There is no doubting the power of the soft plastic jerkbait. This iconic presentation is one of the best ways to imitate bait fish and bass simply cannot get enough of them. Although the Zoom Super Fluke is the original and the name most think of when referring to a soft plastic jerkbait in general, there is now some serious competition on the market, one of the most notable being the Strike King Caffeine Shad. Many anglers are wondering if it is worth trying something new. In this article we outline the key differences between the Super Fluke and the Caffeine Shad to help you make an informed decision.
Let's start off with similarities between these two baits. To start with, they are both classic soft plastic jerkbaits designed to imitate bait fish. They are designed to be jerked erratically on the surface or in the mid-deep water column to elicit strikes from feeding bass. Both of these baits are versatile and can be rigged in a variety of ways, the most popular of these being weightless or on a body-weighted hook.
Differences Between the Fluke and then Caffeine Shad
To make these differences as easy to navigate as possible, we have broken them down into a few key categories, namely weight, action, price, and durability. Keep in mind that these differences are explained assuming both lures are being fished weightless.
It may seem strange to refer to weight as an important consideration here but it is for good reason. Soft plastic jerkbaits are fished weightless by the majority of anglers who use them and are thus dependent on the weight of the lure for castability and sink rate.
The Caffeine Shad is significantly heavier than the Zoom Super Fluke thanks to its bulky profile and massive salt content. This makes it a fantastic option for when you want to work the bait below the surface.
It also opens up the opportunity to fish it like a and allow it to sink onto targets. The added weight also makes this lure easier to cast, especially on a baitcasting setup.
The lighter Super Fluke does not sink nearly as fast as the caffeine shad making it better suited to shallow water, topwater style presentations. It also darts a little faster through the water when jerked making it a little more erratic.
The Caffeine Shad is incredibly soft and flexible. This gives it fluid, natural action in the water. The Caffeine Shad also boasts a unique falling action thanks to a diamond shaped tail that shimmy's beautifully on the drop.
The Zoom Super Fluke is considerably stiffer than the Caffeine Shad which puts it at a disadvantage in some ways and at an advantage at others. In situations where fish are active and looking for more action, the Caffeine Shad is probably going to be your best bet. In situations where fish are a little more finicky, the more subtle action of the super fluke works in its favor.
Price and Durability
While it is clear that the Caffeine Shad offers more action and more weight than the Super Fluke, it certainly does not offer a competitive price tag. $2.99 will get you 10 flukes, $5.79 will get you 8 Caffeine shads meaning the price between the two is significant. In terms of durability, the Super Fluke is a clear winner.
You can expect to catch around 5/6 fish on a single fluke where you would be lucky to catch 3 on a Caffeine Shad. The Caffeine Shad plastic tears incredibly easily. I suppose that is the price you pay for that soft, fluid action, and solid weight.
So Which One Should you Use?
As helpful as this may sound, it depends. If you priority is to fish a little deeper and to have the ability to get bites on the fall like you would with a senko, I would say go with a Caffeine Shad. Just keep in mind that this option does come with a bigger price tag. If you are looking to dart a lure on the surface or looking for a slow, subtle falling action for finicky fish, go with a Fluke and you will enjoy the added bonus of a cheap price tag and durability.
Me personally, I almost solely use a Caffeine Shad as it suits my fishing style. I like to use it the same way I use a Senko and let it sink straight down into isolated cover. I am also just a sucker for that tail shimmy on the drop and sped the majority of my time catching fish in a deeper water column.
The reality is these are both fantastic baits that come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Every angler should give them both a go, weight up the pros and cons and decide what works best for them.
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