RageTail Tricks With Steve Parks

Lure designer Steve Parks (Big O) gives you tricks and tips for fishing various RageTail baits.

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Steve: Well folks, thanks for inviting me again to be at the RoadTrip. It's always wonderful to come and visit all of you. We've all become really good friends, and I've been able to fish with several of you. I hope at some point in time I'm able to fish with all of you at one time or another. I hope you've enjoyed some of the Rage Bugs that we were handing out and I hope that they have been helpful for you during the trip. Another thing I wanted to talk to you about is the Rage Bug can be fished in so many different ways. We can use it the way most of us are using it, Texas rigged or flipping it, but some of us are using it as a jig trailer as well. As a jig trailer it adds more bulk to the jig, but it also adds just a little but more profile that makes it look a little more like a fish.


One of the things that you want to do is don't underestimate the different ways that you can use any bait. Whether it's Ragetail soft plastics or anyone else's, there are so many different ways to use them, and sometimes all you have to do is change the style of your presentation with the same bait and you'll catch more fish with it. Fish are looking for a different presentation, it seems like, all the time. Many times, like when we were in my boat today, there were three of us, and oftentimes all three were throwing something different.


There is a reason for that, and it's to find out which works best. Once we tweak that bite to what's working best, it's not very long before all three of us are throwing the same thing in the same way. That's something when you've got more people in the boat, make sure you're trying to see what works the best, and maybe a little competition to see who's right. If you have baits that they don't have don't be selfish, go ahead and hand them out, let them use them as well so that everybody can enjoy it.


Another thing that we're coming out with this year is this new swing head jig. Actually we're going to be calling this Knucklehead. Now this is going to be exclusive with Academy. This is similar to that Biffle jig or whatever it is, and I will tell you what the advantage of this style of presentation. This is a football head so when it hits the bottom, it's always leaving that hook in an upright position. That hook can't turn over this way. It can only turn on its side, but it can't turn over completely. It's impossible for it to do that. That is one advantage to it but another thing it does is give your bait the freedom to move.


Why is that important? Several reasons, number one, it adds more action to the bait when it's jumping across the rocks or shell beds or whatever you're pulling across. It allows the bait to move more from side to side and also up and down. Why? Because your line tie is attached directly to the head and wherever you move the head, the head moves freely. You don't have to jump it to get movement on the bait itself. Of course, Ragetails have the flanges so they are going to swim anytime you move the bait, but this bait can also move this direction.


One of the most important parts, in my opinion, of this particular style of presentation is this. If the football jig happens to be laid on its side because we're in rocks. Rocks are not always flat. They are not like a parking lot. They're like this and this. When this football lays over like this, if it was a football jig, it would be holding that bait sideways like this. When a fish tries to pick it up, I'm not sure if he can. When he tries to pick it up like this, it takes a little bit of pressure to stand this jig up, if you all understand what I'm saying. But this moves just like it's free. It is kind of like the difference between a Texas rig and a pegged weight.


Many times when we're fishing Texas rig, if you're casting my advice is to not peg your weight, but if you're flipping my advice is to peg that weight so the bait stays with the weight the entire time. Because many times what happens when we're flipping trees,  or even if it's big rocks or even grass the weight lands on one side of the grass or the stick, and the bait lands on the other or we're sliding it over a piece of grass, a stick or a rock and the weight comes over the rock but the bait doesn't. The weight goes, plunk, and it bounces on your line. It goes, wonk, and you set the hook into a tree. 


When we're flipping, we really want to see what's going on with that bait as it's falling. When we flip into a bush, tree or whatever or grass we want to know that that bait is with that weight because when it falls directly down that's a reaction strike. When the weight is with it, like this is with it, you can actually flip with this. You want it to fall straight down so that the fish doesn't see that weight first and then the bait. Sometimes they'll hit the weight on the fall because it's a reaction strike. You set the hook, you miss the fish, you go, "Man, I need to change my hooks." No, you probably need to peg your weight. That is just another trick you might think about.


Right now I've got this rig with the Rage Menace. This is what Mark Rose, on the first three Elite series, he's leading as angler of the year this year. He is doing it with two baits. One is the Rage Bug. If he had this it would probably be all he'd be throwing right now, but he ran out of them because I can't shoot enough of them by myself. Now we have the plastic company involved, and now they're shooting them so he is getting plenty of them. Bit when he ran out of these, you know what he went to, this, Menace. I know many of you are partial to the Menace already because it's a great little bait. You can do all the things we just talked about that you can do with the Bug.


Before I get off of this swing jig which Strike King is going to call the Knucklehead, that's the Academy release, but there's also going to be another one. How many of you remember the Denny Structure Jig, It's a stand up style jig very similar to Seibert's except it's got a wider head so it's got a flatter bottom. We're going to also make this swing head jig out of that as well. Why? Because footballs get hung up in jagged rocks. We want to be able to fish something like this Menace or the Bug or whatever we attach to this. Believe it or not, you can use a ten inch worm on a swing head jig and it will be good for you in many situations. The new structure head jig that we have that style will also come with this, it won't be an exclusive. It will be out at Bass Pro probably right after iCast. I am going to pass this around so you all can see how it works. If you haven't already seen that style of jig before, you can check it out.


Another thing I want to show you is this past year we came out with the Rage Blade. How many of you have heard of the Rage Blade or seen it or whatever? The Rage Blade was actually designed and developed by the guy who originally designed and developed the Chatter Bait. What he wanted to do was to come up with something different and a little bit better and what he has come up with is the Rage Blade.


What you will notice, and I'm going to pass this around. It comes in several different colors, but the weight is on the blade itself. It's not on the hook. You notice the hook is free floating here. The weight is right here at the base of the blade. There is a couple of things that this does that regular Chatter Bait, and the Pure Poison won't do. A Strike King Pure Poison and the Chatter Bait, when you're bringing it through the water, it's doing this constantly. It doesn't do this and it doesn't do any of this. This will actually hunt just a little bit when you're reeling it through the water.


There's another thing that probably is the important thing that this does, that Chatter Bait and Pure Poison and things like that don't do. How many of you have used Chatter Bait and stuff in trees and brush and stuff like that and got hung up a lot? They all do, and it's not like this is snagless when it comes to trees because it will hang up on it as well. But it comes through them a lot better than the other style jigs. The reason is the line ties weren't holding it right here. If you'll notice, do we have a fork or a knife or something that I could show how it pulls over? I'll just use this key. That's fine.


If you'll notice when you're pulling it, it's pulling just like this. And when it comes up to a tree like this, you notice the weight is kicking the hook straight up. You know what happens with the other style jigs? They turn over. As soon as that blade hits it, what do they do? It won't turn over because the weight's keeping the hook up. They'll actually turn over like this, and then it hooks the tree or limb. That's the reason we would love to be able to throw Chatter Bait and Pure Poison and those style baits in the brush and be a little bit . . . Because, that's where a lot of the fish are. But this one is a lot less. It isn't going to snag near as bad as the other ones will.


This is already on the market, but we're still tweaking and tweaking, and we try to get everything as good as we can. Because getting the weight exactly and distributed properly and all this kind of stuff. We come out of the last iCast, but it's really just hit the market heavy in the last three to five months. So I'm going to pass this around, and you'll notice it's a very small line tie. It's actually a clip, and that little eye there is very small, but when you use this, make sure that you get your line through both of these eyes. This is a little clip that attaches to the blade. So you all check this out.


One other thing that I want to tell you about it, well, two things. Number one, on the fall, this fall's much faster than a regular Pure Poison or Chatter Bait. Why? Because the bait folds up. See how it's folded up right here? It folds, and it falls really fast.


So another thing that I want you to know is the little trailer that we've got on the tail of it right here, that's a standard trailer for these style of jigs. What were we using on it today, gentlemen? The Eeliminator. We used the Eeliminator on the back of this to catch . . . Well, I've been using it for five days now, but if I want a six inch profile and I want a lot of action, but I don't want something that's going to kill the action of the head of the bait, I'm going to use the Eeliminator.


And we're using that blue glimmer or white. You can use white or blue glimmer if you're looking for a shad style. We had this in a sexy shad color, and that's what we've been throwing for several days. But anyway, it's a unique combination of ideas that's come together to create a better jig, a slim jig. So you all check that out. Now Mike's going to ask to keep it, and you can, Mike, but after everybody else sees it and keep that.


And folks, on the Rage Bug it's going to be out next month. It's going to be out, in fact, it's going to be out mid this month because we're already in production. They've already got the packaging going, so there's a good chance you're going to see it at Tackle Warehouse or Bass Pro, one of those places, here soon. For sure Mike Seibert is going to have them because he put in one of the first orders for an individual other than the big corporations. And folks trust me, Mike gives you a better price than anybody else does. And so I would advise you to always do business with that gentleman right here over and above anyone else. Besides that, he's a nice guy.


One other thing. How many of you all have had trouble with the Recon Worm, with it breaking in two too easy and stuff like that? Jeff?


Jeff: I couldn't get the fish off the hook.


Steve: Yeah, I know. The Recon Worm has turned out to be one of our best designs ever. It's because the texture is soft, the body moves, the tail moves. It's such a great presentation for a big worm. But what happened is in every plastic shop or any business you have these variables that you have to work with. What happened is if we had several variables, including this plastic being a little bit too soft, sometimes a little bit too hard or this or that. And where we were able to get away from that and make the worm very sturdy, a much more sturdy bait for you, but still have the movement, the action, the texture and all this stuff, there's two things we did.


Number one, there's a center body section that goes down through that worm that's got the rings on the outside. We increased the size of that center body section so that the worm is a little bit stouter. But what we also did is we changed our plastic to where the plastic is much higher quality. And we did that, not just for the Recon Worm, but we did it over all of our products. So how many times have you opened up a pack of bait and they're just as greasy as can be, just oily and greasy? It wasn't just Rage Tail. It's had that problem in the past. Believe it or not, it's okay for it to have a little bit of oil but too much oil is not a good thing.


So what we've done is we've changed. Now we're producing all of our plastic from scratch and the quality control on all of our plastic, the change in the texture. How many of you have got a Rage Craw that one of them is really soft and maybe one of them was firmer than the other ones. That's not going to happen anymore. They're all going to be the same texture. And they're also going to be a little bit sturdier on the hook for you. So we try to keep things improving all the time. I'm not saying that we're perfect, but we try to be. I promise you we try to be.


Strike King has been really good about making sure that anything and everything that we do we keep it on the highest quality standard we can. Believe it or not, a lot of the information that I get from you guys on the forum is vitally important, and I appreciate any time. I promise you when you message me if I don't answer it, it's not that I don't want to answer it because I haven't seen it. I just haven't seen it. I just learned what that little mail box was, maybe, seven months ago, eight months ago. And it's not like I'm doing that on purpose, I promise because everybody here I like besides Ronnie and Mike and a few others.


Anyway, does anybody have any questions about anything? We covered all the information about lakes and stuff like that and the fishing gear. I hope the fishing has been good for everybody. It seems to be great, and I hope you all are having a great time here as well.


Again, I appreciate the invite and come and spend time with all of you. Did anybody have any questions about any of the Rage Tail baits that possibly I could answer? Perfect. Well, I want you to know that Steve@RageTail.com. That's my email address. Email me any time. That's okay. I'll pass out a phone number to all of you besides the two people that I just mentioned, that I really don't like that much.


Audience: Actually I do have a question.


Steve: Yes sir?


Audience: Specific here to the Tennessee River, I noticed that in a lot of the baits, the plum crazy color was dropped this year. Was there a reason for that? Was it not for sale?


Steve: That's exactly the reason. If the sales quotas on certain colors don't reach us, that's not my call.


Audience: Got you.


Steve: Folks, my job is to design baits that work. I have a certain amount of input on color.


Audience: Oh no. I just figured you knew the reason. That's why I asked.


Steve: The reason would be that there's not enough sales in their opinion to keep it because you have to realize there's only a certain amount of SKUs that they can have in any store. And so, if a certain color doesn't reach to what they think the potential should be, then they'll drop that color. A color that I wished we had in every bait that we make, including the Rage Shad, I wouldn't care, is plum and Red Bug. I think Red Bug craws could rule the world in many places. So don't think that I don't try to get certain colors because all I do is fish. I shouldn't say all I do is fish, but I fish a lot. But all I fish is Rage Tail.


It's not like I don't change and change and tweak and tweak and find out which color is going to work at any given time. I think yesterday I told somebody I didn't like that much, I don't even know why I told him, that I said you need to get some of the giveaways we had. You need to get this bag of Rage Craws right here because nobody realizes just how good it is, a green pumpkin back with a pearl belly. It could very well be one of the hottest colors that's even been produced in soft plastics, not just craws but soft plastics.


Why is it so good in a craw? That's the first color that they turn to after molting. They turn to a kind of green pumpkin, greenish back, and a pearl belly. It's one of the most popular colors that you can make a crawdad of, in my opinion. How many people are doing it? I don't know. We started it last year, and now I'm sure other people will follow. But even Long Mike is no fishing puke, you know. [laughter] Sorry, Mike. That's on video too. No, no, Mike is one of the best guys to figure out a color.


Last year I went fishing with Mike in his boat, and I was fishing with a certain color. And I was just whacking the fish. I was getting them pretty often, and then he went to a color and he started handing it to me. In fact, he handed it to me so bad that I didn't catch another fish because I didn't have time to cast. I was too busy taking his fish off and retying his hooks because he said he couldn't see or something. He made some excuse to make me do all the stuff for him.


But anyway, he found another color that even far better than what I was using. That's just another thing that you all need to think about. Just because you are catching fish in one color, don't mean that you can't catch more on another color. And it's always fun to tweak the bite. It’s always fun when you have somebody like Mike in boat…well, it’s really not much fun when you have Mike in the boat, but if it’s just him that you’ve got it’s always fun if y’all change colors and try to find out who’s got the best.


But anyway, thanks again everybody for inviting me. I get to fish here again one more morning and then I’ll be heading out. But it’s been fun as always, and if y’all have any questions remember steve@ragetail.com send me an email and hey, let’s talk.


Audience: I’ve got one more question for you.  On the the chatter-style bait and how you were tying to it.  I was looking at it, and I’m confused.  You put it through the  line tie and you wrap around it.


Steve: That little bitty eye right at the top.


Audience: That’s what you tie through?


Steve: That’s what you tie through. And believe it or not, I use 25lb Vicious fluoro, which is about as big as fluoro as you’re gonna get.  I don’t know anyone that uses bigger than that, not with this bait. But that’s the only fluoro I use. And I can tie a Palomar with that with ease, and I can’t see anything. So it will fit with 25lb fluoro.


It will handle plenty of big fish. I don’t know big the drum we were catching on this and we caught a bunch of them. It handles big fish.  You can trust that hook too.  It’s a good hook.


Another thing, put different, whatever profile you want to put on it. One of my favorite trailers is the Cutter worm. I’ll take one inch of the head of a Cutter worm and put it back there, and it’s the same length as a shad and it’s got that whippin’ tail it’s a little bit smaller profile than the Eeliminator. I won’t put the entire Eeliminator on there. I’ll cut about an inch off the head of the Eeliminator, trim the sides off of it, and then I’ll just swing it up on the hook.


So you can really do anything with this bait as well. How many of you have changed jig trailers on your regular jigs?  Everybody.  Well you can do that with this as well.


Audience: What kind of worm would you put on there? Would you put it on with tail down or up, that little flange.


Steve: It really, believe it or not this bait is gonna ride up in the water column. Why? Because the bill is facing this direction. So when you put forward pressure, it’s gonna try to ride up on you. But if you put an Eeliminator on it and you put the Eeliminator facing down like this, the Eeliminator tail pulling back like this pushes the head down.


I like the Eeliminator tail because it’s got a different action than the rest of the baits out there. It’s a whip, snap, pow, pow, pow, pow. Like that. It’s not just a paddle. I also like the Cutter worm because it has a unique action just unto itself.


But you could put a swimbait on the back of it and you’ll be fine.  I wouldn’t put a bait that’s gonna have a real big paddle tail that’s gonna put a lot of drag on the bait itself. Because it’ll be hard to fish that deeper in the water column.


Key to it is to change it up a little.  Baby Craw works good. The Menace works well on this. But just change it up and see what you think about it.


Any other questions? Thanks again.

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