Zman MinnowZ Product Review Video [Top 3 Pros & Cons]

By: Luke Simonds on May 16, 2018
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Paddletail Jig

Zman MinnowZ

Have you tried the Zman MinnowZ lures yet?

This post will show you what I’ve found to be the top 3 pros and cons of Zman’s 3-inch “MinnowZ” soft plastic tails after a few months of trying them out.

And if you have used these MinnowZ lures too, then please add your thoughts (good or bad) in the Comments section at the bottom so that others can learn from your experiences.

We are not affiliated with them in any way, so the comment feed will be completely uncensored.

Here are the topics that we’ll cover in this post:

  1. When To Use Zman MinnowZ Lures
  2. Zman MinnowZ Review Video
  3. Top 3 Pros & Cons
  4. How To Rig Zman MinnowZ Lures
  5. How To Retrieve Zman MinnowZ Lures

So let’s get started.

When To Use Zman MinnowZ Lures

zman minnowz packet

The Zman MinnowZ is a 3″ soft plastic bait that can be rigged on a multitude of different jig heads and hooks. It is designed to mimic a small baitfish, so it can be used to catch a very large variety of fish.

The paddle tail design enables this lure to be used in pretty much all types of environments, depths, & speeds.

I have been testing them out for the past few months in inshore saltwater environments and have caught a bunch of different species including:

  • Snook
  • Spotted Seatrout
  • Redfish
  • Mangrove Snapper
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Jacks
  • Ladyfish

I haven’t yet tried them in fresh water, but I am sure that bass will readily eat them too.

So far, I have been pleased with these baits, but there are certainly some cons that I’ve noticed along the way that I’ll descrive in the video below.

Zman MinnowZ Review Video

Here’s a quick video that I put together to explain the top pros and cons that I’ve found for these Zman MinnowZ lures… click the image below to watch the video.

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MinnowZ Pros & Cons

Here is a quick list of the top 3 pros and cons that I’ve found for these Zman MinnosZ lures. If you have any others that you’d like to add, please share them with everyone using the Comments section at the bottom of this page.

Top 3 Pros

  1. Very strong: many fish can be caught on each lure
  2. Good action in the water: they can attract strikes
  3. Great packaging: each bait arrives to you in good order

Top 3 Cons

  1. Tough to rig: the strong material makes rigging tough (rigging tutorial video below)
  2. Lightweight: they don’t cast quite as far as other soft plastics the same size
  3. Must be stored separately: the Zman baits cannot be stored in the same compartment as other soft plastics
    • They have a reaction to traditional oil-based soft plastics

How To Rig Zman MinnowZ Lures

The video below shows how to rig these Zman MinnowZ lures.

The general process is the same as other soft plastics, but unique “ElaZtch” material that they make these baits from requires some added steps as shown starting at the 3:41 mark of this video:

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See the loop knot that I recommend for tying this lure to your line

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How To Retrieve Zman MinnowZ Lures

The primary benefit of these paddle tail style soft plastics is that they provide their own action in the water (the tail moving back and forth), so the angler does not have to do a fancy retrieve.

These lures can catch fish simply by casting them out and reeling the line back in.

But to maximize results, it’s often smart to give it some type of unique motion in many cases.

CLICK HERE to see a detailed tutorial showing the top strategies and tactics for retrieving paddle tail lures (Insider Only).

Conclusion

 These Zman MinnowZ lures have proven to be a great choice for rigging on jig heads given that they are extremely strong and durable relative to most other soft plastics.

The core challenge is the rigging aspect because if that’s not done properly, the results will likely be very disappointing.

So be sure to practice the rigging technique shown in the video above before your next trip so that you do not miss out on any valuable fishing time.

If you have used these MinnowZ lures, please let us know your thoughts on which jig heads you like best as well as what species of fish you target with them in the Comment section below.

And if you have not used these MinnowZ lures, click here to learn more about them on Zman’s website.

Here are links that you will surely like if you enjoyed this post:

See Full Listing of Lure Reviews

Learn How To Consistently Catch Redfish, Snook, & Seatrout With Artificial Lures [PDF Guide]

See The Best Retrieve Tactics For Generating Strikes With These Lures [Insider Only]

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Can you take the memory out of deformed tails of padderz?

Logan
Guest
Logan

You can dip the tails in boiling water and they will straighten out. I usually do it for 10-20 seconds, just be careful to not overdo it or the tail will eventually fall off. I did this recently with some older packages of z-man baits I had lying around from before they were packaged with the plastic inserts inside the bags to protect their shape. I was able to fix about 20 baits , consisting of Paddlerz, Pogyz and Minnowz.

Curtis Thompson
Member

I have been using the scented ones. Have liked them fine and hadn’t explored any further. A significant number of baits will always be deformed. Don’t have the nice packaging to separate the baits. Anxious to find some of these lures and check them out. Thanks for the info.

Dustin Burbage
Member

I bought a pack of these and tried to use them with a twistlock hook yesterday. Can confirm that it is near impossible to get one of these fed onto the screwtip of a twistlock hook.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Sice it is so tough to rig these, do you think it would be ok to store the Minnowz with the jig head rigged? It would save time on the water to just tie it on or attach with fastach

Thom Ray
Member

ZMan won’t dry out like a Gulp. I pre rig mine and leave them on after for the next trip. I do coat them w Procure the next time out .

Toby Frey
Member

Z-Man….Here on the Chesapeake a great lure when the Blues and Spanish Macs Arrive….If your using a reg soft plastic’/rubber….a blue will get your tail on the first Strike….I’ve had the Z-man’s last thru 10 bites or more….TOUGH!!!!

Neg Comment: Keep Zmans separate in your tackle box, even then, summer heat will mold them together if leave in heat too much or too long….

William Osborne
Guest
William Osborne

Z man minnows. Started using them in the 80s. H&H lure co. Cocahoe Minnows were the first paddle tail minnow jigs. Millions of trout and redfish have been caught on them. Green with red glitter and red with a white tail were the best colors.

Richard Devereaux
Member

Rigging Z-man ElaZtech plastics on Eye Strike/Z-Man (Trout Eye, Redfish Eye, etc.) jig heads.

Once you have the point of the jig head through the back of the soft plastic, do NOT try to push the soft plastic over the retainer barbs. Instead, with 1 hand safely hold the exposed hook and with the other hand pull the “nose” of the soft plastic OVER the head of the jig. Then pull the “tail” of the soft plastic off the head of the jig to cover the retainer barbs.

from Dave Fladd, co-founder Eye Strike Fishing
http://www.instagram.com/p/BhrrwKXH-tr/

Tdsteve33809 Latour
Member

Nice! Thanks for the link

Thom Ray
Member

Nice demo. Thanks. Love the jig heads.

Richard Devereaux
Member

Helpful information

Rigging Z-Man ElaZtech soft plastics on Eye Strike jig heads. See link to Instagram video below.

Dave Fladd (in video) is co-founder of Eye Strike Fishing (eyestrikefishing.com), which manufactures the Eye Strike jig heads and markets these same jig heads through Z-Man (Trout Eye, Redfish Eye, Striper Eye, etc.)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhrrwKXH-tr/

Daniel Shuford
Member

Thanks Luke!! I like the way you break it down… I caught 12-13 trout and a couple redfish on the grass flats on one Houdini color Zman Minnowz. It’s still rigged up and plan to throw the same one Saturday. The weekend before I finally lost my first from the package, hung up on some structure… They are a little more difficult to rig, I think well worth the trouble. Like most of us… I have countless bags of soft plastics, every brand it seems.

It’s nice to see the lure companies putting more efforts in the soft plastics these days with new material, scents, designs and sizes…

Thanks,
Dan Shuford

David Stoots
Member

I love the ZMan baits and have caught a lot of fish using the MinnowZ or the Diesel in Pin Fish color. The only negatives for me, as you mention, are the buoyancy and difficulty in rigging, especially with a Twist Lock type hook. And, they don’t skip cast very well because they are so buoyant.

Capt Fuzzy Davis
Guest
Capt Fuzzy Davis

these are great tails! I put them under a popping cork today and the trout killed them. One of the best artificials i have used!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Zman minnowz are my confidence bait when to when it comes to finding speckled trout in NC (particularly during winter) They are serious producers and have caught many large speck for me as well.

Curt Willocks
Member

I’ve been using Z-Man products extensively for a few years. I fish the MinnowZ on a 1/8 oz Head Lock and also just nose hooked on a drop shot rig, fishing potholes or when there is a lot of floating grass. Also use the TRD, Crustez and Trick Shot on the drop shot rig. All float so they stay in the strike zone a long time. My favorite, however, is the GrassKicker on a Mustad EWG Grip Pin, 4/0 or 5/0 rigged weedless. The big paddle tail floats the hook and is a great topwater when you don’t want to mess with treble hooks. The only problem I encountered was that the tails would not stay secured on some hooks/jigheads. But since using the Head Locks and Grip Pins, there are no issues. I still use DOA, Slayer, Bass Assasin and Mirrolure tails too, I just use them on the same hooks/jigheads that work for Z-Man.

Rayzor
Guest
Rayzor

I’m surprised that the bait’s buoyancy is not mentioned. That benefit is almost as important as its’ durability.

William Versfeld
Member

Been fishing them for the last 4 years and caught 40 plus species on them and fish well over 3 vt in length. Had a session landing more than 30 fish on the same lure. I fish them on TT headlockz or Snakelockz jigheads and always have rods rigged up with them. They are soft but durable and outfish most other plastics.

Thomas Herzog
Member

I really like the Z-Man products. I have almost no issues rigging these baits . I use either the trout eye jig heads, Mustad grip pin hook and now mostly Z-Man’s snakelockz jig head. It allows you all the benefits of using a jig head but still allowing it to be rigged weedless like the Mustad grip pin hook. I recommend you try these jig heads out.

Robert Banks
Member

I used one that is exactly like the one in your video. I caught 8 small snook on it in 2 – 3 hours! And it still looks and acts pretty new! It is light, but I was using ultra lite w/ 6 lb test. I really like this lure, I plan on using it a lot!

Delbert Young
Member

I’ve become a fan of the Zman MinnowZ. Pinfish just will not allow me to use Gulp anything. I now begin throwing the MinnowZ first and then try something else if necessary – usually a different color MinnowZ. I do use Procure. I can tell a large increase of pinfish bites and figure if it’s attracting more pins to hit, it’s attracting more trout and reds to hit. Keeping it just above the grass with an occasional stop and dip into the grass gets lots of attention (I learned that from one of Tony’s videos). I’ve caught reds, trout, Spanish, and ladyfish with it. Yes, it’s a little difficult to rig but a small price to pay for it’s benefits. Great video Luke Thanks, plus I’ve enjoyed and learned from reading the comments.

Richard Devereaux
Member

I have transitioned to Z-Man artificial soft plastics from Gulp! Saltwater, using Mustad KVD pin grip hooks (weedless) and Eye Strike Fishing (eyestrikefishing.com) jig heads. No less, no more difficult to rig. No super glue, etc.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Good review. Thanks

Pat Ogletree
Member

Thanks for the review, great as usual.
I’ve been using the Z man paddlerz the last few trips out and I can honestly say that I’m not that impressed with them. They’re just OK for me. The Z man doesn’t do anything that would make me want to change from what I’m using now. I still think I catch more on Gulp than I do anything else. But I know the Z mans have a huge following.
My first attraction to them was that I thought the material would have more action at a slower speed. That way in the winter when you have to slow everything down the tail would still move but it’s no better than DOA or others that I’ve tried. Once I run out of my original formula Gulps I’ll take another look at these.
Just a thought about rigging these; C.A. just released a video where he uses chapstick to cinch up knots. I wonder if you were to coat the hook with chapstick if that would help?

James Jenkins
Member

Luke. You talk about using a loop knot for connecting the line to the bait. I have been experimenting with a clip made by Mustad called Fastach clip using the #2-#3. Just wondering if you guys have seen or tried these things I found these at Tackle Warehouse. A quick way to change out baits fast.

Thom Ray
Member

Luke, you should point out that a number of their baits come pre scented, and some do not. I don’t know if the sent is infused like it is in Gulp, but you can definitely tell by the package. I will apply Procure to the unscented ones sometimes , more on shrimp and baits I tend to jog or fish slow. Not so much on a paddle tail. I really like the Trout Trick style. Also they offer a weedless jighead that has a slim jighead and rubber strands. It’s very effective for dragging along the bottom or jigging grass flats. The buoyancy makes they tail stand up and filter.

Brian Jones
Member

I absolutely love ZMans. LAst fall I caught over 50 trout in one day off one diezel minnow and trout eye jig head. And was still able to use the lure the rest of the week. The light weight is great because it will “hand stand” on the bottom versus laying flat when it’s not being moved. If you use the Headlockz jig heads they go on super easy! Great video! These things look fantastic swimming in the water too and with the eye strike jig head is quite a good looking lure

Gary Rankel
Member

Good stuff as always, Luke. The MinnowZ in the pinfish color with the Trout Eye jig has been me go to plastic for a long time. The big eyes on the Trout Eye jig seem to attract fish. Definitely use Krazy Glue to secure it near the head. The 5 inch Grass Kicker Z will give you longer casts and can be used like a surface bait in skinny water, with its tail kicking up a fuss.

Richard Devereaux
Member

Z-Man “tough to rig”?

See C.A. Richardson effortlessly rig Z-Man ElaZtech soft plastics weedless on Mustad pin grip weighted hooks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cULByxqIWpE
https://www.zmanfishing.com/cms/riggingelaztrouttrick

Richard Devereaux
Member

Z-Man MINNOWZ 3″

Other Z-Man paddletails:

SLIM SWIMZ 2.5″
SCENTED POGYZ 3″
DIEZEL MINNOWZ 3.5″
SWIMMIN’ TROUTTRICK 3.5″
SCENTED PADDLERZ 4″ and 5″
SWIMMERZ 4″ and 6″
MAG SWIMZ 8″

Richard Devereaux
Member

[Note: the jighead depicted in this video is NOT made by Z-Man. It is manufactured for Z-Man by Eye Strike Fishing.]

Top 3 Cons

“Tough to rig: the strong material makes rigging tough”

Z-Man ElaZtech soft plastics easily and securely rig on the various jigheads made by Eye Strike Fishing. They also easily and securely rig (weedless) on Mustad KVD pin grip (un-weighted or weighted) hooks. Several different C.A. Richardson/Flats Class videos can be found on YouTube about Z-Man rigging on jigheads and swimbait hooks.

“Lightweight: they don’t cast quite as far as other soft plastics the same size”

The buoyancy and/or weight of ANY soft plastic bait can be altered by selection of the appropriate weight of jighead or weighted swimbait hook (or supplemental bullet weight). The MinnowZ is only 1 of many paddle-tail configurations made by Z-Man.

“Must be stored separately: the Zman baits cannot be stored in the same compartment as other soft plastics”

There is a wide variety of compartmentalized tackle trays available to accomodate the segregated storage of Z-Man soft plastics. As a user of a variety of Z-Man soft plastics I have 1 plastic lure storage box devoted exclusively to Z-Man.

Ted Babcock
Member

As Robert Jureit mentioned, I also use super glue to help keep baits up on the hooks. This works very well on other baits as the pinfish like to pull the pants down (as we call it) on your jigs. On other baits once the pants have been pulled down the first time it becomes easier for them to do it on almost every cast. Super glue will prevent this from happening.

Dennis Bills
Member

Sometimes I use an extremely small needlenose plier ( the smallest I can find) and slip it under the lure and pull it over the points to secure the front
That way I can lift the plastic over them and catch the lure a little bit farther down than I can by pulling it with my fingers.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Thanks Luke – Do you leave the jig head in the ZMAN when putting it away. If so, what is the rust factor?

DARREL KOPSA
Member

The rigging difficulty is all across the board with their products, and it makes swimbait hooks a nightmare. I have sprayed the hooks with WD-40 and made it a little easier. I don’t know if this treatment weakens the material though. I have to admit I only use Z-man when buoyancy is helpful with my presentation. Just too much trouble.

Bruce Pritchard
Guest
Bruce Pritchard

The Zmans are also good at surviving when the little nuisance bluefish come in and bite the tails off normal plastic minnows and grubs

Robert Jureit
Guest
Robert Jureit

I have used, Zman for about a year now.WOW. First for the tough rigging. Zman makes a Jighead with a thin spike, with Barb’s, much better and easier to slide on,by far. I hate to mention it, but the pink Laguna shrimp,is killer on Redfish and Trout, but in Winter only.sorry,you’ll have to wait till this Fall. But as Luke mentioned, these last a long time. Also, my friend an I sometimes, use super-glue to keep the plastic on the jig head. Hope this helps.

Jim Jacobus
Ambassador

Great info and video for those that have never used it. I used the Zman MinnowZ in red bone color this past week and caught a snook, several trout and a snapper on the same lure…oh yeah… And a puffer somewhere in between!😀 Once you get them on the jig, you are good for several fish. Thanks Luke!

Brian Richardson
Member

One of your cons being that they are lighter and therefore tougher to throw in the wind – I have actually had the opposite experience and I go to these baits more in windy conditions. The reason being, the material they are made from is so buoyant that I can step up the jig or rigging hook weight quite a bit and maintain the action and depth level I would with a “normal” soft plastic lure. Edit: btw, I have been really liking their 7″ jerk baits. Catches pretty much everything a 3-5 inch bait would but catches the interest of other things as well 🙂 I would actually like it to be a bit thicker bodied but it has great action.

Eric Lhopitault
Member

I’m using it and love it! You can catch a ton of fish on the same lure (including bass…they love it), I just wish they would be a little bigger and a little heavier to be more selective and to use them with weighted hooks.

Matt Price
Member

the rigging of a zman is a pain, but i saw a video awhile back and been using it ever since that if you hold the hook and than pull the zman from the bottom and stretch it over the head, pretty much to eye of the jig head that it sits much easier

Larry Boomer
Member

NC fishing -flounder -trout- and redfish. Trout is winter target and Z Man worked great. Winter moved into spring without changing baits and it caught flounder just as good as gulp. Always had one person on boat using gulp and Z Man worked as good or better on flounder but much better on trout and drum. I think the secret is the boyentcy. It stands straight up on the bottom making it much easier to bite than picking it up from sand. Your video showed a trout eye being rigged. Z Man makes a Jig Headz. It is the best and worst jig head I have ever seen. It has the spike with barbs making it effortless to rig but the spike is made of common steel and it rusts and breaks at the drop of a hat. They are expensive, 3 for 5.50. Many times I get 3 – 5 hr days out of one ZMan. Seldom ever get 3 days from a Jigheadz before the spike breaks off. Still worth it. I use one color for crystal clear water which is rare in NC and another for everything else. My go to bait. I buy 10 packs at a time and the jig headz 50 at a time. Good video.

Robert Gautney
Guest
Robert Gautney

Another way to rig hooks with the screw in type jigs head/hooks, are to heat up the cork screw part of the hook/jig with a lighter, by heating up the cork screw it then will allow you to screw in the hook/jig into the ZMAN bait. Let it cool off and your set to go fishing.