NZ Fishing World home
NZ Fishing World

Z Man DarterZ soft bait bodies

March 5, 2021
Z Man DarterZ soft bait bodies

I’m a big fan of Z Man soft bait bodies. I’ve used them for many years and found that they are usually my go-to choice, and I’m not alone. The other option is GULP, which are an entirely different proposition, and more recently, Catch and Daiwa entering the market with a very similarly based product to Z Man. That is, a tough, but very stretchy elastomer material in a range of tasty colours.

The Z Man bodies are a proven performer, designed and manufactured in the USA, and they have mastered the perfect combination of shape, longevity, movement, and buoyancy that seems to have inspired so many competitors to emulate without totally ripping off the recipe.

GULP are an entirely different deal, biodegradable (after some long time albeit) and constructed from a protein base that required constant hydration in a nice smelly goo.  To this end, the GULP give off a lot more scent, which may make the difference to some fish in particular circumstances.

GULP are also a lot less durable and are often bitten apart by smaller fish and leatherjackets, so I tend to go through at least several GULP’s compared to a single Z man body.

To be fair, they all work, and I’ve enjoyed, and witnessed, massive fishing success on all brands of soft bait bodies in the market.

Put them in front of fish and they will work.  Soft baits are, simply…deadly.

In case you are new to it, there are several articles on this site to help you get underway…

Soft baiting is one of the best ways there is to catch fish in less than 30 metres of water, and small boats, kayaks, and inshore fishermen casting these lures with any consistency will be well used to having them smashed by snapper, john dory, kingfish, kahawai, cod, trevally, gurnard, and the list goes on.

Enter a new player, the Z Man DarterZ.  Brand new and fresh in store, they are available in my three most favourite Z man natural colours, plus a couple of extra bright versions.

Photo credit Marine Deals: click on the image to buy

DarterZ are sold in many good tackle stores including Marine Deals HERE:

Having not yet had the chance to get these lures wet, I look forward to getting out and giving them a go.  Without doubt they will be effective.

To immediately note, they are a little longer and skinnier than the original 5” jerk shads, and have some extra ‘movement flutes’ moulded into the rear ¾.  

An unnecessary addition which weakens the lure in my opinion, as without them the nature of the compound has plenty of natural unimpeded movement, but hey, they do look cool.

Also, a much flappier tail fin looks set to impart a great swimming and vibrating performance in the water.

In the photos below, the bodies are mounted on JIGGY'S JIG HEADS and on a couple I have nipped 5mm off the soft bait body head before putting on the hook to balance out the flailing tail length to where it feels a bit better. Easy and optional to do out on the water. These jig heads are available in several colours and 3 weights but all have the same length hook, designed (disclaimer, by my good self) to fit the soft bait bodies I prefer to use, ie, 5-6 inch jerk shad types.

Good enough to eat? Our tests will soon show!

Head length can easily be nipped short, as per a few of these examples, to suit hook shank length if desired

I noticed they are a little fussier to get straight on the jig head with less rubber to work with around the hook, but they do go on and will stay on by all previous experience with this brand.

The jig head in the picture is a Jiggy’s 14 gram 3/0 available at Marine Deals HERE:

As soon as we get out to test these bad boys on the water we will update their real-world performance, and based on what I see so far I expect the results to be pretty positive.

It will be hard to beat the original jerk shad shape, which I still prefer at this time for its balance, length, volume and proven effectiveness, but time will tell.

We will report back as soon as we have had a good crack with these. Better go fishing!

Related posts

NEW Abu Garcia rod review. VERITAS 4.0
Gear
VERITAS = VERI TASTY! There are just some products that I know I’m going to buy the moment I see them. As a massive soft bait and lure fishing fan, I love catching decent fish on relatively light weight spinning gear, and when the opportunity arises to upgrade or replace broken gear, it’s a no brainer.
Shimano NZ Catalogue 2021
Gear
Here's the latest and greatest from SHIMANO NZ. A very cool live calendar, just click and scroll through all the goodies. We know Shimano make some of the greatest fishing products on the market, so here is a feast for the eyes. Enjoy.
Setting up a Fly Reel with line
Gear
An EXCELLENT tutorial for setting up a fly reel correctly. Also saltwater fisho's should take a good look at the Arbour Knot for setting up all the saltwater reels too.
Catch Rainbow Warrior Double Trouble
Gear
The Catch Double Trouble is one of their very best jig patterns. We've caught everything from snapper and kingfish, to albacore tuna and exotic species overseas on this versatile slow pitch/mechanical crossover lure. Here's Espresso talking about a hot new colour out for this season, the Rainbow Warrior.
How to use the all new Catch 'BOSS SQUID'
Gear
The all new Catch 'BOSS SQUID' inchiku lure combines the best of two Catch lure favourites to create a new beast that's deadly on just about all predatory fish species. Check out the new lure and how to use it, it's surprisingly easy.
Catch Waterwings - bling for your bling
Gear
Catch fishing have invented a new way to add a bit of extra vavavoom! to your lures. Check it out here...
All Related

See Also

Moocher Hunters Frantic Kingfish Action
Top Videos
Some great opportunistic fishing action really capturing the quick thinking and quicker rigging up to grab some kingfish go-time!
The Lateral Line: EP #44
Inshore
Nato has his fly rod rigged and ready before the boat even hits the water. The first half of the day will be spent trying to get a fish to eat a fly. After that the boys are heading wide to some deep water pins to drop big live baits 100 meters plus down on one of Nato’s crazy deep water rigs.
Diving for crayfish from a yak
Spearfishing
Nice little vlog catching crays inshore from GP Fishing Adventures
Softbaiting in the Manukau Harbour
Kayak
The Manukau Harbour can be a great place to fish from kayaks and small boats on a nice day. Soft baits will often do the damage, take a look here and get some nice hints and tips.
The Lateral Line: EP #43
Inshore
The boys are off on their first fishing and camping mission on board Sojourn for 2022, again spending a few days in, on and around there favourite island group. Milan is doing what Milan does and what he loves most, that being, swimming big live baits on the weed lines close to shore. Hopefully a big hungry king fish has chosen the same weed lines to hunt down breakfast.
The Lateral Line: EP #42
Big Game
This time is gonna be a little bit different. This time, The boys are have a crack at Marlin fishing with Luke on board Evo. Evo being a 7.5 meter Marco boat that was custom designed and built to target Marlin. An over night mission is planned. The weather isn’t the best and Milan ends up getting sea sick on the first day and the trip gets cut short by some less then desirable weather on day 2. Check it out
All Posts

Drop NZ Fishing World a line!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.