Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Z-Man's three-inch FattyZ prototype

Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Z-Man's three-inch FattyZ prototype

When Z-Man Fishing Products introduced their FattyZ and Hula StickZ to the angling world last July at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, a bevy of Midwest finesse anglers sang choruses of praise.


And since then the Hula StickZ that is affixed to a jig has become one of the dominant smallmouth bass baits for a group of Midwest finesse anglers who ply some of the oligotrophic waterways along the Canadian and United States border.  And in the hands of a number of Midwest finesse anglers that ply some of the man-made reservoirs that stipple the Heartland, the Hula StickZ-and-jig-combo has inveigled untold numbers of largemouth bass.


On July 23, 2012, we posted a blog entitled "Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Z-Man's FattyZ." It featured Luke Clausen of Spokane Valley, Washington, and it pinpointed the way that he successfully used it at several FLW tournaments in 2012. We also wrote about how Midwest finesse anglers would customize this five-inch bait, making the tail  segment of it into an unique 2 1/2-inch stick- or senko-style bait and its head section into a 2 1/2-inch tube-style bait. Then we would attach those 2 1/2-inch baits to a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig.

On Aug. 8, 2012, we posted a blog entitled  "Finesse News Network's Gear Guide: Z-Man's FattyZ, an update,"  which provided more details about how and  where we employed the Gopher jig and 2 1/2-inch tail segment of the FattyZ , as well as some photographs of largemouth and smallmouth bass that this combo inveigled.


As the late summer and fall of 2012 unfolded into the winter of 2012-13 in northeastern Kansas, the 2 1/2-inch tail segment of a FattyZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig became  one of our most effective Midwest finesse baits for alluring largemouth bass -- especially in waters as cold as 40 degrees.  It even surpassed our traditional standard-bearer, which is the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. (What's more, the 2 1/2-inch head that is customized into a tube has been an extremely profitable tool at times for alluring largemouth bass, such as  a five-pound, 11-ouncer that we caught at a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir on Jan. 7.)

On Feb. 10, we received an e-mail from Daniel Nussbaum of Ladson, South Carolina, and Z-Man Fishing Products, who announced that Z-Man was in the throes of working on a three-inch prototype of the  FattyZ.  Besides being the general manager and executive vice president of Z-Man, Nussbaum is an ardent saltwater angler who has found that redfish and seatrout are readily allured by the five-inch FattyZ -and-jig combo -- especially in cold-water scenarios, and he suspects that redfish and seatrout will find the three-inch prototype to be enticing, too.

Nussbaum also sent us three prototypes to examine and test, and they arrived on Feb. 25. At first glance and touch, they looked and felt as if they will become one of the primary baits in our Midwest finesse repertoire.

We would have field tested them several times during the last days of February and first ones of March, but Old Man Winter walloped us with too much snow and below freezing weather. So, it wasn't until Mar. 4 that Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, and I were able to get afloat at a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir in eastern Kansas, where the wintertime bass traditionally exhibit a hankering for Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ.  On this outing, the largemouth bass fishing was more than a touch trying, and we were able to catch only 28 largemouth bass in 4 1/2 hours of fishing. Most of them were allured by Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce  Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig, but five largemouth bass and one white bass were inveigled by the three-inch FattyZ prototype on a red 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.  As 2013 unfolds, we will post reports about the three-inch FattyZ and its ability to allure the largemouth and smallmouth bass that abide in the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas.

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Nussbaum has been using the five-inch FattyZ for redfish since October of 2011.  In December of 2012, he cut the head and tail off  of the torso of the FattyZ. Then he glued the head and tail together to make the first three-inch FattyZ,  and he successfully used it to catch seatrout and redfish.  (That bait is in the photograph above).  In February, the Z-Man staff used Nussbaum's trimmed and glued rendition to make the mold for the prototype and poured some ElaZtech into the mold to make a few prototypes.

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