April 27, 2013
By Ned Kehde
On April 4, 2012, we wrote a blog entitled "The super finesse worm." It featured a four-inch Z-Man's Fishing Products' Junebug Finesse WormZ that was affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig. We noted that this combo inveigled 102 largemouth bass, seven crappie, one bluegill and tangled with about two dozen largemouth bass that didn't make it into the boat during a total of five hours of fishing on Mar. 26 and 27. That Finesse WormZ finally disintegrated in the jaws of largemouth number 102, which weighed three pounds, 10 ounces. We categorized it as a super feat in both durability and seductivity.
Then on May 3, 2012, we wrote a blog about another four-inch Junebug Finesse WormZ and a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig that possessed the wherewithal to catch 181 largemouth bass before it became too tattered to use. Then we retired it to hang on one of our walls like a trophy for several months.
Since Oct. 12, 2006, we have trumpeted the alluring qualities of Z-Man's 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ and its sister the Strike King Lure Company's 2 1/2-inch Zero, but we have never documented its durability.
This spring, however, we have accumulated a few statistics that bespeak of the durability, as well as the seductive nature, of the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. On April 15 and 16, I fished five hours at a 195-acre community reservoir, and on April 19, I fished four hours at a 416-acre community reservoir. Both are flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas. During those nine hours, I employed a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ in the California-craw hue that was affixed to a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This combo caught 99 largemouth bass, three rainbow trout and a smallmouth bass that weighed six pounds, 10 ounces.
After those two outings, this ZinkerZ looked as if it could entice and tangle with many more largemouth bass before it becomes too shredded to be usable. We have noted in previous blogs that the ZinkerZ becomes more alluring as it ages. Thus, the longer that an angler keeps a well-used ZinkerZ on a jig, the more effective it becomes. In fact, the 87th fish that this particular ZinkerZ allured was a six-pound, 10-ounce smallmouth bass.
On April 22, this California-craw ZinkerZ caught 29 more fish (one smallmouth bass, two freshwater drum, two rainbow trout and 24 largemouth bass) before the sharp jaws of a rainbow trout lacerated it to the point that it had to be retired and placed as a lure of honor on one of our walls, where it will be displayed for a spell.
(1) The ZinkerZ is a five-inch Senko-style bait, and Midwest finesse anglers customize it by cutting it in half, making 2 1/2-inches long. We always affix it to a jig, such as Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig, and such a combo is featured in the above photograph.
(2) To keep the ZinkerZ from sliding down the shank of the jig's hook, some Midwest Finesse anglers like to use a super glue to attach the ZinkerZ to the collar of the jig. Recently some Midwest anglers have been making mushroom-style jigs that are endowed with a bait keeper on the hook shank, and the bait keeper keeps the ZinkerZ flush to the head of the jig. For more information about glues and bait keepers, see this blog: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/07/15/finesse-news-network-gear-guide-super-glue-bait-hitch-barb-wire-collars-and-more/
(3) Some anglers say that they have a difficult time threading the ZinkerZ -- as well as Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Finesse WormZ, and Hula StickZ -- onto the collar of the Gopher jig. To expedite this threading procedure, we wet the jig by dipping it into the water for a second or two. The water is a lubricant and allows the ZinkerZ to slide onto the collar of the Gopher jig.
(4) Anglers who have a frugal nature are impressed with the economical dimensions of the ZinkerZ. A package of six five-inch ZinkerZs, which equals 12 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZs, can be purchased for $3.99. And it is possible that an angler can catch more than 1,236 largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass with that package of ZinkerZ. From our experiences, the ZinkerZ is not only many times more durable than similar soft-plastic Senko-style baits, but they seem to be more alluring in the eyes on largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. Moreover, the ZinkerZ is not as expensive. For example, if an angler purchases a package of 10 five-inch of Senko-style baits, which costs $7.69, this angler will be fortunate to catch 70 largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass with those 20 2 1/2-inch baits before all of the baits disintergrate, and there will be times when each 2 1/2-inch bait will catch only one or two bass.