Many things we do in life, the faster, the better. Finesse fishing is not one of them in most cases.
When we have exhausted our cranks, spinners, and our favorite topwater baits without results, it may be time to slow down, pick up your spinning rod, flip that bail and pick apart the water. The bass have spoken, and we fishermen operate on their schedules.
So, what is finesse fishing and when does this style of fishing produce the best results? Finesse fishing can be fished in many ways depending on your style as an angler, but overall, it is safe to say that finesse fishing is a softer approach to fishing and involves a lot of soft plastics and different types of jigs and other rigs like the Texas rig, wacky rig, drop shot, and the ned rig. It is a great option when the water is still too cold for the bass to be active, when the bass just aren’t biting your hard baits, deep water on a hot day, and when environmental factors slow the bite.
Power fishing covers a lot of water and let’s be honest, watching a fish blow up on your top water lure or having a bass slam your crank from the side, is just plain awesome. With that said, you may run out of ground to fish or maybe you fish from the shore and cannot consistently be on the move with all your gear, whatever the reason, slowing it down can get those tight-lipped lazy bass to chomp down on the end of you line.
Let’s breakdown some of the popular finesse styles. You cannot write about finesse fishing without giving respect and acknowledgment to the drop shot. The drop shot rig an old staple in the world of fishing. It is a rig that focuses on the bottom and shines in medium to deep water, when the fish are low in the water column. It is set up typically with a weight on the bottom of your line and a hook tied a foot or two up the line with a Palomar knot. This is a knot that helps the hook to present your plastic horizontally from your line, making it look more irresistible. Soft plastic minnows, worms and other specifically designed drop shot baits entice these stingy bass to bite. You can dead stick a drop shot if you are in the mood to lay back and enjoy your day on the water, but just because you are slowing down your fishing, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can drag a drop shot, jig it vertically to stir up some attention or pop it and reel it back in slowly. The drop shot can be fished from shore, boat or kayak which makes it a fan favorite to get rid of the skunk.
Wacky rig is another staple finesse approach that every bass angler should familiarize themselves with. A wacky rig can be fished weightless, weighted above the hook or neko style with a nail weight in the head of the plastic. It gets its unconventional name from how the bait is displayed on the hook. Instead of running in line with the hook like the popular Texas rig, it is placed horizontally on the lower curve of the hook leaving the sides to show off a flapping motion as your bait sinks. Think of a bird flapping its wings, but in slow motion. This unique presentation drives the bass crazy. If you can see a fish following your crankbait, but not committing to the bite, pick up your spinning reel and throw this wacky rig.
The ned rig has gained popularity over the years because it can flat out get the job done when nothing else is working. The ned rig is fished with a specifically designed weighted hook and soft plastics that are buoyant. This design allows for the hook to sink quickly to the bottom and the floating plastics to maintain a vertical stance on the bottom. Slow cruising fish see this irresistible snack as a free and easy meal ticket. You can dead stick the ned rig with the patience of a meditating monk or you can power up this finesse style with jigging and reeling.
We could spend hours writing about different ways to set up and fish our favorite finesse rigs, but let’s wrap it up with just a few more tips to get you to bring you success. One really important factor that needs be considered when finesse fishing is the type of tackle you choose.
First, you need a good spinning reel, the Piscifun Carbon X 2000 reel will help you land fish all day and quickly become one of your favorite reels in your arsenal. You also need a rod that is sensitive enough to let you feel the softer bites, but still has enough back bone to get a proper hook set. The Piscifun 7’2 medium light Serpent rod gives you just that and pairs greatly with the Carbon X reel. Whether you choose to run braided line or straight fluorocarbon you need to realize that when you slow down your fishing, this gives the fish more time to inspect your bait. This means lighter line in the 8–12-pound range will disguise your line better and bring you more bites. When using braided line make sure to follow the same guidelines by tying on fluorocarbon leaders. With all that said, the one piece to this puzzle that you can’t usually get away without, is sloooowing down your fishing. Patience is required and that may require some self-control if you are used to a cast and reel day.
Finesse fishing is about giving those closed mouth fish a menu to read before placing their order. Don’t rush the process, trust the process.
---By Tasha Larsen