Introduction: As ICAST 2008 approaches, the scramble for pre-show information is reaching frenzied heights. The latest boil to reach the surface is a new product by Spro and Team TackleTour was first on the scene to hook, land, and net some late model prototypes to share with you here. Introducing Spro’s 4″ BBZ Shad!

Introducing Spro’s new 4″ BBZ Shad

Background: Trophy bass hunter turned lure designer Bill Siemantel spent the better part of the last two and a half years perfecting his new four inch wonder by Spro. Designing and building big baits is one thing, but when you downsize the challenge is to maintain all the same realism in terms of fit and finish, continue to deliver ultra-realistic swimming motion, all the while providing a solid enough structural foundation to ensure the bait doesn’t explode or pull apart when a big fish hits.

Detail extraordinaire right down the threaded dorsal fin

Siemantel’s target species with this bait? Not only black bass, but striper, calico bass, barracuda, redfish, halibut, you name it. This is intended as a true, multi-species bait with a size and profile that promises to deliver.

A view from up top reveals three joints with a wide range of motion

The Bait:
The new 4″ BBZ Shad will be available in four colors, a Natural Shad (shown here), a Sexy Lavender Shad, a Blue Back Herring, and a Dirty Shad that Siemantel describes as having an old school root-beer back, chartruese yellow sides, white belly, and touch of orange under the nose. The tail and top fin of the bait are soft plastic the colors of which will be different in the production model than what’s shown here in this late model prototype. The bait is designed to swim perfecty with or without the top fin.

Literally half the size of its larger cousin, the BBZ-1 trout

Aside from tuning the bait to get the exact action he intended, Siemantel tells us he had to go through countless iterations with the factory to get the detailing he wanted out of the bait. Everything from the scale pattern to the size and shape of the tail to the eyes were painstakenly scrutinized and the results are self evident.

Compared in size to the Lucky Craft LV500Max

Floater: The floating 4″ BBZ Shad is designed to be fished from an almost dead stick, super slow retrieve to a fast retrieve and everything in between without blowing up out of the water. At a fast retrieve, the bait is supposed to demonstrate a very tight kick with a nice wake behind it.

A closeup of the scale, fin, and gill detailing of the Spro Shad

Siemental worked especially hard to source these eyes – something many would take for granted

Slow Sink: The slow sink version of Spro’s new 4″ Shad is Siemantel’s favorite. When we asked him to describe it to us he summed it up in one word, “SICK”. He told us on the descent, this bait is reminscent of the Senko, but let some wind catch your line and the bait will swim with the line. Let it settle to the bottom and it will suspend off the single hook. This version of the bait sinks at a rate of appoximately one foot per four seconds.

Another look at the range of motion in this bait’s joints

Fast Sink: Lastly, the fast sink version of this bait descends at an approximate rate of one foot per second and is intended to be fished in deeper areas or in shallow water at a fast retrieve. It is built to sit on its chin at the bottom without falling over.

Even the bait’s lateral line is carved into its side

Components: The Spro 4″ BBZ Shad is built to be fished in both fresh and saltwater environments and as such features stainless steel hardware along with a size 2 2x strong Gamakatsu hook. Stouter hooks can be swaped in place of the stock hook without affecting the action of the bait, but sink rates will likely be affected.

Spro’s 4″ BBZ Shad is designed to swim true with or without its dorsal fin

Can you tell the tail is actually soft plastic?

Availability: One hundred thousand units of this bait are already on order and set to hit store shelves sometime in mid to late September 2008. The bait’s official debut will come at ICAST 2008 where Spro will have on display each of the four final colors. Retail price is forecast at $19.99.

We anxiously await the production version of these baits so we can put them through the paces!

Conclusion: In a market segment where bigger is a more than a trend, but an actual way of life out on the water, Bill Siemantel and Spro look to shake things up a bit with their new 4″ multi-sectioned, shad hardbait adding more confusion to the ever confusing debate over what actually constitutes a “swimbait”. While the purists argue and debate this point, we’ll be getting in line for the production version of these baits so we can put them through the TT wringer.