Back in 2017 at ICAST I opined that the new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent lineup would be good for smallmouths and more convenient than Gulp!, but wouldn’t make much of a dent in the flipping game. Then over the summer I burned through four Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg packs in two days and ordered a pile more. I don’t know if the rest of the world is doing it, but I’m certainly on the way toward proving myself wrong.
The real selling point of the Creature Hawg and the whole line of MaxScent plastics is the smell. Scent in baits isn’t really a settled subject in bass fishing. You can still buy a ton of baits with minimal scent, and they work great. On the other hand, FLW Tour pro John Cox is religious about using Cox Juice Pro Bass Attractant, and the scent in Gulp! has very likely caught extra smallmouths for folks since its inception.
MaxScent promises 45 percent more fish than regular PowerBait. In my testing, I think that I’m catching more fish because of the scent. I’ve had enough experiences where I’ve swapped to or from something with MaxScent and noticed a difference in size or quality that I’m a believer. Or, if I’m not a full believer, I at least want to be using it just in case.
Back in July, dad and I fished a little evening tournament and pretty much chunked jigs around the whole time. I had three keepers in the boat before dad had one keeper bite, flipping a jig with a Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Meaty Chunk. When dad swapped over to a Meaty Chunk he started catching too, and we filled things out and won from there. The whole time, neither of us landed a fish over 10-inches on anything that didn’t have the MaxScent Meaty Chunk on it.
Outside of the MaxScent technology, the 4-inch Creature Hawg is a pretty basic beaver-style flipping bait. It has ribs on the body, two flat pincers and two side appendages. It fits your usual flipping hooks well, has decent action on the fall, and comes in a handful of brown, green and black colors.
Unlike many competing baits, there aren’t any white or laminated options, and it’s a bit pricey since $6.99 gets you only eight baits. The texture is a little different—porous, not slick—but I can’t think of a reason it would be better or worse than other plastics because of it. Though it certainly doesn’t have the softness inherent in some hand-poured baits.
One other knock against it is poor durability. While I can frequently get a number of fish out of a Missile Baits D-Bomb, the plastic on the Creature Hawg is more fragile and likes to split at the nose after a bass or three.
An advantage of MaxScent baits is they don’t dry out like Gulp! does. So, though the baits have a similar texture to Gulp! and are damp in the pack, you can leave one on the deck for almost as long as you like with no ill effects.
The price and the durability are the only drawbacks for me, but that’s not enough to dissuade me from using them. I’ve just caught too many fish flipping them to feel bad about buying more.
One extra thing you can do with them after the nose splits is cut them down the middle to make a drop-shot bait. Trust me, smallies love ’em.
Product: Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg
Length: 4 inches
Price: $6.99 for an 8 pack