This article is dedicated to the hottest hard swimbait to take the big bait world by storm over the last few years: 22nd Century’s Triple Trout. Arguably the most versatile swimbait available, this proven producer can trigger strikes in a variety of ways. We’ll go over Triple Trout variations, some techniques, equipment, upgrades, and other helpful hints to get the most out of your 22nd Century swimbait.

The Triple Trout is currently available in four standard sizes: 6, 7, 8 & 10 inch. The standard sink rate is “slow sink”, with these baits falling slightly less than a foot per second. There are some limited runs on floating, heavy, cut tail, and 4 piece variations but production on these baits has all but ceased for the time being. Almost all the baits available on store shelves are 3-piece slow sinking models. These are the baits that this article will be focusing on.

With 4 size options and about 15 available colors, choosing a bait can be a tough decision. Match the size and color to your local forage and fish the combination that you have the most confidence to begin with. These baits push a lot of water and have a profile that fish of all sizes including the trophy’s find appealing. It can be easy to get overly concerned about color, just keep in mind that often times the best baits are the seasoned baits that have a lot of paint missing.

One of the strengths of the Triple Trout is that many of the patterns available resemble more than one species of baitfish. The “Light Trout” for example really doesn’t resemble most rainbow trout, however that shade of green could possibly resemble sunfish, black bass, hitch, etc. Same goes for the “Dark Trout”, it comes fairly close to matching smallmouth, carp, hitch, suckers, etc. Colors like Chartreuse Shad and Bone are good choices for off colored water. Kokanee and Green Shiner aren’t as flashy and do well in clearer waters. Basically it boils down to picking a color, or colors that you believe will get bit and fishing them.

The proper equipment is crucial to fishing big baits successfully and effectively. The Triple Trout is basically an oversize lipless crankbait, so a rod that acts like an oversize crankbait rod fits the bill. With the hard body and sharp treble hooks, fish will usually hook themselves and utilizing a sweeping reel set is very effective. The key with these big baits is keeping fish hooked long enough to get them in the net and in the boat. A powerful swimbait rod with a bit of a forgiving top section will cushion those trebles from ripping out of jaw of most fish.

Okuma designed 2 rods specifically for these hard baits, the Okuma Guide Select Series Swimbait Rods. They offer a 7’6” and 7’11” version in a heavy model that fishes the 22nd Century Triple Trout as well as most other 7-9 inch hard baits very well. These rods represent the most value for the money, as they were designed by a well respected big bait fisherman who is familiar with actually fishing big baits. There are a lot of “swimbait” rods out there that were designed by guys who have never thrown some of the truly BIG baits, let alone tango with some of the brute fish that try to eat them. With a lifetime warranty you can fish these rods hard and not have to second guess at least one aspect of your equipment.

Mark Higashi of Performance Tackle (www.performancetackle.com) makes a killer custom line of swimbait rods that fishes the Triple Trout extremely well. They feature custom blanks, black hypalon split grip handles, downwrapped guides, collapsible blanks, and that custom touch that you could never find in a production model rod. His “medium” action swimbait rod has put many fish in the boat for us, with a lot of them coming on the 8 & 10 inch Triple Trout.

These baits are fairly light for their size, but still can cast a long way. Take advantage of that by using high quality reels, either round or low profile that have the capability of making long casts and picking up line fast. Shimano Calcutta’s, Curado 300D/E’s, Daiwa Luna’s, Okuma Induron’s are all great reel choices that have strong drags, casting ability, and line capacity to handle all four sizes of the Triple Trout.

Monofilament/Copolymer lines are best suited for this style bait. Many great lines are available to the modern swimbait angler. Berkley Big Game, P Line CXX & Evolution, Maxima Ultragreen, Triple Fish, Izorline Platinum & XXX are just some of the quality lines on the market that will work very well with 22nd Century swimbaits. Flourocarbon lines work well for the slow sinking version of the bait when you want to get it down and keep it down deeper. Line shy is not how you would normally describe fish that will eat a swimbait so don’t over think the low visibility issue. Braided lines work well for this bait as well, however you lose those shock absorbing traits of monofilament which can keep an extra lunging fish or two hooked long enough to get it in the net.

One of the absolute best and most innovative features on the 22nd Century line of baits are the swiveling hooks. Instead of a standard screw eye, the hooks are attached to

the bait via free swinging swivels which allow the hook to rotate unimpeded a full 360 degrees. This means that once a fish is hooked, you stand an excellent chance that it will be landed. The fish get absolutely no leverage when they try to “spin” off the hooks. No other big bait has this unique feature, and is just one of the things that make this line of baits so special.

Now we will talk about modifying these baits to enhance their performance. When these baits first appeared in tackle boxes on the west coast, anglers were concerned about maintaining the paint jobs in new condition. Coating the baits with epoxy was a common practice in an attempt to protect the finish on these “expensive” baits. What would happen often times was that the epoxy would trap expanding gases in the resin when the temperature rose. This created bubbles under the epoxy that would eventually flake off, sometimes taking the paint with it. Scott Whitmer paints these baits to endure the punishment swimbait fisherman dish out. They are more than adequately durable, and as mentioned before, it is often the worst “looking” bait that tends to posses that special something that just gets bit. No need to try and protect your 22nd Century Swimbaits, they are one of the more durable paint schemes available on the market.

Triple Trouts come equipped stock with VMC bronze treble hooks which are quality hooks. They hold a good point and are non flashy, which are both good. However they can have a tendency to straighten under heavy load. This can be combated by taking a pair of pliers and turning the points slightly inwards towards the shank. It is however recommend that they are swapped out with either Owner ST-36 or ST-41 Treble hooks. ST-36’s feature a conical point and are 1X rated and suitable for just about all black bass species. ST-41’s feature the cutting point and are 2X and are recommended for big bruisers like striped bass and musky. Here are the hook sizes for each respectable size Triple Trout:

6” #2 in the front, #4 in the back

7” #1 in the front, #2 in the back

8” #1 in the front, #2 in the back

10” 2/0 in the front, 1/0 in the back

The split rings that come with the baits are plenty strong and reliable, but feel free to swap them out for Owner Hyper Wire Split Rings if you so choose. Replacement tails are readily available for quick and easy swapping if they become damaged or lost. They easily screw right into the pigtail on the tail end of the baits, just pick a light or dark shade to match your bait.

With your equipment matched up and your baits properly upgraded, we can discuss fishing the 22nd Century Triple Trout. The absolute strongest aspect of the Triple Trout is it’s versatility. The slow sinking Triple Trout can literally be fished from the surface down to 30 feet. Plus, these baits will not roll or swim untrue at any speed. You can chuck wind this bait at full speed trying to elicit a reaction strike from aggressive fish and not worry about your bait swimming in tune. At times the fish cannot ignore the wake that these baits put out, especially the 10 inch. Slow it down and fish it like a slow rolled spinnerbait on a slow steady retrieve. Rip and twitch it like an oversize jerkbait to draw fish from cover or turn followers into biters.

Let’s get away from the old cliché of “thinking outside the box”, and instead just fish the Triple Trout like you would any other reaction type bait. Throw it when and where you would normally throw a jerkbait, crankbait, topwater, spinnerbait, etc. Tie it on, check your knot and start casting. If confidence in fishing a big bait is lacking, start with the 6 inch. It’s overall profile is not much bigger than a ¾ oz. spinnerbait or Rattletrap, but the size of the fish that will eat it are on average bigger than fish caught on standard baits. Even the 10 inch bait will get eaten by 2 pound fish, do not be intimidated by the size of the larger Triple Trouts.

If making a decision to venture into the realm of big baits There really isn’t a magical bait on the market that only needs water to produce fish, but the 22nd Century Triple Trout comes awfully close!

Tip Via - HookedUpTackle.com

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