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Midwest Finesse Gear & Accessories Lures

Bass Anglers’ Gear Guide: Z-Man Fishing Products’ Palmetto BugZ, according to David Walker

by Ned Kehde   |  January 3rd, 2013 7

 

Z-Man Fishing Products unveiled their Palmetto BugZ in July to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades.

But before that introduction,  David Walker of Sevierville, Tennessee, was wielding prototypes of it on the Bassmaster tournament circuits, commencing with the Classic at the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana, on Feb. 24-26.

One of Walker’s ¬†piscatorial fortes is flipping and pitching, and he said the conditions at Classic where ideal for pitching and flipping a Palmetto BugZ. ¬† And it helped him to amass his Classic catch of largemouth bass that weighed¬†40.8-pounds. That catch put his name in 13th place on the leader board and¬†gardened him $14,200 in prize money.

Day in, day out, Walker rigs the Palmetto BugZ Texas-style on a 5/0¬†Lazer Trokar Flippin’ Hook. This hook is festooned with a Trokar B.A.R.B. on the Shank, which is a bait-keep system that is situated ¬†immediately below the eye of the hook. ¬†The Palmetto BugZ is made from a material called ElaZtech. Walker described ¬†it as “a space-age material” that adheres to the bait keeper almost as if it were glued. Thus, the head of the Palmetto BugZ ¬†does not slip down the shank of the hook.

There are some rumors circulating in angling circles that the execution of a perfect hook set is ¬†problematic with a Texas-rigged ElaZtech bait. These rumors contend that the point and barb of the hook can’t easily penetrate the torso of ElaZtech baits similar to the Palmetto BugZ. But Walker emphatically says that ¬†it’s not true. ¬† In fact, Walker contends that hook sets seem to be a tad easier with ElaZtech baits than they are with most conventional soft-plastic baits.

Above the hook, Walker threads on a Reins TG Tungsten Slip Sinkers to the line, and he works with three sizes of sinkers: a 5/16-ounce, a 3/8-ounce and a 1/2-ounce.

He pitches and flips the Palmetto BugZ ¬†into and around flooded buckbrush, laydowns, flooded timber, boat docks, man-made brush piles, emergent aquatic vegetation and submergent aquatic vegetation.¬†When he is probing extremely bushy lairs, where it is essential to have the Palmetto BugZ ¬†plummet straight down through a maze of limbs, Walker pegs the slip sinker. But in more open-water situations, Walker prefers to work with a sinker that is not pegged, noting that the¬†sliding sinker adds an alluring movement to the bait that can’t be achieved when the slip sinker is pegged. ¬† He also notes that tungsten sinker should be endowed with a ¬†plastic insert so as ¬†to prevent the tungsten from fraying the line. Walker opts for the 3/8-ounce slip sinker when he is pitching around cattails or patches flooded buckbrush that are adorned with a lot of leaves. The cattails and leaves create¬†resistance¬†on his line, and that resistance prevents the Palmetto BugZ from plummeting to the bottom. ¬† When the cattails, leafy environs or similar situations are extremely thick, he will work with a 1/2-ounce slip sinker.

Walker’s ¬†Shimano Chronarch 201 E Series reel is spooled with¬†¬†Sunline’s ¬†20-pound-test¬†Shooter Fluorocarbon, and at times, he opts for¬†Shooter’s 22- and 25-pound-test fluorocarbon. The reel is fitted on a¬†G. Loomis ¬†seven-foot, five-inch, ¬†fast-action, heavy-power flipping stick.

Around muddy-water lairs, Walker usually works with the 22- and 25-pound-test lines, and when he fishes waterways that contain a goodly number of lunker-size largemouth bass, such as Lake Falcon, Texas, he usually opts for 25-pound-test.  But on waterways, like the Ohio River, where the size of most of the  black bass are small, he flips and pitches the Palmetto BugZ on 20-pound-test.

The depths he probes range from as shallow as two feet of water to as deep as six feet.

In regard to the optimal water clarity for flipping and pitching the Palmetto BugZ, Walker has found that stained to muddy water is the best. ¬†From Walker’s perspective, ¬†that means from two feet to about two inches or less of clarity. But he noted that in muddy-water scenarios it is necessary for the muddy water to be what he called “old mud, not¬†new or fresh mud.”

In muddy-water environments, Walker says that a goodly number of bass will not be ensconced inside laydowns, buckbrush, brush piles and flooded trees, and instead these bass will often be milling about in open-water area between those objects. In these conditions, he will pitch the Palmetto BugZ into the open-water areas and hop and drag and deadstick it.

Walker noted that the ElaZtech material makes the Palmetto BugZ an extremely buoyant bait, and that buoyancy seems to make it more alluring than other brands of beaver-style and creature-style baits.  Because of the buoyancy factor,  its torso and four appendages rise up off the bottom between a 45- to 90-degree angle  and undulate enticingly when Walker deadsticks the Palmetto BugZ.

Walker’s two favorite Palmetto BugZ colors are green pumpkin and black sapphire.

Walker hasn’t worked with the Palmetto BugZ on a jika rig. But as Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, explained in the blog entitled “Stacey the Jika Rig King,” a beaver-style bait like the Palmetto BugZ has been an extremely fruitful combo for him and several other anglers at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri and Arkansas, Lake Wheeler, Alabama and several other waterways. ¬†Thus, in the months to come, we hope to write about the Palmetto BugZ and jika-rig combo. We will also post a blog about how, when and where Luke Clausen of ¬†Spokane Valley, Washington, works with the Palmetto BugZ.

The folks at Z-Man say that Palmetto BugZ ¬†was designed so it would easily slide through patches of emergent vegetation, ¬†buckbrush, laydowns, brush piles and similar objects,¬†making¬†it ideal for flipping, pitching, and punching. Its torso is endowed with 20 rings, which creates a softer feel and a touch of vibration as it slides through and across various lairs. It is¬†impregnated¬†with salt, and its ElaZtech torso and four appendages are tough enough to withstand the abuse rendered by scores of black bass. (See the footnote below about ElaZtech’s¬†durability.)

Palmetto BugZ is available in eight colors. A package of five retails for $3.99.

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Footnotes:

For more information about the King’s jika rig endeavors see:

http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/10/08/stacey-the-jika-rig-king/

http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/11/01/jika-rig-update/

In regard to the durability of ElaZtech soft-plastic baits, some Midwest finesse anglers have reported that they have caught more than 150 largemouth bass on the same ElaZtech bait.

 

About Ned Kehde

Field Editor Ned Kehde has been writing for In-Fisherman since the 1980s. His recent finesse bass tactics and findings have been influential throughout the Midwest and beyond. He writes the online column Midwest Finesse for In-Fisherman.com

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  • dweroha

    Ned,
    I find a particular statement, "In muddy-water environments, Walker says that a goodly number of bass will not be ensconced inside laydowns, buckbrush, brush piles and flooded trees, and instead these bass will often be milling about in open-water area between those objects", rather interesting in that is the very nature of muddy water itself is in effect "cover" which explains why bass have a reduced affinity to cling tightly to cover (laydowns, etc.) in these conditions? Just a thought.

    • nkehde

      Dave:
      Thanks for posting your thoughts. Please keep posting them — especially your insights about Midwest finesse methods.
      Here’s a thought about the water clarity at many of the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas that we fish. These reservoirs are rarely muddy, but they are stained enough with algae blooms that we don’t have to spend our time plying flooded timber, laydowns, brush piles and similar objects with out Midwest finesse tactics. Instead, we focus on open-water area that many bass anglers seldom fish, and when or if they do fish them, they do it hurriedly by wielding spinnerbaits and crankbaits. At these open-water areas, we use Z-Man’s Hula StickZs, 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZs, Finesse WormZs and Finesse ShadZs, which are usually affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig.
      Ned

      • Dave Weroha

        Thank you for clarifying, Ned. In this report it mentions open-water areas and you broach the subject too in this reply. Perhaps readers including myself can learn more about some strategies and tactics of how to fish open-waters since, as you say, many bass anglers seldom fish them.

        • nkehde

          Dave:
          In the near future, we will write about the open-water areas that we fish.
          Please keep posting your observations and questions.
          Best wishes, Ned
          PS–Dave: One of your passions is night fishing for bass. And that is a fine time to explore open-water environments for the largemouth bass that inhabit the small flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas that you regularly fish.

          • dweroha

            Ned,
            I will certainly consider open-water environments in upcoming night fishing exploits. I want to ply areas beyond the traditional reaches of the shoreline at night. Readers will much appreciate your timeless advice.

            Thanks again,
            Dave

  • Mike Gilmore

    Ed, what would be the better date to come to Clinton lake for smallmouth taking into consideration of weather. Our thoughts are around mid May to the first of June. Thanks Mike in Longview Texas.

  • nkehde

    Mike:
    Thanks for your note:
    Traditionally one of the best time in the spring to fish the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas for smallmouth bass occurs in late April and early May. . That also corresponds will the white crappie spawn. Late May is also a good time, and the weather is more stable in late May than it is in late April and early June.
    Best wishes,
    Ned

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