Charlie's Worms' Finesse Master

A green-pumpkin Finesse Master

Charlie's Worms, Inc. of Stuart, Florida, has a new soft-plastic finesse worm that has caught the eyes of some Midwest finesse anglers. It is called the Finesse Master, and it is the creation of Bryan New of Belmont, North Carolina.

New, who is 25 years old, has been competing as a co-angler on the Walmart FLW Tour since 2012. And he has been quite successful. In the angler-of-the-year competition, he finished in thirteenth place in 2012, twelfth place in 2013, and third place in 2014. As of June 12, he was in seventh place in the 2105 angler-of-the-year race. He has also competed in 11 other FLW events and circuits since 2006. Across those years, he has accumulated $145,932 in prize money. He has won three events, including the coveted Forrest Wood Cup. At the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup in 2013, New finished in fourth place, and he finished in fifth place at the 2012 Cup. Besides winning the Forrest Wood Cup, he won the c0-angler trophy and prize money at the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Eufaula, Alabama, on May 16, 2013, as well as the Walmart Bass Fishing League — South Carolina event at Lake Wylie on June 15, 2013. In addition to FLW events, he competes in a variety of local and regional tournaments.

When New won the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Murray, South Carolina, on Aug. 15, 2014, he said that a prototype of the Finesse Master helped him immensely. He rigged it on a 1/8-ounce shaky-head jig that he makes with a 4/0 light-wire Gamakatsu jig hook.

New says he is an ardent devotee of a shaky-head jig and worm. He estimates that it is responsible for him winning at least $100,000 in prize money at the 96 FLW tournaments that he has competed in. Thus, whenever he is afloat, he is either wielding one or he has one at the ready.

The reason why he created the Finesse Master is that he wanted a better worm to use on his shaky-head jig.

He described his creation as being 5 1/2 inches long, salt-free, and extremely buoyant. It possesses a medium texture, and it is a much different texture than the scores of other worms that he has used across the years. It exhibits a glossy appearance. Its head is a half inch long, and the tip of it is flat. Its belly is flat. Two and a half inches of its back is segmented with 12 subtle ribs. It is scented, and New exclaims that it is different than all the other scents in the market place, and it is amazingly effective. It is graced with a swimming tail that is shaped like a spade. And its buoyant nature allows the tail to gyrate provocatively. New said there is no other worm like it.

On most of his outings, New affixes the Finesse Master to a homemade 1/8-ounce shaky-head jig, which has a barbed lead collar and a green-pumpkin head. It is rigged Texas style. The barbed collar is a bait-keeper that keeps the head of the Finesse Master affixed to the head of the jig. When it is affixed to a shaky-head jig, its buoyancy allows the swimming tail to travel at a significant angle above the bottom, which New says is an alluring feature.

There will be some rare spells when he will rig it Texas-style on either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce shaky-head jig. This might occur when he is dissecting shallow-water lairs when the water temperature is below 55 degrees and above 80 degrees. From his perspective, a lair that is covered with less than five feet of water is a shallow-water one. He likes a 1/16- or a 3/32-ounce jig because when they hit the surface of the water, they do it relatively delicately and quietly, which are two attributes that are necessary for fruitful finesse presentations — especially in shallow-water scenarios. Around lairs that are deeper than five feet, he prefers the 1/8-ounce jig because it gets to the bottom quickly, and in tournament situations, the time factor is an important element to consider and work around.

There will also be periods when he affixes it Texas-style to a 3/16- ounce or even a 1/4-ounce shaky-head jig. This usually happens when he plies lairs that are associated with heavy current or in windy conditions.

He employs it on a Fitzgerald Rods' six-foot, eight-inch medium-heavy power spinning rod that has a moderate fast action with a 2500-size spinning reel. The reel is normally spooled with 16-pound-test Sunline SX1 braid with a seven-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon line. At times in extremely clear-water venues, and when the bass are tentative and unresponsive, he will use a five-pound-test leader. He will also opt for a 10-pound-test-leader in stained and snag-filled waterways.

He employs two presentation styles, and both are bottom related. One he calls the pull and drag, and the other is called the slow lift.

When he is probing a relatively flat and obstacle-free area, he will use a pulling-and-dragging retrieve, which he executes by holding the rod tip down and pulling the Finesse Master along the bottom with the rod. As he drags, he rarely shakes his rod, which is a tactic a lot of anglers do when they work with a worm on a shaky-head jig. He says the buoyant nature of the Finesse Master and the configuration of its tail allows it to undulate and quiver without shaking the rod. Thus, his focus is to keep it in contact with the bottom as much as possible. As a co-angler he is relegated to fishing in the back of the boat, and there will be times when the boat is so near the shoreline that he will cast the Finesse Master behind the boat and drag and even stroll it.

When he is working around lairs that are cluttered with brush piles, flooded timber, boulders, aquatic vegetation, and similar obstacles, New uses the slow-lift presentation. It is achieved by holding the rod at the three-o'clock position and lifting it to the 12-o'clock position. This allows him to lift the Finesse Master over the obstacles. As it plummets to the bottom, he drops the rod slowly back to the three o'clock position. He allows the Finesse Master to rest on the bottom for about one second before he executes another lift. During both retrieves, the tail is situated at a significant angle above the bottom, which allows it to move differently and more alluringly than other worms.

On both retrieves, he drops his rod to the five o'clock position once the Finesse Master and shaky-head jig hit the surface of the water at the end of a cast, and he keeps the rod there as the Finesse Master plummets to the bottom. When the Finesse Master and jig reach the bottom, he slowly lifts the rod between the two- and four-o'clock positions when he is dragging it. When it reaches the bottom when he is employing the slow lift retrieve, he slowly lifts his rod to the three o'clock position, and then commences the three-o'clock-to-12-o'clock slow lift presentation. If he is dragging and plying a lair that is associated with current, he holds his rod at the two-0'clock position rather than the three-o'clock position in order to keep the line out of the water, which will allow the Finesse Master and jig to stay on the bottom. In windy conditions, he will drop the rod to the four-o'clock position when he is dragging it.

Unlike most anglers who wield a shaky-head jig and worm, New does not shake his rod as his Finesse Master and jig plummets to the bottom at the end of a cast. But he does shake it during the fall when it is on a drop-shot rig or a wacky rig.

When he rigs it wacky style, he does it three ways. One way is to use it on a 1/0 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hook without a sinker, and the weight of the hook allows the Finesse Master to sink slowly. The second way revolves around inserting a nail weight into the head of the Finesse Master, which makes it into a neko rig. The third way is to affix it onto a Gamakatsu Finesse Series Jig Head Wacky.

When he was dissecting offshore ledges at the Walmart FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga, Tennessee, on June 12, New used it on a drop-shot rig, and it inveigled four largemouth bass.

New says he rarely shortens it, and if he does, he will remove no more than an inch from its head. The only time that he will shorten it is when the fishing is extremely trying and the bass are small.

The Finesse Master is available in eight colors: Black, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue Glitter, JW Black Grape Green Red Glitter, Ox Blood, Redbug, Watermelon Candy, and Watermelon Seed.

Anglers can purchase a package of 10 for $4.99.


1. Anglers can purchase the Finesse Master from Charlie's Worms' website. Here is the link to it: Bill O'Keefe of Stuart, Florida, and proprietor of Charlie's Worms has sponsored Bryan New for several years and has assisted his progression in the tournament world.

2. Unlike New, Midwest finesse anglers will often trim more than an inch off of the head of the Finesse Master. They will also affix it to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, similar to Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig or one with a weedguard like Prescription Plastics' Ozark Finesse Head jigs. What's more, they will retrieve it six different ways, which are the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, the hop-and-bounce retrieve, the drag-and-deadstick retrieve, the straight-swim retrieve, the drag-and-incessant — shake retrieve, and the stroll.

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