Berkley has been coming out with new baits to add to their value priced Havoc series every year. By enlisting the services of some of the biggest names in tournament fishing, the Havoc series continues to be innovative in design while maintaining a very moderate pricing structure for everything in the series.
Possibly one of the most anticipated new baits is the Skeet’s 4” Sick Fish Swimbait. We were able to get a couple of these at ICAST and have been fishing them ever since.
Bait Construction And Rigging
This bait is not a hollow body bait. On the contrary, it is a solid, soft plastic body with no belly slits of any kind. This allows the angler to rig it weightless, on a jig-head, on an umbrella rig or you can choose to slit the belly to use with a weighted swimbait hook.
The Sick Fish features an anatomically correct design with all the fins molded into the bait. It will mimic any number of forage fish across the country and will come in several color patterns that are reasonable facsimiles of a variety of baitfish.
When it comes to rigging the bait, the angler has to decide what the prevailing conditions are prior to choosing a particular method. For instance, if the goal is to rig it weedless, than a belly-weighted swimbait hook will be your best option.
This was the first method we choose. We used our favorite hook which features a 4/0 EWG because this is what the Berkley rep suggested. While this set-up posed no issues with casting and retrieving, we did notice that the hook-up ratio was less than stellar.
After examining the bait and finding teeth marks in the paint, it became clear that the problem we were having was just that the dorsal fin was getting in the way of the hook point making it difficult to penetrate the fishes mouth.
I bring this up because while we have found the Sick Fish to be very durable, there is a tradeoff. Like all soft plastics, the softer they are, the easier they get torn up. Berkley did a great job on this bait making it both realistic and durable for a good price.
However, this feature means that we had to adjust our equipment, specifically our choice of hooks, to accommodate the lure. We changed our usual hook out in favor of an Owner Weighted Beast Hook. The extra gap was all that was needed to get our hook-up percentage back to a respectable ratio.
Fishing The Sick Fish
No matter how you choose to rig it, the action is consistent and predictable. That tail will kick at all but the slowest of retrieve speeds without rolling over when you decide to speed it up. This is certainly a positive.
You have to be aware that the Havoc series baits are not infused with Berkley scent. This is not necessarily a detriment though. You can add your own scent using whatever you chose. Our go to stink is Fish Sticks Lure Enhancer which, in our opinion, complements the Sick Fish very well.
Before closing, I need to mention that the Sick Fish is not yet available but should arrive by late fall or early winter. This just means that you’ll have the time to explore how you want to rig it prior to actually getting some.
The Sick Fish should retail for about $3 for a two pack at most retail outlets and come packaged with a clam style shell, clear plastic inner that helps prevent damage to the fins and tail as well as protects the paint job.
While some of you will recognize the basic design of the bait as similar to another, larger swimbait, you have to take the individual product and look at based on its merits.
You can check out a full photo gallery on our Facebook page.
See ya’ on the water …