FishLab First Look – ICAST 2022 Debuts

Back in March, Fishing Tackle Retailer gave you a teaser of what the FishLab team has been up to for the past several months in preparation for ICAST 2022 and how they incorporate the Science of the Strike into every bait they produce. While we had the good fortune—dare we say privilege—to be able to see what was coming down the pipe at that time, we were sworn to secrecy under threat of twenty lashings with an Okuma Psycho Stick bass rod if we went too far in telling anyone what we had seen. While it was difficult to keep a tight lid on our excitement, it was accepted with great honor.

The FishLab ‘Mad Scientists’ of Mike Bennett and Bill Siemantel have been hard at work on a boatload of projects, far more than the seven new baits that you’re going to see here today. Each of the baits that is set to make its grand debut at ICAST 2022 was put through a rigorous process of R&D, redesigns, reworkings and real-world testing to ensure that what ends up on store shelves, in your hands, and on the end of your line is the most perfect, well thought out bait possible.

Fortunately for us all, the time has finally come to let the rat, the bird, the shad and more out of the bag and unveil the new additions to the FishLab family which you’ll be able to see live and in-person this July. FishLab incorporates the science of the strike into every bait they build, and now you can put that advantage in your hands.

The BBZ Bio-Rat

What do you get when you throw a buzzbait and a rat bait into a blender and set the dial to 11? The BBZ Bio-Rat and ICAST 2022 New Product Showcase entry for Freshwater Hard Bait from FishLab, that’s what!

When Bill Siemantel set out to build a new rat bait, he wanted to create something that could be fished in a variety of ways, for a wide range of species. “I showed Mike some of my early drawings and conceptualizations for this bait as it had been brewing in my brain for some time. I wanted to produce something that would make fishermen drop their jaws. I wanted to create a rat that wasn’t just a wake bait that had been done before, but something new and unique from the minute details of how it looks to the versatility of how and where it could be fished.”

This is not your mother’s rat wake bait as it is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. The BBZ Bio-Rat pushes the limits of what anglers imagine a rat can do or how it can be fished. BBZ Bio-Rat combines the realistic features and looks of a live rat like only FishLab can do—right down to its toenails and even the dimples on its cheeks—with the ability to be chugged, popped, ripped, slow-rolled and even made to perform a unique walk-the-dog that you simply cannot produce with other baits in this or any other category for that matter.

WATCH THE RAT SWIM

The BBZ Bio-Rat will have a retail price of $21.99 to $24.99, putting it well within the reach of every fisherman.

The Nature Series Creature Baits

With this family of baits—currently consisting of four unique designs—FishLab brings it back to nature with each bait uniquely designed to draw in the biggest of strikes in and around the heaviest cover by representing true-to-life forage. “There is no denying the effectiveness of creature baits when it comes to working heavy cover for big bass, but a lot of what you see on the market today doesn’t look like anything found in nature. Wings, feet, kickers, tentacles and whatever else you can think of are thrown into the designs for no reason other than to be new and different, but that’s not what we do at FishLab,” noted Mike Bennet. “While this family of designs are based on the concept of creature baits, we sought to simplify the design and concept of each bait and in the end the final product fishes better and in far more ways than we could have ever imagined.”

The Nature Series Flippin’ Frog, Cover Bird, Kickin’ Craw and the ICAST 2022 New Product Showcase entry for Freshwater Soft baits, the Flutter Nymph expertly mimic natural forage of big bass but are unlike anything else in your tackle box giving you a decided edge, especially on heavily pressured bodies of water.

With eight tournament-winning proven colors for any type of fishing or water conditions, the Nature Series Creature Baits have you covered. The bodies come 6 to a pack and are designed to be fished on a multitude of hook styles and techniques.

SEE THE NATURE SERIES IN ACTION

The FishLab Nature Series Creature Baits will have a retail price of $6.99.

The BBZ Bio-Shad Crankbait

FishLab is not just a freshwater bait company as they have a full line of baits to cover everything from offshore to surf to your local pond and more. What’s more, many of the baits are multi-purpose and cross over from one genre to the next, and this is exactly what the BBZ Bio-Shad Crankbait and ICAST 2022 New Product Showcase entry in the Saltwater Hard Bait Category does. How many other lures can you effectively throw at big snook or redfish in the morning, and then stop off to bag some bass from a local pond on your way home in the afternoon?

With the goal of building the perfect multi-piece cranking shad to mimic the swimming action of threadfin and baby gizzard Shad, the BBZ Bio-Shad Crankbait was born. While its size makes it easy to cast on standard tackle, it packs a swim and action that drives big fish crazy and mimics a variety of tall-bodied baitfish found in both fresh and saltwater environments.

Bill Siemantel was testing out the final color patterns for the BBZ Bio-Shad on Lake Castaic when he experienced firsthand just how realistic the bait is. “I was throwing one a few days ago and, on several occasions, I had osprey—birds of prey with exceptionally keen eyesight—actually crash the water and try to take my lure! This is, hands-down, the most realistic shad swimming bait on the market that imparts its own action, and the bill enhances the swimming even more. Unlike most other crankbaits that require deflection to come alive, the combination of lip and body construction on the BBZ Bio-Shad swims like the real deal anywhere in the water column.”

CATCH THE BBZ BIO-SHAD CRANKBAIT SWIMMING

The BBZ Bio-Shad Crankbait will be available in 5 colors and have a retail price of $16.99.

The BBZ Bio-Shad Gizzard

There is no denying the fact that gigantic fish devour oversized baits, and this is why so many trophy bass fishermen throw large swimbaits. The one drawback to many of these swimbaits is that sometimes getting your hands on one can be both difficult and expensive. Once again, Mike Bennett and Bill Siemantel combined forces on the BBZ Bio-Shad Gizzard to create an affordable swimbait that doesn’t hold back any punches and which anyone can use to hunt not only giant bass, but a wide variety of species both fresh and salt.

“When Mike said we needed to build an affordable 6-inch gizzard shad swimbait, I was both excited and apprehensive,” noted Bill Siemantel on the project. “It’s one thing to hit a certain price point, but it’s another altogether to do it while also producing a bait that is built of quality components, looks like the intended forage, and most importantly has a lifelike swim. Without a doubt I can say that we accomplished these goals and more, and the BBZ Bio-Shad Gizzard swims just as good if not better than many baits costing two, three or even five times as much!”

Mike Bennett agreed, saying, “This bait opens a larger range of anglers to the excitement of throwing large baits to big bass, something that I have been doing for many years. When Bill joined the FishLab team back in 2021, building the best gizzard shad swimbait was high on my to-do list. I am really excited with how this bait came out, and I can’t wait for anglers to get it into their hands.”

WATCH THE BBZ BIO-SHAD GIZZARD SWIMMING

The BBZ Bio-Shad Gizzard will have a retail price of $21.99.

Be sure to visit the FishLab booth #1202 at ICAST 2022 in Orlando, Florida this July to see not only these awesome new baits, but the entire comprehensive FishLab line-up. Can’t wait for July to get a better look at the new baits? No problem, head here where you can check out some awesome underwater swimming videos of each bait in action.

From bluegill to blue marlin, freshwater or salt, FishLab has something for everyone. Contact Mark Rogers today at Mark@okumafishingusa.com or (909) 509-4843 to be the first to add these hot new FishLab baits to your retail store shelves.