would improve hook up efficiency. Covello leveraged the best fea- tures of the Clear Water Elite and at Cypher’s urging added a free swinging feathered treble hook. Thus was born the Open Water Assassin. “We went through a lot of prototypes to get the Assas- sin to work the way we wanted,” said Covello. “It took a number of revisions to get the blades to work right at both high and low speeds. The addition of the feathered treble not only increases hook up efficiency but also be- cause the hook is free swinging it creates bi-directional move- ment and deflection which adds to the attractiveness of the bait.” One key fea- ture that Cyphers is quite fond of is the ability to remove the tre- ble from the body of the spinnerbait at the split ring. “I can attach a single tail grub and fish the bait in prefish without sticking any of my fish,” said Cyphers. “It is a bonus to use the same bait during the tournament since I know the fish are eat- ing it and that reinforces my confidence.” Cyphers also points out that since the hooks are elevated just below the blades the bait has proved far more weedless then he could have ever imagined. “We designed this bait primarily for Spots and Smallies, but really it just plain catches them all, and anglers can throw it on lighter tipped rods like the Dobyns Champion 734 C FH.
MOre COOl sTuff
For the finesse angler, the “Pepper Shaker” is a Shakey Head style lead head that features a super sharp light wire Ga- makatsu hook and a screw in keeper intended to securely attach the bait. The flat face on the jig head enables worms and craws to achieve a nose down, tail/claw up attitude that is such a powerful triggering mechanism. Punchin’ is one of the hottest tech- niques on the tournament circuit. Pepper has taken two essential components of punchin’ and brought them together. At the heart of the system is a color coordinated Tungsten weight with a specially designed collar to directly attach the skirt. The “Pep- per Punch” allows an angler to present a jig profile bait into areas that are dif- ficult to effectively fish with a traditional weed less jig. Another use for the pepper punch system quietly emerged last sum- mer on Lake Mead where upcoming Peppers Pro Moses Makuahi started using the system on the front of soft body swimbaits. Coined the X Rig by Cyphers a small group of anglers were Carolina Rigging swimbaits on 1oz weights, short leaders and power fish- ing the rig in 25 to 35 feet of water. “ I was sure that Moses would win the event based on the effective- ness of the system...the skirt added so much life to the bait and really let it come through the deep grass we were fishing”. Makuahi was in the hunt the final day but slipped to 8th overall using the system.
In true Pepper fashion, Covello and team have a number of new products in the pipeline. “We have a new ultra finesse struc- ture jig that is targeted for release this spring,” he said. “In Japan anglers are winning tournaments with small micro jigs. Our new jig leverages this concept while retaining the proper characteristics for the American market.” If the results gathered during develop- ment are any indication, Pepper is sure to have another winner on its hand. Fishing an advanced prototype, Roy Hawk secured a another major tournament win on Lake Mead. Covello was more secretative but did tip his hand a little in regards to his latest project. “We are working on another jig,” said Covello. “All say is that it is a multi-purpose jig that is unlike anything on the market.” How’s that for suspense? BWU