Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Hula StickZ

Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Hula StickZ

To the delight of scores of Midwest finesse anglers, Z-Man Fishing Products has added a new bait to their repertoire.

It is the Hula StickZ.


In the eyes of several Midwest finesse anglers who have seen and worked with a prototype of the Hula StickZ, they say that it is destined to become significant lynch pin in finesse anglers' repertoire everywhere, as well as for all anglers who employ soft-plastic Senko- or stick-style baits.



Drew Reese, who was tutored by the late and great Chuck Woods of Kansas City in the 1960s, helped Z-Man design this new ElaZtech bait. Reese's motivation stemmed from his desire to add another dimension or two to Z-Man's five-inch ZinkerZ, which Midwest finesse anglers cut in half and create  a 2 1/2-inch soft-plastic stick bait that they always affixed to a jig.

Reese calls  the Hula StickZ a three-inch ZinkerZ that is adorned with four one-inch tentacles, which makes it a four-inch bait.  But it isn't as heavily impregnated with salt as the ZinkerZ. Its salt content is 15 percent; the salt content of the ZinkerZ is 45 percent. Therefore, it is a touch more buoyant than the ZinkerZ, and according to numerous Midwest finesse anglers, the buoyancy factor is one reason why ElaZtech baits  are the best finesse baits in the angling world. (To make the salt-impregnated ZinkerZ more buoyant and alluring, many Midwest finesse anglers soak them in water, which dissolves the salt and makes them more  buoyant and flexible. )


The Hula StickZ is also an extremely durable bait.  For example, I have been working with six prototypes since Jan. 24, and I am still using  four of them.  I lost one when it became snagged in a man-made brushpile, and I lost another one that was snagged in maze of underwater boulders.  To my chagrin, I failed to tabulate the exact number of largemouth and smallmouth bass that these six prototypes betwitched and are still bewitching, but they have tangled with scores and scores bass and other species.


Reese and Z-Man designed the Hula StickZ so that it can be easily customized. For instance, the four tentacles can be trimmed off, which will convert it to a three-inch stick bait.  Or it can be shortened by trimming an inch or more off its head, which converts it to hard-body tube bait. An example of one of the customized prototypes is featured in the photograph below. This one has an inch taken off its head, and this particular bait has allured at least 60 largemouth and smallmouth bass, and it looks as if it possesses the wherewithal to allure at least 60 more.

The Hula StickZ can also be affixed to the jig so that the four tentacles surround the collar of the jig. Reese doesn't rig it that way, but I have found it to be an effective option on a number of outings. That rigging is exhibited in the photograph below.

The top Hula StickZ is a PB&J hue affixed to a Gopher Tackle 1/16-ounce Mushroom Head Jig. The second to the left is a Junebug hue affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig and the tentacles are affixed to the collar of the jig. The third one is a pearl hue and it is affixed to a 3/32-ounce Gopher jig.  The top right one is a watermelon-red hue and it is rigged wacky style to a Gamakatsu Wacky Head jig that was designed by Shinichi Fukae. The bottom right is a prototype that we have been working with since Jan. 24, and we trimmed an inch off its head, making it a three-inch bait, and we have caught scores of largemouth and smallmouth bass on this very bait, including a largemouth bass that weighed five pound, six ounces on Mar. 1.  

Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, is one of the forefathers of the Midwest finesse fishing, but it wasn't until April 30, 2011, that he discovered the manifold virtues of some of  Z-Man's finesse bait.  Then once he began wielding the Finesse ShadZ, 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ,  3.75-inch StreakZ and  Hula StickZ, they have become the only soft-plastic baits that he employs.

Nowadays, Reese chases smallmouth bass in Canadian waterways from mid-May to mid-September.

Reese affixes the Hula StickZ to a mushroom-style jig, which he makes, and the hook is always exposed His jig  repertoire consist of 1/32-, 1/16-, 3/32- and 1/8-ounce models.  Day in, day out, however, he prefers to use a 3/32-ounce jig in Canadian waterways.  He finds that a 3/32- ounce jig allows him to cover more water, make longer casts, and  feel what the lure is doing.

In contrast to Reese's Canadian tactics for smallmouth bass, the Midwest finesse anglers who ply the small flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas prefer to use 1/32- and 1/16-ounce jigs. They like to make short casts and not feel what their bait is doing. It is a tactic that they call no-feel fishing.  Yet  there are short spells throughout the year when a 3/32-ounce jig is the most effective one in northeastern Kansas waterways -- especially when the largemouth and smallmouth bass are foraging upon invertebrates on the bottom or the wind is howling. But day in, day out,  they have found that the largemouth and smallmouth  bass that abide in the relatively stained  flatland reservoirs of Kansas are rarely allured by a soft-plastic bait that falls at a quick pace.

Reese presents the Hula StickZ by executing a long cast, and his retrieve consist of three segments. The first part of the retrieve replicates  a frightened crayfish, the second part resembles a crayfish that is milling about across the bottom, and the third part duplicates the way a crayfish roots around on the bottom.into shallow water.

Reese glues his Hula StickZ and other Z-Man finesse baits to the jig, and he prefers to use an unpainted jig. But in crystal clear waters, he will match the color of the jig to the color of the Hula StickZ. He also notes that jigs painted watermelon red or watermelon black seem to be a little better than unpainted jigs on sunny days.

On July 8, Reese relished a sample of the Hula StickZ's abilities to bewitch Canadian smallmouth bass. In four hours, a  watermelon-red and a green-pumpkin Hula StickZ  inveigled 44 smallmouth bass. Two of those weighed more than three pounds, and another weighed four pounds, two ounces, which executed four spectacular aerobic jumps.

Other finesse anglers can employ it on Neko rigs, split-shot rigs and drop-shot rigs, and power anglers can wield it on Carolina rigs and a variety of Texas rigs.

According to the folks at Z-Man, anglers will be able acquire Hula StickZ around Sept. l. It will be available in eight colors. The suggested retail price for a package of six baits is $4.49

Recommended for You

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures. Walleye

The Lowdown on Walleye Hardbaits

Steve Ryan - May 28, 2019

The range of walleye hardbaits encompasses multiple categories and a dizzying number of lures.

In-Fisherman

Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula Boats & Motors

Technical Notes: Calculating Prop Performance

In-Fisherman - May 01, 2019

In-Fisherman Here is a way to calculate prop performance with different props, a formula

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with homemade chips and tartar sauce. Fish Recipes

Catfish Dinner with Homemade Chips and Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Trailer Bass

Trailer Bass

Doug Stange introduces us to some terrific jig trailer lures for largemouth bass.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

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 Stories

More Midwest Finesse

This August guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 16 logs. Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse Fishing: August 2019

Ned Kehde - September 12, 2019

This August guide to Midwest finesse fishing contains 16 logs.

The Yum Ned Dinger offers a slightly smaller profile that excels with finesse techniques. Midwest Finesse

YUM'S Ned Dinger

Ned Kehde - September 09, 2019

The Yum Ned Dinger offers a slightly smaller profile that excels with finesse techniques.

The Kill Shot is a dandy soft-plastic bait that Midwest Finesse anglers will most likely affix to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. Midwest Finesse

Angler's Choice's Kill Shot

Ned Kehde - August 15, 2019

The Kill Shot is a dandy soft-plastic bait that Midwest Finesse anglers will most likely affix...

See More Midwest Finesse

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×