Watch for Patrick Walters to show off a new shirt and skirts this season on the Bassmaster Elite Series. The 4th-year pro will be wearing a jersey with a Terminator® logo for the first time, and his flippin’ jigs, swim jigs and spinnerbaits will be dressed in Terminator® skirts.
“It’s definitely going to be a season where I expect I’ll throw a lot of skirted baits, along with my crankbaits, so the opportunity to sign with Terminator as sponsor really came at a great time,” says Walters, who has relied on another sponsor, Rapala, for all his crankbaits since his rookie season. “And with the range of products in their lineup, all the colors and sizes they come in, and the respect I have for that Terminator name and its history as a mainstay on the shelves of pretty much every bait store – I mean if you’ve ever flipped a jig, you’ve bought yourself some Terminator jigs before – the decision to partner up with them was easy. They’re quality baits and they flat-out catch fish.”
Terminator, a provider of premiere jigs, spinnerbaits, frogs and buzzbaits, is a Rapala Respected Brand. Dan Quinn, Rapala Field Promotions Director, manages sponsorships for both Rapala and Terminator, as well as VMC hooks and Sufix line, fellow Rapala Respected Brands relied on by bass anglers. He’s been impressed with Walters’ tournament success, work ethic and quality character.
“Patrick has busted onto the BASS scene in a major way and quickly cemented himself as one of the best bass fishermen in the world,” Quinn says. “He’s been a big part of the Rapala, VMC® and Sufix® pro staff and after working with Patrick over the years there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we needed to add Terminator to his list of brands. We’re laser focused on premium bass baits and Patrick’s insights and knowledge will fit in perfectly as we work hard to keep growing Terminator!”
With a seat at the Rapala table already, Walter says, “it was a no-brainer” to sign also with Terminator. “All of the products are top-notch, and I like how Rapala is run like a family company. It’s a good feel and a good fit.”
Of the Terminator baits Walters will throw the most this season, three sport skirted jigs and the others have tails – Pro Series Jigs, Pro Series Heavy Duty Swim Jigs, Pro Series Spinnerbaits and Popping Frogs and Walking Frogs. Below, he describes what he likes about each bait, and in what tournaments they are likely to be key to his success.
Pro Series Jigs
Featuring a unique head design, the Terminator Pro Series Jig is much more versatile than most lookalike jigs. “I was throwing the Pro Series Jig before I was professional bass fisherman,” Walters says. “That’s one of the number-one jigs out there.”
A single rattle and a heavy VMC® Black Nickel hook help differentiate the Pro Series Jig from other cookie-cutter jigs that try to copy it. Custom jig-skirt colors and color-matched brush guards help imitate what bass are eating anywhere in the country.
“That’s a great thing with Terminator baits, they’ve got such a diverse selection of color combinations,” Walters says. “No matter where you go, they’ve got every selection of jig/skirt color that you’re possibly going to need to match the hatch. They have the staples and the things to match the hatch in the little niche-y areas. So, from A-Z, the skirt colors and the profiles are there to match.”
Pro Series Jigs are available in five sizes: 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz and 1 oz.
Heavy Duty Swim Jig
While swimming a jig is one of the most-productive presentations for targeting extremely shallow-water, you can fish a Heavy DutySwim Jig at any speed, in any depth, in any type of cover.
“It’s one of those baits you just can’t leave at home,” Walters says. “No matter what time of year it is, it’s all about covering water to find the fish – especially when you only have three days of practice for a tournament. “You can effectively cover water efficiently with a Swim Jig, and catch really big fish.
“It has a lot of different purposes,” he continues. “You can drag it, you can swim it by cover, you can fish it from 30 foot to two foot. A lot of times, I’ll put it on fluorocarbon and I’ll sink that sucker down and I’ll swim it through brush-piles and stuff like that.”
Among the features that distinguish Terminator Pro Series Heavy Duty Swim Jigs are an inline line-tie and a balanced, hydrodynamic head crafted to swim through the heaviest cover. “It’s got a realistic profile,” Walters says. “You’re going to be able to take that from Florida to New York, from Texas to Wisconsin – anywhere you go, keep that sucker in your hand to cover water to help find fish.”
Additional key features of the Pro Series Heavy Duty Swim Jig include hyper-realistic banded silicone skirts, a well-designed trailer keeper, a 3D eye, a quality nylon weed guard that’s soft enough get out of your way on a hookset, and a super-strong 5-0 VMC Hybrid Wide Gap Hook.
“There’s a great gap there,” Walter says. “It’s large enough where you’re going to get really god hook-ups.”
Pro Series Swim Jigs will likely be key in several Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments this year, Walter says, including those on the St. Johns River and the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida later this month, in the Bassmaster Classic on South Carolinas’ Lake Hartwell, on Chickamauga in April, and on the Mississippi River this summer, on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border.
Pro Series Spinnerbaits
Made with premium components and available in multiple designs, Terminator set the standard by which all other Spinnerbaits are measured. Recognized by Field & Stream as one of the Top 100 Fishing Lures of All Time, a Terminator Spinnerbait perfectly imitates of a school of baitfish.
“I’m really excited about the Pro Series Spinnerbait,” Walters says. “I took it fishing the other day on the Cooper River, and we were catchin’ ‘em! I mean, ya’ tie it on and ya’ throw it – that sucker just works.”
Featuring vibrant, life-like jig and skirt color patterns and multiple blade colors and shape combinations, Pro Series Spinnerbaits are constructed from high-quality components, including high-grade, 17-7 Stainless Steel, a custom hand-tied skirt, a premium VMC® hook and a premium ball-bearing swivel. Ultra- fine wire construction provides perfect balance, strength and amplified vibration.
Walters expects Pro Series Spinnerbaits will be essential tools in several Elite Series tournaments, including those on the St. Johns River and the Harris Chain, on Chickamauga, on Hartwell in the Classic and on Santee Cooper, also in South Carolina, and close to Walters was born and raised. “That last one there, that’s going to be a spinnerbait beatdown!” he says.
All three of Terminator’s frog baits – the Popping Frog, Waling Frog and Walking Frog Jr. – feature lifelike detail from nose to skirt. Each is tail-weighted to increase casting distance and stability on the retrieve and features lifelike round-rubber legs and heavy-duty welded line ties. They each include a drain hole that removes water before every cast.
“I’ve been throwing the Terminator frogs for a long time,” Walters says. “My favorites are the Popping Frog and the Walking Frog Jr. They fit my kind of frog-style and approach.”
By varying your retrieve cadence and how much slack you give it on the stop, you can make a Popping Frog attract fish in different ways. “I throw the Popping Frog a bunch in open water, at overhangs and around wood,” Walters says. “It makes a different sound that a lot of other frogs can’t really replicate.”
At 2-1/2 inches, the Walking Frog Jr. is half an inch shorter than its big brother, the Walking Frog. When bass are feeding on smaller forage, they’ll often eat the smaller frog better.
“When I’m fishing more grass, matted grass, or any kind of vegetation, I’ll go with the Walking Frog Jr,” Walters explains. “It’s a just a good, bite-sized profile. And I can throw it a mile!”
Terminator frogs are tail-weighted to increase casting distance and stability on the retrieve. They feature lifelike round-rubber legs and heavy-duty welded line ties. The “frog gap” VMC hooks in them hug the frog’s body so snugly that they’re virtually snagless, even in heavy cover. Their bodies are extra-soft, so they will easily compress when a bass bites, increasing your hook-up ratio.
“I just love the hook-up ratio you get with the Terminator frogs,” Walters says. “It’s got a soft body and a great VMC hook in there. If he gets it in his mouth, you’re going to get a hook stuck in him. I mean, when they get it, you’re hooking them in the roof of the mouth just about every single time.”
Terminator Frogs will fly far and often from Walters’ boat in a few of his tournaments this season, including his Elite Series events on the Harris Chain and on the Mississippi River, and in a late-May National Professional Fishing League tournament on Watts Bar Reservoir. “That one on Watt’s Bar is going to be probably Frog bite,” he predicts. “The fish are probably going to be post-spawn.”