In the swimbait industry, Working Class Zero has made quite the name for themselves. Their Big Bass Board offers a safer way to take pictures of your catch rather than lying the bass on the carpet ultimately causing damage to their slime coats. These boards have become incredibly popular here in the states as well as across the world. Founder/Owner and trophy hunter Mike Gilbert has also taken to creating baits of his own in the pursuit of giant bass. The Battles Shad is offered in 7.5 and 9 inch models are proven baits for catching big fish. Last year, they introduced their new open pour swimbait called the Citizen. It is 7 inches and weighs in at 2 ounces without the recommended 10/0 Owner Beast Hook. This bait to me seemed to slip under the radar with the Battles Shads continuing to take most of the shine. The Citizen is sold in a three pack and is offered in a solid selection of colors. I got to really put the durability of these baits to the test when I took them Calico fishing. If a bait could handle those toothy critters, it wouldn’t have any problem holding up against the fish I generally target. I used one Citizen all day at San Clemente Island and it had plenty of life left even without using Mend-it. The action is more subtle than the Battles Shad and I have found that most of my bites on this bait come a few feet below the surface rather than bouncing it off the bottom. With a quick twitch of the rod, the Citizen will dart to the side which can create a reaction when a fish merely seems to wanna follow the bait and not fully commit. I would definitely like to see this bait in a Blue Gill color scheme mainly because that tends to be my go to in soft baits. The best setup I’ve found for this bait is an 8-8’3 Heavy Fast rod paired up with 5.8 Tranx 300. The price tag comes in at $54.95 ( http://www.workingclasszero.net ) which might be a little steep for some but the Citizens aren’t gonna be a one and done type of bait. The durability is stellar and if need be a little mend it will keep it kicking for as long as you wanna throw it.
I do a few little tweaks that helped optimize hook up ratios for me. After rigging the bait, I make sure to bend the hook up just enough so that the hook point sits horizontal with the backside of the bait. The next thing that I do is increase the size of the belly slot. I take a box cutter and cut the slit just past where the weight touches the plastic. I know in doing this it can alter the integrity of the bait but that’s not something that I’m worried about if it means me getting or not getting a fish into the boat. These aren’t tricks recommended by Mike just a few tweaks that I found helped me capitalize on my bites.