Fishing with Kenny: Three Ways to Finesse Fish
article by Kenny Covington
Patience is not one of my best virtues. Not in life and especially not on the water. I like to turn my trolling motor on, point my boat down a bank and cover as much water in a days’ time that is humanly possible. I don’t have time to slow down!
Since I used the first few lines of my article explaining to you my lack of patience, I am going to use the rest of our space explaining a few of my favorite finesse fishing tactics. These techniques are slow and methodical but are fantastic ways to catch numbers of bass and also big ones. All it takes is a little patience.
For years a Carolina rig and a Texas rigged worm were considered the tried and true methods for catching inactive fish. The Texas rig has been around since the 1960’s and the Carolina rig wasn’t far behind. Both techniques were area specific and require the angler to pinpoint their presentations. Old school finesse bass fishing at its finest.
Fast forward a few decades and suddenly finesse fishing has taken on a completely different identity. While the Carolina and Texas rigs still have their place they have fallen out of favor. The Shaky head, drop shot, and Wacky worm are now the dominant techniques and it is hard to argue their success. While many consider them to be light line specific, all three can be just as effective when used with standard fishing tackle.
The Shaky head was once simply referred to as a ball head jig. The plastic worm was threaded on the hook shank leaving the hook exposed and was effectively used in areas that didn’t have a lot of cover. Then someone came along and decided to turn the worm around, insert the hook back into the worm just as you would when Texas rigging a worm and suddenly a new fishing sensation was born.
The Shaky head is arguably the best fish catching technique in the modern day world of bass fishing. It works in clear, stained and even muddy water. You can flip trees, cast it around boat docks, fish deep channel ledges and even poke around brush piles with it. It can be used at night, spring, summer, winter or fall. This technique may be the prefect fish catcher.
While many people prefer to use a Shaky head on a spinning rod with fairly light line I have had better success using lighter bait casting equipment. I like to use a 6’10 medium/heavy rod with 10 lb. line. My choice of shaky head is the Sure Hook-Up Shaky Head and my favorite size is a 3/16th size ball head. The 1/8th ounce and the ¼ ounce are also good choices depending on water depth and the amount of wind.
When I first saw a Drop Shot I have to admit I wasn’t overly impressed. “Someone doesn’t know how to tie on a Carolina rig”, is what immediately came to my mind and didn’t give it a second thought. That is until I began reading and hearing about all the fish that were being caught on this technique. It’s has proven to be another easy and deadly way to catch bass so I always keep the needed tackle in my boat to rig one up.
Here are a couple of things that you can do to make your Drop Shot more effective. The first thing I like to do is tie on a small swivel above the Drop Shot itself. This will prevent line twist that happens as the setup is falling to the bottom. The next thing I want to make sure I do is tie on the hook before I do anything else. Once I tie the hook on, I can then adjust the length of line below the hook before attaching my weight. This also allows me to determine how much line I have above the hook before I tie to my aforementioned swivel.
Another thing I like to do is Texas rig my Drop Shot which allows me to fish in and around cover. The size hook should be based on the size worm you are using. My choice is a 1/0 offset worm hook because most of the time I use smaller four and five inch finesse worms. If I use larger trick worms then I may go up to a 3/0 hook but it is always the offset style because it seems to hold the worm in place better.
Weight styles and sizes are individual preference but I prefer to use a 3/8 ounce weight. The key to the Drop Shot is move your soft plastic while still keeping bottom contact with the weight. This contact is critical when the fish are relating to the bottom but this technique works well on suspended fish that aren’t relating to structure or cover.
The last finesse technique I want to talk about is Wacky worming. The concept is simple, the presentation is simple, and if you have patience, the technique is killer. Take your favorite Senko style soft stick bait, take a straight shank 1/0 or 2/0 worm hook, hook the worm in the middle of the egg sack and you have officially rigged up a Wacky worm.
Most people prefer using spinning tackle with this technique because it is an excellent choice when skipping the Wacky worm under tree limbs and boat docks. Anglers often use a 20 lb. braid main line then tie a 6 foot leader of 10 lb. monofilament or fluorocarbon to it to so they have both the strength of braid and a shock absorbing feature that is important on the hook set.
Throw it out and let it sink. Once it hits bottom pick it up a couple more times. Reel it in and then repeat the process. If it sounds simple that’s because it is but this is a fantastic way to catch inactive fish that faster moving fishermen can’t get to bite. It just takes a little patience!
Oh, and one last thing before we go. Don’t get too caught up on the colors of your soft plastics regardless of which one of these techniques you choose. As long as your choice is watermelon/red, green pumpkin or Junebug, you can’t go wrong.
It looks like we have run out of time and space for this month. Make sure you take extra care while on the water this summer and if you happen to be wetting a hook, be sure to catch one for me! See you next month!