October 17, 2019
By Ned Kehde
Simplicity lies at the heart of Midwest finesse fishing. And in the eyes of true-blue Midwest finesse anglers, Bass Snax Custom Baits' Shaker is the epitome of simplicity.
It is the creation of Brian Etter of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is the designer and proprietor of Bass Snax Custom Baits.
In a recent Midwest Finesse column that featured Bass Snax’s Midwest Finesse Worm, we described how, why, and when Etter began manufacturing soft-plastics baits in the early years of the second decade of the 21st century. In that gear guide, we noted that the Shaker was his second creation.
It is manufactured in four sizes: three inches, 3 1/2 inches, four inches, and five inches.
In a telephone conversation and an exchange of numerous emails, Etter provided us with his insights and some photographs of how he and others employ the Shaker. He also provided us with some 3 1/2-inch Shakers to work with, examine, and thoroughly describe.
Sometimes Etter refers to it as the Shaker Worm, and at other times, he calls it the Shaker. In this gear guide, we refer to it as the Shaker.
According to our measurements, the 3 1/2-incher is exactly 3 1/2 inches long.
Its head is domed shaped, and the tip of this dome possesses a small segment that is flat. The diameter of this flat segment is three-sixteenths of an inch.
The anterior section, including its head, is 1 1/4 inches long, and it has a cylinder shape. At the junction of the head and anterior portion of its torso, it has a cylinder shape, which has a width of about five-sixteenths of an inch and a circumference of 1 1/8 inches. Near the junction of the anterior and posterior sections, the anterior section is a quarter of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 3/16 inches.
From the junction of its anterior and posterior sections, the cylinder shape of the Shaker changes. It becomes flatter, exhibiting some of the features of an oblong leaf, and some Midwest finesse anglers might describe the shape of the posterior as replicating a butter knife that is devoid of its serrated edge. At 1 1/2 inches from the tip of the posterior section, the 3 1/2-inch Shaker is five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a thickness of a quarter of an inch. At three-quarters of an inch from the tip of the posterior section, it is a quarter of an inch wide with a thickness of one-eighth of an inch. Near the tip of the posterior section, it is slightly less than three-sixteenths of an inch wide with a thickness of less than one-sixteenth of an inch. The end of the posterior is flat, and it has a semi-ellipse shape.
Etter describes the torso of the Shaker as possessing the shape of a shad. But in the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers, its profile abstractly replicates the profile of a gravel chub or a bluntnose minnow or a brook silverside.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Baby Bass, Black, Black Blue, Black Red, Bluegill, Cinnamon Purple, Dark Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Magic, Green Pumpkin Orange, Green Pumpkin Purple, Green Pumpkin Purple Gold, Purple, Salt and Pepper, Smoke Holo, Smoke Pepper, Smoke Purple, Watermelon, Watermelon Blue, Watermelon Candy, Watermelon Red, and White. In addition to these hues, Etter will manufacture specialized colors for anglers who request them.
According to Etter, the Shaker is manufactured with what he calls “a select mix of non-toxic plastic.” And it is impregnated with scent. And it is soft and relatively durable. What’s more, it is extremely buoyant, which is an attribute that Midwest finesse anglers laud.
Etter says the 3 1/2-incher works well on either a drop-shot rig or a mushroom-style jig. Bass Snax makes a 1/16-, 1/8-, and 3/16-ounce mushroom-style jig that sports a 1/0 hook. Of course, most Midwest finesse anglers will prefer to affix the Shaker to a small mushroom-style jig with a small hook that is exposed, and they will present it to their black bass quarries by employing all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves. During those presentations, a mushroom-style jig with a small and exposed hook will allow the soft and flexible torso of the Shaker will gyrate, undulate, and wave dramatically.
Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to the mushroom-style jig so that the Shaker’s flat posterior section and tail are in a horizontal position. This horizontal alignment will facilitate the gliding feature of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve and several other Midwest finesse presentations.
A package of 10 3 1/2-inch Shakers costs $3.79.