Considering how fun they are to fish and how much success they’ve brought him, it’s no wonder Storm® Arashi® hard baits are among bass pro Brandon Palaniuk’s favorites.
“I think the possibilities at this point are really limitless with the Arashi line-up,” he says.
“Arashi” (Ah-Rah-Shee) means “Storm” in Japanese. Storm is one of many respected names in the Rapala® family of brands. A five-time Bassmaster Classic contender, Palaniuk created a buzz about Arashi baits when he built a commanding lead with them in a Bassmaster Elite tournament on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin. Since then, Storm has released rattling versions, surface-waking versions, flat-sided versions, deep-running versions, a top-water version and super-deep-running versions.
The best of them to throw in the spring, Palaniuk says, are the Square 3, Square 5 and Top Walker. The former are shallow-running, square-bill crank baits. The latter is a top-water, and Palaniuk’s favorite.
“Everybody loves throwing a top-water bait,” Palaniuk says. “It’s just a really fun and aggressive way to fish. Having that visual strike on the bait, for me makes it more fun. That’s a big part of why the Top Walker is my favorite.”
That, and the fact that Top Walkers attract bass attacks better than do other top-water baits.
“The explosions you get on it are pretty vicious,” Palaniuk says. “It’s the best walk-the-dog bait, by far, now. It will up your odds of putting more fish in the boat.”
Not only does the Top Walker elicit more strikes than other top-waters, it yields more hook-up as well, Palaniuk says.
“Its design prevents it from rolling as it changes direction on the retrieve,” he explains. “That keeps the hooks underneath its body and not flaring out to the sides when it changes direction on the walk. That increases your hook-up ratio almost two-to-one.”
And rotated hook hangers, a feature of all baits in the Arashi line-up, ensure that all of the Top Walker’s three sticky-sharp trebles will grab fish and not let go.
“The more I get to fish with it, the more situations I put it in, the more I understand what the bait is capable of and how well it exceeds a lot of walking baits that I’ve used in the past,” Palaniuk says. “It really works all over the place.”
Available in both a 4 1/4- and 5 1/8-inch size, Top Walkers stride true even when retrieved fast. A long-glide walk-the-dog action, a powerful wake and a multiple-rattle sound signature combine to call in the biggest bass from the farthest distances. Both the large and small models feature four bearings that broadcast a variable pitch frequency fish can’t ignore.
The 4 1/4-inch Top Walker weighs 3/4 of an ounce and comes equipped with three #4 treble hooks. The 5 1/8-inch model weighs 1 1/8th ounces and comes with three #2 hooks. Both models come in ten color patterns, most of them slightly translucent: Green Gold Shad, Hot Blue Shad, Pearl Ayu, Bluegill, Blue Back Herring, Wakasagi, Ghost Hitch, Pro Blue, Ghost Pearl Shad and Black Silver Shad.
Palaniuk ties Top Walkers directly to a line that does not sink — either monofilament or braid. Because fluorocarbon sinks, it pulls down the nose of topwater baits, hampering their action. When water clarity and conditions allow, Palaniuk throws Top Walkers on braid. In crystal-clear water, he uses mono.
Hip to Throw Squares
Arashi Silent Square 3’s and 5’s are Palaniuk’s go-to shallow runners — especially in the spring. (The numbers in the names indicate the baits’ maximum diving depths.) He’ll throw Silent Squares “up until the point where the water gets dirty enough that I think I need a rattler,” he explains.
The Arashi Rattling Square 3 and Rattling Square 5 feature a multi-ball rattle system that imitates the sound of baitfish feeding in the shallows. Palaniuk favors the silent Squares in clear water and the rattlers in stained and muddy water.
“As you get into more dirtier water, fish have to use other senses because they can’t see as well,” he explains. “So they’ll use sound and the vibrations, which they detect with their lateral line.”
Featuring sturdy, square, circuit-board lips and premium finishes, both Rattling Squares and Silent Squares are built to withstand repeated contact with cover. Palaniuk has confidence throwing them “right into the middle” of rocks, logs and brush.
All Arashi baits are equipped with an innovative self-tuning line tie, which “allows the bait to get back on track quicker after deflecting off of cover,” Palaniuk explains. “And you can turn this bait on a high-speed reel as fast as you can possibly move your hand on the reel, and it will run true all the time. It will never blow out, never kick out to the side.”