FYAO Outfitters

FYAO Outfitters

Since we penned our first Midwest Finesse column in 2011, we have had a desire to publish columns about all of the soft-plastic finesse baits that are available for Midwest finesse or other finesse anglers to wield. At times, we also like to focus on some of the small companies that manufacture them. And FYAO Outfitters of South Charleston, West Virginia, is one those companies.


It was conceived by Greg Cox of St. Albans, West Virginia, and Jeff Prouse of Barboursville, West Virginia, in 2011. It began after they created a t-shirt that was emblazoned with the mantra "Fish Your Ass Off,' and FYAO is the abbreviation of that mantra. This shirt quickly caught the fancy of a number of folks in West Virginia, and it provoked Cox and Prouse to contemplate creating a tackle company. And nowadays, they manufacture one soft-plastic lizard, two soft-plastic creature baits, and four soft-plastic worms.

Besides their many duties at creating and managing FYAO, Cox and Prouse still work in the banking and financial service trade, where they have worked for more than 20 years. Cox is 41 years old and president of Heritage Investment Group, Inc., which he founded in 2006. Prouse is 39 years old and works as an assistant vice president for Dealer Financial Services at BB&T.

On top of that, they are devoted family men.

Because of those obligations, they are unable to fish as much as their hearts desire. That desire was spawned decades ago when they were mere children, and it has never waned.


One of the virtues of FYAO is that it is a second job, and they do not need its revenue for their families' livelihoods. It does, however, generate some revenue, which they reinvest into FYAO's coffers for future expansion.

Here are descriptions of six of FYAO's soft-plastic finesse baits that will catch the attention of Midwest finesse anglers:

(1) The Devil Bug is a creature bait that is 3 1/16 inches long. In the eyes of scores of anglers, it replicates some of the features of a centipede, which has a flat and segmented body that is adorned with many legs and four long antenna. It is estimated that there are about 8,000 species of centipedes, and none of them have 100 legs. The number of legs range from 30 to 354.


The Devil Bug's torso is not segmented. Its belly is flat, and its surface is adorned with a multitude of minute ribs. Its back exhibits somewhat of a semi-circle shape, and its surface is graced with scores of minute ribs. Its head is three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about one inch. At the middle of its torso, it is a quarter of an inch wide with a circumference of about fifteen-sixteenths of an inch. Its tail is a quarter of an inch wide. Thirteen appendages or legs radiate off each side of its torso. Some of the legs are straight, and some of them are bent and emulate a joint. The longest leg is five-sixteenths of an inch long. Two antennae embellish the side of its head; one of them is 1 9/16 inches long; the other one is 1 1/4 inches long. The rear end is endowed with two antennae, and they are fifteen-sixteenths of an inch long.

They are made in the following colors: Black, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Purple Copper, Motor Oil, Mustard Green Flake, Oxblood, Smoke Purple Copper, Sunfish Laminate, Watermelon Pearl Laminate, and Watermelon Red Magnum.

The green-pumpkin Devil Bug at the top is a standard Midwest finesse rig. It is affixed to a chartreuse 1/32-ounce aspirin-head jig with a No. 6 hook. The one at the bottom is affixed to a 1/16-ounce wacky jig.

They are impregnated with anise and a small amount of salt.

In a telephone conversation, Prouse noted that black bass anglers in West Virginia have found the Devil Bug to be a very effective soft-plastic bait for inveigling smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Moreover, it is a highly versatile bait, which can be Texas rigged on a lightweight Carolina rig or spilt-shot rig or slip-sinker rig, as well as wacky rigged on a jig. Of course, Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, and when one end becomes too tattered and torn to stay affixed to the jig, they will affix the other end to the jig. Midwest finesse anglers will employ it with all six of their standard retrieves. (See endnote No.2 for more information about those retrieves.)

A package 10 costs $5.99.

(2) FYAO's lizard is 4 1/4 inches long when its tail is curled, and when its tail is fully extended, it is 5 3/4-inches long. Its head is five-eighths of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide. Its head is somewhat trillion shaped, endowed with two tiny eyes, flat on the bottom, and entirely smoothed skinned. Its torso is 2 1/16 inches long and encircled with 31 significant ribs. The widest portion of the torso is three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of one inch. The ribbed torso is endowed with four abstract legs, which are curled and resemble the tail section of a curly-tailed grub. The front legs are three-sixteenths of an inch from the junction of the head and ribbed torso. In their curled state, the front legs extend nine-sixteenths of an inch from the side of the ribbed torso, and when they are fully extended, they are 1 3/16 inches long. At their widest spot, the front legs are one-eighth of an inch wide. The back legs are a half of an inch from the junction of the ribbed torso and its tail. In their curled-state, the back legs spread a half of an inch from the side of the ribbed torso, and when they are uncurled, they are 1 3/16 inches long. At their widest spot, the back legs are one-eighth of an inch wide. The tail is curled and slender; at its widest area, it is a quarter of an inch wide. When it is curled, it is 1 1/2 inches long, and it is 3 3/16 inches long when it is totally uncurled.

It is available in the following colors: Black Red Flake, Chartreuse Pepper, Green Pumpkin, Cherry Seed, Pumpkin Seed Chartreuse Tail, Smoke Purple Copper, Watermelon Red Flake, Watermelon Seed, and Watermelon Seed Chartreuse Tail.

This is a green-pumpkin FYAO Lizard rigged on a chartreuse 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a No. 6 hook.

They are impregnated with anise and a small amount of salt.

A package of 10 costs $4.59.

A small soft-plastic lizard has been part of the springtime repertoire of some Midwest finesse anglers for many years. We affix it to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook and retrieve it with all six of the standard Midwest finesse presentations.

(3) FYAO's Finesse Worm is 4 7/8 inches long. Its belly is flat and smoothed skinned, and a flat belly is thought to be a virtue by many Midwest finesse anglers, who say that a flat-bellied worm tends to glide more alluringly when they are executing a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve. FYAO's Finesse Worm has a clitellum or egg sack that is three-eighths of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide, and the belly or bottom of the clitellum is flat. The tip of its head is somewhat pointed like a poorly sharpened pencil. Its body possesses a semi-cylinder shape, and the body's back or dorsal area are boldly segmented, but the sides of its torso are smooth skinned. Its tail is somewhat arrowhead or spear shaped; it is about seven-eighths of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide. The bottom or belly of the tail is flat and smooth skinned; the top of the tail is encased with pronounced ribs. The clitellum begins 1 5/16 inches from the tip of the Finesse Worm's pointed head. The end of the clitellum is 2 3/8 inches from the junction of the tail.

DSCN1904

It is available in the following colors: Blue Pearl Pepper, Bubblegum, Chartreuse Pepper, Crawdad, Crawfish Swirl, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Magic, Green Pumpkin Texas Red, Junebug, Methiolate, Motor Oil, Sand, and Watermelon Seed.

They are impregnated with anise and a small amount of salt.

A package of 15 costs $4.59.

Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to a small mushroom-style hook with an exposed hook. They will also shorten it by amputating an inch or so off of the head and body above the clitellum, and they will present it to their black-bass quarries by using the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves.

(4) FYAO's Money $tick is made in two sizes. The shortest one is 3 1/16 inches long; the longest one is 4 3/16 inches long.

The tip of the head of the small one is flat and cylinder shaped, which possesses a diameter of three-sixteenths of an inch, and its circumference is about seven-eighths of an inch. Its torso, which is cylinder shaped, is graced with a clitellum or egg sack, and it is endowed with a hook slot. The clitellum is cylinder shaped, too. The clitellum and hook slot are a half of an inch long with a circumference of 1 1/16 inches and a width of five-sixteenths of an inch. The distance from its flat head to the beginning of the clitellum is one inch. The distance from the end of the clitellum to the tip of the tail or anus is 1 11/16 inches. The tip of the tail is pointed like an extremely dull pencil. The torso is encircled with minute ribs. The clitellum is smooth skinned.

The tip of the head of the larger Money $tick is flat and cylinder shaped with a diameter of about a quarter of an inch and circumference of about one inch. Its cylinder-shaped torso possesses a clitellum, which includes a hook slot. The clitellum is smooth skinned, which has the width of three-eighths of an inch, and it is nine-sixteenths of an inch long with a circumference of 1 3/16 of an inch. The distance from its flat head to the beginning of the clitellum is 1 1/8 inches. The distance from the end of the clitellum to the tip of the tail or anus is about 2 1/2 inches. The tip of the tail is somewhat pointed like an unsharpened pencil. The torso is encircled with minute ribs.

This is the way Midwest finesse anglers will rig the three-inch Money $tick. The green-pumpkin one at the top has is a chartreuse 1/32-ounce aspirin-style jig and a No. 6 hook affixed to its head. The one at the bottom has a chartreuse 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig and a No. 6 hook affixed to its tail.

The little Money $Stick is manufactured in the following colors: Blue Purple Pepper, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Pumpkin Seed Chartreuse Tail, Watermelon Candy, Watermelon Pearl, Watermelon Red Flake, and Watermelon Seed. They are enhanced with anise and a small amount of salt. A package of 15 costs $5.99.

The big one is manufactured in the following colors: Black Blue Flake, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Copper Purple Flake, Smoke Purple Copper, Sunfish Laminate, Watermelon Pearl, Watermelon Red Flake, and Watermelon Seed. They are impregnated with anise and a small amount of salt. A package to 10 costs $5.99.

This is the four-inch green-pumpkin Money $tick. The one at the top is shortened and affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and a No. 4 hook. The one in the middle has a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a No. 4 hook affixed to the head of an unshortened four-inch Money $tick. The one at the bottom has a chartreuse 1/32-ounce aspirin-head jig with a No. 6 hook affixed to the tail of an unshortened four-inch Money $tick.

Midwest finesse anglers have been infatuated with stick-style baits affixed to small jigs since the late and great Chuck Woods of Kansas City, Missouri, created the first one back in the late 1950s. (See endnote No. 3 for more information of Chuck Woods.) And nowadays we will affix the little Money $tick onto a 1/32- and 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig and employ it with all six of our standard retrieves and subtle variations of those retrieves. Midwest finesse anglers will rig either end of the Money $tick to the jig. There are spells when the black bass seem to exhibit a preference for a stickbait rigged with the tail or narrow end on the hook and collar of the jig, and then there are spells when they prefer the head or fatter end affixed to the hook and collar of the jigs. Of course, there will be many times when they do not exhibit a preference to which end is affixed to the hook and collar of the jig.

(5) FYAO's Wild Thing is their newest creation. It is a 5 1/2-inch combination of a stick-style bait and a creature bait. It incorporates some of the features of FYAO's Devil Bug and Money $tick. The tip of its head or nose is flat with a diameter of a quarter of an inch and circumference about an inch. Its tail is relatively flat, and it possesses a diameter of three-sixteenths of an inch and circumference of thirteen-sixteenths of an inch. Its torso is endowed with a clitellum or egg sack, which is eleven-sixteenths of an inch long with a width of three-eighths of an inch and circumference of 1 3/8 inches. The clitellum is smooth-skinned, and the rest of the torso is encapsulated with minuscule ribs. The clitellum begins about two inches from the Wild Thing's flat head, and it ends about 2 3/4 inches from the tail. Fifteen small appendages or legs radiate off of each side of the Wild Thing's torso and clitellum. The shortest appendage is about seven-sixteenths of an inch long, and the longest one is about five-eighths of an inch long. Two longer appendages extend from the side of the head; some folks might describe them as antennae, and they are about an inch long. Two long appendages branch out from the sides of the tail region, and some of them are 1 3/16 inches long.

At the top is a green-pumpkin-purple-copper Wild Thing. It is five inches long, which is too long for Midwest finesse applications. Therefore, Midwest finesse anglers will customize it and make two Wild Things out of one. The one in the middle is a customized Wild Thing; it is 2 1/2 inches long and affixed to a red 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig with a No. 4 hook. The 2 1/2-inch Wild Thing at the bottom is rigged onto a chartreuse 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with a No. 6 hook. Midwest finesse anglers will affix a jig to either end of the customized Wild Thing.

Prouse called it FYAO's greatest contribution to the world of black bass fishing. It is available in the following colors: Black, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Purple Copper, Smoked Purple Copper, Sunfish Laminate, Sweet Tater Pie, and Watermelon Red Flake.

They are impregnated with anise and a small amount of salt.

A package of six costs $5.99.

Except when Midwest finesse anglers employ a wacky presentation with a finesse-size wacky jig, which they rarely do, the Wild Thing is too long for most of their applications. Therefore, they will customize it by amputating about two inches from the front of the Wild Thing before it is affixed to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. A customized Wild Thing can be employed with all six of the Midwest finesse retrieves.

Endnotes

(1) Here is a link to FYAO's website: http://fyaooutfitters.com/shop/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=5.

(2) Here is the link to the Midwest Finesse column about the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.

(3) Here are some links to some columns about Chuck Woods: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finally-a-photograph-of-the-great-and-late-chuck-woods-has-been-uncovered/; http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/the-puddle-jumper-by-chuck-woods/; http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/a-short-history-of-midwest-finesse-fishing-for-black-bass-1955-2013/; and http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/legends-of-the-heartland/.

(4) An update: On Aug. 22, Jeff Prouse informed us that they have added a white hue to their Devil Bug and Money Stick. They are also manufacturing a Fluke in the following colors: Alewife, Babby Bass, Southern Special, and White Ice, and a package of 10 costs $5.99.

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.