I love to be able to recommend something I’ve used for years and years and years and have no reservations at all about recommending.   The G-Loomis 966 BBR is an excellent rod for the 8″ Huddleston Deluxe, which in itself, you need an 8″ Huddleston Deluxe rod, therefore, do not pass go until you have an 8″ Huddleston Deluxe rod!    No kidding, that is what makes this rod something to consider in the BIGbait picture.  So, dig this, you can throw all 4 ROFs from Ken Huddleston with the rod, but its also what else the rod can do which is serve as your ‘bigbait’ rod, the one rod you have multiples of so you can also fish 10″ Triple Trouts, 9-12″ MS Slammers, XL Nezumaa Rats, and various hard and softbaits in the 3-7 ounce range.    This rod is not the beefiest of rods in the bigbait world.    I totally understand and get where the G-Loomis 966 BBR is NOT a good rod for the ‘megabaits’ lets call them, these giant hardbaits and giant softbaits pushing 10-16 ounces and upwards of 18″ long or longer.   You need super specialized rods for those baits for sure.  What about the Alabama Rig and other castable umbrella rigs?  You plan on throwing any 4-5-6″ swimbaits on it?

The G-Loomis 966 BBR on deck or in my hand. You need an excellent  Huddleston Deluxe  rod, and the G-Loomis 966 is that indeed, and since it also handles A-Rigs, 10″ Triple Trouts, 9-12″ Slammers, XL Nezumaa rats, etc its an interchangeable tool in my bigbait approach

I need a rod to get after it with the 8″ Huddleston, the XL Nezumaa Rat, or the 10″ Triple Trout, or whatever combinations thereof, so having one rod that can handle multiple bigbaits is key.    I have at least four G-Loomis 966 BBR rod and four Shimano Calcutta 400 TE reel setups in my boat when I’m seriously getting after the trout eaters.  And at least one of the above said combos onboard at all times, because it can fish whatever bigbait I might want to explore in a more tournament centric lake that has big fish in it, like an Okeechobee or Seminole or Santee Cooper.  I know that with that rod, if things are good, and feeling right or just feel like chunking some big stuff, I have a rod that will handle any of my best big search tools.   Rod management.  If you’ve seen Southern Trout Eaters, about 90% of the fish I catch in the film are on that rod.  The other 10% are fish I catch on ‘medium’ rods.   But the film itself should serve as validation that the rod is a workhorse and staple tool in my bigbait fishing approach.

The G-Loomis 966 BBBR + Shimano Calcutta 400TE + 80# Power Pro = torque and power like few have experienced in bass fishing. To properly fish exposed or weedless bigbaits around grass , or to just ‘snatch’ your baits clean, this setup has grass fishing and bigbaits covered as well as the standard clear water and 30# copolymer applications.

Braided line?  You bet.  Try 80# braided line on your G-Loomis 966 BBR, and add whatever bait of your choice.  8″ Huddlestons in the grass on 80# braid?  No, don’t do that.  You will realize that a Shimano Calcutta 400 TE and G-Loomis 966 BBR not only match well in the mountains, but they match well in the grass. You might migrate south down the peninsula called Florida or wherever grass grows thick and heavy.  It is scary the amount of force and stopping power that rod and reel combo deliver with 80# Power Pro.    I’m seriously contemplating moving to Fort Lauderdale, selling software, regrouping,  and fishing in S. Florida and Central Florida for a few years until I get more bites on 8″ Huddleston Deluxes with 80# braid involved and G-Loomis 966s and Calcutta 400 TEs!!!  Talk about addicting.   Big fish, big bites and vicious battles in shallow grass where your gear better be balanced and able to get the job done.    Braid and a slow action parabolic rod is the reason God made hydrilla.

The A-Rig Affect

I found the G-Loomis 966 BBR to be an excellent rod choice for lobbing the ‘bigger’ castable umbrella rigs with the larger 1/2 to 3/4 ounce heads and 4-5″ swimbait tails.  Another usage for an already proven combo.   The rod can load up and handle the lob casting and swimming of a lure that weighs in the 4-5 ounce zone really well.  And it doesn’t suck that the rod can whip 4-7 pounders like other rods handle 2-3 pounders.    So with the effects of the Alabama Rig coming down on our heads, guys who’ve never considered a big rod for anything but flipping might like to know this rod will handle the rigors of the castable umbrella rig as well as swimming big swimbaits.

The Rod:

  • Moderate Fast:  Parabolic action.  The 966 BBR is slow compared to most, and that slower action means it has that parabolic bend, which means it doesn’t wear you out when you decide you’re going to lob bigbaits for 8-10 hours.  The rod does the work of the casting and retrieving, and hooking.  Since the rod loads up nicely, it has an inherent slight load it maintains while you’re retrieving your bigbait, so when a bite does come, you are in an excellent spot to hook and setup on a bite.  The slow action gives the rod incredible power on the pull, which is key to whipping big fish early in the fight.  This rod builds and maintains a lot of force and momentum and it really comes in to play once you get a big fish hooked up because you control and fight the fish while applying maximum pressure.
  • 8 foot long:  I like this rod is a full 8 feet long.  I like a rod that maximizes length for added casting distance, feel and touch, and ability to direct my cast as the bait flies thru the air. I can also lay my line where I want it at the end of a long cast, giving me the ability to influence the swim of my bait by the bow of the line at the beginning of my retrieve.
  • Balanced:  The 966 BBR is not the lightest most advanced rod on the market today.  That is okay.  You don’t hunt elephants with a BB gun.  You need to match power with power and this rod has the mass and make up that matches bigbaits, big fish and has proven itself as a workhorse.    We mentioned the physics of bigbait fishing in Southern Trout Eaters.  The G-Loomis 966 BBR is a standard to measure the strength of your line, terminal tackle selections, whereby you have a standardized rod that you can shape your rigs and rigging around.  The handle is ‘right length’ and the full cork uniform feel makes it comfortable. It just works.
  • Shimano Calcutta 400 TE:  The 400 TE is the reel.  So, think about this. I have a big round gold reel with incredible gears and gearing.  It fits and compliments the G-Loomis 966 perfectly.  It’s like they were made to fit each other, which they weren’t, but the rod and reel together balance.  There are a lot of rods out there where the Calcutta 400 TE would be silly because it so far outweighs and out guns the rod, even though some guy put ‘swimbait’ on the rod.     The reel matches the rod, and the rod matches the reel.
  • Interchangeability&Consistency:  With a few 966 BBR + Calcutta 400 TE reels, I know I approach any bigbait situation, and be able to throw the various tools of my trade and not worry about having specialized rods onboard everytime.  I can use the same combo for any of the bigbaits (or A-Rig) I throw and that is huge because rod management and being able to be efficient with your equipment makes a difference in your fishing.
I’ve had 3-4 G-Loomis 966 BBRs on deck for 6+ years. Interchangeable because they handle the tools of my trade equally well. Sometimes with fishing rods, you just find one that covers multiple baits and applications, and that helps you simplify your approaches and be prepared out on the water.   It’s not uncommon to have 2-3 Hudds tied on the same day or need a 10″ Triple Trout and 8″ Huddleston for the same 100 yard stretch.   Picking up the same rod with a different bait is easier to get used to than different baits on different rods.


There are plenty of rods out there marketed toward swimbaits and bigbaits.   Shimano/G-Loomis  doesn’t even highlight or feature the G-Loomis 966 BBR as a swimbait rod.    They have other lines of newer rods and actions positioned to serve these purposes.  I understand progress and business and ‘how things’ go, but fishing rods are like classic shaped surfboards, or a fine shotgun, or perhaps a Tommy Armor 7 iron…somethings just work and are classic pieces of sporting goods.  Gary Loomis is a legend in the rod building world, and this rod is one of his best known in some circles, and is a model you can talk about and appreciate because it was made in the Pacific NorthWest as a mooching and salmon rod, where they’d lob big hooks and lead for big ole salmon, and can connect the dots that the rod is just ‘simple’ but takes advantage of the physics and balances and compromises.  Catching big fish by lobbing bigbaits, and we are talking about the same approximate size spectrum, so that is why I think the 966 crosses over from that original saltwater world to the freshwater bigbait space so well.   You a V8 engine to tow a boat, so don’t try and do it with a 4 cylinder.  You don’t catch trains on a bicycle, you need to match power with power, and the reel has to match the rod, and the big ole round goldie locks 400 TE to the G-Loomis 966 BBR makes me feel like I’ve got the perfect high powered rifle to shoot whatever big game I encounter.    The G-Loomis 966 BBR is a ‘classic’ and a rod that set a benchmark out there in the bigbait fishing community and is one you can talk around other rods.

Many of my friends use Okuma Rods, Dobyns,  and the G-Loomis Swimbait series of rod.    Rods are a personal choice, and sometimes they are a business decision and sometimes they just are because that is what you have and you already invested in them, and they aren’t broken so you use what you use.  I have zero reservations about recommending the  G-Loomis 966 BBR because it has worked so well for me, for so many years, and continues to impress me with the things I can do with it (ie, 80 # Braid).  You need a Huddleston Rod, you need a BigBait Rod, you need an A-Rig Rod, and this rod does it all.

Lake PIckwick Triple Trout fishing
Bob Wood and a nice Lake Pickwick smallmouth on the 6" Triple Trout, chartruese shad. Tournament swimbait and small and spotted bass killer

Each Triple Trout has its own unique features, strengths, and intricacies that can be hard to qualify for you.    I work to find harmony and rhythm with my baits.  The 6” Triple Trout is always on on my mind and front deck when I’m targeting smallmouth or spotted bass, especially when tournament fishing is involved.   The 6” Triple Trout catches largemouths, no doubt about it, but it’s size and profile make it a standout with smallmouth in particular, but also spotted beasts.

ozark triple trout fishing
Chad and Banning, my pals in North Arkansas, getting it done with the 6" Triple Trout. The six inch Triple Trout is a good 'starter' bait for guys who aren't conditioned for throwing the bigbaits, yet.

Smallmouth tend to like smaller profile baits, not always, but when in Rome (ie, a place like Champlain or Erie or Pickwick when you are focused on catching a trophy smallmouth)  , throw a 6” Triple Trout, and see what happens.   There has been a lot of 6” Triple Trout trail blazing by the BigBait Possee crew on Arizona’s Lake Havasu and friends of mine like Cameron Smith on the Columbia River on Western smallies.  Smallmouth candy bars, the 6” Triple Trout be.   The 6” Triple Trout has all the goodness of the other larger Triple Trouts, so it has good fluid ‘s’ swim and vibration and thump, but it can be a ‘sportcar’ too.

The SportsCar:

What I’m getting at, is the 6” Triple Trout is a high performance bigbait.  When I talk about the Triple Trout blending with a jerk bait, the 6” Triple Trout is like a Triple Trout blending with a Gunfish or Vixen, meaning a bait you can virtually any way you want and make it look good, and the better you get with the bait, the more control you have. It’s your ability to control the bait that really sets the Triple Trout guys apart from the rest.   The 6” Triple Trout throws Kelly Slater style cutbacks, turns and power.  The bait fishes incredibly fast if that’s what you want. I like to burn it for a split second or quick 2 foot section, then stall it, then burn it again for 2 feet and stall, twitch, jerk, pause and burn.

6 inch triple trout
Sports Car, the 6" Triple Trout coupled with a 400 TE reel is power fishing a swimbait, tournament style. Bone white, a favorite color the world over

The 6” Triple Trout has the tightest ‘s’ swim of the full sized standard Triple Trouts.    The tightness equates to a tighter wavelength and vibration which makes it more a tournament swimbait than a lake or state record breaking swimbait.   The tightness also equates to ability to cut thru the water.   So, when faced with current, the 6” Triple Trout cuts water better than the 7/8/10” versions.  You can control the 6” and just fish it absolutely fast tournament pace and be very effective.  Power fishing a swimbait.

Gear for the 6″ Triple Trout:

Rod: G-Loomis 964
ReelShimano Curado 300  or Shimano Calcutta 300 TE or  Shimano Calcutta 400 TE
LineP-line CXX Xtra Strong, Moss Green, 25 Pound
HooksOwner ST-56 Stinger Treble Hooks,  #2 front and back
Split Rings:  Owner Hyper Wires, #5s front and back

Strengths:  Tournament swimbait.  Smallmouth swimbait. Spotted bass swimbait.  Largemouth swimbait, just not the double digit kind, most likely.   Very fast and aggressive and performance swimbait.  Highly stall-able.  Highly burnable. Sharp bouncing switch & cutbacks.   Power fishing on tournament day is what I think about the 6” Triple trout.  And for hunting trophy smallies and spotted bass, make no mistake this bait gets a lot of 3-6 pound range fish which makes it candy for the trophy spotted or small mouthed basses.

owner treble hooks for triple trout
The ST-56 Owner Stinger Trebles are 3X strong and an excellent choice when you need small size 2 or 4 treble hooks, and are fishing swimbaits where you don't want to bend out hooks with the rods and reels you are fishing.

Ideal conditions:  The cooling water of Fall.  Fish chasing on better than average sized threadfin shad.   Fish who eat yellow perch.  Fish who eat blueback herring.  Fish who eat jerkbaits and topwaters in warm water conditions.  Fishing that involves current and/or moving water.


Here is tutorial that might be elementary to some, but might be useful to others.  We use a ton of 20-25-30 pound P-Line CXX Moss Green Copolymer line for our bigbait fishing.  We change line often, and usually only use a ‘top shot’ of line, meaning we are only changing the top 75 or so yards of line (vs. the entire spool).  You just don’t know when you are going to get ‘the bite’ and believe changing line relatively often necessary because of the physics involved in lobbing baits that weigh 5 ounces.  The line take a beating just by casting it, stopping it with your thumb on the spool, etc.

ten inch triple trout
The 10" Triple Trout, in purple trout, from our film, Southern Trout Eaters..."If the Vortex don't get ya, the Lightning Bolt will"

There is one swimbait that started the “S” swimmer revolution and whose simplicity is its genius.    The Triple Trout is an absolute staple in our swimbait fishing, our practice approach to tournament swimbait fishing, and a bait that compliments our efforts to explore big and small bait fishing.  The 10″ Triple Trout is a BIGBAIT and probably one of the more tiring lures you’ll ever commit to and learn to fish.  This bait can be a workout to fish, which is all the better because most don’t have the nerve, the physical conditioning or the guts to commit to a bait like the 10″ Triple Trout.

The Triple Trout is hand crafted, painted, and tuned in Long Beach, California.  Scott Whitmer is the man behind the 22nd Century Bait Company (named in relation to a song from “the Briefs”) .  Scott is old school in the Southern California trophy scene, and Scott continues to have fun with his fishing (well, he doesn’t fish anymore, according to him) and bait designs.

Here is a picture of Scott, from out interview session that was featured in Southern Trout Eaters:

scott whitmer 22nd Century Bait co
Mr. Scott Whitmer the man behind the Triple Trout and Nezumaa Rat, at home in his shop, Long Beach, CA

Scott’s style is very Southern Californian.  Long Beach in fact.  In South Orange County, we have a punk rock scene, but Long Beach always seemed a bit more rockabilly and 50’s greaser style, which is cool with us and we share a lot of mutual DNA.   Scott is a craftsman.  He has a strong and loyal following.  He prefers to keep a low profile and make baits and quietly expand his business.  His baits catch fish, period, and there it was no accident that Scott and his baits (the Triple Trout and Nezumaa Rat) were featured in our film, Southern Trout Eaters.  The film leaves no doubt of the 10″ baits effectiveness for big fish and numbers, and covers topics like changing tails and shows us fishing and catching some serious studs on it.

The Triple Trout was conceived around being a jointed swimmer that required no bill and provided switchback and erratic jerkbait like actions and stalls that would fire up the Southern California trout eaters to chase and eat.    There is something special about the 10” Triple Trout.  It’s a known big fish bait, getting it done in places like Diamond Valley, Casitas, the Castaics, Don Pedro, San Vicente, Clear Lake to name a few.   Our message is around simplification.  The Triple Trout is on a short list of baits that have proven themselves to catch teen and double digit sized fish consistently—AND it’s a HARDBAIT.  There are a LOT of JUNK hardbaits out there, so pay attention to the ones that are actually catching fish.  That says it all right there.  You have to separate baits that actually have caught really big ones into a separate buckets and then analyze soft vs. hard baits.   The Huddleston, The Triple Trout, 3:16 Baits by Mickey Ellis, the Lunker Punker, MS Slammer,  and Rago Baits pretty much cover 95% of fish catches on bigbaits when you drill into it.

ten inch triple trout colors
From Top to Bottom: The 10" Triple Trouts from the film, Southern Trout Eaters: Silver Trout, Blue Trout, and Mackerel Trout

Our Film, Southern Trout Eaters,  explores fishing the Triple Trout for the Blue Ridge and Ozark Mountain trout eaters.  There is no doubt that bass in the MidWest and South are crazy and fired up about the Triple Trout.   We have been throwing the Triple Trout since 2005 in the South, and it’s a bait we’ve put the most time throwing, next to the Huddleston Deluxe family of baits.    We’ve caught the trout eaters on the Triple Trout, but the really exciting stuff is catching the blueback herring eaters, the big gizzard shad eaters, the brim/perch eaters, etc with the Triple Trouts as well.   There are 6-7-8-10″ versions of the Triple Trout, and you can expect us to have a write-up for each.

spotted bass on the 10 inch triple trout
One of the largest spotted bass I've ever caught, and it was captured on film and included in Southern Trout Eaters. Get your head and gear right, because the 10" Triple Trout will expose weaknesses in your mental and physical approach to bigbait fishing in a hurry.

Gear for fishing the 10″ Triple Trout:

Rod:  GLoomis 966 BBR

Reel:  Shimano Calcutta 400 TE

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

Hooks:  Owner ST-36  (3/0 up front and 2/0 in the rear)

Split Rings:  #6 Owner Hyper Wire Split Rings

Strengths:   The 10” is an excellent BIG FISH bait.  Double digits, teens, and the 7-8-9 pound fish will eat this bait.  You can cover a ton of water with the Triple Trout and look for followers and movement to understand what reaction the fish have a bigbait.  Excellent durability and fishability.  Can be fished at night, good thumping swim.

Ideal Conditions:   Water temps above 60 degrees or so.   The warmer the water, the better for the Triple Trout.  The fish need to be in a chasing, topwater, or otherwise positive mood where they’ll move to get a bait.   You create the bite with the Triple Trout at times, using a start stop and jerk bait like retrieve to turn neutral or negative fish into biters.   The clearer the water the better, but don’t fool yourself, this bait has enough thump and vibration  and color choices that even the dirty water guys will be impressed.

Notes:   If you want to get serious about trophy hunting, add the 10” Triple Trout right under 8” Huddleston Deluxe.  This bait separates men from boys.  When we recommend the 400 TE for bigbait fishing, this bait is a prime example.  In order to fish this bait effectively and not wear your arms and wrists out, you need the right rod and reel to match the physics this bait brings—and the fish that will commit to the bait.

10 inch purple trout
When they get the front hook on your 10" Triple Trout, you know they are liking the color you are throwing. 10" Triple Trout in "Purple Trout"

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: