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ICAST 2016 Coverage

Reaching Optimum Madness in Big Baits!


Date: 8/3/16
Location: Orlando, FL
Admission: Buyers & Press Only
Manufacturer: Optimum Brands
Reviewer: Cal

If you've followed our coverage of ICAST in the past, you'll know that while Optimum Bait Company has products under their own name, they are also the distributors of many other popular bait brands including Kahara, Deps, AA Worms, Reins and ima. Keeping the baits and names all straight can be a challenge so this year, we're going to discuss just a few key baits within this large umbrella.


The Optimum Booth is like a candy store for big bait enthusiasts.


At every turn you're thinking "what's that?" (this is the Deps Hasu).


And at most every turn, you're left thinking, is a bass really going to eat that? (Deps Bluegill).


Deps: Aside from Optimum, perhaps the most exciting name brand within this distributorship is Deps. The SlideSwimmer 250 is one of the most popular large manufacturer big baits in recent memory with people getting on waitlist after waitlist to purchase these baits. Well, the company has done it again with Code Name BASS - a bait that dwarfs the SlideSwimmer 250 in size and imitates, of course, a baby bass. .


Then you see something truly astonishing ... the Deps Baby Bass.


You thought the Slide Swimmer 250 was big? Look at the size of this bait!


IMA: For IMA, there really wasn't any new product per-se, but the manufacturer did show off several prototypes that are in various stages of development. The one that caught our eye? The IMA Hard Fluke - a 178mm, 2.4 ounce glide bait developed for Michael Murphy as a signature bait.


This is a prototype bait in development by IMA - the Hard Fluke.


The Madness never ends.. especially not if that's the name of your company!


Madness Japan: New for the Optimum Umbrella of companies this year is Madness Japan. The bait they've chosen with which to make their debut? How about the twelve (12) inch long, six and a half ounce (6.5) ounce Balam designed by former Japan largemouth bass record holder Satan Shimada. This three-jointed bait will be available in both floating and slow sink and is expected to be available later this fall hopefully by the end of October - maybe sooner. Retail price has not yet been worked out but expect this bait to fall somewhere around $200.


The Balam is a snakey, 12 inch long bait.


The tail is a unique yet sensible design.


There are three hooks on this three jointed bait.


Looks like the tail is easily replaced.

Optimum BOOM BOOM: New and exciting for Optimum this year is their Boom Boom swimbait available in both a weedless and pre-rigged, bottom hook version. Both baits measure six inches (6") in length with the weedless version available in fourteen (14) different colors and sold for $9.99 per pack of two, and the rigged version available in twelve (12) different colors for $10.99 per bait.

This is the bait Fred Roubanis reaches for when it's time to get serious.


The Boom Boom is available in a prerigged, bottom hook version.

Or a weedless version you need to rig up yourself.

This bait looks like a good candidate for that new Owner Beast 12/0 hook.

The Boom Boom will retail for around $10.99 per bait.


This is the bait for which most big bait enthusiasts have been waiting.

BB Thumper: Also new for Optimum and scheduled for a 2016 Fall release is the Butch Brown Thumper Tail Swimbait. A nine inch bait with an internal weight and wire harness that comes in at 4.8 ounces. Optimum is still working out details on color and price but you can expect there to be a Butch Brown Trout. Early estimates are somewhere around $30 plus or minus for this bait, but that can change as the production process gets up and running.

Butch Brown's Thumper is a big, yet malleable swimbait.

Detailing is relatively simple on this bait.

Even the tail looks unassuming.

One of the rigging options on this bait.


Thank you Matt Paino for helping to feed the big bait madness.


Conclusion: It's obvious if you're a big bait enthusiast, you need to keep a close eye on the Optimum umbrella of companies. They have their pulse on what's hot and what's working and are working hard to make the very hard to get baits available. Thank you Matt Paino for taking the time to walk us through the constantly evolving world of big bait madness.









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