Dave Lefebre's Favorite 13 Fishing Baits
13 Fishing quickly built a strong foundation in the rod and reel world, dominating both open water and ice fishing gear. When they started dabbling in the lure arena, I knew they would bring the same energy and innovation into it, and I was right!
I was able to get to test and help the designers with new hard baits, and it has been such an exciting thing to see ideas turn into samples at such a high rate of speed. At 13, they don't mess around. The turn-around time from drawing to being on the end of your line is crazy fast! The ideas never stop coming, and it's so much fun to be in the mix of this.
The Jabber Jaw is basically an entirely new bait category. It's a vibrating jig/shallow square bill crankbait hybrid that just makes perfect sense. When I initially saw it in the water, my first impression was just, WOW! Then, my next thought was, PLEASE let me use these for a season before releasing them to the world, HAHA. I caught over 100 largemouth bass on the bait my first two days throwing it last April, and then 2 weeks later caught 50 pre-spawn smallies on the exact same bait. It's a special bait; it's fun to toss around, it's loud, it casts great, and doesn't hang up nearly as bad a vibrating jig or typical square bill. Now, since throwing it a bunch, I've noticed it is definitely a bigger fish bait. This is one of those deals every fisherman will have to have in his box.
The Loco Special is as good as a jerkbait gets. There's a deep and a shallow model, and the colors are amazing. My first experience with it was walleye fishing on Erie last spring, and compared to all my other jerkbaits, none cast further than this one. I caught my first 10lb walleye on my first night throwing this bait, and it instantly became my favorite. Like the Jabber Jaw, it's another bait that you don't want your competitors knowing about, but after the recent MLF RedCrest Championship, so much for that idea! These baits have incredible action, super sharp hooks, sit perfectly horizontal in the water, and have a unique rattle that fish cannot resist.
Another bait that stands alone in its own category is the Motor Boat. Some of the best blow-ups I've ever had came on this innovative topwater bait over the past few months. It's basically a fluke/buzzbait hybrid. It works excellent when target fishing around shallow cover and on grassy flats, and it seems to draw bites from bigger than average size fish. The hook-up ratio is excellent. You can throw it as is right out of the package, or you can modify them some (like me) with a heavier hook and get out the heavy braided line so I can horse fish out of the slop. It's very versatile and comes in two sizes. You can't fish it fast, though. You have to use a steady retrieve or twitch it like a popper. I've caught a lot of fish on a single bait and keep reusing the same ones with no issues.
The Trash Panda is the real deal. You can obviously see the colors are bad to the bone, but the first thing you'll notice when you hold one in your hand is the hooks. There is nothing better on the market, and no frog has a better hook-up ratio. There is a regular frog and a popping frog, and both work great; so easy to walk. I've only used them for one season now but have already caught some key tournament fish with them. It complements the Terminator Walking Frog Jr. that I like so much, as it's a little bigger, and it's now my #1 choice when stepping up in size. When one blows up on it, I know that chances are he's coming in the boat, and that's not normal when talking frog fishing.
The Shadow Spin is simply a must-have. Seeing the whole design process, I was so excited when I finally got the first one in the mail. Then, on my very first cast, a pike bit it off! Now I had to wait for the next go-round. I got the next batch in the fall last year and smoked the largemouth on them in the grass. I had just caught over 200 fish over the previous 2 days on another new 13 bait called the Magic Man. I returned to the same area and caught only 5 fish on the Magic Man. I tied on the Shadow Spin and started to catch a fish on every single cast for an hour. This is another hybrid bait that is half soft swimbait and half spy bait, but it's not that simple. It's totally different and probably not what you're expecting. The tail is mega soft, and the overall profile is bigger than most spy baits. It has an unbelievable action and comes with an extra tail. I've had several 100 fish days and have yet to lose or tear a tail despite how soft they are. That tail is always moving, and I'm excited to try these things for the smallmouth in the spring.
Overall, you can't go wrong with any of the 13 Fishing baits, but these are definitely my go-to's and are always rigged and ready to go!
- Seth Willoughby