Before the early 2000s, Storm was well known for its classic hardbaits like the Chug Bug and Thunderstick. Then, with the introduction of the Wildeye Series, Storm created a new style of lure, the Swim Shad, that changed the way many anglers fished. The Wildeye took the classic boot-tail soft bait, like the Sassy Shad, gave it a more lifelike profile, finished it with more realistic color patterns, and molded it around a specially made weighted hook. The result was a versatile, extremely effective lure that just about any fisherman, of any skill level, could use with great success.
In January 2016, Storm released another series of lures using that same formula, and once again creating a new category of lure with the 360GT Searchbait.
According to well-known freshwater fisherman Al Lindner, the newly defined “searchbait” lure category was said to be “a lure designed to be retrieved horizontally, imparting fish-attracting action over a large area in which fish have many places to hide.”
“You basically cast and retrieve the bait to cover lots of water and when you find fish,” Lindner went on, “it allows you to slow down your presentation to make the most of your opportunities. That’s what fishing a searchbait is all about.”
The Storm 360GT Searchbait is a generalist lure, with its potential extending far beyond freshwater bass, though its elongated body and boot tail makes it look like a standard soft-plastic swimbait. What sets it apart is its hook and head. The hook features VMC’s Coastal Black finish that provides enhanced corrosion resistance and maximum sharpness. Since its release, Northeast fishermen have used it to catch school stripers, fluke, and even false albacore in salt water. In fresh water, the 360GT has tamed largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, pickerel, pike, perch, and crappie.
Its ability to cover water and fish effectively is what earns the 360GT the “searchbait” moniker. The rattling jighead allows for a slower sink than a straight leadhead does, affording the angler greater control over where in the water column the bait swims. The “toe-in boot” tail kicks enticingly on all retrieve speeds from extremely slow to as fast as you can reel, adding to the bait’s versatility as a multi-species catcher.
And, the boot-tail design provides action beyond the bait’s tail. In addition to making the bait send vibrations through the water, it makes the bait rock side to side, just like a baitfish preparing to flee an approaching predator.
The ease of use extends beyond simply casting and retrieving the 360GT. Fishermen will find the bait easy to rig thanks to clearly marked entrance and exit holes matched perfectly to the searchbait’s jighead.
The Storm 360GT Searchbait was designed by Mark Fisher, one of Rapala’s chief lure designers over the past two decades. Fisher, who retired in October 2017, brought his eye for design and attention to detail to Rapala in 1988, skills he developed while owning his own sign-painting company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In collaboration with his team in the U.S. and his Finnish counterparts, Fisher conceived and brought to market some of the innovative Rapala and Storm lures that are staples among fishermen today. From identifying unique new color patterns that help anglers “match the hatch” in regional waters across the country to tweaking a lure’s body profile to achieve a more effective presentation, Fisher helped revolutionize how modern fishing lures are constructed.
As one of the last lures he developed for Rapala, the Storm 360GT is a befitting swansong for Fisher, who plans to continue to introduce people, young and old, to the sport of fishing through speaking engagements. The 360GT will have that same effect, helping fishermen take the leap from using bait to using lures by finding early success with an easy-to-use lure. There’s no need to make it pause or twitch it—just cast it out and turn the reel handle. And, cast it in any direction. That’s where the 360 comes from, for casting it 360 degrees around where you are fishing (unless you’re fishing from shore, where casting 180 degrees around your position is best).
The Storm 360GT Searchbait comes in 11 colors, covering both freshwater and saltwater applications. It’s available in three sizes: 3 ½ inches, 1/8 ounce; 4 ½ inches, ¼ ounce; 5 ½ inches, 3/8 ounce. And, last but not least, in their quest to make the 360GT series easy to use and accessible to all anglers, the lures are agreeably priced between $4.99 and $5.99 (depending on size) for a package that includes one rigged bait and two spare bodies.
Learn more about the Storm 360GT Searchbait at: rapala.com/storm/soft-baits/360gt-searchbait/