Is There a Better Bass Worm?
By V. Paul Reynolds

Most of us who value the natural world acknowledge the worthiness of the so-called "Green Movement," although it does get out of hand at times. Sometimes sportsmen get inconvenienced, or even exasperated, when unreasonable burdens or restrictions are imposed on our fishing and hunting activities in well-meaning attempts to protect the environment.

Once, as an ardent duck hunter, I more or less gave up shivering in early morning duck blinds when lead shot was banned. Oh, I knew back then that it had to be. Waterfowl were ingesting lead shot left in watersheds by duck hunters, and being slowly poisoned. Although there have over the years been improvements in lead shot substitutes, the early substitutes for lead shot were far too costly and notoriously ineffective on flying waterfowl. ( Not the world's best wingshooter, I found myself wounding too many ducks with steel shot and my duck shooting companion, a lab named Bernice, had to be put down.). Needless to say, my waterfowling ardor cooled.

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The upshot, no pun intended, is that today I always cast a scrutinizing eye at Green- Movement innovations that promise to revolutionize my fishing or hunting undertakings, while at the same time helping the environment. There is, however, a new fishing lure just hitting the market that seems to measure up as being environmentally friendly AND effective as a lure.The lures are called IronClads, which are a nearly indestructible tournament strength soft bait.

As you may have heard, waters that experience heavy fishing pressure such as bass tournament lakes, are becoming repositories for non-biodegradable plastic worms and lures. A new term has sprung up: "soft lure waste." The downside is that fish consume these discarded soft lures and eventually die. Maine's sport fisheries pathologist has called public attention to this problem.

The idea of the IronClad soft bait is that once you impale it on a hook it stays there, no matter what. Inventors of this new bait, Ben Hobbins and John Mathews from Wisconsin, were on hand at the Worcester Sportsman Show in February to demo this new product. Outdoor writers I talked with said that this bait would really take a beating. As hard as they tried they could not tear the IronClad soft baits off the hooks once they were installed.

Besides the reduction in soft lure waste in our sport fisheries, there is another obvious side-benefit to anglers. In the long run, anglers save money, end up with more space in their tackle boxes, and cut way back on time being wasted in re-baiting during tournament competition.

For bass angling guides going through one soft bait after another, with clients, IronClad may be the ticket to reduced gear costs.

Frankly, competitive angling is not my cup of tea. And I am not well-versed in the whys and wherefores of a tournament bass angler's bag of tricks. But sizing up people and evaluating marketing pitches is my stock in trade. Having spent some time getting to know IronClad's President and CEO, Ben Hobbins, I suspect that his product works exactly as advertised. Whether you buy his indestructible soft baits or not, I'll bet you a double-jointed Rapala that you will be hearing a lot more about IronClad soft bait lures in the months ahead. By the way, the IronClad soft bait lures were named Best in Show at the Chicagoland Outdoors Show in January.

You can check out this product for yourself at IronClad's website: Or you can e mail them at The phone number is toll free 877 513 3535.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program "Maine Outdoors" heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WCME-FM 96.7) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is

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