it's a start

BASS says: Bait Ball good; Three-in-One bad…

You probably read the bashing Mike Jones gave to Kopper’s Fishing & Tackle Company over their “hit” lure, the Live Target Bait Ball, which won Best of Show at ICAST last week. I, however, am not quite so ready to dismiss the idea, even if the actual product falls short.

In the West, Bill Siemantel (and others who may have not used the same terminology) have been touting the role of “illusion” when it comes to the effectiveness of a given bait.

An “illusion of reality” is Bill’s jargon for the concept, which if I may interpret, means bass respond, not because your bait is precisely 2 3/4 inches long, sports a holographic paint job over a clear body, or is sculpted and painted to look like an actual crawdad carapace.

Rather, your bait, in the instant, portrays the illusion of that reality (an actual shad or crayfish) or you name it. One only needs to look at the finish of an original AC Plug to know what I’m talking about.

AC reality

NOT a perfect imitation, but AC gave the illusion of reality…

As your own fishing experience will confirm, some baits do it better than others. Or at least they do in your hands. Clearly, the Alabama Rig has given “Reality” a run for its money–so much so, the Bassmasters’ professional pushback has been akin to the “long putter” in professional golf. It’s been banned.

Which leads me to believe that part of the impetus of the “Bait Ball” is that it fits the “one lure” rule of the Elite’s mystic dogma. Doesn’t matter if there is some added intrigue. Like stories are now circulating that Koppers allegedly may have borrowed, stolen, or copied the idea (depending on who you talk to) from another bait designer.

On the other hand, you have to wonder how much of this B.A.S.S. influence is at hand leaving us with so little room to innovate. After all, B.A.S.S., according to, just banned another Mann’s product (click here), the single hook, three connected swimbait called the Three In One.

Here (the new offering) is apparently–by letter of the law on the A-rig ban–a tournament legal bait. And even some promotional copy makes that suggestion. But not so, says B.A.S.S.

The net result, some of the most effective attempts and creating illusionary bass baits have been discarded, leaving us with a $16 crankbait that could easily be mimmicked by some 3-D fish stickers on a DD-22 or Fat Free Shad.

So Koppers, that was a nice try. But I think I’ll call my grandkids and try the “stickers” first, if you don’t mind.





14 Responses to “Bait Ball not the answer, but it was a nice try…”

The BaitBall is a tin foil ball made for gullible bass fishermen. The flash of the lure’s clever minnow-within-a-minnow design and the sound of a loud, unsubstantiated theory regarding how bass see lures, makes all the little kittens come a-running. Anyone with any experience who buys this thing, deserves it. I’m more concerned that during a period when the industry should be stressing value and performance, the things necessary to attract and keep fishermen in the sport, they go for smoke and mirrors.

Bill Murphy talked about illusion only he put it more in terms of attributes. He felt if you accentuated or exagerated certain attributes you would be more likely to draw strikes than if you tried for the “perfect” replication. As he put it, the only thing that imitates a crawdad is another crawdad.

by George Kramer

Thanks, Curt. If the industry would do its research, it might find out that tournament jerseys are not the source of all bass fishing information.


by Guy Williams

Just another lure to catch fishermen. I’ll pass, until I get beat by it. Lol

of all of the bass I’ve sampled, none of them had a wallet.

by Jason Prewitt

I actually like this idea….It shows progress. An attempt to take the obvious success of an alabama rig and incorporate it into something proven and traditional like a crankbait while at the same time eliminating the controversy of umbrella rigs shows some logic at least.

I would never buy it, as I agree with Bill Murphy’s theory on attributes and shading rather than exact replicas as a better foundation for lure selection. I see a lot of people shaking their head at a lure like this but truthfully, it is merely a result of product evolution. Did you expect anything different? After all, Koppers Live Target baits have been around for a long time. As nice as they look I have not heard of an over abundance of big mommas jumping out of the water for them.

This is free market capitalism simply heading down the wrong road in the fishing industry. Considering all of the tackle, colors and variations available for bass fishing, I find myself only buying about 1% of it…if that. Bass fishing has been overly complicated for many years now…all in the name of profit. In the end, I still catch fish on the same old stuff. All I need are 1/2oz brown jigs, Fat Ikas, Skinny Senkos, a bag of roboworms, a rico and one swimbait and I can catch fish anywhere…and those baits have been around a LOOOONNGGG time.

I jumped right in on the baitball. Unlike the others…I’ve had success in catching fish. However it’s only been in clear water conditions. Not a fan of the Alabama rig. Next we’ll be using cast nets

Sorry, I forgot to mention, I was using the jerkbait. I haven’t used the crankbait yet. Big fan of your reviews

by George Kramer

JD: What remains to be seen is how well will it or does it work over time–compared to tools we already carry?

by neil schultz

This thing does look great. However it sinks like a rock nose first. Had to add weight to the tail so it would sink a little more horizontal. Did NOT want a sinking jerkbait.

by Bob Merrow

I used Koppers Bait Ball wading on the shoreline of Lake Huron yesterday…. after using my tried and true spin gear with no action for 45 minutes. Changed to the Koppers Bait Ball…. and cast into the same water… channel and shoreline. The Bait Ball produced two bass… both in the 3 pound range! Thanks Koppers!

I saw this lure at bass pro last yr and something told me to buy it . I am so glad I spent the 16.99 that day I now own 7 different live target lures and could not be happier !!! I fish Springfield lake table rock lake and fellows lake and these lures hands down work wonders I have caught more fish with these lures than any plastics I have ever used period and I have tons of photos with the lures still in mouth to prove it!!! I know some may be skeptical but the proof is in the pudding!! These lures work !! I have several of the glass minnows and thredfin shad and I could not be happier

I have caught more fish off the live target bait ball popper than all other lures combined. Very picky bass and stripers eat these up with little regard while ignoring all other baits. My only and major beef is durability…you don’t want to bang these on the rocks