Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Missile Baits Fuse 4.4 with John Crews By Josiah Gaza


The Missile Baits Fuse 4.4 with John Crews
Josiah Gaza


    Shaky head fishing has become immensely popular at nearly every level of fishing in the last few years.  It basically consists of a plastic worm rigged Texas-style on a jighead, and its simplicity is one reason for its popularity.  However, the main reason fishermen have taken to fishing a shaky head is that it catches fish, in any conditions and at nearly any water depth.  
    The difference between a shaky head and a regular Texas rig is that while the worm on a Texas rig will lay down on the bottom when paused, that same worm on a jighead designed for shaky head fishing will stand up off the bottom. This means that any water movement, current, or the fisherman lightly shaking the jighead will cause the worm to dance and quiver in the water without actually moving horizontally.   This is why it is called ‘shaky head fishing.’
A shaky head is a finesse bait, which means fishing it involves using light line (6-10lb test) and a spinning rod.  It is particularly deadly when the fish are in a negative mood or when nothing else seems to be working.  The sight of that worm standing off the bottom with the tail quivering seems to scream ‘eat me’ to a bass.  It is a very natural looking presentation. 
    I have had great success using a shaky head in the last few years since I first learned about the technique, but I have never really used anything except a Zoom Trick Worm.   However, I recently had the privilege of using a brand new bait designed primarily for shaky head fishing called the Fuse 4.4 by Missile Baits.   I caught several fish in 35-degree water using the bait, and its action really impressed me.  I also had the opportunity to interview John Crews, who is a Bassmaster Elite Series pro, the founder of Missile Baits, and the creator of the Fuse 4.4.   He most recently fished the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, ending in a very respectable 22nd place, and credits the Fuse for much of his success. Whether you are devoted shaky head fisherman or are just learning the technique, the following insights are a must-read. 

Josiah – Why did you design the fuse, and what makes it so special? 

John – I realized that I fish a shaky head a fair amount, and I needed to design a bait that was better than what was already out there.  I needed a slim-profile bait with proper profile proportions so that you could rig it properly, and something that had a lot of action without moving the bait a lot.  What we came up with at Missile Baits is the Fuse 4.4.  The action of the Fuse has a lot to do with the bait’s middle portion, which is slimmer than most traditional shaky head worms.  That middle section is what imparts a lot of the action to the bait.  We also wanted the slimmest portion of the bait to be the part that the hook goes through, and that is exactly what you find with the Fuse.  That helps tremendously with the hook-up ratio.  Although the Fuse is primarily designed for shaky head fishing, it also works great on a dropshot or just a regular Texas rig. 

Josiah – How did you come up with the idea for those claws?  I was very impressed with their action when I used the Fuse.     

John – The Fuse is basically a longer version of the drop craw, so those claws are something that’s a staple here at Missile Baits.  The claws themselves are oversized and they impart a lot of subtle, realistic action to the bait. 

Josiah – You used this bait in the Bassmaster Classic recently, and so did several other pros.  How big a player was it in your success?

John – it was a fallback bait for me.  When the fishing got tough or when I really needed a bite it was something I used, and I actually ended up catching some of my better fish on it. 

Josiah – Are there conditions where the Fuse really shines?  
John –  Yes, its really good as a tough conditions bait.

Josiah – Do you do anything different with the bait compared to a traditional shaky head worm? 
 John – Most people overwork a shaky head and try to give the bait too much action, when they really should let the bait sit a little bit and let the natural action of a shaky head attract the fish.

Josiah – What size hook do you usually use for this bait when you are shaky head fishing?
John -The Fuse works perfectly with the Missile Baits Warlock Head, which has a size 3 hook. 

Josiah – So what’s special about the new Warlock Head?

John – Its got a really unique head shape, and it has a size 3 Gamakatsu hook with a wider gap than a lot of shaky head hooks on the market.  There is also a larger than average gap between the spring and hook, which really increases hookup percentage.  That unique head shape makes the bait come through cover like brush or rocks really well, and it also makes the bait rest at a 45-degree angle off the bottom, which gives it a very natural looking action.

Josiah – What colors do you usually use with the Fuse?

John – it basically starts with green pumkin, and moves from there depending on water color.  P. funk red and green pumpkin purple are good colors to use in a little cloudier water, and there’s also our pinkalicious color, which is great for spotted bass.

Josiah – What kind of rod, reel, and line do you usually use to fish a shaky head?

John – I use a 6’8” Pinnacle Perfecta spinning rod, a Pinnacle Optimus size 40 spinning reel, and Vicious Pro-Elite 8lb test Fluorocarbon. 

Josiah – Are there any new baits that are in the works at Missile baits that we should be looking forward to? 

John – Of course!  We have a lot of baits in the pipelines and a lot of great ideas, but I want to take my time coming out with each bait so that we get the design exactly right, and so that I can really educate anglers about our baits so that they are fishing them correctly and so they understand exactly what they do and how effective they are.

Josiah – Any final comments?   

John – As far as the Fuse and Warlock go, it’s a combination that’s really great to always have tied on.   Whether you’re fishing it behind other anglers or fishing late in the day when you need to finish out a limit, it’s a great way pick up that extra fish or two.  

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