Reins and Michael Murphy reveal breakthrough bass bait
Temecula, CA – Reins, one of Japan’s premier tackle manufacturers, and Michael Murphy, one of the world’s top lure designers, have discovered and matched a previously overlooked and untapped hatch.
The full story will be divulged for ICAST 2017, revealing what this untapped hatch is, the new bait design that matches it, why this bait is needed and why we developed it.
The big reveal
When you look at the very basis of the food chain at the beginning of life, when a bass hatches, it comes out of its egg with a nutritious yolk sack attached that gives it a head start chance to get with the program and understand how life works before it’s too late, before it gets eaten or dies or whatever. Hatchlings hover wide-eyed in the bottom of the nest trying to acclimate to their new environment, senses and bodies. Once that yolk sack is absorbed within a few days to two weeks, the bass is on its own, and it has to swim up out of the nest to eat something – or die.Bass larvae are too little to eat bugs or anything else. Behaving on instinct, newborn bass hunt and eat zooplankton which are microscopic or near-microscopic aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans and animal-like plankton with limited mobility.
Zooplankton have hydrodynamic shapes, cilia and pseudo-appendages to maneuver their bodies, but their actions are minute and weak; they’re not able to swim or move independently of water currents. Zooplankton can maneuver but predominately drift, shift up or down, and suspend in the water column, feeding on other zooplankton or phytoplankton which are free-drifting microscopic plants.
Legendary lure designer, fisheries biologist, professional tournament angler and fishing guide Michael Murphy of Lexington, South Carolina knows much about zooplankton and fish larva’s critical dependency on this foundation of the fish’s food pyramid. He says, “I studied aquaculture research at Perdue University and was a lab technician for their aquaculture facility for 2 years. All of our studied fish, in order to count toward research for the Aquaculture Society, they must have been hatched within that facility. You cannot hatch them elsewhere and bring them in. So I learned quickly, when you hatch something, you have to feed it. So we fed these hatchlings with zooplankton such as copepods, rotifers and daphnia. We found that certain fish species had a preference, and also that specific zooplankton live in specific environments – just like you wouldn’t find a largemouth living where a salmon lives and vice versa. So there are specific natural environments where you will find specific zooplankton in those environments. Whether it is a genetic preference or whatever it is, a copepod is more of a backwater, brackish zooplankton and studies have been done showing it is more appealing to largemouth- they prefer copepods. But even in the artificial lab environment, with largemouth hatched in labs, it has been scientifically proven that a copepod is the preference of a largemouth bass in a controlled environment, an aquaculture environment.”
For a month or more, a bassdepends on this food source for its survival until it grows large enough to move on to insect larva, but the copepod is the first food source a bass ever has – and that’s a fact.
So why not make a fishing lure that exactly mimics a copepod?
A larval bass grows by eating copepods roughly a half to one millimeter long and the bass itself may be 4-5 millimeters long. When a bass grows up to be 18+ inches and you’ve got a bait that is 4 inches long, it’s proportionally the same sizeas the bass remembers. Then the question becomes, does a bass remember it? Well, that’s something you’ve got to test.
“In my testing, fishing this new Reins lure design, I found it’s a comfort food that bass remember from when they were first hatched, it brings back good memories for the fish, and brings in good catches for the fisherman. It works…it doesn’t just work, it really works – by a margin of 4:1 over everything else I fished against it. You can call it a fish story if you want. I just hope it does not hurt the fishery too badly. I don’t mean to sound like I’m in panic mode but – my new design makes me fearful that bass will be totally vulnerable, unable to resist it because it matches a hatch that’s never been matched before. They really like it. They’ll eat it every time.”
“It’s imprinted in their unconscious, and every bass remembers and passes it along to each new generation. They’re born with the memory of it and their first feeding behavior is to eat this and as parents, they pass their memory along to succeeding generations.”
Figure 1: The Reins C-Pod mimics and matches a copepod. It is a bulky bait with lots of tentacles that produce tons of subtle action.
“One of the things that excited me the most about it – and also one of the things that I am concerned the most about it, during the testing phase, is that typically, baits will be big fish baits – or they’ll be little fish baits. That’s not saying you can’t catch a big fish on a little bait or a little fish on a big bait, nevertheless baits tend to be one or the other. There are very few baits out there that cross over and will catch numbers and size, but that’s what the C-Pod does. I’ll be on the same school of fish and catch a 4 or 5 pounder just as good as I am catching a 2-pounder or a 1-pounder. And that to me has me more excited than anything!” exclaims Michael.
Most all lures (and the natural food sources they mimic) are selective for size most of the time. Big baits tend to be selected by big bass, small baits by small bass and average size baits by you guessed it, average size bass. Those differences in lure/prey selection and quarry/predator size don’t apply in the early competition for copepods because all bass start life all the same size – there are no big or little bass for starters. They’re hatched the same size and it is only the competition to be the first to catch a copepod and the ken to consistently catch an extra copepod or two that starts to grow little bass into big bass, some more than others, depending on each’s ability to catch copepods. So when mixed size schools of adult bass recognize the Reins C-Pod as a copepod, the size selectivity that bass use to decide whether or not to strike all other lure (or prey) types never did apply to copepods – they just go for the C-Pod regardless if it’s a big, small or average size bass.
How to fish the C-Pod
You can fish it any which way you want. It’s designed to fit a 5/0 hook so you can Carolina rig it, you can flip it, you can pitch it. You can swim it, fish it weightless, however you want.Any which way you can fish a soft plastic, you can fish the C-Pod as well.
Michael advises, “I’ve caught an incredible number of fish by dropshotting it. It has a ton of action dropshotting it. A zooplankton by nature’s design is adrift in the water column. It’s a suspending animal and will stay on a piece of cover or in an area until the current takes it elsewhere. That’s why windy banks are always better for bass fishing because the wind pushes high levels of zooplankton up on that bank. That’s why shad go to those banks, because that is what the shad are eating. They’re just following that food pyramid. So, a dropshot rig suspends the C-Pod off the bottom, suspended in the water column just like a living copepod suspends.”
“The way a dropshot C-pod falls and the way it stays up in the water column, the action on a dropshot mimics the way zooplankton move which is ‘twitch, twitch, sit, settle…twitch, twitch, sit, settle…The way a dropshot works, you’re clearly playing on something that they recognize – and bluegill don’t move like that, shad don’t move like that, nothing else they eat moves like that. It mimics the action of a zooplankton and the Reins C-Pod has that action, it has the shape of a copepod therefore the action of a copepodand we matched it to a ‘T’. We’re the first ones to do it.”
The C-Pod has a great scent, the Reins scent. It’s a scent that works. Again, in aquaculture research, I’ve done a lot of investigation that proves there’s indeed food preference in what fish want to eat. As already said, one of those proven preferences of largemouth is copepods. Another preference I will tell you, when I did research in college, we tested different food additives in order to balance what’s healthy for the fish versus what they will be willing to eat. You can make a fish meal so healthy, they won’t want to eat it. If you think of the issue parents often have to get growing children to finish their vegetables that are good for them, fish hatcheries and aquaculture researchers face a similar issue with rearing fish.
What we learned is invertebrate and crustacean scent and flavor additives are the number one piscivorouspreference to make fish eat all their ‘vegetables’ or nutrient-laden fish meals. The invertebrate or crustacean additives based on aquaculture lab research I’ve done were always the ones that piscivorous fish preferred – and the Reins bait scent additive is exactly that, as are zooplankton – invertebrates and crustaceans. It works, and I’m not just saying that…it really does work on the end of my line and ties back to my findings in the research lab.
Sizes and colors
The Reins C-pod will come in a single 4″ (101.6mm) size for starters. We’re already contemplating a little smaller size to follow next. We have identified a core list of initial colors to begin with for flipping, pitching, Carolina rigging – green pumpkin, watermelon, black, that type stuff for ‘benthic zone’ (lowest level of the water column) orbottom fishing presentations – but we also wanted to have colors that would cross over for dropshotting and suspending type presentations for fishing the ‘planktonic zone’ (sunlit surface to mid-water layer) of the water columnbecause the C-Pod mimics the action of suspending zooplankton that predominately drift, suspend, can’t swim and mostly make minute maneuvers. So we’ll have cross-over colors for all bottom-fishing as well as suspending techniques.
Figure 2: The numerous cilia that a Reins C-Pod has, you don’t have to be moving this bait much for the cilia to work– and the combined action of the cilia is significant even with the smallest twitch.
Importance of our breakthrough
The importance of copepods to largemouth bass in the larval stage is a matter of life-or-death, do-or-die. Larval bass that study, stalk, hunt and imprint on the behavioral characteristics of copepods, their shapes, actions and diurnal rhythms, and develop the most successful feeding strategies to get to eat copepods first, to grab an extra copepod or gobble the last available copepod consistently, those larva will not only survive but grow the fastest and biggest – and they’ll carry those early learned and above-average feeding abilities with them through their lives.
Copepods are the first live prey that a bass masters – and Michael Murphy and Reinshave discovered the importance of that to fishermen, and now they’ve divulged to the angling public that this early feeding success is apparently never forgotten, and they’ve produced a lure design to match that hatch.
The new Reins C-Pod is a breakthrough baitthat matches the first hatch a bass remembers.
Matt Paino, CEO of Optimum Bait Company notifies us that, “Reins and Michael Murphy have discovered this and they’ve matched this previously overlooked and untapped hatch with the release of the Reins C-Pod.”
This is only the beginning. More information (and imitations) will follow – but for now, that’s the exciting story of why this bait is needed by anglers and why we developed it for you. Please enjoy!
About Reins Fishing
Reins, one of Japans premier tackle manufacturers is now in the USA. Innovative designs and premium quality combine to make Reins lures and tungsten sinkers a necessity for the bass angler’s tackle box. Reins products have been winning tournaments for years and have helped Reins become one of Japan’s most successful tackle companies.
About Optimum Bait Company
Optimum Baits in southern California is the North American distributor for Optimum Baits, Ima Japan, deps, Zappu, Reins, AA Worms, Vagabond and Kahara brands.