Lure of the Month: Micro Shad FryZ
by Terry Madewell
An appealing and highly durable soft-plastic lure that will catch multiple fish without having to be replaced.
Soft plastic lures designed for crappie fishing are by nature, considered delicate morsels replicating a profile of something crappie love to eat.
When Z-Man Fishing products angler David Walker described the Micro Shad FryZ as a crappie-appealing soft plastic, with “bulletproof” durability, it clicked my “tell me more” button. He told me a lot more. And after fishing it rigorously, I am all in on the “highly durable” description.
Walker knows about lures being durable and appealing. He’s a Major League Bass Fishing star who happens to be a confirmed crappie sneak when not on the bass tournament trail.
The Micro Shad FryZ is the June 2023 Crappie Lure of the Month. The lure offers the profile anatomy that adult crappie love to eat, with attributes that take performance, durability and presentation options to the next level.
Cory Schmidt, marketing manager for Z-Man Fishing, said the Micro Shad FryZ design originated from the concept that soft plastics can combine appealing profiles of thin, deep-bodied forage such as baby shad, crappie and panfish, with the addition of improved durability.
“Baby shad are a prime crappie-food profile, but yearling crappie and panfish profiles are also crucial, yet often overlooked, forage foods for crappie and other gamefish,” Schmidt said. “The Micro Shad FryZ is a 1.75-inch lure that’s one of five original profiles developed. The material created to produce the lure is ElaZtech, a super-soft, buoyant and resilient ‘superplastic’ that enables this lure to impart realistic action even with slow retrieve speeds.”
Schmidt said prototype testing told the story on profile effectiveness and longevity. Last Spring he said a single bait was rigged and used to catch more than 100 fish, including crappie and multiple other species.
That means, in theory, you could catch 800 fish on a standard 8-pack of ShadZ’s (costing only $4.99).
David Walker said durability of the lure is only one of the reasons he’s such a fan.
“It’s got to produce crappie for me to use it,” he said. “The Shad FryZ is a high-action, low maintenance crappie fishing swim bait in the Micro-size I love. As with bass fishing, lure size often means the difference between aggressive bites or no interest with crappie. This lure’s profile and size is lethal.”
“The reason I describe it as bulletproof is because the paint on the head of my jig may wear off before the lure wears out,” Walker said. “It has the most incredible swim action I’ve ever seen, particularly at ultra-slow swim speeds, and speed control is essential.”
Check out the lure’s action on this video of the Shad FryZ:
Walker said even when fishing it slow, or hovering it fishing vertical, the tail still wiggles.
Walker said the lure pairs perfectly with the Z-Man Finesse SchroomZ jigheads, produced in 1/10, 1/15, and 1/30-ounce sizes.
“I’ll primarily use the 1/10-ounce jighead, but I’ll employ smaller jig options for unique crappie-fishing situations,” he said.
Walker said he’s typically a one-rod fisherman and the swim bait nature of the Shad FryZ is ideal for that tactic.
“But it’s great fished vertically over deep targets, or under a float searching for shallow-water crappie,” he said. “I can pull the tail tight without breaking it off when shooting docks.”
After fishing this lure around various types of crappie-holding cover, and catching multiple crappies on the same lure, the Shad FryZ has earned top-drawer status in my tackle box.
Terry Madewell hails from Ridgeway, S.C., and has been an outdoor writer for more than 40 years. He holds a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management and has a long career as a professional wildlife biologist/natural resources manager and is still passionate about sharing, and enjoying, the great outdoors with others.