7/5/2020 – Welcome to our Weekly Specials, something we try to post each Sunday

We have seen a lot of fish caught over the last few weeks, the bluefin season has more than officially started with all the sport boats taking shorter trips to target the nice grade tuna. According to most of the guys going out, the smaller fall flats 130-200g in the bait colors have been working well in the daytime, while the bigger glow ones have been working at night. The bait seems to be better than last season so 1/0-3/0 ringed circle hooks seem to be the go-to.

If you’ve got pictures of some of your catches with our gear feel free to send us some pictures either to me at sergey@charkbait.com or Mark at information-1@charkbait.com

If you have any suggestions, complaints, questions or comments about the website please feel free to email me at: sergey@charkbait.com or give me a call at the shop.

As always, thank you for visiting our Weekly Specials and hope to see you at the shop!

Sergey Smith

Best Tackle Boxes on the Market FREE SHIPPING Virtually Indestructible Molded Construction
Made in the USA
Unconditional Lifetime Warranty

Remember the good old wooden tackle boxes.  They were great, just impractical, and awfully expensive.  Then along came Mark Pack with their soft-sided component style bags.  They introduced a different style of tackle box to fishermen. But, many of us wanted the extra protection a hard case offers. You can fly with these checked into baggage, I’d not do that with a soft case.  Back in 2000 SKB introduced their hard case, and I was probably the first guy with ’em. The owners son dropped by my barn/warehouse before I had our retail shop opened the following year.  I was impressed, as were our most serious clients. SKB combined some of the best aspects of both styles of tackle storage – hard and soft pack. SKB has produced an excellent tackle box. I think it’s the definitive hard case.

If you’ve ever wielded an ax…make that guitar, you probably have heard of SKB. They make some of the finest hard cases around.  Well, as so often happens in this business, the owner of the firm is a fisherman.  In fact, he recently picked up a nice little 50′ Viking as I hear it.  The guy wanted a tackle box, not a tackle bag. So, he built one, a really good one.  No matter how good a Mark Pack Hippo or Long Ranger are there really are times a hard case can be a plus. Sure, weight favors the soft case, but the hard case’s weakness of high weight lends to it’s incredible strength.  For instance, there have been times I’ve used my own SKB at the warehouse as my step ladder…and I go in over 200 lbs. these days. It’s a better tackle box, but it’s a secure step too with the rubber feet and indestructible rotationally molded construction.  

Let’s just quickly go over some of the features: rotationally molded construction, top lid opens 90-180 degrees for easy access to a storage compartment behind a clear acrylic door, four Plano 3700 boxes, high quality stainless steel hardware, hanging jig area and travel cover to keep ’em in place on the airlines…(handles up to 40 jigs), padded removable shoulder strap, two outside box pockets (great for glasses or sunscreen), and there’s obvious  attention to detail demonstrated in the fit and finish of these serious tackle storage devices. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also a lifetime SKB warranty on the box, too!

New Inshore Lure Showcase Underspin Jig Heads
New Swimbait & Axe Blade Colors
Popular for Inshore Bass & Halibut

The Damiki Rig Underspins are a great addition to their lineup, they work great for inshore and freshwater use. Guys have been killing the bass on these and their popular Axe blades for the last year. The smaller sizes are popular for the bay bass, using their 3 inch Armor Shad lures and the larger sizes are great for calicos and more with the larger swimbaits.

Damiki produces some excellent lures, very well thought of performers in the freshwater application for bass and stripers but more recently making a major splash in saltwater. These lures offer some unique features which have made them VERY popular fishing San Diego bay for spotties and sandbass, and more.  We brought in their unique leadheads, soft plastics and two hard baits. I’ve got some work ahead of me updating all the new lures, but this week we’ll show off the two reasons I tracked down this manufacturer: the AXE BLADE and the VAULT. The Vault is a thin blade type lure, big bug eyes, very reflective finish. It’s used cast and retrieve like the Axe Blade lure. You can cover a lot of water working these two lures, and they are both very productive.

I first became aware of the Axe Blade thru YouTube, checking a few posts/vids, looking for some fishing info for when I was stuck doing overnighters in San Diego helping out at our shop.  I hadn’t fished much there, wanted to get some info for after work fishing. I came across a fellow who was using the Axe Blade for great success. While he complained a bit about their cost (he was paying about $15/lure), he was quite pleased with the result of catching fish that wouldn’t touch his other offerings.  When I saw the lure I was reminded of a lure I used quite a bit while living in Texas, fishing Lake Lavon for white bass, the venerable Little George. You could throw the lure a mile, use it on the troll, just an old standby with pretty crappy colors, but darn effective.  I’d searched for something similar for saltwater use, didn’t find anything and gave up looking.  Well, the video I saw woke me up, that’s a Little George on ‘roids!  The Damiki Axe Blade has some significant differences to the freshwater lure of similar design. The Axe is stronger, has a much better finish, ball bearing swivel, better blade and hooks, chrome spinner blades, and oh, back to the finish… These are top quality lures, very much shows the Japanese and Korean influence in terms of overall quality and cosmetics. These are almost like fine pieces of jewelry… that catch fish.

Custom Built Conventional & Spinning Rods Conventional Models: RCJB 84H-XXH
Spinning/Popping Models: RCKJB800 250g & 325g

Our 2019 production has been completed! We’ve received a few each of all models with the rest of our production arriving this week from our builder.  This year’s production is our best yet, subtle and stealthy in appearance with black wraps, very refined in the build, and featuring a very useful range of blanks in both spinning and conventional form. The wrap colors this time are black, blanks are black for the conventional rods and a dark gunmetal gray for the two spinning rods.  The conventional rods are 7 feet in length, the spinners are currently produced as 8 footers (so shipping carries a greater expense, but casting distance benefits). I’m giving some consideration to dropping the spinners down to 7’10” on the next production to help reduce  shipping costs. But, for this introduction they are 8 feet long.


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Line Rating
Lure Weight
7 ft
7 ft
7 ft
RCKJB 800-250 Spinning
8 ft
250 gm
RCKJB 800-325 Spinning
8 ft
325 gm

All rods produced make use of ALPS components, braid safe guides, machined aluminum reel seats, and that stealthy black threadwork with a very fine detail in silver. All rods, with the exception of the heaviest model incorporate ALPS soft gimbal so they are comfortable to fish both with and without a fighting belt. The heaviest conventional rod makes use of a more traditional aluminum gimbal with bulb cap. The rods make use of black ALPS XBXNL & XBHXNL series SS316HXN guides for long lasting performance. The conventional rods make use of the RCJB84 series RX6/E-Glass & Graphite blanks, which we have used in the past. This is a true composite blank, more carbon towards the butt, transitioning to E-Glass thru the tip. For the spinning rods, we elected to run the RCKJB series blanks. Same construction materials, RX6/E-Glass & Graphite blanks, transitioning from Carbon to E-Glass, combining light weight, sensitivity and durability.

With the three conventional rods offered, a person could be very well rigged for your typical 3-8 day trip. Add a spinning outfit for poppers and you really have covered the bases. The only missing thing might be a trolling outfit (which most boats now supply) or perhaps a rail rod combo for the once (or more) in a lifetime catch. The three conventional setups would cover me just fine, and likely be all you really need for 6 days and down, and for 90% of what you’d need on an 8 day’r. At 10 days plus, well, you’ll still fish 2 out of 3 of those rods, maybe all three, but you’ll likely need the big gun, too… What are other adequate alternates for medium to long range fishing? Put the RainShadow CharkBait built rods right in the middle, between Budget Conscious and Best on the Boat.

Side note, we’ve seen another “dealer” representing rods as Made in America, using RainShadow’s blanks.  They don’t list the blank model, trying to confuse folks.  We are very clear, these feature imported rod blanks, a very good ones.  We don’t hide the manufacturer’s name or model number, we don’t misrepresent the origin of the product. We do bring you a very good quality build and excellent quality rod blank and components, at a very aggressive price. We first began custom building of RainShadow blanks a few years ago, given Calstar not producing and feedback from the custom rod building community boasting of the blanks performance. RainShadow has a wide range of blanks, for every application, and they created some blanks which were very similar to Calstar’s product (the 7 footers offered below) both in terms of construction technique and actions. We could bypass the factory bottleneck by going towards RainShadow as custom produced rods, that’s something we did with United Composites prior to Randy Penny heading up the firm. Response to our early RainShadow production by anglers was favorable, and the pricing was a bit under Calstar for a better quality build. The rods fit into our mix nicely, but cost was still a factor – too close to a true USA produced rod like United Composites.  So, for 2019 we worked with a different firm for our build, increased our quantity to be built and we achieved a sharper price. The results are as you see, stealthy cosmetics, improved build, sharper pricing, and we’re INCLUDING SHIPPING!

Warranty: we check each blank and each finished rod to ensure they are 100%. There are no manufacturing defects in the finished rods, we say that with certainty. The rod you receive will be well made using quality materials, built properly.  We are offering these rods at a considerable savings given our large production, economies of scale come into play to provide a true value.  We are not padding the price in order to handle replacements for those who misuse their rods or who damage them by way of vicious car doors… Warranty is not liberal in application on custom rods, should you break your rod, there will be a cost for replacement. Yes, if there’s delamination (which there won’t be) warranty would replace the entire rod. Inspection will quickly determine such an issue, but do not count on a replacement should you, for example, decide to use the heavy rod in your boat’s rod holder and then motor up a goliath grouper.  That’s abuse by any measure. You will receive a rod that is 100%, both in terms of the components, blank and build. These RainShadow blanks are strong and reliable, they will put up with a lot, anything a fish can dish out. But, like all rods, do not high-stick your rod (don’t put a vertical load on any rod, keep a bend on her) and she’ll last a lifetime.

MackStick Speed Runner Lures NEW ICAST INTRODUCTION PRICE $21.99 Thru Wired & HD Hardware
Made for Wahoo Trolling
5 oz Weight

The Savage Gear MackStick Speed Runners were first shown at ICAST 2019. Here it is June 2020 and the lure has finally been released and delivered.  When something is good, this good, we don’t mind waiting.  This lure is a companion trolling lure to the Mack Stick Deep Diver billed/bibbed lures.  In this form the lure is to run fast and straight from 6-15 knots.  Heavy duty 5X hooks, attached with ball bearing swivels, thru wired for security, with a very high quality holographic finish.  The lure also lights up with UV and Superglow finish, they’ll get you noticed better than a 12K Rolex.

As a private boater, these lures will be very much favored. They’re rigged to deal with wahoo, but they’ll entice a wide range of species.  While there’s a bit of a planing design to the weighted head, wide with lower attachment point to gain depth.  It’s stability at speed and depth comes from the position of the attachment point, wide head and weight forward design.  This lure will ride higher in the water column than the MackStick Deep Divers at say 7 knots. The Deep Divers can get down 30 feet!  But, as the speed increases the deep diver billed lures will come to a point where they’ll not be effective, they won’t dig in well.  The Deep Divers will be more speed dependent while the Speed Runner version will accept a wider range of trolling speed and still reach their depth.  Consequently, both lures will do well used together on your spread or independently.

For those of us who like to long range fish out of San Diego, these might be the smallest wahoo trolling lure anyone runs on the boat.  Compared to the largest size Marauders, 220 size DTX Minnows and MagTrak lures, the Mackstick Speed Runner is almost small.  But, there are times when smaller lures get you bit better, and it opens up possibilities of tuna and other species.  I intend to bring one along on my next trip and give it a test. It’s range of speed is certainly an attraction, no reason not to drag one behind the boat looking for an opportunity bite…and a good reason to stop the boat.

Some may be tempted to use this lure in a cast and retrieve mode. That might work. But, we’ll suggest going with the Savage Gear’s StickBaits for that application, those would be better swimmers – beautiful swimmers indeed. These new Savage Gear MackStick Speed Runners will be great lures to run for those dealing with toothy critters like wahoo, but do not sell them short for tuna.

Large Single & Twin Tail Grubs PRICE $4.99-7.99 11" Big Bone Single Tail Grubs
6" Jigger Bone Single Tail Grubs
8" Wish Bone Twin Tail Grubs
6" Jaw Bone Twin Tail Grubs

The 6″ WishBone offers even more action than its single tail brothers, the moving tails create more vibration in the water making it a great lure to jig with. If you’re targeting large lingcod, rockfish, grouper, musky, pike and more I would not pass these up. These will pair well with some of the smaller lead heads up to 6 oz.

The 6″ single tail scampi size is perfect for the bigger rockfish and lingcod. These lures are a classic brought back to life, made of durable plastic in the most popular colors for bottom fishing. Pair these up with a scampi lead head and you’ve got a lure that will single out the bigger fish compared to a normal shrimp-fly rig.

The 11″ jumbo size is great for targeting the biggest lings and halibut, with the right colors you can even use them for big grouper and any kind of bottom fishing. For these you’ll want larger scampi lead heads 8-24oz.

The 8″ WishBone offers even more action than its single tail brothers, the moving tails create more vibration in the water making it a great lure to jig with. If you’re targeting large lingcod, rockfish, grouper, musky, pike and more I would not pass these up. These will pair well with some of the smaller lead heads up to 6 oz.

For the 6″ Wishbone the recommended size scampi heads are 3oz, 4oz & 6oz

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LM Scampi Lead Heads

Boneyard Baits was a much appreciated manufacturer with us for many years, but they went away.  The owner sold the firm, but as happens sometimes, the new owner didn’t take care of business, disappeared from the marketplace.  The old owner got his company back and is back in business. He reached out to me in early 2020 to let us know he was ramping up production of his very unique lures.  For our clients heading up Alaska, these lures are bread and butter.  For those of us targeting deep water rockfish and lingcod, again these are bread and butter for bigger fish.  Will they take other species, sure bet, and that’s not surprising. But, given their size, you won’t be wasting time culling thru the small undersized fish, you’ll be targeting larger fish.

We stock three styles/sizes of lures in four patterns.  We offer glow, root beer, florescent orange holograph, and chartreuse holograph.  The plastic used to make these meaty lures is more durable than most soft lures you’ll come across. They will last longer than most plastics.  Two basic styles, two sizes of twin tail 6″ & 8” Wishbone Grub and  two sizes of single tail Bones, 6” Jigger Bone Grub and 11” Big Bone Grubs.

DTX165, 200 & 220 Lures Best Wahoo Lure of 2019
Variety of Hot Colors & Sizes
Self Tuning Technology

The DTX Minnow is a revolution in trolling minnows, featuring the Nomad Autotune, Hydrospeed, Diamond Armour and Gorilla Through Wire advanced design technology. The pat. pending Autotune system was designed over years of testing by Damon Olsen and is a revolution in lure technology that will be applied to all deep diving lures across the Nomad range into the future. The Autotune design provides for 2 key features– maximum diving depth, and the ability to ensure the lure always swims straight.

Bibbed minnows have traditionally been made with an eyelet fixed into the bib of the lure. It is impossible to control the manufacturing process to ensure that this fixed eyelet design is always perfectly centered and the fixed wire eyelet is not bent. Therefore, virtually every type of bibbed minnow made with a fixed wire eyelet in the bib will occasionally either not swim straight out of the box, or will fail to swim straight after one or a few fish. The eyelet is either not straight to start with, or becomes distorted during use.

The pat. pending Autotune system developed by Nomad Design has eliminated this problem. The design eliminates problems during manufacturing and ensure that no matter how many fish you catch, the lure will keep swimming straight. During testing we had lures that had caught over 50 fish, and had been worn through from wahoo and dogtooth teeth to the point of the lure body filling with water, but the lure kept swimming perfectly. The DTX minnow with Autotune will always swim straight, first time and every time, no matter how many fish you catch.

​The other key feature of the Autotune system is the amazing diving depth that can be achieved. The ability of the system to perfectly centre itself every time on the bib means that the tow point can be designed to be as far back on the bib as possible, effectively just forward of the point where the lure becomes unstable and won’t swim. However, having the tow point as close to this “point of not swimming” is what achieves maximum diving depth, but it can only be done with a perfectly centred tow point. Traditional fixed eyelet trolling lures are unable to position the tow point this far back on the bib and have to allow room for error in the manufacturing process.

​The pat.pending Autotune system has eliminated this problem and has set a new standard for diving depth in trolling lure design. In addition to the Autotune technology, the concealed Hydrospeed belly eyelet allows faster trolling speeds with single hooks, and ensures the lure is balanced with single hooks, so the DTX minnow just keeps swimming straight and true. The additional belly eyelet in front of the Hydrospeed eyelet is designed to be able to fit an assist hook when targeting large tuna and marlin. For tips on how to rig your DTX minnow for marlin and tuna, please see the website videos.

The DTX 165 and 200 minnows are rigged with our purpose designed inline single hooks and will reach max. depth between 4.5-8kn.  Ideal for tuna, wahoo, king mackerel, yellowtail, mahi mahi, marlin and sailfish, and every other predatory fish in the ocean, The DTX minnow is your first choice in bluewater trolling lures.

Rigging – do not over-rig these lures, you’ll detract from their action and performance. Thinner diameter leader means greater depth with any billed diver and a heavy line improperly rigged can impede the Autotune system. Don’t go in for a lot of hardware, snaps and such. A simple loop with crimp, on 3′ of 175 cable terminating in a swivel for line attachment is plenty good enough and will outfish heavier lines. Don’t run ’em on 12 feet of 400  lb cable or 200# mono…! A shorter 3 feet of say 175-275 lb is recommended, and is more than sufficient if you are targeting wahoo on the troll. Same story for mono and tuna, keep it simple, and fish reasonable line tests for your target. Thinner diameters get you more depth and will catch you more fish. Going heavy on the rigging will take away from the lure’s action, not allow it to track well.  Go simple and skinny and you’ll gain depth and tracking will be spot on even at some speed.

Makaira SEa Matte Black & Silver Reels Available in 10, 15, and 16 Sizes FROM $449.99 NOW 10% OFF

The 2019 Limited Edition Matte Black Makaira reels share the same features as the rest of the SEa lineup. Coming in a unique Matte Black color, Okuma has changed things up a bit from the last time they did a limited run of Black reels. This time you get more contrast with silver trim and a main color you’ll struggle to find on any other machined aluminum reel.

They aren’t for everyone, but for those who appreciate the enhancements and have the highest demands, they are reels to die for. Okuma’s Makaira Special Edition Long Range reels take things to another level in terms of specific changes that some in the long range community have requested. Before getting into that, let me state clearly, the existing crop of Makaira reels are absolutely state of the art, and for most of us, myself included, there is little reason to head in the SE direction. The changes you’ll see in the SE series reels appeal most to fishermen who are uncompromising in terms of their demands upon gear, guys who regularly head out to tangle with cow size tuna on the long range boats or aboard a sportfisher off Puerto Vallarta, those that will benefit most will be our most dedicated long range enthusiasts. Those that will benefit least will probably be private boaters, guys who tend to put on heavy miles on their gear and don’t take the time to maintain ’em regularly. In a lot of ways the SE reels are custom shop offerings, based upon feedback from some of the most experienced anglers, guys who jumped on the Makairas early and fished ’em hard on the long range boats in 2010/11. To those, Okuma listened and responded, showing their sincere interest in building the best gear possible. The pricing of the SE series reels is a tad higher than the original Makaira reels, reflecting the change in handle and bearings used on these pieces. If you are seeking the best freespool performance, flylining live bait to large grade tuna, this series of reels will put a smile on your face and very likely result in a personal best on the boat.

Okay, now for what’s different on the Special Edition reels, the SE Series reels feature:

  • Open Spool Bearings with TSI-301 oil. This increases freespool 2 to 2 1/2 times!
  • All non-spool bearings feature FULL grease pack for maximum longevity.
  • Special Edition Gun Smoke and Black anodizing.
  • SE reels have a yellowfin tuna etched into the side plate to further distinguish them from the Golds.
  • Frames have been machined out for increased clearance between the spool and cross bars.
  • Larger Handles, MK-10/15 reels will feature MK-20 size handle knobs for greater leverage.
  • Larger Handles, MK 20/30 reels use the 50 size arm and knobs.
  • New LOWER GEARING on the 20/30 size – 1.3:1!!!
MK-10IISEA4BB+1TB4.7:1 & 2.1:133.5″ & 15.0″34-LBS27-LBS460/15 (0.37), 380/20 (0.42), 280/25 (0.48)26.1
MK-15IISEA4BB+1TB4.7:1 & 2.1:133.5″ & 15.0″34-LBS27-LBS550/20 (0.42), 410/25 (0.48), 310/30 (0.55)26.8
MK-16IISEA4BB + 1TB4.3:1 & 1.3:139.2″ & 11.8″48-LBS34-LBS870/20 (0.42), 650/25 (0.48), 500/30 (0.55)40
MK-20IISEA4BB+1TB3.8:1 & 1.3:139.4″ & 17.5″55-LBS37-LBS870/25 (0.48), 660/30 (0.55), 530/40 (0.60)45.8
MK-30IISEA4BB+1TB3.8:1 & 1.3:139.4″ & 17.5″55-LBS37-LBS850/30 (0.55), 700/40 (0.60), 550/50 (0.70)48
MK-50IISEA4BB + 1TB3.2:1 & 1:137.8″ & 11.9″85-LBS60-LBS1000/30 (0.55), 650/50 (0.70), 400/80 (0.90)60.2
MK-80WIISEA6BB + 1TB3.1:1 & 1.2:145.7″ & 20.5″100-LBS70-LBS1000/80 (0.90), 850/100 (1.0), 660/130 (1.12)116