TESTED: Slam Ultrabite soft baits

WHEN you’ve worked in the fishing magazine game for a few years it’s easy to become a little non-plussed when another lure brand or model gets released – especially if it slots into the soft baits/plastics segment of the market. In recent years there have been literally hundreds of new variations on this theme released, many of which seem to catch as many fishos as fish.

With more and more Aussie fishos embracing soft plastics fishing newcomers find themselves wading through myriad colourful offerings from the likes of Squidgy, Berkley, Atomic, Bozos, Ecogear, Tropic Angler and a whole lot more – it can all be very daunting. And the choice has just become even more confusing – enter Slam Stimulate baits . These new softies carry the Stimulate label commonly associated with the patented Ultrabite raw fish pheremone product incorporated in Stimulate branded instant berley packets and scents – Stimulate is the name given by the developer of the products, Kiwi Geoff Curley.
Slam baits are the result of Curley’s foray into the softbait market. It’s not hard to see Slams are designed to take on the likes of the other big players in the scented soft baits market namely Berkley Gulps and the Squidgy Pro range featuring S-Factor scent – the latter developed by Aussie marine biologist and Fisho writer Dr Ben Diggles.

During initial testing in New Zealand waters Slam baits reportedly proved very successful on snapper and kings. Slam baits are manufactured from human food grade material and claimed as 100 per cent biodegradable. They come in resealable packs filled with a small amount of liquid Stimulate and currently in three varieties: paddletail, jerk shad and minnow.
Having used soft plastics extensively for a number of years, like most fishos I have my proven favourites. And the idea of another player in a seemingly saturated market left me a little sceptical. The best way to find out if these new luires were of value came recently when I took 10 packs of Slam 5″ and 7″ jerk shads up to Cape York for testing over a week’s fishing. Of note was that the test packs featured baits in single colours (with added flecks in some cases) unlike, some proven lures from competitor brands that are available in multitudes of contrasting colours. Typically when it comes to lure marketing the names of the various colours didn’t disappoint – Great White, Bubble Gum, Tickled Pink, Lime Tiger, Black Pearl,etc.
On the first afternoon of our trip we were fishing over reef in the hope of black jew or fingermarks.. Fishing a 5″ Slam (bubble gum) jerk shad I soon hooked a thumper golden trevally, that bit on the retrieve – see video footage of this capture in the Practical/How To section of this website. And it went on from there.
Fingermarks readily ate Slams, including a few honker specimens, as did queenfish, other trevally varieties (giant and bludger), coral trout, sharks, some weird ooglies no one knew the names of, and a barra or two hooked by a couple of mates on the trip. A pack of 5″ Lime Tiger jerk shads on the accompanying boat accounted for some nice fingermarks, including a 7kg model.
It’s hard to not directly compare Slam’s jerk shad to the Berkley Gulp model as they look very similar, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so they say. First up, upon opening Slam packs they don’t exude a strong scent, unlike Gulps which surround your nostrils with a strong fishy odour – probably why they work so well.
During the trip Slams didn’t work any better than other softies we used – we caught plenty of fish on Gulps as well, especially 7″ nuclear chicken and white jerk shads – but Slams definitely performed on a par with proven Gulps, which was surprising. While reasonably durable – some baits accounted for more than one fish – Slams baits also shrivel up (as Gulps do) if left out of the water and in the sun for too long; they too can be put back in their sealed pack and “recharged” with scent. I left a few chewed Slams on the boat console overnight and they went hard during this time.
Interestingly, many fish ate the Slams when fished like natural bait – dead drift or when stationary on the bottom – as commonly happens with Gulps and Squidgies loaded with S-Factor. That was a surprise.
Others on the trip were a little sceptical of the new lures but once they saw them catch fish soon asked to try them out. Our boat man, Jeremiah, was a quick convert. Using a 5″ Slam jerk shad in Bubblegum he quickly caught and released a couple of nice queenfish – a species that readily hit these baits on the move – and was soon confidently reloading with the same. And in this game confidence in your lures goes a long way to success.
While it can be said fishing a remote region that sees minimal fishing pressure might suggest unrealistic results – as suggested by one fishing mate: “fish eat anything up there don’t they?” future testing will reveal how well these softies work in more heavily fished waters along our coastline, and eventually long term. In the meantime if these initial results are an indication Slam baits are set to take off in Oz.

By Mick Fletoridis

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