Last month, I was fortunate enough to get a break in the unusually cold winter weather in VA to head out and fish during prime jerk bait season. I had recently won a Facebook contest from Livingston Lures, whose products “feature our proprietary EBS technology that emulates Natural Baitfish Sounds with the ability to generate more strikes even while completely motionless in the water”. Sounds like a perfect technological addition to a long pause on a jerkbait retrieve, so I made sure that part of my contest winnings included their “Stickmaster” jerkbait, and I put it to the test on the water.
DESIGN: The Stickmaster is a 4.5” ½ ounce floating jerkbait, outfitted with Mustad ONYX treble hooks and stainless steel split rings – quality terminal tackle with the right weight and size to cast accurately and with some distance. Two hooks are present on the bait. The Stickmaster does not contain a weight transfer system, as the interior of the bait is occupied with the EBS system. The Stickmaster is available in twelve different colors with enough variety to imitate most bait fish bass fishermen are concerned with. The body is similar to most jerk bait designs, with a slightly wider body when compared to other jerk bait bodies (Ima Flit, Megabass Ito Vision 110). The colors tested where the “Purple C Shad” and the “Beauty Shad”. I fished the bait on a Denali “Michael Murphy” Series jerkbait rod with a Diawa Tatula 100H reel spooled with 12 lb Izorline monofilament.
PERFORMANCE: The Stickmaster is reported to dive to 3-4 feet when retrieved, and I was able to easily get it down to the 4 foot depth in water temps of 46 degrees. The bait rose VERY slowly when paused, which was a pleasant surprise on monofilament. The Stickmaster, lacking an internal weight transfer system (it has a small ball bearing in the head of the bait that rattles but does not influence weight transfer on the cast), did not cast as far when compared to jerkbaits with that design feature, but the casting distance was certainly adequate to fish clear winter water without “boat spooking” the fish. The Stickmaster created quite a bit of vibration when moved quickly, and I was able to feel the tight wobble of the bait being drawn through the water, creating a decent amount of flashing when retrieved. Slowing the bait down did not decrease the sense or observation of the bait wobbling in the water column upon retrieve, so the angler can be confident that the baits intended action is consistent throughout various retrieve speeds.
FISHABILITY: The very first cast with the Stickmaster produced a “hit” to the bait, which I subsequently missed. After cursing my inattention, I immediately threw the bait back into the same spot and a 4 pound largemouth picked it up. The bait hooked the fish very well, with both treble hooks securely penetrating the fish’s mouth, and I was able to land the bass without any complication. Making accurate casts was not an issue with the Stickmaster, and although it shares the same vulnerability to wind that other jerkbaits possess, the ½ ounce weight makes wind adjustments easy to handle.
OVERALL: Its really impossible to tell whether the EBS system of the Livingston Lures Stickmaster had any effect on the fish I landed using it, but it is somewhat telling that it produced a large fish on the second cast to an area that is largely considered a community hole. I can say this : it certainly didn’t hurt. With a solid design, quality components, proven colors, and an EBS system to add another stimulus to entice bass to strike, the Livingston Lures Stickmaster will add another very unique option to every angler’s jerkbait arsenal, and should not be overlooked.
By Chris Murphy.