them offshore. He helped pioneer this way of fishing with a legendary run starting in the 1990s that included a Bassmaster Classic title and FLW Forrest Wood Cup, to go with many more wins and accolades that were almost all thanks to a crankbait.
When he joined the Berkley pro staff, one of the first things he did was to hand an old wooden flat-side, the lure he won the 1993 Bassmaster Classic, to the team, and he told them he’d like a plastic version. It was a big ask of Dan Spengler, Berkley Senior Project Engineer, and his colleagues, as nobody had successfully recreated the action of wooden baits in a mass-produced plastic bait.
“He gave us the bait, but the product was shelved for quite a while because we hadn’t cracked the code yet,” said Spengler. “We worked on it off and on for a number of years and picked it back up after we cracked the balsa code with another bait, the Hit Stick, a plastic minnow bait that we successfully designed to have the same action of a balsa lure.”
That bait, a multi-species bait that can be cast or trolled, utilized Berkley’s patented FlashDisc™ Technology. These stainless steel discs are placed into the bait’s chamber and give the lure a low center of gravity for a perfect balsa-like rolling action.
Eventually, this technology was brought over to the David Fritts crankbait project, and with plenty of testing, they were on their way to developing the bait he had asked for.
BERKLEY’S HIGH-TECH BAIT DEVELOPMENT
The science behind Berkley’s lures is well documented, but much of it focuses on soft plastics. PowerBait and MaxScent are examples of how the team has utilized science to create lures that catch more fish. For their hard habits, Berkley takes things just as seriously.
“We utilize a flow tank to test competitor’s products and all of our prototypes,” he said. “Our tests are filmed, and we can view slow-motion videos for analysis. We also use mathematical models for motion dynamics to test the side-to-side action and roll, two things we know trigger bites.”
Even after cracking the code and finding success with the Hit Stick, there was still work to be done on the Fritts crankbait, but they knew FlashDiscs were part of the solution.