Oh boy! What could be next?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in the fishing industry, something new shows up. Of course, we fishermen live for such things. It is a well-known fact of fishing that an angler can never have enough tackle boxes stuffed with lures that will never hit the water more than once, if at all.

Now there’s another bunch of lures in the “must have” category that are about to start showing up on retailer’s shelves. Like countless other lures, these new ones are designed to convince fishermen that they can’t exist without owning a few, and that all their fishing exploits to date will never compare with what will happen if this new and innovative bait is snapped or tied onto the end of a fishing line.

The “new exciting technology,” marketed under the label Smartbaits, made their debut at the recent Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, Okla. According to the hype, these new lures will be “industry changing.” There’s no denying they are different and different sells.

Smartbaits are lures that change colors in the water. That’s right. Yellow-bellied hardbaits will turn red-bottomed as they are immersed into deeper, colder water. Some Smartbaits change from white to red. According to the manufacturer, red imitates blood and we all know that fish can’t resist a wounded “whatever it is” in the water.

These new, innovative and sure to be fisherman catching lures are first being released in bass appealing shapes and sizes – small crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, swimbaits, worms and creature baits. All will be one color on the shelf and another color in the water. Smartbaits says they intend to introduce additional lures in the near future to attract walleye, northern pike, salmon and trout and the anglers that target those species.

About a year ago it was the umbrella rig that was catching on with fishermen all across the country. The multi-lure rigs are outlawed in many areas, including North Dakota. Nevertheless, many manufacturers have since expanded into various versions of the umbrella rig.

I made my own prototype about a year ago. It was a double rig that was fully compliant with North Dakota regulations – a bit crude perhaps, but it proved to be a very good fish catcher. My dreams of marketing the remarkable and field-tested invention were dashed when I discovered a similar set-up on a major manufacturer’s Internet site a few months ago. Yes, a major company is now making, marketing and selling what I thought was my own exclusive and incredibly brilliant idea.

I’ve already purchased a few of the new rigs just so I can compare them with the one of my own making. I’ll give them a try as soon as it is prudent to do so later this year. I won’t be using Smartbaits either, at least I have no plans to at this time.

Like other fishermen, I’ve tried some of the latest crazes. In the past, I’ve tried bleeding hooks, bleeding leaders, bleeding crankbaits and all the other bleeding stuff that manufacturers say are irresistible to fish. All this has proven worthless. While other fishermen may have noticed a difference when fishing with bleeding hooks and the like, I have not and confidence in what you are using is a huge part of fishing.

Soon there will be stories of impressive catches being hooked on Smartbaits and the next rage in fishing will be cast forth. Fishermen will pay close attention, not wishing to be left in the dark about the latest fishing “secret.” In all likelihood though, the fad will pass and fishermen will reach into their tackle boxes for older, more reliable lures that are proven fish catchers.

Not everything new is better. Just the same, I’ll be watching and waiting to see if Smartbaits can possibly live up to their initial hype.