Ever since my January trip to El Salto, when I had a lot of success fishing a soft plastic swimbait on the back of a Zappu Blading Pile Driver – a swimbait hook with a small willowleaf blade protruding from its belly – I’ve been on a quest to find more such hooks with similar attributes. Zappu came through in a big way when I found out that they had a 6/0 version, perfect for rigging bigger baits like the Yamamoto Heart Tail Shad and some of the hollow bellies that I like.
Since even the larger hooks that I’ve found typically have no more than a 3/8 ounce weight on them (and often less), I figured I’d be confined to using them in shallow water situations – the grass here on the Potomac, the pads at the Chickahominy, the flooded bushes at Buggs Island and then when I returned to El Salto next January.
Then my friend George Robey told me about the Venom Slingblade, a very similar system that incorporates hooks up to 7/0 and weights up to a full ounce. Furthermore, they come with blades of not only varying colors, but also varying shapes, including a hammered “Oklahoma” version. I’m headed to El Salto in less than two months, in the heart of the offshore post-spawn bite, and I’m pretty jazzed to be armed with this tool that’ll go under the other underspins.