With much of the field trying to figure out the confounding tidal conditions during last week’s Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay, Gerald Swindle kept things simple.
He fished a secluded, hard-to-reach pond near the launch site at North East Community Park and managed a fourth-place finish with 54 pounds, 10 ounces.
Much of Swindle’s damage was done with a pint-sized crankbait known simply as the “Mutt.”
“It’s like throwing a peanut,” Swindle said. “And there are times when it’ll make you say things you regret. You get a big fish on a little-bitty crankbait like that, and it’ll make you pucker up. There were times when I was doing some praying and maybe some swearing, too.”
Though it’s been around for years, you won’t find the Mutt on the deck of every boat in America – partly because it’s only available online. The bait is hand-made by Ed Chambers, the founder and owner of Zoom Bait Company.
A 1 7/8 inches in length, the Mutt has a shorter, thicker body than some fiber-billed crankbaits. That additional thickness makes it a little heavier, a little easier to cast and gives it a wider wobble.
On lighter line, the bait will run 4 to 5 feet deep. Swindle used 10-pound Sunline fluorocarbon to run it along the bottom in extremely shallow water – and that made for a few nervous moments.
“I knew what I was doing was risky” Swindle said. “I was running that little crankbait along the bottom where it was real shallow, and they were trapping the bait on the bottom. You land about two out of every five when that’s happening, but you gotta do what you gotta do.”
The Mutt comes in variety of color patterns, including the copper bream pattern Swindle used at Chesapeake. Bull bream, simple craw and bone shad also make for attractive offerings.
A quick Google search identifies several web sites where the baits can be purchased for about $21 apiece.