Ultra-soft and resilient, ever-lively Z-Man® Long ShotZ™ is catching bass right out of the gate
by: Jim Edlund, Traditions Media, LLC
Photo by Jim Edlund
Photo by Jim Edlund
(Oct 12, 2020 - Ladson, SC)
Anglers occasionally liken dropshot fishing to dunking a wild minnow or a lively leech. It’s actually a pretty fair analogy when supernatural ElaZtech® baits enter the scene. As many anglers now realize, Z-Man’s radical bait formula adds subtle, biological, irresistible bass appeal to every dropshot presentation. Unless you’re cheating and deploying actual live bait, the new Z-Man Long ShotZ comes as close to the perfect dropshot bait as you’ll ever put on a hook.
“ElaZtech is probably the best thing that’s ever to happened to dropshot fishing,” admits full-time fishing guide and tournament angler Rob Jordan. “I spend a lot of time fishing Lake Lanier, where the bass simply never get a break from fishing pressure and yet, the big spotted bass here continue eating Z-Man’s new Long ShotZ like it’s candy."
With a nod to its ethereal ElaZtech composition, the Z-ManLong ShotZexhibits always-active undulations, heightened by the finesse worm’s tapered, skeletally-thin anatomy. Crafted with a slightly thicker nose and specially marked hook exit spot, the Long ShotZ’ 10X-tough construction guides easy nose-hooking without worries of premature tearing and an always-streamlined presentation.
“This bait is every bit as soft as a West Coast hand-poured worm, and yet, it’s livelier and exponentially more durable than anything else you can put on a dropshot hook,” notes Jordan, co-creator of the new finesse bait.” I’ve got one Long ShotZ bait rigged up in my boat right now that’s already caught twenty bass. If I were using traditional PVC baits, I’d be going through four bags a day rather than a few individual ElaZtech baits.”
The thinnest, liveliest and most precise bait in its class, the 6-inch Long ShotZ leans on its ribbon-thin anatomy to break out some killer aquatic moves. The bait’s flat belly and wedge-shaped cross section deliver enticing undulations. A flat, feathery spade tail provides extra balance and precision.
“In the slightest current, the bait’s tail quakes and moves by itself,” notes Z-Man pro Grae Buck, an elite drop-shotter who finished 3rdin the 2020 FLW Tour Angler of the Year race. “A lot of places, I just let it lay there and barely jiggle the slack line to activate its wispy spade tail. You want to move the bait, but not the weight. No need to shake it too hard; the Long ShotZ pretty much has a mind of its own.”
“The beauty of ElaZtech,” adds Jordan, “is that its natural buoyancy and 15-percent salt composition make it hover in a really natural posture. At places like Lake Lanier, where baitfish like blueback herring dominate the forage base, bass get super selective about the profile and actions they respond to. Especially in warmer water, you need a bigger presence and a lot of action. The Long ShotZ’ extended length and slender profile delivers an insane amount of movement.
“Other times, especially with the Long ShotZ, gentle quivers of the rodtip give the bait more than enough action. In fact, I don’t like using the wordshakearound my clients because it leads to overworking the bait. The Long ShotZ is so wired for action that less angler intervention usually means more bites.”
From the perspective of a guide, tourney pro or a weekend angler, adds Jordan, the bait’s durability yields another valuable bonus. “Really, the durability of the ElaZtech let us do a lot of things with this bait that just wouldn’t have been possible with traditional PVC or hand-poured baits.”
One example: The ability to nose-hook the bait through its special hook slot, and then to fish it with the confidence that it won’t tear off the hook,. “I went back and forth with Daniel Nussbaum at Z-Man, three or four times, before we got the head size just right,” Jordan asserted. “Hook it once, and the Long ShotZ stays put.”
Ace dropshot angler and Z-Man pro Grae Buck lips a megaLong ShotZsmalljaw.
Second example:ElaZtech’sunrivaled resiliency helped Z-Man build the bait with an almost sliver-thin posterior and tail. “Imagine if this same bait were made of traditional PVC? It’d tear apart almost right away. Now picture a bait with all the advantages of a super-soft hand-pour that won’t tear and that performs like a living thing, underwater. Pretty cool, right?”
Jordan offers extra presentation pointers: “I like to target big spotted bass on deep structure, around brushpiles. When you mark fish on sonar, you need to be able to drop the bait right on the money, because the bass are always moving. The bait’s tapered shape and flat spade tail gives you an extremely accurate deep water drop—doesn’t slow the fall too much and doesn’t allow the worm to glide off to the side. So, you’re always hitting the zone, dead-on, which leads to immediate bites. That’s a huge, overlooked part of dropshot fishing, and the Long ShotZ excels in this arena—and it’s equally applicable for big smallmouths around deep rocks.”
For working near brushpiles and docks for big largemouth bass, Grae Buck Texas rigs the Long ShotZ on a 1/0 or 2/0 light flipping hook. He rolls with medium-heavy casting tackle and 20-pound green braid for strike indication, followed by a long leader of 8-pound test fluorocarbon, linking the two lines with a Crazy Alberto knot. Hanging below the bait is a teardrop tungsten weight. “Once you determine the depth of the fish relative to cover,” notes Buck, “you reposition the sinker and hover the buoyant Long ShotZ right in their face. Shake it gently on slack line. Pause. Shake again. They simply can’t say no to this thing.”
For working around brush, docks and other heavy cover, theLong ShotZis equally effective—and weedless—on a Texas-rigged dropshot.
A special hook exit spot allows for easy nose-hooking, while the bait’s ElaZtech construction prevents it from ripping or tearing.
Adds Jordan: “I like to rig the Long ShotZ with the flat belly facing down. But you can also flip it around and hang it upside-down for a different look and action. Shoot, the bait’s got so much action, you can put in on a 1/16-ounce shaky head or even fish it wacky style.
“Until now, the trend has definitely been toward smaller and smaller dropshot baits,” says Jordan. “Z-Man is good at starting their own trends. And the Long ShotZ gives you a longer, livelier, more durable dropshot bait. Longer means more action. Bigger, longer baits weed out small nuisance bites. Once again, Z-Man delivers a bait that checks every box.
“I don’t want to exactly say the Long ShotZ fishes itself, but it kind of does.”
Super-soft, impossibly durable ElaZtech construction allows the 6-inch Z-ManLong ShotZto writhe, undulate and quiver with the slightest current or angler activation. Fifteen-percent salt impregnation offsets some of the bait’s natural buoyancy for a natural (horizontal) underwater posture. Released in December, 6-packs of the new ultra-finesse, extended-length dropshot bait feature ten radical colors, packaged in lure-aligning trays. MSRP $5.99 -www.zmanfishing.com.
Long ShotZdesigner Rob Jordan has been putting on a spotted bass clinic at heavily pressured Lake Lanier.
About Z-Man Fishing Products:A dynamic Charleston, South Carolina based company, Z-Man Fishing Products has melded leading edge fishing tackle with technology for nearly three decades. Z-Man has long been among the industry’s largest suppliers of silicone skirt material used in jigs, spinnerbaits and other lures. Creator of the Original ChatterBait®, Z-Man is also the renowned innovators of 10X Tough ElaZtech softbaits, fast becoming the most coveted baits in fresh- and saltwater. Z-Man is one of the fastest-growing lure brands worldwide.