Triple Threat: Berkley’s first round of FFS-optimized baits deliver across the board

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BY MIKE STEVENS

SPIRIT LAKE, IOWA— In an effort to get these baits in the hands of anglers as soon as possible, Berkley didn’t wait for the ICAST Show in July to unveil its new line of lures engineered specifically to be utilized with forward-facing sonar (FFS), and the storied company did so in impressive fashion to hit the ground sprinting in 2024.

The Berkley Labs Science Symposium was held in early January at NASA Space Center in Houston as Berkley Fishing took the lead on engineering new baits geared specifically for forward-facing sonar (FFS) fishing which has become a legit game-changer among competitive bass anglers. These “FFS Optimized” baits are designed to stay in the strike zone longer than anything on the market and show up clearly on this style of electronics.

MIKE IACONELLI shows off a couple versions of the new Berkley Krej.

The three baits introduced to the members of the outdoor media on hand (including Western Outdoor News) included the Berkley Krej (“jerk” backwards), Finisher and Power Switch. Each give the angler a wide range of options covering all depths, seasons and situations that can be adjusted on the fly while watching how fish are reacting to the baits in real time on front-facing sonar.

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THE BERKLEY KREJ (jerk backwards) does just about everything in reverse, and that’s an action few bass have seen.

Krej

Taking full advantage of Berkley’s team of scientists and engineers and an unmatched knowledge of fish behavior, all of these new lures are designed to only prey on the predatory instincts of a bass, but also to maximize the time each bait spends in the strike zone, if not directly in the fish’s face. The Berkley Krej certainly boats all those characteristics, and it quickly became a go-to for anglers utilizing FFS technology.

The Krej falls in the opposite direction of the angler (or, continues in the direction of the cast) when it hits the water and toward a target fish (or school of fish). The “ascending lip” on the Krej creates that unique feature, and it also allows the lure to be worked upward in the water column on the retrieve. When stopped, the Krej will fall back with a flash and roll action repeatedly until the target bass bites. It’s designed to be fished on semi-slack line, and it always has a surge-and-die (forward and back) action. Prior to the next cast, the Krej has shown a tendency to get bit just before it leaves the water due to the predatory instinct of a bass to trap baitfish against the surface.

THE BERKLEY FINISHER is an FFS-optimized bait that can be fished at any level in the water column, and presented vertically as well as horizontally.

Finisher

Berkley nailed it in its first attempt at a FFS-inspired hardbait with the Finisher which is already proven as a deadly weapon against suspending fish. With no fin structure built into the bait, the Finisher darts erratically and in all directions when worked, and it hovers in the water column during pauses in the retrieve. During an on-the-water portion of the event in Houston, Berkley’s pro staffers showed how they utilized FFS to guide these baits into the strike zone, and it was incredible to see not only how accurately these baits made their way to target fish (while watching them on the screen), but how effectively the baits could be worked in one specific area for essentially as long as the angler wanted.

The Berkley Finisher can be fished from top to bottom, and it is also effective when worked vertically as well as horizontally in the water column. It casts like a bullet, drops fast and a wide-range or retrieves can be employed to create and endless variety of actions, and it’s the perfect FFS bait for anglers who tend to make adjustments on the fly.

 

THERE IS NO wrong way to fish the Berkley Power Switch.

Power Switch

Speaking of the angler who likes to change it up without having to pick up another rod, the Berkley Power Switch is the secret weapon in this family of baits and one that cannot be fished wrong. Pre-rigged with a forward-protruding leadhead, the Power Switch is actually Berkley’s first FFS-optimized bait, and it’s one that gives the angler complete control over adjusting the bait’s cadence and action.

Often times while fishing with FFS technology, the angler is well aware that he is in the strike zone, and the puzzle he is trying to put together is what presentation will get the fish to bite. The Power Switch is a bait that can always be kept close at hand for that reason since it’s ideally suited for vertical jigging, snapping, hovering, twitching and strolling. Each of those tactics (and beyond) can be put in play at a moment’s notice without needing to pick up a new rig, and that means a competitor has baits in the water a lot more without having to pick through rods on deck or dig them out of the rod locker, and that time saved often leads to cashing a check in a tournament situation.

At the Berkley Labs Science Symposium, Berkley’s scientists, chemists and biologists were all on hand and excited to talk about these new FFS-Optimized baits which was centered around this new ability for anglers to see how fish are reacting to their baits and maximizing that interaction.

“What we are doing at Berkley Labs mimics real life,” said Mark Sexton, Berkley’s Manager of Fish Science and Product Testing for over 27 years. “We keep secrets because no one else is going to take the time to figure this stuff out.”

For more information on these innovative baits including more tips on how to fish them, visit Berkley-Fishing.com.

BERKLEY’S NEW ‘FFS OPTIMIZED’ BAITS– The Berkley (top to bottom) Krej, Power Switch and Finisher were unveiled at the Berkley Labs Science Symposium held at NASA Space Center in Houston.
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