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This is why I do this exercise (the all finesse thread trip report)

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In the tackle forum I started a thread about an all finesse outing. Every year I pick something out of the norm for me and do a full trip (usually an evening trip) and do nothing but. I take out all other rods and baits so that I have no choice. 


 I do this to expand my horizons. I’m a power fisherman at heart with moving baits.  That’s not always what they want. Year before last I added ‘plastics’ because I didn’t use them much.  Not that I didn’t know what to do, but I just didn’t fish them.  Instead I’d just keep casting and cranking on a moving bait looking for just that one bite. That plastics trip expanded a lot of things for me and last year I caught a ton of bass on a Texas rig on slow days (and even hot days). 

This year I decided it was a finesse outing. Originally I was going to make it an all spinning rod outing since I never fish them (and finally bought a nice setup this winter to force myself to do it).  However I could only cobble together 4 rigs and one was a stretch (1000 sized reel on a trout rod effectively).  I threw my BFS-ish rod in instead (6’6” medium lite/moderate custom build from a long time ago and a kast king zephyr). Sunday night I just happened to order the shimano curado 7’2” ML that’s on sale at TW right now and it came at 10am this morning. So…. I nixed the trout rod and threw a light reel on it with some thin 12# mono. It’s a medium light after all and that was the nominal target power.


Lures wise, I dug back into the box and pulled out some oldies

- 1/8 oz spinnerbaits and buzzbaits

- Zara pooch and teeny torpedo (these are 1/8 oz or so)

- a couple curl tail grubs and heads (they aren’t in the box normally)

- tiny original rapalas in 3”


on top of that, I took everything OUT of my box that had no place being there. My entire wirebaits box, jig and chatterbait box (one exception), all of my jerkbaits, top waters, swim baits, and all of my crankbaits but two. The exceptions were some small 5/16 oz bomber square As and a handful of Sieberts lil’ man jigs in 1/8 oz. I had a full complement of plastics and terminal tackle.  I did NOT

bring a fish finder (I know the lake well) which means live scope with a jig head minnow while chasing bass was out too. 

My plan was to have a little bit of everything rigged depending on the rod and line, then adapt as I went. 



For completeness, that’s a 1/8 oz bomber mini spinnerbait, a zoom 4” fluke (weightless), a Ned like rig with a standard Ika in smoke purple flake, a lil man jig with a rage mini, and a Texas rigged rage bug midi. A Texas rigged rage bug regular is a regular producer here so that was a safe option on the ml curado.


I got to the ramp and a guy was waiting for his buddy to come back.  They had been fishing a while for musky and he said he had a bunch of bass following musky lures. I thought it might be a chasing night despite the bluebird skies and zero wind so started with the spinnerbait. Very quickly I decided that wasn’t going to be it so I went to the ika.  I probably could have stuck with it all night. The next 200 yards and 60 minutes gave up a half dozen bass including a 17” and a pair of 15” fish. I rounded the corner and was immediately in the sunlight side of the lake. I picked one bass on the fluke and the next hour was a dud. I shot back to the starting point and went down that shaded bank again. I landed a good one on the lil man (I need to fish these more) but the grass was being a problem for the single wire weedguard so I swapped to a Ned. Instead of the ika I swapped over to a Ned rig on a Bass Union weedless head. It was the back end of a 5” Yamamoto senko that I fished the other day. That’s what they wanted. 

I proceeded to go down the bank and back up over the course of an hour or so and catch another dozen bass. In one spot I caught 5 bass in 7 casts. All the same cast. When those 5 bass were done and nothing else was eating I swapped baits for a minute thinking it was a different profile I needed. No, I just needed a chartreuse tail tip. I had tipped the senko and it turns out that was the key tonight. I tipped another one and caught three straight. In preparation, I tipped a trd since I knew the senko wasn’t going to last much longer. The tipped TRD (‘the deal’ was the color) caught three more including the biggest of the night. 

all in I caught 18 bass (3 bonus pickerel).  Two at 17”, a couple more at 16”, and the bulk of the rest 14-16”. Only one fish under 12” and only 3 or 4 in that 12” bucket. 

Conclusions and learnings for the night:

- it was a successful night. My goal was a half dozen keeper sized. I tripled the number and with a ~12 lb bag of five that’s not bad for a lot of tournaments here this time of year.  The number of 2# class fish was surprising.  I’ll take that any day.

- it was a lot of fun. 15” class fish on medium light spinning tackle put up quite a fight.  Trying to horse in fish lost me two so you do have to take it a little easy. 
- I remember why I don’t carry a spinning rod much and why I didn’t fish them much. In my rod rack system they are a pain to rack. One is okay on an end but more than one is a pain. If I were in a boat, I’d probably keep two rigged, maybe three. In the meantime I’ll stick to one. That said, I’m going to try and bring it every trip. It means making choices on the other 4 rods that come (I have 5 that I usually bring).
- I made the right choice in the Zodias this winter. It’s the 6’9” ML with a 3000 size Stradic. Longer might be better for distance and fish fighting on light line. Shorter is definitely better for working baits (I was throwing a 6’ rod tonight at times).  This is the right compromise for what I need to do.

- @Dwight Hottle made a great recco for 131 braid. I fish 832 and love it on baitcasters.  Tonight I had 10# 832 on the bfs reel, 10# yozuri super braid (4 carrier) on two rods, and 10# 131 on my stradic/zodias.  The extra little bit of stiffness is welcomed in this light line. I don’t know I’d love it in 50# but in 10# it will be my go to. 
- I haven’t been carrying the spinning rod the past month now that the grass is up. However a lot of places have sprayed for the grass and it is thinning. On top of that, I was surprised how well a lot of these light rigs came through the grass. The jika like rig was very good but did catch some. It was great coming through wood though. The bass union heads are no stranger to me but I hadn’t fished one this much. It was fantastic through pads and grass. The zman slider head with the Ned bomb would come through anything dead clean. The only thing that caught any slime was the tag ends of my knot. I could throw the slider and the bass union heads into stuff that I definitely shouldn’t have. Thick pads filled with coontail. Twice I had bass hit it on the drop in 2’ of water in that slop and was worried I couldn’t get them out. I could have thrown it deeper into it but would have definitely been stuck.  
-sunline fc fluorocarbon leader material is great. I got 8#. I had it in pad stems, coontail, heavy branches, and pickerel teeth. I didn’t have a nick or piece of abrasion. There might be better or cheaper choices for leader but I’m very happy with this. 
- Finesse fishing like this would be really tough with 5mph wind or more. A few times it kicked up and it was tough watching your line let alone feeling anything. Maybe with straight mono/fluorocarbon it would be better but I doubt it. Certainly with more practice I’d get better at it. I’ll definitely do this more. 
- There are more bass in there than you might think. I picked this lake because I know there are good numbers and I know generally where they should be. Had I gone down the bank with a Texas rig or jig I might have picked a few of these fish, but given how quickly they changed preferences I wouldn’t have had the night I had. 5 bass in 7 casts which were basically the same cast (the ‘2’ were poor casts) wouldn’t have happened in the past for me. It’s got me thinking now about 30+ fish mornings.  
















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  • Super User

Great trip report. I like how you fish outside your box. I spend way too much time in my box. You're a good role model for me. 

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  • Global Moderator

Great Report!

Most members on here love that finessey kind of stuff and you make a lot of good points with actual results. 




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Very nice post. I use a similar process when I want to force myself to get better with a certain bait or technique - I think removing everything else before you head out is very smart! Otherwise it's darn near impossible to stick with something when the going gets tough...

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  • Super User
2 hours ago, AJ Hauser said:

Very nice post. I use a similar process when I want to force myself to get better with a certain bait or technique - I think removing everything else before you head out is very smart! Otherwise it's darn near impossible to stick with something when the going gets tough...


Thanks.  Five minutes after I launched the wind kicked up to 5-7 mph and I thought I was stuffed.  The forecast was for 0-3.  If that had stayed I'd have basically been limited to a texas rig (which wouldn't have been world ending, but it definitely would have killed the spirit of the outing.  Fortunately it was just a 10 minute squall and it quieted after that.


3 hours ago, ol'crickety said:

Great trip report. I like how you fish outside your box. I spend way too much time in my box. You're a good role model for me. 


Thanks.  You've got a pretty good box to work inside, so I wouldn't worry too much.


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Greetings All,

@casts_by_fly Bravo! Glad to see your successful ambitions realized. Well Done! Thank You for sharing your story with results.


I've found this approach to be consistently successful for me. I find it is very comfortable in catching fish and also for a full day of angling adventures the overall lighter weight gear is easier on me too!


Wishing you and others continued angling success! Be well and Cheers!

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