or more, the next major trend in bass fishing. Today square-billed crankbaits, shallow divers capable of rooting around wood cover with a minimum of hang-ups, are the hottest lures on Planet Bass.

 So, what's next in crankbaits? Would you believe lures with hooks on their backs? At least two lure manufacturers are banking on this unorthodox design to be the next big thing in crankin'. Here's the lowdown on offerings from these innovative bait builders that may spark yet another crankbait revolution.

 BAGLEY BACK STABBERS

 Designed by veteran Tennessee bass pro Charlie Ingram, lures in Bagley's new Back Stabber series feature a single treble hook at the tail and a second treble on the lure's back. The Back Stabber's back treble hook is attached to the lure body via both a swivel and a split ring: "The swivel makes it virtually impossible for a hooked bass to throw the plug because it can't get any leverage on the hook when thrashing and jumping. I estimate this design will increase your crankbait hookup/landing ratio by 20 to 30 percent," says Ingram. Bagley's popular Baitfish lipless crankbait and Kill'r B2 diving crankbait are both available with the Back Stabber hook configuration at $7.99 each from major tackle outlets (Bagley Baits, 239-919-5780, www.bagleybait.com).

 MEAT AND POTATOES TACKLE CO.
The little lure company with the amusing name has been testing and refining back-hook crankbaits for years. But instead of a treble hook on their shoulders, Meat and Potatoes crankbaits feature a nasty-looking 7/0 single extra-wide gap upswept tail hook protected by a Y-shaped wire weedguard — no belly hooks on these plugs. The company claims its plugs will run snag-free through most wood and weed cover. Two crankbait styles are available: The HotBack features a diving lip and runs around 14 feet deep on 12-pound mono, while the Termite is a lipless plug designed for combing shallow flats or ripping through submerged grass. Both retail for less than $8 online (Meat and Potatoes Tackle Company, 866-863-6328, www.meatandpotatoes.net)

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