May 27, 2019
By Ned Kehde
Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, began wielding a prototype of Bass Pro Shops' Tournament Series Baby Stik-O-Craw during the middle of the winter of 2018-19.
King is an astute and talented black bass angler. Those virtues were lauded by the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2015, which was when he was inducted into that piscatorial shrine.
What’s more, King is a Finesse News Network member and a Midwest finesse devotee, and in his eyes, the Baby Stik-O-Craw fits the Midwest finesse motif magnificently. As he field tested it, he was wowed by its effectiveness at inveigling the largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass that abide in Table Rock Lake, Missouri.
Ultimately, King talked to Dustin Back of Springfield, Missouri, who is a member of the Finesse News Network and a product specialist for Bass Pro Shops. And they thought that scores of Midwest finesse anglers would find the Baby Stik-O-Craw to be a very effective soft-plastic bait to affix to a mushroom-style jig for catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.
Therefore, Back sent us a package of Baby Sik-O-Craws to work with and describe.
When we worked with them, here is what we discovered:
It is a multifaceted soft-plastic stickbait that is 2 5/16 inches long.
Its torso is cylinder shaped.
The anterior section of its torso is encircled with 10 ribs.
The tip of the anterior section is capped with a small dome-shaped head. The head is adorned with two minuscule antennae, which are a quarter of an inch long and less than one-sixteenth of an inch thick.
The width of the torso at the first rib is three-eighths of an inch with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. The torso’s width at rib number 10 is seven-sixteenths of an inch with a circumference of about 1 5/16 inches.
The middle portion of its torso is five-eighths of an inch long. Near the junction of the middle section to the posterior section, it is seven-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot with a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches.
The middle section is devoid of ribs. But a long appendage radiates from each side of the torso, and a crayfish anatomist would describe this appendage as a front walking leg. Each of these legs is crowned with what an anatomist calls a chelae and anglers describe it like a claw. Each of these walking legs and chilae is 1 3/8 inches long. The chilae is seven-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot with a circumference of about seven-eighths of an inch. Each side of the middle portion of the torso is also endowed with two tiny appendages that are somewhat heart-shaped. They are flat and a quarter of an inch long and three-sixteenths of an inch wide at their widest spots. The front ones are a half of an inch from rib number 10, and the back one is five-eighths of an inch from rib number 10.
The dorsal portion of this middle portion of the torso possesses a hook slot that is a half of an inch long and about one-sixteenth of an inch deep. This slot begins slightly behind rib number 10.
The middle portion’s epidermis is smooth.
The posterior section of the torso is three-quarters of an inch long. It is encircled with 11 ribs, and it is capped with a small dome-shaped anus. The first posterior rib is a half of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 7/16 inches. Rib number 11 is three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 3/16 inches.
The tip or anus of the posterior section is where a Midwest finesse angler will insert the hook and collar of a jig. And many Midwest finesse anglers will employ a mushroom-style jig. But Back notes that Bass Pro Shops has created a finesse-size jig that is called a Tungsten Offset Jighead. It possesses a 1/0 extra-wide-gap hook, which will allow anglers to work with a Texas-rigged Baby Stik-O-Craw.
It is available in the following hues: Black/Blue Flake, Blue Craw, Cally Craw, Green Pumpkin, Houdini, PB&J, Summer Craw, and Sungill.
It is heavily impregnated with salt and 8UP scent, and it is not buoyant.
A package of 10 cost $3.49.
When King worked with the Baby Stik-O-Craw along Table Rock Lake’s steep and deep bluffs during the heart of the winter of 2018-19, he usually affixed it on a one-eighth-ounce jig. These bluffs are graced with a series of ledges, and some of the ledges are adorned with flooded trees. To prevent the Baby Stik-O-Craw from becoming snagged, King’s jig is equipped with a small fiber-style hook guard. He presented this rig to the black bass that abide around the ledges by making a cast to the water’s edge, and then he slowly and subtly pulled the rig until it reached a ledge. When it reached that ledge, he allowed it to fall to the next ledge, and then he subtly pulled it to the edge of that ledge and allowed it to fall to the next ledge. He executed this retrieve until the rig plummeted into 20 feet of water. Most of the strikes occurred as the Baby Stik-O-Craw was falling from one ledge to another ledge.
He also used it to catch black bass that were abiding around boat docks, and when he did this, he affixed it to a 1/16-ounce jig, and a lot of the strikes that he elicited occurred on the initial drop.
Besides plying boat docks and steep bluffs, King probed a variety of shorelines with the 1/16-ounce rig, which he would retrieve with a slow swim-and-subtle-shake presentation, allowing the rig to delicately cruise a few inches above the bottom. This is a no-feel presentation, which is an important ingredient of every Midwest finesse retrieve.
King concluded his observations about the Stik-O-Craw by noting that it perfectly mimics the size of the small crayfish that inhabit Table Rock Lake
(1) Here is a link to Bass Pro Shops' website: https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-baby-stik-o-craw.
(2) Here is a link to a Midwest Finesse column about Stacey King: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/the-life-and-times-of-stacey-king-1986-t0-2016/154562.
(3) Here is the link to the Midwest Finesse column that describes all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves that anglers can employ when they are using the Baby Stik-O-Craw: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.