"Raw Thumb" article, As Prepared by Armstrong Outfitters Professional Guide Service.


Kirk R. Armstrong


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"Are you whimpy? Finesse Fishing and Proper Lure Presentation."

Kirk R. Armstrong

April, 2002

It is no secret that Finesse fishing during the Spring Spawn has bagged many a lunker bucket mouth. Especially when sight fishing for these fish with "whimpy worms, baby lizards, small tubes, soft jerk baits and any other variation of Sissy bait." Many die hard redneck bassinÕ boys will not fish with anything else but the macho, Jig n Pig, 12 inch Worm, or the die hard Spinner Bait. Shhot if you canÕt hookÕem you could always knockÕem out with a _ oz jig! The challenge here is hunting the bass and is especially high for clear water presentations. I do not think there is anything more exciting than to see a huge bedding bass suck in a bait and your arms quiver as you set the hook. Seeing the fish, positioning the boat, making the cast to just the right spot. This all ties together for the perfect moment.

There are many variations to finesse fishing. Some might include split shotting or drop shotting. Others would be casting randomly in clear water with small baits. To me that is still fishing. True finesse fishing is "hunting" for bass. Looking for the beds, selecting the bait, presenting it to the fish and releasing her to fight another day. You stick me in clear, shallow water and I am confident I can catch fish with the best of them.

As for equipment a 6.6 foot All Star Mag Spin or IM10X WR1 bait cast is the ticket for me. The spinning rod is great for small worms and Mizmo or Mad Man Mooneyham tubes. These rods are extremely sensitive and have a fast tip for flipping and skipping the baits into hard to reach areas. They also have plenty of back bone to handle larger fish when you get them on. My hardware usually includes a Shimano Curado Super Free or a Shimano med range spinning reel. Whether bait cast of spinning I will usually have 10-14 pound Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line. It is very abrasion resistant and clear in the water.

Customer with a nice 10 Lb. Finesse Fish! This 11lb Hog came on a weightless Brush Hog!

By far the most productive finesse lure is a small lizard or soft jerk bait like the Big Bag Lil Shad. (See add in magazine or go to www.bigbagbaits.com) The lizard obviously looks like a salamander but the Big Bag Lil Shads look like shad or blue gill. I love the watermelon color and I will dip the tail chartreuse and take a cutip and swab the belly a little orange or red. The Lil Shad is awesome, as it resembles a minnow or small perch, the bassÕ arch rival in the spring! Another great bait is a Mizmo 4 inch tube...as it falls it looks like a bait fish but when it is in the middle of the bed and you pop it slightly it looks like a craw fish.

The wide gap hooks that have been designed over the last few years have played a HUGE role in the success of fishing this way. I prefer the wide gap Mustad or Owner hooks as they are small enough yet heavy enough to do the job correctly. When rigging the Lil Shads I like to rig them on a 3/0 Mustad and then pin the lure with a Lunker City Peg weight just under the "skin" along the back. This gives the bait an undeniable, wobbling fall as it floats into a bed.

Remember to pay attention to what the fish are "telling" you through their movement, actions, way they ate a bait, etc. Work all your baits as natural as possible and have FAITH in the way you are fishing. Confidence in your equipment and your abilities is the best tool you could have. Then the next time you and your "whimpy" baits bag a lunker you can tell all your friends your got your Rah Thumb through Bass N More Outdoors!

Authors note: When planning to fish the spring spawn, plan well ahead and transition your fishing with the fish. As you feel the weather warming and your fishing itch growing so do these big females. They are getting the itch to get shallow find a boyfriend and dump some eggs. Transition your fishing with them and you will be amazed at what you can learn in a very short period of time. Not to mention possibly catch the lunker of a lifetime while you are at it.

Keep in mind that these fish are procreating to make baby bass so please do not harvest a trophy bass this time of year, photos and measurements will get you an awesome replica that will last forever and look GREAT!

Until next time, be safe, smart, and God Bless, "Raw Thumb"

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