Throughout their eminent 30-plus year existence, the people at Charleston, South Carolina’s Z-Man Fishing Products have been inspired and motivated by fresh angling ideas and breakthrough technologies. Even before the company name emerged and permeated the everyday lexicon of anglers around the world, Z-Man was already at work behind the scenes, crafting some of the most innovative lure concepts in modern history.
It began in 1980s …
when the team perfected the coloration and mass production of silicone skirting material used in the manufacture of jigs and spinnerbaits. Until 2006, Z-Man worked solely behind the scenes, supplying many luremakers with high-grade silicone skirts.
Fortuitously, during this same period, Z-Man teamed with Ron Davis, inventor of the ChatterBait® bladed jig.
At first, Z-Man provided Davis with the silicone skirts required to build his new ChatterBait lures. But when Bryan Thrift dominated an FLW bass tournament on Lake Okeechobee using the ChatterBait in 2006, demand for the lures skyrocketed overnight, overwhelming Davis’ manufacturing capacity. Z-Man soon assumed all lure-making responsibilities and ultimately acquired from Davis all ChatterBait patents and trademarks, including the mark for its distinctive hex-shaped ChatterBlade®.
Over the past decade, few lures have caught more big bass or produced more tournament success than the ChatterBait, specifically the ChatterBait® JackHammer™.
Produced in partnership with Japan’s Evergreen International, the JackHammer has helped anglers win multiple Bassmaster Classics. In 2023, Bryan Thrift himself won the Major League Fishing REDCREST Championship with a ½-ounce Spot Remover-pattern JackHammer, bringing the ChatterBait revolution full circle.
Mirroring the ChatterBait’s ascension, Z-Man was around this same time working on another intriguing project behind closed curtains. The original Z-Man himself, company founder Jerry Zucker, made a key observation and discovery that would soon redefine traditional notions of soft plastic baits. Recognizing the unique properties of an incredibly durable and non-toxic elastomeric material used to manufacture industrial and biomedical products, Zucker identified the material’s profound potential within the softbait category and sent the Z-Man team to work refining it for use in soft plastic fishing lures.
In 2005, the extraordinary ElaZtech® softbait formula sprang to life.
Offering extreme benefits and previously unthinkable fish-catching advantages—superior softness, buoyancy and action, combined with long-lasting durability and minimal environmental impact, thanks to its 100% non-toxic composition.
Saltwater anglers immediately embraced the astonishing advantages of ElaZtech, and Z-Man superplastics quickly made waves within the inshore community.
Given the tough, aggressive, often toothy natures of inshore species, the durability of baits like the DieZel MinnowZ™, Scented Jerk ShadZ™ and TroutTrick® established them as instant classics in southeast coastal fisheries.
The freshwater fishing community soon began to catch on to the benefits of this revolutionary superplastic material, too. Glowing early reviews by angling luminaries—including articles by fishing writer Ned Kehde—helped the Z-Man brand enter the limelight and ultimately spawned the birth of the ‘Ned Rig system,’ a combination of small finesse superplastic softbaits like the Finesse TRD ™and jigheads like the Finesse ShroomZ™ that helped make ElaZtech a household name in the freshwater fishing community.
Inspired by the Ned Rig as well as Z-Man pros’ successes on the BASS, FLW, and MLF tours, ideas for new bait shapes and fishing applications flowed freely.
The ElaZtech product line quickly ballooned to include profiles covering virtually all bass fishing applications, not to mention pursuits for other freshwater species like walleye, pike, trout, panfish, and crappie. Meanwhile, recognizing the value of complete “fishing systems,” Z-Man began producing its own line of specialized jigheads, engineered to match and maximize performance of specific ElaZtech baits. Enhancing angler success in bass and other species areas, Z-Man also developed comprehensive lines of skirted jigs, spinnerbaits, and tackle storage and is poised to even further expand its offerings into other lure categories.
At Z-Man, authentic innovation is a badge of honor, recognized and admired by its countless fishing fans across the globe.
As Z-Man’s familiar blue ElaZtech packs continued expanding across US based tackle outlets, worldwide angling markets in Australia, New Zealand, Korea, India, and Europe followed suit. Today, Z-Man’s South Carolina-made ElaZtech baits are distributed in over 50 countries worldwide!
Throughout its entire 35-plus-year presence, the people at Z-Man have rarely wavered from the company’s original vision— to throw out the book of traditional lure-making; to create and put in anglers’ hands truly original tackle that simply catches fish. At Z-Man, authentic innovation is a badge of honor, recognized and admired by its countless fishing fans across the globe.