May 14, 2019
By Ned Kehde
Brian Etter has been pursuing largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in northeastern Pennsylvania since 1983, which was when he was 12 years old.
Nowadays, he resides in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and describes himself as a finesse fanatic. To help facilitate his piscatorial hankerings, he created a custom bait company in 2013 and named it Bass Snax Custom Baits.
It began as a way for him to create and make soft-plastics baits in the size, color, and texture that he preferred rather than purchasing baits that were not appealing to his eyes and not alluring to the eyes of the black bass that abide in the waterways that he fishes in Pennsylvania and New York.
Eventually, he began to sell his creations to friends, a few tackle stores, and via the Internet. And it has helped to pay for most of his fishing expenses. It has become a part-time business. In many ways, Bass Snax is a classic kitchen-table-style tackle company, and somewhat reminiscent to what Nick and Cosma Creme began in 1949 in the kitchen of their home in Akron, Ohio, by creating the first rubber worm.
Etter has a fulltime job with FedEx, and his plans for Bass Snax are to keep it as a part-time business that will allow him to manufacture top-quality baits and unique customized ones.
The first Bass Snax soft-plastic bait that he created was a tube, which is now called the Salty Tube. Then, he created the Shaker, which is a small stick-style bait. The Shaker’s anterior section is cylinder shaped, and its posterior section is flat, which abstractly replicates the profile of a gravel chub or a bluntnose minnow or a brook silverside.
As an ardent finesse angler, he has spent many years inveigling black bass with a tube affixed to a jig. He also has an intense fondness for wielding a drop-shot rig, and he employs the Shaker on his drop-shot rigs.
A few years ago, he became somewhat fascinated with Midwest finesse tactics, and on June 3, 2017, Bass Snax began manufacturing and selling the Midwest Finesse Worm. It is a small stick-style bait that is similar to some of the stick-style baits that several of the veteran Midwest finesse anglers began employing shortly after the turn of the century.
Across the years, one of the primary purposes of our Midwest Finesse columns has been to focus on small-scale or family businesses in the tackle trade, and in these columns, we describe the soft-plastic baits that correspond to the needs of Midwest finesse anglers. And Etter facilitated our endeavors to elicit information about him and Bass Snax by conversing with us by emails and the telephone. He also provided us with some samples of his soft-plastic baits for us to work with, examine, and thoroughly describe.
Bass Snax’s Midwest Finesse Worm immediately caught our eyes. And here are some details about it.
Our measurements reveal that it is 2 3/4 inches long and cylinder shaped.
Some Midwest finesse anglers might debate about which is its anterior section and which part is its posterior section.
But Etter says the anterior section is 1 1/16 inches long. It is encircled with 23 minute ribs. The tip of this section is its head, which has a diameter of five-sixteenths of an inch and circumference of about 1 1/8 inches. This is the section that Etter affixes to a mushroom-style jig. (Bass Snax, by the way, makes a 1/16-, 1/8-, and 3/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that sports a 1/0 hook.)
At the junction of the anterior and clitellum, the Midwest Finesse Worm is about three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 5/16 inches.
Its clitellum is eleven-sixteenths of an inch long. The epidermis of the clitellum is smooth, but it is encircled with almost microscopic ribs.
At the junction of the clitellum and the posterior section, it is five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/8 inches.
The posterior section is 1 1/8 inches long. Its epidermis is adorned with 42 pimples, and they are somewhat similar to the pimples or tiny bumps that are cluttered on the cephalothorax of a crayfish.
Like the tip of the Midwest Finesse Worm’s anterior section, the tip of its posterior section is flat. It has a diameter of a quarter of an inch and a circumference of about fifteen-sixteenths of an inch.
When the anterior end of the Midwest Finesse Worm becomes too tattered and torn to stay affixed to a mushroom-style jig, the frugal-minded Midwest finesse anglers will affix the jig to the tip of the posterior end. Across the years, some Midwest finesse anglers have discovered that there are many outings when they can allure more black bass by affixing the posterior end of a stick-style bait to the jig rather than affixing the anterior end to the jig. Thus, as an experiment, they frequently rig stick-style baits backward.
Etter tells us that the Midwest Finesse Worm is manufactured with what he calls “a select mix of non-toxic plastic.” And it is impregnated with a scent. He lauds its durability and softness. What’s more, it is extremely buoyant, which is an attribute that Midwest finesse anglers laud.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Ayu, Bama Bug, Black, Black and Blue, Black and Blue Pumpkin, Blue Craw, Bold Bluegill, Candy Chartreuse, Chartreuse Pepper, Coppertreuse, Crawdad, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Magic, Green Pumpkin Orange, Green Pumpkin Purple, Green Pumpkin Purple and Gold, Junebug, Okeechobee Craw, Purple, Sexy Shad, Smoke Holo, Smoke Pepper, Smoke Purple, Sprayed Grass, Summer Craw, Tequilia Sunrise, Watermelon, and Watermelon Red. In addition to these hues, Etter will manufacture specialized colors for anglers who request them.
A package of eight costs $3.29.
(1) Here are the links to Bass Snax’s website and Facebook site: https://shop.basssnaxcustombaits.com/Midwest-Finesse-Worm-BSCBMFW270.htm; https://www.facebook.com/Basssnaxcustombaits/.
(2) When anglers wield the Midwest Finesse Worm on a mushroom-style jig, it can be presented to their quarries by employing the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves. Here is the link to the Midwest Finesse column that describes how to employ those retrieves: http://www.in-fisherman.com/listing/learn-midwest-finesse/83225.
(3) In the weeks to come, we will feature Bass Snax’s Shaker and Darter in our Midwest Finesse columns.