recent years, the trend in bass fishing seems to have moved toward
heavier lines, stiffer rods, larger lures and high speed reels,
however, many bass anglers have found that some of the best
techniques for clear water lakes, and lakes that receive a vast
amount of fishing pressure, are lighter lures and equipment.
Several years ago
in California, top pro bass fishermen started the technique of
"finesse fishing," which basically means using smaller
baits on light line. The technique was slow to spread to the rest
of the country. But when top-name pros began winning bass
tournaments with this "finesse style of fishing,"
anglers from all across the country began to take notice.
Now that spring is
over, anglers that want to increase their chances for catching
bass on lakes that are either clear or heavily fished, would do
well to learn a few basic techniques about finesse fishing.
In clear water,
bass rely primarily on their sight when feeding, and since they
have seen just about every kind of lure known they often have to
be literally fooled into taking a lure.
I like to use
either a split--shot rig or a Mo-Jo rig this time of the year when
fishing clear water, especially for smallmouth bass- A split-shot
rig is nothing more than a small
number 4 split shot, crimped
on your line about 12"to 14" above a small 1/0 hook. I
like to use a light wire hook, such as the Mustad Ultra Point with
the offset shank. To use a split-shot worm rig effectively, you
must fish it on a spinning outfit. A 6' medium action spinning rod
coupled with a Shimano Spirex 2000 spinning reel works great.
Since I am partial
to baitcasting equipment, I use a Shimano Chronarch SF Reel on a
6' G-Loomis IMX Rod. With this equipment, I Can fish both a
split-shot rig or a Mo-Jo rig. A Mo-Jo rig consist of using a
cylinder shaped weight held in place by a Carolina Keeper. One of
the advantages of using this type of weight, is the fact that it
will come through rocks and brush without hanging up like a bullet
weight, egg sinker, or even a split shot. When fishing clear
water, I prefer using 12# Berkley Trilene Big Game in a green
color. The green line is harder for the angler to see, but it also
blends in with the water better and is less visible to the fish.
On bright, sunny days, clear line reflects light and is more
What type of
plastic bait you use for finesse fishing depends largely on the
clarity of the water and the type of species of bass that you are
after. I prefer the RoboWorms made in California. These
hand-poured style plastic baits are well suited to "finesse
fishing." The 4 1/2" straight Tail, 4" Zipper
Junior and the new 4" Fx Series are my favorites and will
catch bass under even the most difficult conditions.
When it's a clear,
sunny day, I use the Natural Shad or the Fuschia Thunder colors.
If it's cloudy, or the water is
somewhat stained then I
switch over to the Purple Weenie or the Aaron's Magic colors.
RoboWorm has also
come out with a new color of the 4" FX Series that works well
when fishing around rocks. This new color called Early Craw is a
phenomenal bait. The Academy Sports & Outdoors stores carry a
full line of Roboworms and if you can't find the color your
looking for or want to look at a color catalog, contact them at
1-877-GET-ROBO or visit them on the web: www.roboworm.com<.
The FX Special Effect Series are available in either the 4"
or the 6" sizes.
Another bait that I
like to use during the summer months for both largemouth and
smallmouth bass is a topwater. Some anglers don't think of a
topwater lure as being a finesse bait, but the Splash-It made by
Don lovino is one of the best finesse topwater lures made. I like
to fish the Splash-It around rocky banks, both early and late in
the day. Throughout the summer I always have one tied on in case I
see schooling bass. The Splash-It is a superb handcrafted popper
that features a lifelike finish and custom hand-tied feathers.
There are two models available, the original size which is similar
to a Pop-R and the new larger version, the Splash-It 2.
finesse bait comes in a variety of fish catching colors but for
most lakes here in Oklahoma my best two colors are the gray ghost
or the pearl/chartreuse. Iovino has a new color of the Splash-It
called Miracle Minnow that I have already been catching bass on
and as the water warms, this new color looks to be a great finesse
On days when our
Oklahoma winds make it difficult to fish either a worm or a
topwater bait, my favorite lure is the Terminator Tiny-T
Spinnerbait. This small 1/8-ounce spinnerbait is an excellent
"finesse" lure and has accounted for some nice bass out
of both lakes Arbuckle and Murray. 1 like to fish this small
spinnerbait around rocky ledges for both smallmouth and Kentucky
bass and around grassbeds for largemouth. Even though this bait is
small, I have taken some quality bass on it, under some tough
fishing conditions. I like the bright white shad color most of the
time because it represents a shad. Early or late in the day, or on
a cloudy, rainy day, the chartreuse and white color works best.
There are days when
bass seem to prefer a fast moving bait and for "finesse"
fishing on top during this time, nothing fits the bill better than
the new Terminator Tiny-T Buzzbait. Bass and smallmouth in
particular, can't resist this buzzbait when you burn it across the
tops of rock ledges or across windy points. Just like the
Terminator spinnerbait, I prefer the white on sunny days and the
chartreuse and white on cloudy days, or during periods of low
Light tackle, or
"finesse fishing," demands more from the angler; it
challenges both skill and equipment. It also has its rewards: More
fish, quality fish, and often, greater satisfaction.
conditions such as during the hot summer months, on heavily
pressured water or with finicky fish, "finesse fishing"
will improve your chances for success.