Here is some footage of Ken Huddleston, walking me through his ‘vault’ ( a cardboard box ) of baits that represent his almost 20 years in making swimbaits.  Ken is “the guy”, and I figured this footage would be pretty cool for all the swimbait geeks out there that enjoy the history of swimbaits and would enjoy some footage of Ken walking through some of his swimbait creations over the years.

alabama rig kentucky lake
"John Brown". The Catalyst of the War. War on closed minded approaches to rigs and rigging. The Alabama Rig, "Old Blue", simple, made from quality components and solid terminal tackle just helped us all catch a lot more fish.

I’m sitting in Calvert City, waiting for Jet-A-Marina to give me a call, to let me know my lower unit has been delivered, and then installed.  Thanking Yamaha for standing by their warranty, and their support. Of course, I’d like’d to have seen the Yamaha Service crew at the Everstart Event, but that is business and fishing.   So no fishing for me since the tournament, just making hard and from the hip decisions everywhere.

I’m not going to give my $.02 on the Alabama Rig, yet.  I haven’t had a chance to really fish it hard and carefree, swimbait style,  and do everything I want to do.  So, I wanted to share some things that were in direct relation to the Rig.   As things were unfolding with Paul Elias at G-Land, I was making modifications to my presentations to be more ‘multirig’ or ‘polyrig’ in style.  You couldn’t just go get a ‘rig’ to go fish.  It was crazy hearing all this and not even being able to see one or hold one to fabricate your own from, so we just made do.   The fish are on a shad bite, they hunt in small wolf packs in places, and small bait balls that have broken away from the main bait ball are a damn sure good way to get the fish fired up and focused.

quad blade spinnerbait
Quad Bladed Spinnerbaits started catching fish as we scrambled to do anything to start casting baits that made balls of bait, not just one or two baits. I believe we'll be seeing spinnerbaits with many more blades and setups as a result of the Rig Effect

The Booyah Quad Blade Spinnerbait…Someone riddle me this:  Why is there only one spinnerbait with a quad (bonzer!) blade setup (generally available kind)? And it only weighs 3/8 oz?  Why not a 6 blade?  Think about the implications of multirigs and using teasers and creating schools and predator>prey setups that is about to explode.  I have so many ideas and thoughts lately about the Rig Effect it’s hard for me to organize them or even share them in some cases, because the fish catching and money making implications are profound.   Every lure company in North America should have had an ‘all hands’ meeting with the team to strategize about multirigs.

Not only is there going to be a huge amount of rigs created (make your own rig, seriously, its not very difficult to do), there is a viral effect of ideas and innovations that rivals Facebook! (well, probably not).  The Alabama Rig just points out our closed minded approach to rigging as a bass fishermen.   Teasers and umbrellas have been around since the beginning of time.   I’m just excited it catches fish so well.  I can understand throwing 100 lures at once, you expect to hook something, but 5 baits isn’t some disgusting overkill.  I mean we are catching one maybe two fish at a time at best.  You could get 5 sure, but its about presentation and creating the school.

Grass Minnow Double Rig
I started catching 'busting fish' in the back of pockets on the Grass Minnow Double Rig...Tie on one Grass Minnow with a Palomor Knot, leave a long tag end, thread the line back thru the nose of the Grass Minnow like a drop shot rig, come down thru and then tie on Grass Minnow #2 with a Palomar. The Double Grass Minnow has got good weight, but is still a tough Rig at times to fish if its super windy and rough, which it was during the tournament.

10 vortexes.  Each bait gives off a unique vortex, one on each side of the tail, so 10 vortexes created by a 5 way Rig.  In Southern Trout Eaters, Ken Huddleston says:  “I believe bigger, more mature fish will analyze a bait, and if everything is right, it will commit to the bait”.    Ken was talking about trophy fish.  But just as occasionally a trophy fish will act like a 2 pounder, the 2 pounders can act really smart and be really finicky and fussy.    Fish analyze a bait as it tracks thru the water, using more than just lateral lines and smell.  Think about a fish that has only ever tracked behind a bait that has 2 vortexes, or at best, 4 vortexes (double rig fluke, Front Runner on your topwater rig), but never 10 vortexes.  10 vortexes in a fishes mind = safe = commit.   And in fact, his buddies are so confident in 10Vs = safe = commit, they join the party and eat one too, so the angler catches 2 fish on one catch, way more often than normal.

The Grass Minnow is the most subtle swimming best vortex matching bait I know. The Weedless Shad is #2, the only difference being the Grass Minnow has a smaller profile and a swallow tail vortex (vs. the wedge tail).    So, while I was scrambling to fabricate my own Rigs or get real ones thru hook or crook, we started fishing multirig style, meaning, Booyah Quad Blade Spinnerbaits, double rigged flukes, and double rigged Grass Minnows.   The fishing on Kentucky Lake is tough,  don’t kid yourself. The Rig caught fish, but it wasn’t any kind of whack fest out there.   So, to fish with quad blade spinnerbaits and double rigs and start catching some fish again a little more regular, was pretty cool.    I went into the tournament having a decent quad blade spinnerbait and double rigged Grass Minnow bite.  But then came the Rigs.

Troy Anderson, Alabama Rig
Troy Anderson, my practice partner and eventual CoAngler Champion for the 2011 Everstart Championship on Kentucky Lake. Here is Troy, with 3" Hammers and a 4 way rig, with a spinnerblade teaser as #5 in the middle. We were in New Johnsonville here, so we were technically illegally fishing in TN water. We got an email at 4pm that day, last day of practice, that TN Fish&Game rules say no more than 3 baits. Basically, I bailed out of New J'ville and TN altogether based on that ruling alone. So did Dan Moorehead the Pro Champion and guys like Jim Tutt.

There is going to be landslides of changes, new innovations, new tournament rules and implications, and lots of fish getting caught as part of the Rig Effect.   Just fishing multiple baits at the same time, totally under-explored, and creating schools of baits totally under-explored and creating new rigs and methods for presentations, casting, etc make all new kinds of swimbait like implications, like the need for 8 foot rods and big round reels with big gears and heavy lines and heavy terminal tackle.  Strange and wild twist on fishing and swimbait fishing, but the bottom line thing I cannot get over is how well the fish eat the Rig.   It catches fish, and it doesn’t seem ‘obnoxious’ or grossly out of line with fishing regular single bait setups, IMO.  It fishes like a 8″ ROF 12 Huddleston Deluxe.  No kidding.

weedless trout on okeechobee
Watermelon Red 6" Weedless Trout and an Okeechobee 'trout eater'

I’m shocked this bait hasn’t won a major tournament for me or someone else yet.  This is a tournament swimbait if there ever was one.  Grass fishing is just one of the major opportunities for this bait.  The 6” Weedless Trout is a full bodied swimbait, but at only six inches long (weighs approx 1.75 ounces) this is a swimbait that gets the tournament style 3-5 pounders to bite, but has the potential for big bites.

To understand the 6” Weedless Trout, you need to first understand that the 6” Weedless Trout utilizes the patented Huddleston Vortex Tail.  This tail design has proven itself as a fish catcher, matching the swim signature of a trout or other bait fish.   The bait has a single molded in hook, with a collapsable air pocket chamber than encompasses the hook, making it weedless, but also enabling the bait to hook any fish that bites it.

weedless trout
Top View, 6" Weedless Trout, hook completely hidden, yet the collapsable air chamber makes for high hookup ratios and plays into our theories on Ken's Vortex.
weedless trout hook
With a little pressure and braided line, you'll get this hook to expose itself and pull nice fish from grass, wood and anywhere tight to structure or cover

Just like with any kind of frog fishing, we highly recommend you skip florocarbon and just go to straight braid and go to work.  Braided line provides line buoyancy characteristics and zero stretch that make it a lethal combination when combined with the 6” Weedless Trout.   The key to the hook set is using a slower action parabolic rod and letting the fish load up on the bait and then apply a forceful but not overly aggressive pressure set and constant wind to hook the fish.   You need to keep a high rod tip during your retrieve, and once bit, drop your rod tip, let the fish eat the bait a second, then sweep hard and reel and keep the fish coming to you.    Hookup ratios aren’t 100%, but with braided line we’re getting 8 or 9 out of 10 bites in the boat.

guntersville grass
Find yourself some shallow grass, decent water clarity, and just use a steady retrieve, nothing too fast or slow.

Dock Skipping: If you watch Southern Trout Eaters, we cover dock skipping with the 6” Weedless Trout. I can skip a 6” Weedless Trout under and around docks better than I can a senko.  This bait is a dock skippers dream.   You can put a full bodied swimbait in places the fish have never seen a swimming bait.  Lethal at times, when the fish are positioned way up under docks.  Again, braid recommended for ease of line management and for getting big fish out from under docks.

dock skipping swimbaits
We showed dock skipping the 6" Weedless Trout in Southern Trout Eaters. Braided line, Curado 300 and Shimano 815XFA (sadly no longer available).


Bait: 6 Inch Weedless Trout  (the ROF 12 is what we recommend for most applications)
Rod:  G-Loomis 965 BBR
Reel: Shimano Curado 300
Line:  65 or 80# Power Pro or P-Line Spectrex Braid

Strengths:  The 6” Weedless Trout puts a bait where only baits like swim jigs and skinny dippers can usually play.  The size of the 6” Weedless Trout makes it a standout, and will get bigger bites.   There are very few bigbaits that are weedless (the 3:16 Mission Fish being the other), so when you are throwing the 6” Weedless Trout, you are likely showing them something of size that they haven’t seen before.  The six inch size makes it a really good choice for tournament swimbait fishing, and will catch 2-5 pounders.

lake eufaula swimbait fishing
Lake Eufaula, FLW Eastern Series, shallow dirty water tournament swimbait fishing with the 6" Weedless Trout, ROF12, Junebug.

Ideal Conditions:  Shallow grass, lilly pads, lilly stems, dollar pads, reeds, hydrilla, milfoil, or whatever shallow hard grasses are excellent places to throw the 6” Weedless Trout.  The bait is extremely weedless and can be fished virtually anywhere without hanging up, yet able to hook a fish.   Wood is an excellent application of the 6” Weedless Trout too, where you need to make a lot of contact with the wood to draw a strike. You can fish through a laydown tree and purposely make a lot of contact with the trunk and branches, and get some big bites from trees that usually only see flipped baits, square bills, spinnerbaits and the traditional assortment of lures.   Docks too are an excellent application of the bait.  When you get some practice and the hang of it, you will find the 6” Weedless Trout one of the best dock skipping baits around, that has the potential to hook a giant.

The grass minnow and weedless shad
The Grass Minnow (foreground) and Weedless Shad (background) speak to Ken Huddleston's commitment to realism and innovations in engineering baits with vortex tails that match the swim signatures bait fish leave behind as they swim

The Grass Minnow was the first of Ken’s small weedless swimbaits that followed the release of his 6” Weedless Trout.  The Grass Minnow is a special bait because it has incredible realism and includes a special vortex tail that was engineered to match the signature that a minnow or small baitfish leaves behind in it’s trail.    The tail kick is extremely subtle, but when you step back and think about how much thump a real minnow gives off when it swims, it occurs to you what Ken is doing with the Grass Minnow.  The bottom line is the Grass Minnow gets eaten by big fish and little fish.

lake champlain grass minnow water
This is what good water for the Grass Minnow looks like. Shallow grass fishing and the clearer the water, the better
grass minnow lake champlain
Getting a little carried away, looking for the good 'hard' grass. Find good clean hard grass, and throw that Grass Minnow. Lake Champlain, near the French Canadian border

I’ve caught fish on the Grass Minnow on just about every grass lake I’ve thrown it:  Pickwick, Guntersville, Okeechobee, Champlain, Seminole, and Dardanelle.  Braid is key to my Grass Minnow approach.  Just like with the 6” Weedless Trout or any other Weedless Huddleston bait, I use braided line to aid in my hookup ratio and ability to fish the bait around grass.   Do you fish a frog on anything but braid?  Exactly.  You need zero stretch, the buoyancy of braid and the hook set ability of braided line to maximize your effectiveness with the Grass Minnow.

Grass Minnow Fishing Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee has been ground zero for a lot of my weedless swimbait fishing. The Grass Minnow gets quality bites and serves as an alternative to the Skinny Dippers everyone else is throwing

My hookset is a sweep set. I don’t jack the fish.  I keep my rod at 11 to 12 o clock, and just keep a steady grind on the bait.  Not too fast, not too slow.  When I get bit, I drop my rod tip to 9 o clock and let the fish eat the bait.  When my line tightens up or the rod begins to bow up at 9 o clock, that is when I sweep hard to the side (like a spinnerbait hookset) and reel like mad to get caught up and apply pressure to the fish.   I love the G-Loomis 964 BBR for the Grass Minnow. I can make long whip casts and really get the bait out there.  But the 964 BBR also is a relatively slow parabolic action rod and is perfect for braided line and grass fishing, and helps me get a hook into almost everything that bites my Grass Minnow.   I have a 90% or better hookup ratio on the Grass Minnow.  Most of my bites get in the boat, hands down.

Lake Seminole Grass Minnow
Lake Seminole has the right ingredients, shallow grass fishing, clean water in places and highly pressured fish

Here is a whole YouTube video I did on Lake Okeechobee, fishing the Grass Minnow:


Here is another video that discusses my approach to Lake Champlain, but also includes a section on the Grass Minnow from the shallow grass largemouth fishery of Champlain:


Bait:  The Grass Minnow  (colors?  show me one that doesn’t work!)
Rod:  G-Loomis 964 BBR
Reel:  Shimano Curado 200 G (w/ 6.5:1 Gear Ratio)
Line:  50 Pound Power Pro or P-Line Braid

Strengths:  The Grass Minnow is rare in that it is incredibly real and provides fish who are chasing small bait around grass something they haven’t seen.   Fish aren’t used to such subtle swimming baits that look and feel so real.  The Grass Minnow gets a lot of bites and is a resilient bait, meaning you can catch many fish on the bait and glue it back together a few times before you need to retire it.
Ideal Conditions:  Lakes with super shallow grass fishing, like Okeechobee, Seminole, and Guntersville are ideal for the Grass Minnow.  Anywhere fish are busting on small bait.  I throw the Grass Minnow in a lot of situations where other guys are throwing swim  jigs and paddle tailed tubes.

Notes:  Keep the wind at your back whenever possible. The Grass Minnow isn’t super heavy (5/8 ounce) and can be difficult to get casting distance or cross wind.   Keep super glue onboard because if you get into the fish, you are going to be repairing baits because you’ll catch a bunch of fish, big and small and they tend to inhale the thing, plus braided line and lots of muck and grass can wreck your baits.

cold grass minnow fishing
Okeechobee isn't usually 20+ pound sacks and hot and glassy conditions in the Winter. The Grass Minnow will get bites on those cold days where just getting 5 fish is the goal.

Since I had a brief visit in Arkansas, I was able to go thru some old boxes of baits and find some things I wanted to share.   With the recent release of our “Southern Trout Eaters” Huddleston Rig tutorial video, I thought the following was a good chronology of events and that ultimately have led up to where we are with our the Southern Trout Eater Huddleston rig.  The rig is literally 10 years in the making.

The first softbait I ever fished with any consistency was the Eagle.  The Eagle is a line thru bait and it weighs a good 4-5 ounces.  It’s a straight up bigbait and was the first bait I ever committed to fishing for days and days.    The problem with the Eagle was hook up ratios.

swimbait hook harness for the Eagle swimbait
This is the stock hook setup for the Eagle. Hook up ratios were a real problem in the early days with this rig. Even though this hook setup is worthless fo the Eagle, notice the skills and the ability to use crimps, figure eights and 80# mono to create a double stinger trap hook. Note to self, save this, you will want to re-use this harness on another bait with for another application, someday.

We (Cameron Smith, my pal from Dana Point, CA) and I were fishing San Vicente lake back around 2001-2003 quite heavily with the Eagle.  Looking back on it, it is funny because I’m not kidding I would miss 5-8 bites per day on this rig.   It wasn’t until Cameron and I got to tinkering that we made some adjustments.  I remember Rob Belloni came fishing with me on San Vicente one day.  He took one look at the Eagle and the stock hook harness and told me I need way bigger hooks, maybe play with rigging?    Bass World West was going on in Southern California and so was Anglers Marine.  Both places had their own ways of rigging up Osprey’s, Eagles, etc.  It’s hard to say where exactly this stuff came from but we wanted hanging trebles, bigger hooks and had to leverage the line-thru design because those were the baits of the day…The Rising Son, The Rago Trout (name escapes me, Jerry’s original line-thru) and the Eagle kept me busy for years.   Our hookup ratios went way up with our modifications, but God what I’d do to go back in time and have those days back.   The fish were there and eating.  We’d just miss a lot. Upper water column swimming bait that we’d fish super fast at times.  Burning it, popping it, making it look like a trout trying to escape.  Probably not always the best retrieve, but it worked for us, for a time.

Eagle Swimbait with stock hook harness
Here is the Eagle with the stock harness properly oriented as if it was rigged. 4 trebles pointing down and we still missed most of the bites. This bait swims in the upper water colum and doesn't get inhaled like a Hudd much, hanging and bigger treble setups soon followed. Fish would literally bounce off the bait.

Here is what we did in response and the evolution of our rigs and rigging.  Double barrel crimps, 80# mono for the harness, cut paper clips, split rings and Gamakatsu hooks.  You can tell my early swimbait rigs and trials because my baits have Gamakatsu treble hooks on them.  I have long since been fishing Owner.    Just a superior family of treble hooks in my opinion, hands down.

eaglette swimbait rigging
The Eaglette, the smaller version of the Eagle. Notice the harness, allowed us to put a treble hook under the chin of the bait to catch the fish that made the kill shots to the head,and had a rear trap that either dangled below or was imbedded up in the bait. The size of the Eaglette coupled with this setup made our hookup ratios go way up.
Eaglette Harness
Notice, cut paper clips. The paper clips up front for the trap hook under the chin had to be modified to fit around the line thru created by the OEM. We are still modifying paper clips to fit our Huddleston's today. Used a split ring as where to tie your line, and created loops and and hook hangers with crimps and 80# mono.
3 treble harness rig for Eagle
Here is a 3 hook setup harness that we used on the full sized Eagle. One hook under the chin, one right below the line-thru, and one near the rear fins. This was creative, and helped us get more fish to stick that came up on the Eagle.
three treble harness for Eagle swimbait
Here is the 3 treble harness rig, better visualized how it sat on the bait. That's a lot of hardware on a bait, but it definitely helped get fish to stick.
2 hook harness
Full sized Eagle with a 2 hook harness rigging. The rear treble was dangling and this is a definite pre-cursor to where we got our Southern Trout Eaters Huddleston Rigging. Cut paper clips and double barrel crimps and 80#. Too small a rear hook for sure, looking back on it. Still, we caught them much better on this rig, way less hardware than the 3 hook harness which tends to foul up quite often let alone get bit as well.
sample harnesses
The 3 hook, 2 hook and stock trap hook rigs we used for baits like the Eagle, Rago Soft Trout bait and Rising Son
The early line thru baits
Back in the day it was all about Eagles, Ospreys/Rago, and Rising Son baits. This was pre-Huddleston Deluxe 8" Rainbow trout. These baits fished well near or at the surface, but are limited in so many ways compared to the Huddleston
the early line thru baits
The Rago Osprey was custom rigged to become a line thru in this case with a small coffee stirring straw, while the Rising Son wisely used a plastic insert. The Eagle used a machined piece of aluminum as the line thru and I can tell you there are a couple of Eagles at the bottom of San Vicente that broke off on the cast with 20# P-Line. Stupid me should have been using way heavier line and been more diligent about checking for burrs in the machined aluminum.

And then came the Castaic SoftBait Company.   Not that they ever went anywhere, it was all the sudden coming together.   Ken Huddleston used to work for Castaic or own it or something along those lines.  Ken had direct involvement in Castaic Bait Company for a time and that can be seen in this next evolution.  These soft Castaics are a definite precursor to the 8″ Huddleston Deluxe   You had to literally remove the internal stock harness of the Castaic bait, then use a coffee stir straw to create a line thru and come out the belly at the right angle and get it all right, then create your double hook harness.  The crazy thing was, I nailed this rig the first time I attempted it, and I caught a fish around the Chimney area of San Vicente within the first 15 minutes of fishing the rig, and the fish choked it.   About a 6 pounder.  Anyway, to me, this modified and glued up and line-thru’d Castaic rig is a clear connection to where we are with the Huddleston Deluxe today.

castaic swimbait
Removed the internal 'top hook' harness from the bait, glued it back together, created a line thru with a coffee stir straw, and leveraged a double hook harness rig. Clearly headed in the direction of the Huddleston Deluxe of today.

And here is a Castaic Sardine with a trap hook rigging.  I will drop down to 60# mono and use the same 1.0B double barrel crimps to have a little bit lighter and more flexible harness that fits the smaller baits better.  The Castaic Sardine is an excellent bait for those looking to explore blueback herring.   If you do a little homework on herring and sardines, you’ll find the two are quite related, and both saltwater run.

castaic sardine rig
The Castaic Sardine with a mini version of our trap hook setup.
castaic sardine swimbait rig
Up close, those are #2 and #4 ST-36 Stingers....way too light weight of hooks for me now. This rig caught them Lake Lanier fish pretty good one spring for me. But they inhaled it. I'd probably use ST-56 in the same sizes now, but the bottom line is you can rig small swimbaits with a harness and double trap rig. I masked the hooks and hardware to match the belly of the bait, again all relating to things we did to get to our current Hudd rig.

There has been a lot of trial and error in our rigs and rigging and there will continue to be more.  The better you get with rigging and the tools of rigging, the more you’ll be able to create your own rigs for your own applications.

The 8” Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout

Ken Huddleston and his hand carved 8" Huddleston Deluxe master
Ken Huddleston and the hand carved 8" Rainbow Trout that the molds would be made from

The 8” Huddleston Deluxe deserves its own dedicated web server, T1 line, and 10 TB of fault tolerant/redundant storage and virtual machines to discuss!   We love having fun with themes and ideas around the baits we throw, and the Huddleston is probably the most fun.    If there is one bait you need to learn to catch the biggest bass that are caught by casting and retrieving anywhere there are trout, you need to learn the 8″ Huddleston Deluxe.   The numbers are there, it has proven itself as hands down the most effective bait for the biggest fish ever caught.

The 8” Huddleston has caught more fish over 15 pounds than any one bait in history.   You need to read that sentence again and contemplate that for a second.  I have friends who’ve caught fish 15-18 pounds on the 8″ Huddleston, I’ve caught one 14.6 pounds from South Carolina.  Jeremy Pratt also has a 13/14 ish pounder from South Carolina.  There is a reason the 8” Huddleston catches the biggest of big trout eaters—it’s a combination of realism and swim.  To understand the 8″ Huddleston Deluxe swimbait, you have to understand Ken Huddleston and what he is doing.    Ken is such an interesting fellow, with such depth and breadth into big fish behavior.    It was a real treat to include him in Southern Trout Eaters.

huddleston deluxe rainbow trout swimbait
Ken's hand carved 8" Rainbow Trout up close

There is a line in Southern Trout Eaters where Ken Huddleston says, “I believe, the really big ones analyze a bait…etc etc etc.   That set Ken apart for the universe as far as I’m concerned.  There was something completely accurate about the assessment.  Big fish, the truly big fish analyze a bait, and if everything is right, then they will commit.  The analysis is more advanced than 99.9% of traditional bass fishing gives credit to.  Sight, smell, water displacement, vortex, and naturalism.   It’s not  just a lateral line feeling or how real something tastes or how long they will hold onto a bait. It’s multiple honed senses all triangulating off each other to assess and make decisions.  That is truly big fish behavior.  You will witness it when you commit to throwing the bigbaits.  Sooner or later, you’ll have some big fish follow the bait, and you’ll notice they track  behind your Huddleston, and you can see them ‘feeling’ your bait as it swims thru the water.   They are feeling what the trout leaves behind in it’s trail, and that is what makes the 8” Huddleston truly special.

Here is what you need:

Bait:  8” Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout (ROF 5 or ROF 12, get both actually and learn them intimately)

Rod:  GLoomis 966 BBR (high end rod) or Okuma 7’11” Heavy (value bigbait rod)

Reel:  Shimano Calcutta 400 TE (high end swimbait reel)   Or Cardiff 400 ( value bigbait reel)

Line:  P-Line CXX Xtra Strong Moss Green, 30 Pound

Hooks:  Owner ST-66 Stingers (#4 rear stinger, #2 on belly ring/split ring)

Split Ring:  #5 Owner Hyperwire

Rigging:  The Southern Trout Eater Huddleston Rig  & Southern Trout Eater Hook Masking

Strengths:  When you are armed with an  8” Rainbow Trout Huddleston, you know you are throwing the #1 bait in the history of swimbait fishing and it continues to rock the world both West and East and down South.   You don’t get any more high percentage for getting a bite than the 8” Huddleston Deluxe.   The other benefit is you will be forced to learn a new style of fishing around realism and naturalism and learn to hunt big fish.   Learning to fish the ROF 5 and ROF 12 should be goals high up on your list of things to do if you want to get right with fishing the Huddleston.  Not to say the ROF 0 or ROF 16 don’t have their place, it’s just staggering when you start to look at the numbers on the ROF 5 and ROF 12 though.  Consider how many Butch has caught on the ROF 5 and the ROF 12.  Rob Belloni and Nico Raffo made a mint fishing the ROF 12, because as Rob told me, ‘You get to the fish faster’ … speaking as to why the ROF 12 over the ROF 5.   This was 2005 when things were literally about being the first one to fish a place with a Huddleston Deluxe, anywhere there were trout in California or anywhere on the West Coast.    Today the bait is still producing number of fish, as Southern Trout Eaters will attest, but also giants, I mean high teens … which Butch Brown is NOT the only guy catching these, he just is so damn on them and knows where they live and how to get them to bite so intimately, that his accomplishments alone speak to why the 8” Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout stands alone in catching the biggest fish and the most fish when it comes to trophy hunting.   So, do yourself a favor and get a rod and reel dedicated to this bait.  Get your fishing around the Huddleston Deluxe.  It is that profound a bait.  I am just getting started fishing it on lakes without trout, and yes, they eat it.

Ideal Conditions:  Water temps as low as 45-60 degrees, early Spring.  Then as things cool down from 70 to 45 again in Fall.  Those are ideal.    Anytime you are fishing an 8”  Huddleston, you are fishing high percentage for the trout eaters.    Dead of summer or dead of winter, this bait will catch them too, just understand that Spring and Fall tend to be ideal.

Notes:   If you watch Southern Trout Eaters, approximately 70% of the fish in the film were caught on the 8” Huddleston and the 8” Huddleston accounts for more like 80% of all the bigbait fish we’ve caught in the South.     It’s the only bait Jeremy Pratt throws.   Easy Button, don’t kid yourself, when in doubt, ROF 5 or ROF 12 8″ Rainbow Trout Huddleston Deluxe.

I met Ken Huddleston in Las Vegas in June 2010. I was driving from Arkansas to California for a little summer break back ‘home’.  As well, I was planning on finishing up the film over the summer and wanted to interview Ken.  Well, I called Ken, he obliged the meeting and we met in a park.    Understand Ken will not let me or you or anyone into his shop.  This is his intellectual property and I can tell you that Ken trusts most fishermen as far as he can throw them.   Ken is wise because he’s been there and done that and has contemplated on most things you will eventually ask or wonder in swimbait fishing.  There is a ton of wisdom in everything Ken does.

I sat on a park bench in Las Vegas and rolled film. I had no idea what I was in for.  I have an approx 30 minute interview and was only able to use <5 minutes of it in Southern Trout Eaters, but to me it was just excellent footage and added such depth to the film.   Ken sat there and basically helped me understand all the things I’ve been experiencing and thinking on, but couldn’t communicate.   The Vortex Tail.   The Vortex Tail creates the signature a rainbow trout leaves behind as it swims thru water.  So Ken proceeds to walk me thru his other family of baits and how that same philosophy holds true.  For example, the tails on the  Grass Minnow and Weedless Shad were engineered to match the vortex a shad or minnow put off as they swim.

I asked Ken about his logo.  He cool and calmly tried to explain the relationship between Man, God and Nature.  Meaning, in order for the angler (man)  to communicate with fish (nature)  there has to be a spiritual understanding coming from a higher source.  And that higher source (God) helps Ken understand how the natural world communicates.   So, in order for Ken to create a bait that truly could fool the largest of bass, it had to be the most realistic, and furthest away from Man’s flaws.  The 8” Huddleston Deluxe is on one end of the spectrum and a chatterbait and rattle trap is on the other.   The Huddleston is absolutely real and gets bit because it’s mistaken as a trout, whereas a chatterbait gets bit because it has an awesome new thump and chatter.    So in understanding how the natural world really works, Ken created the 8” Huddleston to have lethargic and slow and real swim, no vibrating or making unnatural movements, basically being as subtle as possible to blend into the natural world and not stick out—–nature tries to blend in and not be seen, and that is key to understanding why the 8” Huddleston Deluxe has caught and fooled the biggest of big.

Go ahead and Google “Butch Brown” if you are looking for evidence of what we are referring to, and watch his videos.    Ken’s understanding of the natural world, big fish behavior and angling make his baits special.    The Huddleston profile is the most real trout profiled bait made, the paint job is 110% accurate and excellent, and the vortex tail matches the swim signature of a rainbow trout——hence, there is other bait that can match the Huddleston, and when you really look, its because it’s so real in appearance and swim.

The conversation with Ken absolutely 100% changed my perspective on what was going on with some of my swimbait fishing and where I was headed with the film.  It really resonated with me, and really spoke volumes to me about who I’m aligned with and how fortunate I am to work with someone like Ken.   The intent of interviewing Ken Huddleston our film was to provide to honest input from the guy who makes the bait and to hopefully capture some insights into his design process and ethos.  Well, I thought this was an absolute home run, mission accomplished in the film and what we captured. Just profound insight into swimbait fishing and deeper more profound lessons of big fish behavior.   I’ve been lost in Ken’s Vortex since that June day.    It really shaped how the film came together, not because I’m trying to be Ken’s flunky, but because I totally 100% agree with most of what Ken is laying down and I believe in what he does and the baits he makes.  His words and wisdom made clarity and connected dots to ideas and part of equations I couldn’t explain prior to our meeting.  It was just profound, and fun.  We got along great and just had a healthy conversation and made an otherwise impromptu session super insightful.

Now, applying the Vortex Tail outside of the Trout Eaters, that is next and something we are working on as much as possible.   Its being done and something we plan to give you full disclosure and  access to. However, we aren’t there yet.

But when it comes to trout eaters in the South, that is where we have focused a ton of time and energy to show how we’ve taken the same baits that won the west over and are applying them in the MidWest and South.   The Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout is the #1 bait out West, and our film Southern Trout Eaters shows why it’s the #1 bait for us down South too.

Here is the movie trailer for Southern Trout Eaters: