Lets see, where did I leave off last time? I talked about the drop shot and the split shot rigs, OK, I remember where my thoughts were. Now I’ll go into some not so well known styles of finesse fishing.
Now lets talk about Flipping reapers. First off a reaper is a CA finesse bait. If I had to discribe what a repers looks like I would have to say it kinda looks like a leech. With that said I’ll continue on with the subject. Flipping reapers is yet another technique for convincing lock jawed bass into biting. To rig this technique up all you do is rig it Texas rigged just like you would a plastic worm except with a smaller hook and weight. As to how to fish it, just as the name implies, you flip it gently and quietly into spots where you thing the bass is at. There have been many times when I have flipped a jig into a hole and got nothing, then turn around and flip a reaper and WAM, instant bite.
Skipping reapers. This is technique is not widely used but it can be deadly. To rig this one you would use a small hook rigged weedless and then once again I like to use the small round split shot weight, without the little “Ears” placed right up against the knot. In this situation the earless ones help it skip easier because it does not have the extra pieces hanging off of it. Cast this rig side arm and make it skip across the surface, just like when you used to skip rocks across water. What your doing is resembling a shad skittering across the surface, like he is running scared. I’ve had times where as the reaper skipped along I’ve seen bass chasing it and blasting it as soon as they caught up to it.
With this style you will need to use spinning gear and light line to achieve the best skipping. You can use this technique just about anywhere and trust me, it does work. Shhhhh, here is a secret I’ve had fantastic success using this technique under boat docks. Just make sure you either skip under a dock in an area where there is not much structure for the bass to get tangled up in or use heavier line, this in turn would mean to use a little heavier weight.
Doodeling. I don’t know for sure who actually invented this technique but I do know that legendary western angler Don Iovion was very instrumental in making it a popular style of fishing. What is doodeling you may ask. Its basically a smaller, 3-6 inch’s, Texas rigged worm with a glass bead between the worm and the weight. Here you would cast out and shake the worm in place causing the weight to bounce against the bead, basically ringing the dinner bell. In stained dirty water I like to use a brass weight, it produces more noise. Whereas in clear water I use a lead weight so it helps deaden the sound a little.
Slider Heads, Dart Heads and Shakey Heads. All of these techniques are similar yet different. They all consist of a lead head and a hook. To the best of my knowledge the slider head has been around the longest. It was invented by a gentleman named Charlie Brewer quite a few years back and still today catches bass. The original Slider head has on odd shaped lead head but there is a reason for this. With its flat bottom the head displaces water as it sinks so it sinks slower. When casted out and slowly retrieved it kind of slides through the water, hence the name. There are several ways of rigging it depending on if your fishing around structure or not. If you are then rig it weedless, if fishing in open water then leave the hook exposed.
Dart Heads, also referred to as darter heads. The lead head of this rig comes to a point. This style of fishing was developed to target suspended bass. You first would locate the suspended bass on your sonar, then cast out beyond where they were and engage your spool so on more line played out. What this would do is cause your bait to pendulum back to the boat and swim right through the suspended bass. Here again, you can either rig your plastic weedless or with an exposed hook.
Shakey Heads. This is a technique that has come seen allot of exposure lately in the tournament circuits. Several manufactures have created different styles of the shakey head but they once again are basically a lead head with a hook. They kind of look like the little crappie jig heads except bigger of course. Not so much in weight but in hook size. Same rigging techniques apply as with the others but most of the time these are rigged weedless. As far as what to put on them, basically anything from a small plastic sculpin to a big ole snake worm. These can be fished several different ways, on structure, on suspended fish, or even swimming. The biggest trick here is to shake them, hence the name. when fishing these on structure try and shake them in place without actually moving them off of the structure.
Lastly I’ll talk about the Un-Weighted Worm. This has to be one of my favorite finesse techniques when the bass are shallow and very spooky because it out right catches fish. The way this is rigged is you make yourself a leader, I like to use 2-3 foot myself, tie on a small black barrel swivel, one that does not have a snap, attach your leader then tie on your hook then rig your plastic weedless. The reason I use a swivel is to avoid getting line twist, which I’ll go into detail just a little later. By the way, user NO weight.
When attaching the plastic, sometimes you want your worm to be perfectly straight, other times you want a little crook in the head of the work. When rigged with the slight bend in the worm the thing will kind of spin when twitched. This is where the swivel comes in. Without it you would get really bad line twist after just a few casts and we all know how much of a pain that can be. When the worm is rigged straight it pretty much floats and falls at a very slow rate, which is a very subtle presentation and at times that is the only way you can convince the bass to bite. Cast it out, try letting it sink slowly, maybe a slight twitch every now and then. When you do get bit remember exactly what you were doing when the bite happened and repeat that to get more bites.
True, I just scratched the surface of finesse fishing, this is a subject that could go on forever. Even though I addressed small baits allot in these posts you can finesse fish anything as long as it’s a slow and methodical presentation.
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Until Next Time, Good Luck and Tight Lines To Ya!