Drew Reese and Z-Man's Hula StickZ

Drew Reese and Z-Man's Hula StickZ

A stretched, snapped,  and trimmed Z-Man California Craw Hula StickZ affixed to a 1/15-ounce Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Customization of soft-plastic baits, such as Z-Man's Fishing Products' Hula StickZ, lies near the heart of Midwest finesse fishing. And Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, has played a significant role in these customization endeavors since the 1960s, when he was a teenager. Back then it revolved around the ingenuities of Chuck Woods of Kansas City and Ray Fincke of Overland Park, Kansas. Reese used to fish with Woods and work in Fincke's tackle shop.

In 2012 and 2013, Reese designed the Hula StickZ for Z-Man, and since then, it has become his most effective Midwest finesse bait.

On an April 1 outing in northeastern Kansas, Reese did some minor alternations to a Z-Man's Canada Craw Hula StickZ that was affixed to a Z-Man's 1/15-ounce unpainted Finesse ShroomZ jig. Because it makes the Hula StickZ a more flexible, pulsating, and alluring bait, he wants other anglers to know about and employ this tactic.


For example, these alternations helped him catch 52 of the 62 largemouth bass that he caught on that April 1 outing. He was afloat for two hours and 10 minutes, and the bulk of the largemouth bass were caught during the last hour and 30 minutes. They were caught at a two-acre farm pond, and he was fishing in a float-tube. (It is interesting to note that fishing in a float-tube on farm ponds in northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri has played a significant role across the years in the development of many Midwest finesse tactics, and to this day float-tube fishing remains the most precise way to employ a finesse bait.)


Compared to the radical customization that Midwest Finesse anglers render to a Z-Man's FattyZ, Reese's customization of the Hula StickZ is minor, but he has found this slight customization makes the Hula StickZ more alluring to largemouth bass than a Hula StickZ that has not been customized.

He does it by firmly holding the first three-quarters of an inch of the head of a Hula StickZ between his thumb and index finger of his left hand. He also placed the thumb and index finger of his right hand around the Hula Sticks and next to the thumb and index finger of his left hand. Then he slides his right hand down the torso of the Hula StickZ to the tail, and as his hand slides, he stretches the Hula StickZ. By the time his right hand reaches the tail, the Hula StickZ is stretched between 12 and 15 inches. Once it reaches the apex of the stretch, he opens the index finger and thumb on his left hand, and this allows the Hula StickZ to snap back like a rubber band. Before he stretched it, the Hula StickZ was four inches long. The stretching increases the length about a half of an inch. Thus, Reese usually trims a half of an inch off of the head, which leaves about a quarter of an inch that has not been stretched, and that portion fits snugly onto the bait keeper on the shank of the hook of Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig.

Pat Kehde stretching and preparing to snap a Z-Man's California Craw Hula StickZ.

On his April 1 outing, all of the shallow-water mud flats and shorelines were cluttered with pods of filamentous algae, and if he allowed the Hula StickZ and Finesse ShroomZ jig to plummet all the way to the bottom, it would become enmeshed with a wad of algae.


To remedy that algae plague when he was plying the shallow-water areas, he would start retrieving the Hula StickZ before it fell more than a foot below the surface. Then he employed  a swimming retrieve that was regularly punctuated with what he described as a rapid-shake-and-pause routine. When the Hula StickZ and Finesse ShroomZ jig had been retrieved with the swimming-rapid-shake-and-pause presentation past the pods of filamentous algae, he allowed it to plummet to the bottom, where he would employ a retrieve that replicated the way a crayfish swims.

On Reese's April 1 outing, the surface temperature was 59 to 61 degrees. Area thermometers ranged from a low temperature of 52 degrees to a high temperature of 79 degrees. While he was afloat, the wind howled from the southeast at 15 to 38 mph. . Throughout the day, the barometric pressure dropped from 29.91 to 29.65. And after battling the wind and 62 largemouth bass for two hours and 10 minutes in his float tube, he called it a day

Reese said 52 of the largemouth bass were caught on the same Hula StickZ, and it looked as if it had the wherewithal to catch 52 more before it became too tattered to stay affixed to the 1/15-ounce Finesse ShroomZ jig.


Several days after his April 1 outing, Reese fished three other farm ponds. The shallow-water areas of these ponds were also littered with gobs of filamentous algae. Therefore, he employed the same retrieve that he used on April 1  And across five hours of fishing at these three ponds, he caught 102 largemouth bass, and the Hula StickZ inveigled most of them. A dozen of them were three-pounders or bigger.

Not only is the Hula StickZ and Finesse ShroomZ combo, in Reese's estimations, the most effective Midwest finesse bait day in and day out for inveigling vast numbers of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, it also is the best one for alluring big specimens. For example, Reese has caught a 4 3/4-pound smallmouth bass, which would be about 19 years old,  and a 22 1/2-pound northern pike on a Hula StickZ affixed to a Finesse ShroomZ at the Lake of the Woods, Ontario, and Chris Bell of Sioux Narrows, Ontario, who is a longtime friend of Reese and a veteran fishing guide, has caught a seven-pound largemouth bass and a seven pound smallmouth bass on it.

Endnotes:

(1) For more information about Drew Reese, Z-Man's Hula StickZ, and Midwest finesse fishing, please examine these stories:

https://www.in-fisherman.com/uncategorized/drew-reeses-history-midwest-finesse-fishing/.

https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/drew-reeses-history-midwest-finesse-fishing-part-two/.

https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/a-short-history-of-midwest-finesse-fishing-for-black-bass-1955-2013/.

https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-hula-stickz/.

https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/z-mans-hula-stickz-update/.

https://www.in-fisherman.com/gear-accessories/lures-gear-accessories/midwest-finesse-z-man-saga-canada/. (Drew Reese is not named in this story, but it is about him.)

https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/z-man-goes-canada/ . (Drew Reese is not named in this story, but he was the host for this adventure and one of Daniel Nussbaum's guides.)

(2) For more information about customizing Midwest finesse baits, examine the story at this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-network-the-art-of-customizing-z-mans-fattyz-finesse-wormz-saw-tail-wormz-hula-stickz-and-zinkerz.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural baits and commercial options. Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

See More Trending Articles

More Midwest Finesse

A three-inch soft-plastic creature bait. Midwest Finesse

Berkley's PowerBait Pitt Boss Jr

Ned Kehde - April 23, 2020

A three-inch soft-plastic creature bait.

It is impregnated with a squid scent. Midwest Finesse

Keitech's Easy Shaker

Ned Kehde - April 03, 2020

It is impregnated with a squid scent.

A finesse creature bait that features 8 appendages. Midwest Finesse

Big Sexy Baits' Banshee

Ned Kehde - April 30, 2020

A finesse creature bait that features 8 appendages.

This guide to Midwest finesse fishing for March of 2020 contains 14 logs and 13,523 words that explain how, when, and where Midwest finesse anglers pursued largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass. Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse - March 2020

Ned Kehde - April 10, 2020

This guide to Midwest finesse fishing for March of 2020 contains 14 logs and 13,523 words that...

See More Midwest Finesse

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now