Try The Finesse Side Of Bassin
By Scott M. Petersen
When it comes to catching bass you have a ton of presentation options to choose from. For those of you who like to power fish you can throw spinnerbaits or maybe crankbaits, but when the bass get a little tight lipped what do you turn to too get bass over the side of your boat? Lighten up a little. Finesse bassin holds the key to success when the bite gets tough.
If you follow any of the bassmaster tournaments, you see some big names trading baitcasting gear for spinning gear and downsizing to get bites and in some cases in the end win a few tournaments along the way. Kevin Van Dam, Mike Iconelli, and Mark Davis all won tournaments or finished in the top three on the Elite series using finesse tactics and presentation.
The majority of the finesse fishing up in the Midwest was formed around a base and that base was a jig head. Outkasts Tackle Money Jig fits this base jig pattern well. The Money Jig comes in 4 different sizes 1/16 ounce, 3/32 ounce, 1/8 ounce, and 3/16 ounce. What you tip the jig with has a lot to do with the pattern or structure you are fishing.
To start in the spring, bass will make movements towards the shallows to put on the spring feed bag and get ready for the spawn. This is the time to pay attention to the inside weedline that is starting to take shape. Bass are edge creatures and will use this inside weedline as a path to get from one area to another or will move up and down this inside weedline to feed. For this bite I generally rig a jig with a few different options. One is to put the jig inside of a tube head; another presentation is to rig a Stickworm on the jig.
One important point to pay attention to is try to target inside weedlines that are located off of the shoreline. Inside weedlines that are located a distance from the shore will hold more bass early in the season than inside weedlines that are located right next to shore. Boat positioning is key when fishing this pattern. You want to position your boat so that you can cast parallel to the weedline. This keeps your bait in the fish zone longer than if you if position your boat away from the weedline and cast up to it and make your retrieve.
As the season moves along, bass will start to take up residence in deeper water and on the outside weedline. To be successful you will have to move with them. When the bass are active, they will be positioned on top of the weeds roaming and looking for food. But when they are inactive, they will position themselves down in the weeds or at the base of the weeds on the outside edge of the weedline.
Best options for tipping the jig in this case will be 4-inch worms. I prefer to use a ringworm when fishing this option. Another bait choice is a wide tail grub, especially when fishing during cold front conditions. The oversized tail of the grub gives the jig a slower fall than a jig and worm combo especially when bass are in a neutral, non-active mood. Many times this has been the bait combination that has saved the day for me when I needed one last fish to make out a tournament limit.
Other options when targeting outside weedlines include tubes and the Stick Worm. When fishing this presentation you are best to use two boat positions. If the bass are active and on top of the weeds feeding, you are best to position your boat within casting distance of the edge of the weeds and make casts to the edge taking advantage of the active bass. If the bass are inactive, position your boat and cast parallel to the weedline, getting your bait to the base of the weeds and work it back to the boat. This keeps your bait in the strike zone longer giving you a better chance to catch fish.
During the hot summer months, you have a group of bass that move to the deep rocks. This is the home of the big bass, but there is one factor that comes with these bass - the cover factor. Because of the lack of cover they do not have any cover to hide in, so these bass adjust to weather changes by either heading towards deeper water or sit in the rocks and shut off big time.
One of the best baits I have used to get these bass to bite during these conditions is a jig tipped with a spider grub. Cast the bait out and let it settle to the bottom, when the jig hits the bottom, and then slowly drag this bait along the bottom. You do not want to hop this bait unless the bass are active and feeding. By dragging the bait on the bottom you are imitating a crawfish trying to slowly escape from the bass' sight. You know what? This drives them crazy; to think that little crawfish is trying to act sly and get away. I think they tell themselves, "I'll show him I'll just eat'em".
Finesse fishing is mainly done on a spinning set up. I prefer to use a 7-foot medium action spinning rod teamed up with a matching reel, spooled with either 6-pound or 8-pound mono line. With today's improvement in fluorocarbon line from a couple of years back you can get by fishing these presentations with fluorocarbon line on a spinning set up.
Looking at bass fishing we have two sides: power fishing and finesse fishing. Each works in their own right. But when the bite gets extra tough, do not be afraid to tie on a jig, down size your bait size, and fish slower. Tipping the Money Jig with a variety of baits like tubes, spider grubs, stick worms and ring worms you will soon see the finesse side of fishing will take big bass and numbers of bass along the way.
So when the bite slows down for you next time do not be afraid to give finesse tactics a try. Who knows you just, may become a dedicated fisherman of the jig like many of us.
Please remember to practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release). The future of fishing is in your hands. For more timely tips and tactics for bass please log onto fishinginsider.com