Fred Roumbanis Shares His Panic Baits

Many times there are lures that are overlooked by the majority of anglers. Sleeper lures that produce when nothing else will. The use of them is often kept quiet by those in the know, anglers who would rather keep them a secret as long as possible.

“This bait is something that I would call my ‘panic’ bait, a lure that I pick up when I just need to catch some fish. It is also what I tie on for my kids when they are fishing with me because it catches everything; bass, trout, crappie, perch, and just about everything that swims,” says Fred Roumbanis.

“There really isn’t a wrong way to fish it,” says Roumbanis.

The lure in question is actually two lures, the Foxy Fry and Deep Fry. These two shad-profiled crankbaits can be fished like a crankbait or a jerkbait and still be effective. “There really isn’t a wrong way to fish it,” adds Roumbanis who shares some of his favorite ways to fish these baits.

Retrieves: Sweep It, Jerk It and Crank It

As mentioned, there isn’t a bad choice when it comes to fishing the Foxy Fry and Deep Fry, but Roumbanis prefers to fish it with a sweeping retrieve for most instances. “I like to sweep it and basically get the bait to dive and then suspend. As you are sweeping you can really feel the tight vibration from the lure,” he says. “The sweeping and reeling up the slack retrieve is really something that I feel anglers should do more for all crankbaits and jerkbaits because it allows you to control the action of the lure better. With the Foxy Fry and Deep Fry, the sweeping allows you pause it, let it suspend and then reel up the slack and it works great.”

Another simple approach to fishing these lures is a simple cast-and-retrieve. “You can cast it and reel it back in slowly and let the bait do the rest,” he says. As an alternative, he will fish these similar to a jerkbait when he wants a more aggressive action. “The same ‘jerk, jerk, pause’ retrieve you would use for an Ima Flit will work with the Foxy Fry and Deep Fry.”

The Foxy Fry was developed to succeed on Japan’s pressured waters

Foxy Fry vs. Deep Fry

The two baits mentioned are very similar but offer some key differences. The original Foxy Fry has been available since 2011 and has many loyal fans.

Due its’ lightweight design and diminutive profile (3/16 oz. and 2.35” long), the Foxy Fry is best fished on spinning tackle. “I fish it on spinning gear with 10lb braid with an 8lb fluorocarbon leader,” shares Roumbanis. When fished on light line, anglers can expect to get the bait down to five feet on the retrieve. It is recommended to add a small snap to the bait because it does not come with a split ring because the eye is too small.

Even though the Foxy Fry lightweight, it features a fixed-weight system to allow for better casting and the weight doubles as a way to get the perfect suspending action, at rest with the nose down.

Foxy Fry

The Foxy Fry’s bigger brother, the Deep Fry, was released at ICAST 2016 and features the same qualities that make the Foxy Fry great. Since it is bigger and heavier (5/8 oz. and 3.75 inches) it can be fished on both spinning and baitcast gear. Roumbanis opts for a baitcast setup with 10lb fluorocarbon or 8lb when he wants to get it down a tad deeper. The Deep Fry will dive down 12 to 15 feet and has the same great suspending action as the Foxy Fry.

Deep Fry

For Roumbanis, knowing when to use one versus the other comes down to the depth he is fishing and the size of the bait. “During the fall when the baitfish are smaller, the Foxy Fry is my go-to or if it is extremely cold and I need to downsize. If I am fishing deeper water or the baitfish are bigger, it is time for the Deep Fry,” adds Roumbanis.

Color Selection

For these and other reaction baits, Roumbanis has general rules of thumb for picking the right color.

“If the water is clear, I like colors like any of the ghost patterns like Ghost Ayu and Ghost Bluegill, if it is more stained I go with the solid colors like Chartreuse Shad,” he says adds that he has a theory on water clarity and bait colors. “One thing I have noticed is that if the water is always dirty on a body of water you can get away with more natural colors because the fish are used to finding natural colored baitfish in dirty water. On the other hand, if the water got dirty suddenly due to wind or rain, you may need a brighter color because the fish are still adjusting to changing water clarity.”

Ghost Bluegill
Ghost Ayu
Chartreuse Shad

Search Mode

“When I go into ‘search mode’ with these baits, I like to fish along the bank and make casts at a 45-degree angle to the bank instead of starting off paralleling the bank. I feel like you can miss some opportunities with if you are just hitting on specific depth zone,” he says. “By fishing at a 45-degree angle you can hit shallow, mid and deep depths on each cast until you dial the fish into a specific zone.”

Once he dials in a specific depth, he will switch to paralleling the bank to maximize his efforts. “Even still, it is a good idea to make a few casts deeper and shallower because the fish are always on the move,” adds the Bassmaster Elite Series pro.

The Foxy Fry and Deep Fry have been well-kept secrets for anglers looking for a lure that fits in the spectrum between jerkbait and crankbait. The versatility of these lures allows them to be fished in any season and for any species.