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Getting Your GOAT

And you thought we were talking about the greatest bass bait of all time. You know, top dawg. Conquering hero. Sickest of the soft plastics. The one bait that promises to bring order to the big bass universe.

Why can't a goat just be . . . a GOAT? You know, those eccentric, unpredictable creatures with an attitude problem. They kick, buck, stomp on and head butt everything in sight. Ever looked a goat in the eye? Don't. But don't take your eyes off one, either, because even when it's sitting still, well, who knows what a goat might do next?

Jig it, swim it, frog it, Ned-rig it, flip it, buzz it, ChatterBait it . . . you get the idea.

One angler who might have the answer is Joey Nania, a professional angler and guide who played a key role in designing the hottest new Z-Man bait—the GOAT! "I knew if we built this bait right—and that meant using 10X Tough ElaZtech®—anglers would have something truly special to add to their arsenals, a jig and ChatterBait® trailer, a standalone flapper bait and a topwater frog, all in one."

Nania, host of Sweetwater TV, illustrates the year-long process of testing prototypes and fine-tuning bait anatomy. "Our goal was to craft a compact bait that glided on the drop, but also continuously flapped and vibrated at any speed," he explains. "Prototyping allowed us to really dial in leg thickness, length, and angle and tune the paddle tails like two individual swimbaits.

"The final versions are just awesome," Nania affirms. "The legs have a nice tight kick, and swim like a natural bluegill or shad. The baits are super soft and buoyant at the same time. Tough as nails, too. ElaZtech lets us do things with this bait that wouldn't have been possible with traditional soft plastics."

Poured and molded in three proven sizes, GOAT series baits all present the same flattened, segmented grub profile, producing a slow, alluring glide on the drop. Activated with the slightest forward momentum, twin flapper legs transition into matching paddle tails. Curved to catch and move more water, the GOAT's tails commence thumping the moment you turn the reel handle; they kick and hum no matter the speed. A multitude of thorny leg spines bolster texture and visual attraction.

Rig it as a trailer— ChatterBait, swim jig, swing head jig, football jig, buzzbait, flipping jig, Ned jig. Jig it. Swim it. Hop it. Flip it. Texas rig it. Fish it as a floating frog and see what happens next.

Baby GOAT

A finesse bait utility player, the 3-inch Baby GOAT, says Z-Man pro Luke Clausen, performs impeccably on a Ned rig, finesse jig, or as a swimming grub. "On a Ned rig, the Baby GOAT becomes a cool little crayfish," says Clausen, a smallmouth bass savant. "The paddle tails come to life even at really slow retrieve speeds, so they're constantly working for you. And the buoyant ElaZtech material produces residual, never-ending action, even on the pause."

Nania taps the Baby GOAT as his go-to finesse jig trailer. "The Baby GOAT is a 100-percent perfect match for Z-Man's CrossEyeZ™ Power Finesse Jig," he says. "Gives me a small jig profile with a bigtime flap-factor."

GOAT

A midsized kicker grub, the 3.75-inch GOAT offers even greater tail-thumping motion. "It's the ideal size for trailing your favorite ChatterBait," believes Clausen. "One trick is to rig the GOAT vertically on the hook like a swimbait, rather than flat. Pull the legs apart and when you retrieve it, the bait will swim with a cool scissor-kicking action—a totally fresh look that's been really hot on a ChatterBait this year."

Clausen says another overlooked application is to present the GOAT on a Carolina Rig. "Doesn't take much speed to activate the bait's tails. Plus, its buoyancy keeps it elevated just above short grass, when worked on a Carolina. And again, even at rest, the bait's buoyant legs never entirely stop twitching; the GOAT's always talking to the bass."

Nania calls the midsized GOAT an ideal flipping bait as well as a perfect match for the back of a swing-head jig. "You get a super-lively, compact presentation," he says. "The bait's buoyancy makes the legs swim and thump when you're reeling or when the GOAT is sinking. When it touches down or contacts an obstruction, the bait's tails stand up and wave."

Billy GOAT

Maxing out thump and water displacement, the 4.25-inch Billy GOAT likes to throw its bulk around, announcing its presence on the back of a flipping jig or Texas rig with authority. Fellow Bass Pro /MLF Tour angler Stephen Browning calls the Billy GOAT "a super efficient bait for flipping and punching. The big Billy GOAT fishes equally well when you swim it or when you slow-drag it on a jig," says Browning. "It's the liveliest bait in the category and has a bright, bright future on the pro bass tour."

Carving out a big topwater "V" for versatility, a weedless-rigged Billy GOAT sputters over shallow surface grass, too, stomping out a super-spirited frog tango. Or, put it on a buzzbait and multiply the sputter-factor by two.

(Top to bottom) Billy GOAT with Pro BulletZ Jighead, GOAT with Texas Eye Jighead, Baby GOAT with NedlockZ EWG Jighead.

Fished on the back of a swimjig, Nania says the Billy GOAT is an all-season player. "The bait is made so you can trim its nose to fit any jig, while still benefitting from the XL, thumping paddle tails," he explains. "The Billy GOAT's supersized feet kick like mad, while the bait's buoyancy helps it hang and flap on the slow-fall. I'll give the jig a 'crack' and let it glide, legs scissor-kicking, on the drop. Awesome strike trigger for big fish."

Used to be goats were just goats— and all baits were built with the same old soft plastics. This November, a new GOAT enters the barn, rattling cages, butting heads and kicking bass. Available in three body sizes and 10 colors, Z-Man GOAT series baits feature 10X Tough ElaZtech construction for extreme action, buoyancy and durability. MSRP $4.99 per 6-, 4- or 3-pack. For more information, visit www.zmanfishing.com.

"(Left to right) Baby GOAT with CrossEyeZ Power Finesse Jig, GOAT with CrossEyeZ ChatterBait, Billy GOAT with CrossEyeZ Snakehead Swim Jig.

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