Gear Review: Zoom Fluke Stick and Fluke Stick Jr.

The Senko has earned a name for itself as being one of the industry’s most effective fish-catchers for beginners and pros alike.  Let’s face it, it’s the standard by which all stick baits are compared to.  That is why I hit up one of the best known plastic bait manufacturer’s website to see if they had a similar product.  It’s not that I lost confidence in the Senko or that there weren’t enough colors.  But I’ve been fishing a lot of pressured lakes lately and combine that with the fact that this years weather patterns are abnormal and unpredictable, and that is the recipe for needing to find something new and different.  Well, new to me, anyway.

I would even go as far as saying they’re new to a lot of people as my favorite local tackle dealers did not have any Zoom Fluke Sticks on their shelves.  They had plenty of Senkos but that was the only stick bait.  Even though the Fluke Stick has been out for a number of years, it seems as if there isn’t a demand for them around here.  Potential jackpot!

Which bait is which? 5
Which bait is which?
5″ Senko (top)
Fluke Stick Jr. (Bottom)

The Fluke Stick comes in two sizes; the standard comes in a 6” version while the Fluke Stick Jr. comes in a 5” version.  It looks like a standard stick bait but it has a fluke tail on the end of it.  Being very familiar with Zoom’s line of Super Fluke’s, there is an unmistakable action of the tail when the bait is unweighted and allowed to fall.  The tail kicks subtly back and forth as if it was swimming in place.  This can attract both finicky and aggressive fish so I was interested in seeing how the Fluke Stick would act in various situations.

I rigged the Fluke Stick Jr. on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Flipping Hook, unweighted, with 50lbs. test braid on my pitching rig.  One of my favorite ways to fish a stick bait is to pitch it into or around cover.  The slow, tantalizing fall of the bait is good for clear water, post-cold front bass that are holding tight to cover.  These are situations where a jig is just too much bait that maybe the fish have seen due to angler pressure, clear water, or they’re being tight lipped because of the weather.  I pitched the bait into shallow water to check out the action and the first thing I noticed is, true to its name, the tail does kick in a very similar way to a Super Fluke.  It also falls at a slightly faster rate than a Senko.  However, as you can see in the photo above, it is smaller than the standard 5” Senko.  With less plastic, less salt, and a different density, it is understandable why it would fall faster.  Is there action, though?  Absolutely.

Weightless on my Flipping' Rig
Weightless on my Flipping’ Rig

So how does it compare to the Senko?  This has probably be beat to death but my fishing style may be different from yours and within that statement, there may be some new points to consider.

Plastic Density:  The Senko feels like no other bait.  The plastic is loaded with salt, is spongy, and very flexible.  These are three attributes that entice strikes but at the expense of bait durability.  The Fluke Stick feels similar to other Zoom baits and is somewhat less flexible than the Senko but is still soft and salty.  However, the bait will hold up to more fish being caught on a single plastic.

Action:  The Senko has an action that I would call a sweeping wiggle.  The bait swings back and forth while wiggling and so does the Fluke Stick.  With the tail on the Stick left on, it’ll swim and slowly sink with a “head down” attitude.  Picture a Zoom Super Fluke combined with a Senko and there you have it.

I couldn’t resist the urge to see how the Stick performed without the tail so I bit off the tip of the tail and it resembled a Senko very closely.  The tail action was dead on.  Versatile?  You bet.  If you want a combined action of a stick bait and fluke, rig this up and you’re golden.  Or, if you want a bait that looks identical to a smaller Senko, off with the tail!

Color Selection:  At the time of this review, the Senko comes in 111 different colors in the 5” version.  There are subtle and not-so-subtle differences among their selection.  There are solid colors, laminates, and different flake size and color combinations.  The Fluke Stick and Fluke Stick Jr. comes in 11 different colors.  If you are familiar with Zoom’s other plastic baits, their color selection is made up of the standard, “tried and true”, colors.

Anglers do get caught up in color selection; that’s a fact.  Does it make a difference?  When it comes to confidence, it does.  Does it matter to the fish?  Try asking one and good luck getting an answer.  Judging by experience, it matters a little bit.  If they can’t see it or can see it too well, I believe it makes a difference.

Application:  The ways this bait can be used are endless.  Here are a few of the common applications:

  • Weightless
  • Carolina Rig
  • Texas Rig
  • Florida Rig
  • Drop Shot
  • Trailer
  • Shaky Head
  • Wacky Rig

Just about any way you can think of, it can be rigged accordingly.

As mentioned previously, this bait is durable for what it is.  It will hold up to a couple fish before it starts to get stretched, scraped, and torn up.  At that point, I turn the bait 180 degrees and re-rig it, if possible.  What does durability translate to?  Reduced cost.  Who doesn’t love that?!  A bag of these bad boys retails for $4.39 at most online major tackle retailers and that translates to $0.44 per worm for you penny pinchers out there.

Still fishable after four caught fish.
Beat up after catching five fish.  But very durable.

So compared and contrasted this bait and all of the details were covered.  But, where does this bait shine and what place does it have in our tackle box?  This is a finesse bait, at its very foundation.  It can be fished unweighted and sinks slowly,  it can be jerked for an erratic fluke-like way, or Texas rigged and shaky head jigs will make this bait look like a feeding baitfish, etc.  Is this going to replace my selection of Senkos?  In some scenarios, yes.  When I’m finesse fishing the edge of weed lines and grass mats or near docks and want a slightly different action than a Senko, this is my new “go to”.  Picture this; when you were younger and a little brother, sister, or friend stuck their finger out and said “I’m not touching you” over and over again.  Now, imagine if they did that with two fingers out and wiggled it in your face.  That’s what you’re doing with this bait and you will catch fish.  I can’t wait to experiment more with it and I suggest you do the same.

One of five fish on the Fluke Stick Jr.
One of five fish on the Fluke Stick Jr.

Zoom-Bait-Co

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