December 12, 2016
Midwest finesse anglers are incessantly in search of a soft-plastic creature bait that they can affix to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, and often this search is a fruitless task. But one Midwest finesse angler thought that a slightly customized Berkley's Havoc Craw Fatty might be an option, and he suggested that we should publish a gear guide featuring it.
The folks at Berkley proclaim that it is a "great multi-purpose bait" It was created in 2011 and 2012 by Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Florida, who competes on several big-time black bass tournament circuits. Thus, it was not designed for recreational anglers who are Midwest finesse devotees. When Lane was designing it, he was undoubtedly thinking about power anglers who flip, pitch, and punch when it is affixed to a hefty skirted jig or attached Texas-style to a slip-sinker rig. And some power anglers might use it on a Carolina rig.
It is made in two sizes: a three-incher and a four-incher.
Its torso is wider and thinner than similar styles of creature baits. The thinness of the torso enhances its ability to hook a black bass when it engulfs this creature bait. Its wide torso accentuates its ability to glide alluringly as an angler retrieves it around a black bass' lair.
The back and belly of its torso is encircled with 13 pronounced ribs, which augment its ability to move in a provocative way.
Six small appendages radiate from each side of its torso. Two big claws are attached to the torso immediately behind its head, and they are similar to the claws that adorn the Havoc Chigger Craw. The shape of its head is somewhat shaped like a triangle. The surface of its head is smooth and endowed with two eyes. Two long antennas protrude from the tip of its head. Its head and antennas are surrounded by the two claws.
Its tail, which is where the hook is inserted, is hard, and folks call it solid. (It is interesting to note that some anglers, including Bobby Lane, call the tail of the Craw Fatty the head.) This feature is said to make it more durable, and it will also allow Midwest finesse anglers to trim a quarter of an inch or so off the tail, making it a smaller bait and easy to affix to a 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig or a 1/10-ounce Z-Man Fishing Products' Power Finesse ShroomZ jig. For the angler who wants to use a bigger hook with this rig, Gopher's 3/32-ounce jig is made with fivehook sizes: No. 2, No. 1, 1/0, 2/0, and 3/0. Z-Man's 1/10-ounce jig has a 3/0 hook, and Z-Man's 1/10-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig has a No. 1 hook.
Midwest finesse anglers can wield it along riprap shorelines and employ either a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve or a straight swimming retrieve. It is our version of a crankbait tactic, and it is somewhat similar to the way that Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Oklahoma, does what he calls "bottom bugging." It should also be an effective tactic along gravel-, rock- and boulder-laden shorelines and points that are relatively flat and shallow.
It is made in the following colors: Black Blue Fleck, Black Red Fleck, Black Blue Silver Fleck, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Red, June Bug, Louisiana Bug, Okeechobee Craw, Smoky Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Candy, and Watermelon Red.
Anglers can purchase a bag of eight from one online retailer for $2.99.
(1) To read about how Tommy Biffle employs his bottom-bugging routine, please see the Midwest finesse column at this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/three-days-of-fishing-with-the-folks-at-gene-larew-lures/.