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A Winning Culture

"Anglers are beginning to realize that in a lot of situations, the StealthBlade rivals the fish-catching magnetism of the original ChatterBait JackHammer," observes Z-Man pro Brett Hite, the brains behind both game-winning bladed jigs. "We've been putting up some huge numbers on the subtle StealthBlade lately. It's a totally different animal than the original, and as anglers learn where and when to throw it, I think we'll see some big tournaments won with this bait."

Even before the ultra-refined ChatterBait—a collaboration between Z-Man and Japan's EverGreen International—celebrated its first birthday, the JackHammer StealthBlade has already established a culture of winning. At 2020 ICAST, the fishing industry's preeminent tradeshow, the Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer StealthBlade won Best Freshwater Lure, as voted by sportfishing media and tackle buyers. Recently, Z-Man also won Best Freshwater Lure at the 2021 Big Rock Sports Virtual Outdoor Expo. Winners were chosen based on the participating retailers' individual votes on each product.

ChatterBait JackHammer StealthBlade.

"Z-Man continues to demonstrate leadership and innovation in both freshwater and saltwater baits," says Ryan Link, General Merchandise Manager for Big Rock Sports. "Groundbreaking lures like the JackHammer StealthBlade certainly strengthen Z-Man's reputation and significance with anglers across the U.S. We are honored and excited to partner with Z-Man to bring this new product to the market, and we congratulate them on the award for Best New Freshwater Lure in the 2021 Big Rock Sports Outdoors Expo Virtual Show."

"Winning at ICAST meant a ton to Z-Man, but honestly, backing it up with the Big Rock award means even more," asserts Z-Man National Sales Manager, Glenn Young. "This win was voted on by the people who will be selling the lure and using it. When they speak, their customers listen. And getting a vote of confidence from our dealers really confirms what we already knew, which is that the StealthBlade is a unique, smartly designed bait that fills another important niche in the bladed jig category."

Hite describes the niche succinctly: "The JackHammer StealthBlade is the antidote for bass that have seen endless parades of traditional bladed jigs."

Among America's best bladed jig anglers, Hite says the JackHammer StealthBlade's next-level engineering purposefully produced a subtler, high-frequency vibration, an unpredictable 'hunting' action and visual stealth via a clear polycarbonate blade.

The original, new-classic JackHammer and subtler StealthBlade, Hite explains, lie at opposite ends of the vibration spectrum. "A lot of anglers who throw the StealthBlade for the first time expect to feel the same deep thumping vibration of the original JackHammer. But the motivation behind the StealthBlade is almost the opposite—a tighter, higher frequency vibration that plays just as powerfully to bass in cool water, clear water and in high-pressure and bluebird sky situations. It's a little like throwing a Shad Rap, whose tight vibration produces exceptional cool water bites.

"Anglers who have figured this out and understand the StealthBlade's subtle sound are scoring big bags. I mean, the bait 'starts' just as quickly and smoothly as ever. And the more I fish it, the more places I'm finding it shines, like, the lure catches 'em really good in dirty water, too."

A finely etched polycarbonate blade produces subtle, high-frequency vibrations.

Producing its own distilled sound, action and vibration, the lure's finely-etched polycarbonate blade strums bass lateral lines on refined levels—just enough buzz to announce its presence without coming across as mechanical or artificial. Consider a shad, a critter that would just as soon remain undetected, but whose subtle tail-thumping retreat can't fly completely under the bass' radar.

"The cool thing with the StealthBlade is you don't need to twitch your rod to make the lure hunt," notes Hite. "Just speed up your retrieve and stop. That's enough to give the lure that nice erratic action which can be a magic move, at times."

Hite also prefers to throw the StealthBlade on the same rods he wields with other bladed jigs. "Other than the blade, one huge difference-maker is the StealthBlade's lighter-wire custom Decoy hook," he notes. "It's got the same gap as the original JackHammer, but it's just slightly shorter, more compact. The hook's also fortified with a special fluorine nanocoating for extra strength. So, I can drop from 20- down to 12-pound test fluorocarbon and fish it deeper and with a bit more stealth. Also, you don't need a big powerful hookset. Just reel down, sweep and you got 'em.

Z-Man pro and elite bladed jig angler Brett Hite calls the StealthBlade 'the antidote for pressured bass.

"Even at places like Lake Mead, I can let the lure sink down to 20 feet of water and just slow wind it back. Or, take it down to Florida in spring, where everyone's throwing bladed jigs. Places like Lake Toho and the Harris Chain—these waters are prime for a StealthBlade win. Or just pull it out of the box on those post-frontal days. The subtler ChatterBait usually gets tough fish to pull the trigger.

"A buddy who's a well-known tour angler just texted me to say he'd boated over thirty good ones down on (lake) Guntersville, while everyone else was throwing the original JackHammer. On that lake at this time of year, that's a huge deal. I think the StealthBlade is going to surprise some people this season on the pro circuits. It's got 'W' written all over it."

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