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Mythical Creatures, Legendary Baits : The Return of Nezumma

Date: 10/08/09
Tackle type: BigBait
Manufacturer: 22nd Century Baits
Reviewer: Cal (with special contributions by Terry Battisti)


Introduction: Terry Battisti, outdoor writer and contributing TT Editor, grew up in Southern California and is intimately familiar with the story behind the emergence of three of the industry’s most acclaimed big bait manufacturers, 22nd Century, Rago Baits, and 3:16 Lure Company. In fact, he’s known the founders of the first two since before their respective companies came into existence.

22nd Century Nezumma Rat Specifications

Type Big Bait
Depth 0 - 1 feet
Class Floater (Wake Bait)
Size / Weight 6.5" (excluding tail) / 4.5 ounces
Colors / Patterns Original is brown, Featured in article is the Limited run Yellow Frog
Notes There are only 10 Yellow Frog Nezumma Rats in existence - each is numbered and signed by Scott Whitmer
MSRP $175

This past spring, Terry and I shared a day out on the California Delta testing tackle, checking out new products, and basically ragging on each other all day long. Amidst the frustrations of testing product and laughing at each other’s ineptitudes, Terry relayed to me his very unique perspective on the history behind these companies paying particular attention to one. You see, Terry has known the founder of 22nd Century Baits, Scott Whitmer, since they were both kids, and in fact Terry was instrumental in the development of the modern big bait makers’ bait making process. But I’ll leave that part of the story for him to tell someday.

22nd Century's Nezumma Rat is Back! ...

22nd Century's Rat: Having only been introduced to the big bait scene between four to five years ago, there are a lot of baits that escaped my initial trawl because they were no longer in the market. During the course of my discussion with Terry that day, one such bait by 22nd Century came up: The Nezumma Rat.

... But only in limited quantities ...

The Nezumma Rat, named after a mythical Japanese creature, has itself reached almost mythical status. Originally built during the early 2000s in limited quantities for the Japanese market, the bait was a hard sell overseas. With low demand in its intended market, and a small inventory of baits sitting around unappreciated, Whitmer sold a few to close friends in Southern California. These friends started whacking bass on them and word began to spread.  Trouble is, at the very same time, the Triple Trout was selling like rare cut, blue fin, toro sushi. Whitmer couldn’t keep up with demand.

... and this color in particular, the Collector's Edition Yellow Frog ...

Since the Nezumma Rat took Whitmer considerably more time to build, it took a back seat to the Triple Trout so the few rats that were in existence began to appreciate. Originally offered at somewhere around sixty to seventy bucks ($60-$70) a piece, story has it some have recently sold on eBay for well over two hundred dollars ($200). Aren’t we in the middle of a recession? Enthusiasm knows no bounds.

... is rarer still. There are only 10 in existence, each numbered and signed by their maker, Scott Whitmer of 22nd Century Baits.

Enter Southern California based, HookedUpTackle.com, and co-owner Oliver Ngy. Oliver’s specialty is sourcing hard to find, limited run baits and on a recent phone order with Scott Whitmer, Oliver asked the bait maker if he would make him a limited run of rats for sale in his store. Surprisingly, Whitmer agreed. That’s right, the Nezumma Rat is back, but as with all limited run products at a hefty price tag.

Here's a look at the stock hooks...

So what’s this bait all about you ask? Well, we ordered one of these limited run, signed and numbered baits from Oliver so we could check it out for ourselves and when it arrived, the first thought that crossed my mind was I could not believe the bait’s size.

... together with the rotating screw eye that has become a signature of sorts with 22nd Century's products.

Talk about "enthusiast," only ten exist









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