A Midwest finesse angler alerted us to Scott Petersen's recent essay about Big Bite Baits' 3 1/2-inch Cane Thumper, saying that some of our brethrens might be interested in using it for grub applications on a Gopher Tackle's 3/32-ounce Mushroom Head Jig.
For the past several years Midwest finesse anglers across northeastern Kansas have been in search of an effective three- to four-inch grub-style bait to affix to a Gopher jig. It's a combo that we regularly use from August into November. We employ it with what we call the straight-swim retrieve. It is similar to the retrieve that the late Charlie Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, called the "do-nothing retrieve," but we occasionally shake our rods as we are executing the straight-swim retrieve.
In essence, it is a long-cast tactic. Some casts reach 60 feet — especially when the wind is at our backs. We retrieve it at a variety of speeds, depending on the disposition and position of the largemouth and smallmouth bass. It is particularly effective when the largemouth and smallmouth bass are piscivorous and foraging on wind-blown shorelines and points, inhabiting and feeding on the top portions of massive patches of submerged vegetation, or pursuing suspended baitfish across flats. Sometimes the retrieve is enhanced with some shakes and subtle pauses, but we primarily swim without executing any shakes. We hold our rods, depending on the nature of the wind, from about the two to five o'clock position. On the windless days, which are rare in northeastern Kansas, we have been known to hold our rods at the 12 o'clock position to allow the jig-and-grub to swim across patches of coontail and bushy pondweed that lie only a few inches below the surface of the water.
Throughout late summer and into mid-fall, a moderate-paced swimming retrieve is the most effective one for largemouth and smallmouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas, and it is a shallow-water presentation. But at many of the reservoirs across the Ozarks, finesse anglers have been known to retrieve a grub-and-jig combo slowly into 25 or more feet of water. And talented white bass anglers in northeastern Kansas, such as Terry Bivins of Lebo, Kansas, often wield a boot-tailed grub --similar to the 3 ½-inch Cane Thumper -- on a 3/8-ounce jig, and he hops and bounces it across white bass lairs as deep as 22 feet of water during the summer.
The 3 ½-inch Cane Thumper is available in 17 colors. A package of 8 retails for $5.49.
In addition to the Cane Thumper, Big Bite Baits' three-inch Fat Grub and three-inch Minnow might meet the needs of a goodly number Midwest finesse anglers. The three-inch Fat Grub is available is 62 colors. A package of 10 retails for $3.66 and a package of 100 retails for $23.99. The three-inch Minnow is available in six colors. A package of 10 retails for $4.19 and a package of 100 retails for $37.99.
End notes: Scott Petersen penned his descriptions of the Cane Thumper for Big Bite Bait's newsletter, which was published on May 31.