The overwhelming popularity of the Reaction Innovations Beaver in the early 2000s spawned a whole new genre of creature baits. As different companies sought to reinvent and modify the wheel, all sorts of variations of this new “Beaver-style” bait came to be. One of the most popular twists was the downsized version.
In 2011, my college fishing teammate and two-time Bassmaster Classic winner Jordan Lee and I used NetBait’s Mini B Bug, a 3-inch member of the aforementioned genre, to finish 3rd in the FLW College Fishing National Championship. The conditions were brutally cold throughout practice and the fishing was tough as a flooded Kentucky Lake fell back towards winter pool leading up to the event. The tournament was set in late April and the fish were trying to make their way back into the large bays to spawn by the time the event began.
We found a group of fish along a textbook 45-degree bank headed back into one of these bays. Though we tried to force feed the fish a finesse jig, the bites were few and far between. Working off something I’d picked up from pro angler and former local club member Greg Vinson (sorry for all the name dropping, just trying to tell a story here and this is how it went), we eventually found that a 1/4-ounce shaky head rigged with the Mini B Bug produced a half-dozen bites to the one we were getting every now and then on the jig.
We even tried rigging the Mini B Bug as a trailer on the finesse jig, hoping the jig with a beefier hook would work since some of the fish in the school were in the 5- to 6- pound range, but the lone soft plastic on the shaky head prevailed over the flared out skirt and the heavier weight of the finesse jig.
The Mini B Bug has been discontinued since then, but the Smallie Beaver from Reaction Innovations does the same thing as well as other baits in that category like the Missile Baits Baby D Bomb and the Strike King Baby Rodent.