Lost in the storm of attention around Brandon Palaniuk’s 6-pound day two lead in the Bassmaster Mississippi River Rumble last week was the secret lure that gave him such an advantage.
Fittingly, it was a Storm® lure – a new square-bill crankbait, the Arashi™.
“I tried a bunch of other crankbaits [on the Mississippi], and this one definitely caught more fish and – I’m 100 percent confident – caught the bigger fish,” Palaniuk says.
Next month at ICAST, Storm® will officially unveil the Arashi – which means “storm” in Japanese. Four models will be introduced in 12 colors – the Arashi Square 3 and Arashi Square 5, Arashi Rattling Flat 7, and Arashi Rattling Deep 10. The numbers in the name indicate the bait’s maximum diving depth. Until then, Palaniuk is the only Elite Series angler that has them.
Small wonder then that Palaniuk was the only angler to bring consecutive 18-plus-pound five-fish limits to the scales in the first two days of the Mississippi River Rumble (18 pounds, 4 oz. on day one, 19-3 on day two). He was the only guy fishing with an Arashi Square 3. He threw it at big Smallmouth Bass holding in eddies in one-to-three feet of water near isolated rocks in the river’s main current.
“That’s where those Smallmouth live,” Palaniuk says. “They just sit there and allow the food to come to them. As soon as the Arashi hit the rocks, it went straight over the rocks and right into their face. So they had no option other than to eat the bait.”
Palaniuk’s Arashi Square 3 was one of only a few in his arsenal that would come through the rocks at triggering speed and not get hung up repeatedly.
“I would fish this bait extremely fast,” he explains. “It was bumping and grinding through those rocks, and all of a sudden, your rod would load up, as soon as they hit that bait. And they were eating it good.”
Palaniuk built his 6-pound lead in the first two days of the Mississippi River Rumble, mostly throwing his new Arashi and a Rapala® DT® crankbait in four or five small, specific spots.
“I would just make a milk run through those and those fish would pull up and down,” he says. “They’d pull up on top of those little sweet spots and feed and then they’d pull back down into the deeper holes when they weren’t feeding. If you got your timing right, it was lights out.”
Self-tuning line tie
Three features combine to make the Arashi the perfect bait for numerous shallow-water applications, Palaniuk says, noting that it will be just as effective elsewhere in the country as it was on the Mississippi River.
Most unique to the Arashi is its free-moving, self-tuning line tie.
“Once this bait is in tune, it will never come out of tune,” Palaniuk points out, explaining why that’s important.
“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,” he says. “It will never blow out, never kick out to the side.”
That was especially key to Palaniuk’s success in the first two days of the Mississippi River Rumble, he explains, because the fish’s strike zone was tiny in such fast current.
“Most crankbaits would kick out to the side, and by the time they got back on track, they were already behind the fish,” he explains. “But the Arashi tracked true right through the strike zone.”
Rotated hook hangers
The Arashi features rotated hook hangers to nest the hooks close to the body preventing hang-ups, and accommodating larger hooks.
“And fishing in fast current like that, when you’re burning this bait by ’em and those fish come up and slap at it, you’ve got a lot better chance of hooking up with them if you’ve got bigger hooks on,” Palaniuk explains.
Circuit board lip
The Arashi’s circuit-board lip construction allows for a thinner bill, which makes the bait durable and gives it more action at slower speeds.
“I was digging those rocks in 1-1/2 to 2 feet of water most of the time, and I threw the same crankbait all week,” Palaniuk says. “I never had a problem with the bill chipping.”