By Todd Corayer
Special to Outdoor Enthusiast Lifestyle Magazine
One of the most important lures you can carry, besides the ones you love the most, are ones that help you just find fish. In all sorts of conditions, they find signs of life. These searchbaits are critical for finding fish in a new piece of water, when you’re coming up short in a regular hot spot or when you want to cover a lot of water just to see what’s in the neighborhood. Some searchbaits require you to switch to a different lure if you find some life because of their design but the Storm 360˚ GT Searchbait is designed to stay tied on your line when you feel some bumps or see swirls hot on its trail so we recommend it, highly.
Storm, which is owned by Rapala, produces these 360 GT soft plastics which have become pretty standard issue now in tackle bags because they’re well built, are available in a variety of colors and have strong VMC hooks, which is also owned by Rapala.
Good fishing guides will often throw out a big, crazy noisy splash bait just to see if there are any fish in the neighborhood while their sports gear up. With the 360 ˚ GT, you don’t need another lure to back this one up; you just need to adjust your presentation to catch what’s there.
Remember to rig these with the hook facing up, which is the opposite direction of the tail, so hook up, tail down. Because the hook eye is offset, the bait naturally wants to swim down and since the hook is up, it’s already fairly weedless. Storm also offers a weedless jig head option as well. The swimming plate below the mouth will keep the 360˚ GT Searchbait headed down while the tail keeps flapping. That jig head also has a small rattle built in just for good measure. That’s an excellent combination for calling out any species of fish.
The form of this plastic really does look like a fish, which is the point, but it doesn’t get lost on overdesigns and too much color or weight. It’s balanced, rattles and has the perfect swimming profile.
You can fish the 360 ˚ GT Searchbaits two ways. On a steady retrieve, they have a very nice action, a little shimmy to catch the eye, you might say. That’s deadly, especially for those situations when fish need to follow the lure for a bit before deciding to attack. Keep the reel rolling nice and easy, let the tail do the work and if there’s anything nearby, that bait will call them right over, fast. Twitching the rod will help to give the 360 ˚ GT more movement. That does take some practice to develop some finesse and not just splash around and retrieve it too quickly. It’s a bit of a pat your head rub your belly thing but it will come after a few casts.
The other way these lures really shine is on a fast retrieve. We all know there are situations where even lethargic fish will fire up like a cannon when enough ruckus is made to rumble through their lateral line and your lure looks like a struggling bait fish. It’s instinctual for bass to defend their beds or to attack when hunger gets the best of them so make a mess, throw some water around and make it dig in. The 360 ˚ GT will catch.
Having those options will help if you decide to use these as primary baits as opposed to just looking around. For those of you are watching your chemical intake, they also don’t contain phthalates, those alcohol based plasticizers which basically keep plastics pliable. Recent studies have shown lots of health risks with phthalates so cheers to Storm for getting away from them.
360˚ GT Searchbaits are very well balanced so you can accurately cast them to a precise location or far off your boat to cover lots of water. They are available in 2.5”, 3.5”, 4.5”, and 5.5” lengths as well as in eleven colors. The 4.5” version weighs ¼ ounce which is perfect for most applications. Houdini, Marilyn and Smelt are favorite color patterns for me but be sure to get a package of the Ice and of course chartreuse. Chartreuse is a color you should always have on hand, no matter what the water color or condition is. Its short wavelengths make it a very versatile color even in stained waters or on low light days. I’m also a firm believer that bass, fresh or saltwater, can’t resist a basic minnow pattern.
Match a 4.5” 360 ˚ GT to a standard medium-heavy 7’ rod and you have a serious advantage over other fishermen and women. Throw the 360 ˚ GT in the rocks for sure, run them through structure, bounce them off pier pilings, over shipwrecks, over anything submerged, any place fish will hunt or hide. Storm Swimmer 360˚ GT Searchbaits will help you spend less time looking and more time catching.