July 26, 2019
By Ned Kehde
For decades, Midwest finesse anglers have been affixing a small reaper-style bait, a small stingray-style bait, and a small beaver-style bait on a small jig with an exposed hook. And some of the physical characteristics of Bass Snax Custom Baits’ Darter replicate several of the characteristics of those three classical soft-plastic finesse baits.
Brian Etter of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is the proprietor of Bass Snax Custom Baits. And he provided us with a package of Darters to work with, examine, and thoroughly describe.
It is 3 15/16 inches long.
Its head is dome shaped. From the junction of its torso to the tip of its head, it is one-eighth of an inch long. At its junction with its torso, the sides of its head are identical and have a height of three-eighths of an inch. The head’s dorsal and ventral areas are identical with a width of about a quarter of an inch. Its epidermis is smooth.
The torso is about 2 1/8 inches long. It is somewhat oval shaped and endowed with 16 significant ribs. The torso’s dorsal and ventral areas are identical. The ribs that encompass the torso’s ventral and dorsal areas are slightly concaved. The ribs are one-eighth of an inch apart. Ribs number four through number 12 are the biggest of the 16. Rib number eight is the largest of the lot, and its dorsal area has the width of about eleven-sixteenths of an inch, and the ventral area’s width is also eleven-sixteenths of an inch. Each side of rib number eighth has a height of three-eighths of an inch. Rib number one has a width of a quarter of an inch and a height of seven-sixteenths of an inch. And rib number 16 has the dimension of a quarter of an inch by a quarter of an inch.
As anglers retrieve the Darter, Etter says, the ribs were designed to vibrate and provoke an alluring and erratic action.
The core of the torso is solid and rectangular shaped. Its dorsal and ventral areas are identical. From the junction with its head to the junction with its tail, the size of the core diminishes slightly. Between ribs number three and four, the core’s dorsal area and ventral area is a quarter of an inch wide and each side has a height of three-eighths of an inch. Between ribs number seven and eight, the rectangular core’s dorsal area and ventral area is a quarter of an inch wide with a height of five-sixteenths of an inch. Between ribs number 15 and 16, the core’s dorsal area and ventral area is three-eighths of an inch wide and each side has a height of three-eighths of an inch.
The junction of the torso and tail is a quarter of an inch long and three-sixteenths of an inch wide and one-sixteenth of an inch thick. This junction possesses a short segment of the torso’s core and the flat features of the tail.
Some anglers will describe the tail as possessing an oblong shape. Others will call it an elliptical shape. And others will say it looks like a beavertail. It is flat and 1 5/16 inches long. At it is widest spot, it is seven-eighths of an inch wide with a thickness of one-eighth of an inch. The dorsal and ventral areas are identical, and except for 24 minor veins, the epidermis of the dorsal, ventral, and sides of the tail is smooth.
Midwest finesse anglers will affix the Darter to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. Before some of them affix it to their jigs, they will customize the Darter by removing its head and a small segment of the anterior part of its torso, making the Darter 3 7/16 inches long. When it is rigged on a mushroom-style jig, they will present it to their black bass quarries with the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves.
Etter, by the way, says that it works well when it is affixed to a drop-shot rig.
It is made in the following hues: AYU, Baby Bass, Bama Bug, Black, Black Blue, Black Red, Blue Craw, Bluegill, Cinnamon Purple, Crawdad, Crystal Shad, Dark Green Pumpkin, Goby, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Candy, Green Pumpkin Magic, Green Pumpkin Orange, Green Pumpkin Purple, Green Pumpkin Purple Gold, Green Pumpkin Red, Okeechobee Craw, PB&J, Plum Apple, Purple, Purple Fish, Salt and Pepper, Smoke Holo, Smoke Pepper, Smoke Purple, Sprayed Craw, Summer Craw, Watermelon, Watermelon Blue, Watermelon Candy, Watermelon Jelly, Watermelon Red, and White. In addition to these hues, Etter will manufacture specialized colors for anglers who request them.
The Darter is very buoyant, which is an attribute in the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers.
A package of six costs $4.99.
(1) Here is a link to Bass Snax’s website: https://shop.basssnaxcustombaits.com/4-Inch-Darter-BSCBDTR4.htm.
(2) Here is the link to the Midwest Finesse column that describes how to employ the six Midwest finesse retrieves: http://www.in-fisherman.com/listing/learn-midwest-finesse/83225.