August 09, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Before we left for our annual family vacation to Minnesota, we posted a blog about Z-Man Fishing Products' new FattyZ.
We noted that Luke Clausen of Spokane Valley, Washington, was instrumental in creating this bait.
Clausen and Z-Man's staff designed it to be what Clausen calls a power-finesse bait. Their aim was to endow it with a slimmer and subtler profile than Z-Man's five-inch ZinkerZ. They also wanted a five-inch bait that undulated with the slightest provocation. According to Clausen, they created the bait of his dreams.
Clausen likes to wield it on baitcasting outfits that are spooled with 12- to 16-pound-test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line. He affixes the FattyZ Texas-style to either a 3/16-ounce Z-Man's Shaky HeadZ or 4/0 offset worm hook with a 3/16-ounce slip sinker.
He uses the jig option for plying areas that aren't littered with a quagmire of snags, such as buckbrush, laydowns, man-made brushpiles and flooded timber. The slip-sinker and offset worm hook are employed around snag-filled environs.
In the July 23 blog, we noted that Clausen's style of finesse fishing for bass was considerably different than the Midwest finesse tactics that the late and great Chuck Woods of Kansas City pioneered in the 1950s and '60s.
Thus, in the eyes of most Midwest finesse anglers the FattyZ is too long. We would prefer affixing a 2 1/2- to three-inch FattyZ to a Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig. For example, we trim the five-inch Zinker so that it is 2 1/2- to three-inches long before we thread it on a Gopher jig with an exposed hook.
Because the belly of the FattyZ possesses a molded-in hook slot, we could not trim two inches off its head to make it a three-inch bait. But we were able to convert it to a 2 1/2-inch bait by cutting 2 1/2 inches off the tail.
Throughout our Minnesota vacation, several of the spinning outfits that our family used sported the 2 1/2-inch tail section of a FattyZ , and each tail section was affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
In Minnesota, we used three different colors of the FattyZ: California Craw, green pumpkin and watermelon red. The California Craw and green pumpkin were the most alluring hues.
Some of our 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Gopher jigs on our other spinning rods were also rigged with 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZs, Z-Man's Hula StickZs, Z-Man's four-inch Finesse WormZs and Gene Larew Lures Baby HooDaddys. Of the five lures that we utilized, the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ was the most effective of the lot.
In our eyes, the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ possesses some of the characteristics of Mann's Bait Company's Sting Ray Grub and MarLynn Lure Company's Ensley Reaper. But it is also graced with that magnetic and almost magically alluring ingredient that only Z-Man's ElaZtech lures possess.
After our family's fruitful experiences with the FattyZ during the last week of July and first week of August at a small eutrophic lake in Itasca County, Minnesota, where the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing is always difficult, we are convinced that the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ has found a permanent home in our Midwest finesse repertoire.
And as 2012 continues to unfold, we will periodically chronicle its abilities to inveigle the largemouth and smallmouth bass that abide in the small flatland reservoirs that stipple various environments in northeastern Kansas.