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Z-Man Expands its Inshore Color Pallette

Creole Croaker has become an exceptional color for seatrout.

In the ocean—home to some 20,000 species of fish— something is always biting something else. It's welcome news for anglers— and a fact that gives lure makers creative license to concoct as many color patterns as the fish and their customers desire.

For Z-Man Fishing, pioneers in space-age ElaZtech baits, developing a new pattern has everything to do with giving fish what they choose to eat. Crafting radical bait recipes requires science and a little artistic flair.

"Designing new colors is a lot of fun for us because with ElaZtech, it's uncharted territory," says Z-Man president Daniel Nussbaum. "We're working with a totally unique material with superior fishing advantages like durability, softness and buoyancy. But it also means we're writing our own playbook to develop new colors and to give anglers the bait patterns they need."

When bull redfish bottom-feed on sandworms, shrimp or other forage, an earth-tone The Wright Stuff ElaZtech bait scores big.

Fortifying an already-proven roster of dynamic saltwater colors, Z-Man recently unleashed three new inshore patterns, available in select ElaZtech baits. Each fresh color configuration has been inspired entirely by on-water observation and relentless requests from Z-Man fans.

Cherry picked from the legendary Louisiana Delta, Z-Man's new Purple Death pattern has become a gold-standard color for attracting monster redfish. Offered in the MinnowZ™, DieZel MinnowZ, Trout Trick®, Swimmin' Trout Trick® and TRD TicklerZ™, Z-Man's new Purple Death pattern has also become a bona fide producer of big seatrout and smallmouth bass.

"Redfish guides in the Delta have been blown away by our Purple Death color," recounts Nussbaum. "It's a pattern that really lights up in muddy water. But its dark-light contrast also makes it a player in clear water."

"You look at a Purple Death bait and know right away it's a fish-catcher," says Mark Cowart, a top-level redfish angler with multiple wins on the IFA Redfish Tour. "Down in the muddy waters of the Delta, throwing this pattern on a DieZel MinnowZ™ has been money for big reds. And it's just as good in Florida, Texas and the Carolinas.

"This is an absolute go-to pattern on those bluebird days after a coldfront," adds Cowart. "Post-front fish are nearly always put off by a bright, flashy color, but they aren't spooked by Purple Death and its muted-purple back. In fact, combined with the natural kick of an ElaZtech paddletail, the bait's subtle chartreuse underside gives off just enough flash to trigger unresponsive fish."

Unconventional among inshore redfish, snook and seatrout colors, Z-Man's second new hue, The Wright Stuff, couples an earth-tone root beer base color inlaid with green and marigold flake. The new naturalistic color is available in the MinnowZ, 4-inch DieZel MinnowZ, Scented PaddlerZ and 4- and 5-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ™.

Z-Man's "Purple Death" pattern DieZel MinnowZ

Scented PaddlerZ in "The Wright Stuff"

Trout Trick in "Creole Croaker"

TRD TicklerZ in "Purple Death"

"I pleaded with Z-Man to make this color for years," admits Jesse Wright, a Largo, Florida based kayak angler. "I happened upon a pattern like this when I was a kid and caught a big snook on it that very first day. Where I work at Betts Fishing Center, The Wright Stuff has become our best-selling color—even though it still seems to fly under the radar in many areas.

"What makes the color so appetizing to redfish, snook and trout is its near-perfect mimicry of two key forage types," Wright suggests. "In the winter, the color really resembles a shrimp or a crab. But in summer, it also puts out that familiar shadowy hue that's suggestive of a finger mullet."

"The Wright Stuff has become a mainstay winter color for fishing mud bottom areas harboring sand worms," adds Cowart. "Fish gravitate toward these warmer mud areas on cooler days and The Wright Stuff really resembles the muted shade of a sand worm, which redfish munch by the pound. We rig a 3-inch MinnowZ on a 1/8-ounce jig and hop it up off the bottom."

"In shallow water, I fish a 4-inch Scented PaddlerZ™ on a 3/0 SnakelockZ™ swinging hook and lightly swim it with little twitches of the rod tip," says Wright. "I'll switch to a HeadlockZ HD™ jighead with the same bait when fishing that 3- to 6-foot zone and use more of a bouncing retrieve. Big 35- to 38-inch snook have just been crushing this color."

A third exceptional inshore pattern, Creole Croaker represents one of the favorite meals of Gulf Coast seatrout and other inshore species. Nussbaum, an ardent trout angler, says Z-Man finally concocted the pattern after fielding constant customer requests for a realistic croaker imitation. Camouflaged with a faint iridescent yellow-to-green back transitioning to a lighter, pearlescent underbelly, Creole Croaker is available in the MinnowZ, 4-inch DieZel MinnowZ, Trout Trick, Swimmin' Trout Trick, 4- and 5-inch Scented Jerk ShadZ and 4-inch Scented PaddlerZ.

"Croaker are prime seatrout forage all along the Gulf Coast," notes Nussbaum. "We've been throwing this color since last spring with awesome results. Creole Croaker is just a really natural bait pattern that shines in clearer water. To me, it's not just an elite imitator of croaker, but of a variety of flashy saltwater forage."

"Creole Croaker is prime for sightfishing big reds on shallow flats, too," notes Cowart. "I can track this color with my eyes in any light condition. That's key. But we're finding that fish get super aggressive on this color when they won't hit a white or pearl pattern bait. It's another cool Z-Man color that simply swims with the right look and vibe."

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