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: