January 19, 2017

Finesse Fishing Tips for Bass

The following are the products mentioned in my webinar, Finesse Fishing Tips.

Drop Shot Gear
There are so many benefits to using a drop shot and I always have at least one tied up on my front desk. Here is a link to a previous blog with my whole setup.

Shaky Head Gear
The shaky head always catches fish. I like a straight tail worm like a 4" Yamamoto Senko or Zoom Trick Worm. Another good bait is the Reaction Innovations Flirt.

I'll fish this on a 7'2" M Phenix Recon2 rod with a Shimano Sustain 2500 spooled with 20-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid with a 10-pound AbrazX leader.

Ned Rig Gear
What is the Ned Rig? Check out my video below if you haven't heard of it. It is a finesse technique that is taking over the bass fishing world. I fish it on the same setup as the drop-shot (7' ML rod) and prefer the Z-Man TRD as my soft plastic. You can also cut a Strike King Zero in half and get the same effect.

The Z-Man ShroomZ are the jigheads of choice for many, but I recently received a Do-It Mold to pour my own.

Neko Rig Gear

I love the Neko Rig. If you have never heard of it, check out my video on it below. My favorite bait is the Reaction Innovations Pocket Rocket. It has a great action as the bait is falling, but really any Senko-style bait will work.

VMC has everything you need for Neko Rigging from the hooks to the weights. I also like tungsten nail weights like the ones from Reins.

I fish this most of the time on the same setup I use for a shaky head.

Hair Jigs

There are some great hair jigs on the market. I like the Outcast Tackle Feider Fly and Punisher jigs the best. I have also found cheaper alternatives by looking for steelhead and trout jigs.

I fish this on a 7' light action Phenix Ultra MBX with a Pflueger Patriarch XT and 15-pound Seaguar Smackdown with a 6-pound Tatsu leader.

Finesse Cranking

Who says crankbaits can't be finesse? I throw the Rapala DT6 and Ima Pinjack and fish it slow for a finesse approach. My rod choice is a 7' M Abu Garcia Villain 2.0 with a Revo MGX spooled with 10-pound Seaguar InvizX.


I like to dye the tips of my green pumpkin baits with chartreuse to better imitate perch and bluegill. The Dyeing2Fish kit has all you need to do it without making a mess.

January 3, 2017

Dyeing Soft Plastics

Something I should really do more of is dyeing my soft plastic baits. I do it quite a bit with a creature bait like a Zoom Brush Hog around the bluegill spawn, but that's about it. I like to dye the tips of those baits with chartreuse to imitate bluegill and it works really well. 

I don't know why I don't do it more. Probably because I hate the mess. I remember a tournament fishing as a Co-Angler where I spilled some JJ's Magic on my boater's carpet. It was an accident...but it sucked. 

I discovered something in November that has me wanting to dye more baits. Mark Menendez showed me a new product that makes it easier to dye your baits and store them, but it also protects your boat from the chartreuse dye. It's called the Dyeing2Fish Dyesafe Kit. It's so simple, a box with a place to store your dyes that doubles as a safe place to dip and dry your baits. Again, so simple, but I really like the product and what it does.

Here is Mark talking about the kit:

December 30, 2016

How To Fish the Ned Rig

Over the past few years the "Ned Rig" has taken the fishing world over. It's a simple finesse technique and anglers all over are catching fish with it. If you look at the TackleWarehouse.com Top Sellers page, the Z-Man TRD and Finesse ShroomZ jigheads are almost always on the list.

I am included in that group that is using these products and have really started to enjoy fishing the technique. It works when fishing is tough and also works well when the fish are biting.

Here is a quick video overview of how I fish it.

My first few times trying it was underwhelming. Lots of bites, but most were really small bass or other species. Then I started catching big ones on it. Probably the best example was this spring on the Niagara River in New York when we were faced with water temps in the 40's. The Ned Rig was the best technique that day and we caught many fish like the one below. Even in current it worked well, it just took a little longer to get to the bottom.

I have also had success closer to my home with it and have landed several nice largemouth and even caught a Tiger Muskie on it. It seems to work especially well right after the spawn.

I wrote an article with more details in August 2015 for WesternBass.com and you can view it here.

December 16, 2016

A Review of the New G. Loomis GLX

G. Loomis has been one of the top (if not #1) rod names for many years. I remember when I first started getting serious about bass fishing in the late 90's and how Loomis was the rod to have. It was like that before then and continues now. Their top rods for years was the GLX (now you can step it up with an NRX) and they just released a new version. I've fished with it and have come away impressed.

The GLX has always been known for being balanced and sensitive and the new version is definitely that. It is also very light, even compared to previous versions, as they have reduced the weight of the blank by 20%. A light rod isn't everything, but it sure is nice. Having a light rod with good balance is more important and these rods are well-built and fun to fish.

The model that I have is the 843C MBR, a 7'1" medium heavy rod that can be used for many different techniques. I chose this model to give it a good test across several different techniques. Football heads, small swimbaits, tubes and more were all excellent on this rod. I also see it being a solid rod for anything within the 3/16 - 5/8 oz. it is rated for including pitching jigs and throwing spinnerbaits.

The new GLX rods have Fuji ‘K’ frame guides with SIC rings. These are top quality and will withstand braided line without any issues. The rod also features a carbon fiber butt cap. The carbon fiber looks awesome but also helps to balance the rod with a little extra weight down there.

Honestly there is nothing I didn't like about the rod and how well it performed. Light, sensitive and balanced are my biggest takeaways from fishing this rod. It is also very comfortable to fish with the reel seat and exposed blank. Matched with a Curado 70, this was one sweet setup. The one downside would obviously be the cost. Not everyone is going to be able to afford a rod that retails for over $400, but then again, you get what you pay for.

December 9, 2016

Team Lew's Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP Review

So I finally tried a Lew's reel. After all the hoopla and attention I gave in and have a Lew's reel sitting a few feet from me as I type this. Full disclaimer, I was given this reel at a recent media event and have no ties to them. I got it for free so I can praise it or blast it without trying to justify spending hard-earned money.

The reel is called the Team Lew's Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP (try saying that two times quickly) and it is a solid reel. It is very lightweight at just 5.8-ounces and overall is a very nice reel.

I posted a video recently with my ranking of four new baitcast reels from four top brands. My results showed Lew's near the bottom due to the fact that I was getting a squealing noise when casting. Turns out you need to oil you Lew's first. Now that I know that, my rankings may have changed a little. I will do a follow up video next season with info on how they held up.

Fishing this reel was an eye-opener really. I was surprised at how easily it cast lures of all sizes. The casting distance was great and it felt smooth throughout all of my trips with it. I enjoyed fishing with it and it matches up almost perfectly with my Phenix M1 rod.

I also liked some of the features/gadgets on this reel. It comes with Winn Grips for handles (love these), a hook keeper that slides out from beneath the reel and a line indicator so you can remember what pound test line is on it.  The Winn Grips were comfortable and one of my favorite things about the reel. The hook keeper is a great idea although I am doubting the long-term durability of it. The line indicator thing is easy to use and a plus.

It's $259.99 so a fairly high-end reel. I think the price is right based on the performance of this reel.