Berkley’s new Flat-sided crankbait met Fritts’ goals
Back in 1993, one of the baits I used in my Bassmaster Classic win on Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin was a “homemade” flat-sided crankbait. A guy named Steve Blazer made it. They were similar to baits that came from the late Ronnie Tapp, a great bass fishermen from South Carolina.
A couple of years ago, the people at Berkley told me they wanted to build a flat-sided bait that was better than the one I won the Classic with. It took them a year-and-a-half, and a lot of work and testing, but they got it done.
About a week ago, at the annual ICAST show in Orlando, Fla., Berkley debuted the new, flat-sided baits that carry my name: Frittsides.
These are flat-sided baits that come in three sizes: 2 1/4 inches that dives to 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches that dives to 7 feet, and 3 inches that dives to 9 feet.
These baits are made of plastic, but they feel like wood. It’s very thick plastic, a solid feel, and there are disk weights at the very bottom of the baits, weights that you can see. I have added weights to hundreds and hundreds of baits. And baits have forever been weighted in the middle, but not these.
If you think about it, everything that a bass eats, except for a crawfish, has flat sides: a bream, a shad, a blueback herring. And those baitfish all have a natural action when they swim. It’s a natural roll. Flat-sided baits have always had that natural kind of action. Most other crankbaits don’t. But flat-sides do because of the way they are designed and how the water flows over them.
Most of the flat-sided baits on the market have a coffin-type bill, a square bill. But these aren’t exactly square bills. They have sort of half-moon or quarter-moon shaped bills on the corners where the other baits come to a point. The bills on our baits will help keep you from hanging up as much, with the same action as a square-bill.
There’s not really a bad time to use square-billed baits, but you do need the fish to be in 10 feet of water or less. Obviously, spring, fall and winter, they’re going to be great. When I won the Classic, I was fishing in open water in August, but the fish were less than 10 feet deep.
Flat-sided baits are essential in shallow water
I think they should be great for any kind of river fishing, any kind of fishing with current where fish will be in shallower water. But in the summer, when some fish get back up in the creeks, in 10 feet of water or less, they will be a tool you need to have in your tackle box.
These are big-fish baits, too. Square-billed, flat-sided baits have always had that reputation, and it’s deserved. I know when I was testing these baits this past spring, I caught seven fish over 8 pounds with them. They were one of the best big-fish baits I’ve ever tied on.
Berkley is coming out with the baits in 18 different colors. And they’re all the good crankbait colors. You can go to the Berkley website (www.berkley-fishing.com) and see them all, and I’ve posted photos of them on my Facebook page. They should be available in tackle shops and stores sometime in September.
These lures add versatility to any angler’s arsenal
These baits dive deep enough that you can fish them in open water. Or you can cast them to targets, like shallow stumps or pier posts. Run them along the edge of a grass bed, something like that. I would throw them on a 6-foot-8 or 7-foot, medium-action Lew’s David Fritts Perfect Crankbait rod. If you’re throwing at a target, the 6-foot-8 will probably be a better choice. Go with the 7-foot if you’re throwing it in open water like a point or a ledge where the water drops off from 5 to 7 or 8 feet.
I’m excited about these baits, and not just because my name is on them. I really wanted to make a bait better than the flat-sided bait I used when I won the Classic. And I think we’ve got one.
Click here to see what type of line David Fritts prefers to use when crankbait fishing.