Customizing Midwest Finesse Baits

A modern-day rendition of the first Beetle that Chuck Woods crafted out of a Creme Worm.

From the get-go, Midwest finesse anglers have been handcrafting and customizing lures that they can wield on their spinning rods.

One of the most famous ones is the Beetle, which the late Chuck Woods of Kansas City whittled out of a well-worn Creme Worm.

Don Baldridge of Springfield, Missouri, is a relative newcomer to Midwest finesse fishing. He became a member of the Finesse News Network in March, and a Midwest finesse devotee on April 6.  He documented his epiphany on a YouTube video, which can be seen at this link:

Baldridge was introduced to the Finesse News Network by David Reeves of Lansing, Kansas, who has become a maestro at employing a customized Z-Man Fishing Products' ZinkerZ at Table Rock Lake, Missouri.

Soon after that introduction, Reeves showed Baldridge how to customize Z-Man's FattyZ, and eventually it inspired Baldridge to start whittling some creations of his own. He calls them The Scrunchie.

He made his first Scrunchies out of either the head or tail sections of Z-Man's seven-inch Finesse WormZ.

In a recent e-mail, Baldridge noted that he has been recycling some well-worn Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D.s into Scrunchies.

He affixes his Scrunchies to either a 1/24- or a 1/32-ounce jig. He uses them primarily for inveigling bluegills and green sunfish, but he has discovered that largemouth bass exhibit a hankering for them, too. Of course, Chuck Woods' Beetle revealed that to us decades ago, which is why a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers spend time customizing their soft-plastic baits.

Here are four of Baldridge's Scrunchies. The one on the left is a tube made from a Z-Man's T.R.D in the Mud Minnow hue. The second to the left is a Beetle-style bait made from the tail section of a seven-inch Z-Man's pumpkin colored Finesse WormZ. The third one from the left is a tube made from the head of a seven-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Finesse WormZ. The one on the right is a tube made from a Z-Man's Califronia-Craw T.R.D.


For more information about how Midwest finesse anglers customized soft-plastic baits, please examine the stories at these three links:

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