Guido Hibdon of Stover, Missouri, is one of the forefathers of Midwest finesse fishing, and in the late 1970s, his son Dion created the first soft-plastic crayfish, which they called the Guido Bug. It was an abstract version of a live crayfish, which Dion concocted for one of his school's science projects. After Dion created the first edition of the Guido Bug, his father and his uncle Virgil Conner modified it.
Before the advent of the Guido Bug, the Hibdon family spent many hours fishing on the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, and Bull Shoals Lake, which lies along the Arkansas and Missouri border, employing live crayfish affixed to split-shot rigs. When Guido began plying various bass tournament circuits, he affixed a Guido Bug to a jig, and it yielded some impressive dividends on the tournament trail. What's more, they sold thousands of them to other anglers.
To this day, a soft-plastic crayfish has played a role at some of the waterways that Midwest finesse anglers ply. For a year and a half, a veteran Midwest finesse angler and longtime member of the Finesse News Network has periodically reminded us to publish a gear guide about Fish Arrow's 3 1/2-inch Flash-J Craw, which was introduced to the angling world at the 2016 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show.
The Flash-J Craw is not as abstract as the Guido Bug. It is manufactured in Japan. Like many of the soft-plastic baits that are designed in Japan, it possesses many intricate details.
It is graced with two long antennas, which radiate from the tip of its cephalothorax. The ends of these antennas are curled and similar to the shape of the ends of a curly-tailed grub.
Near the junction of the antennas and cephalothorax, there is a pair of black bulbous eyes.
The back of the cephalothorax is called the carapace. The Flash-J Craw carapace is smooth skinned, and it is divided somewhat like with a cephalic groove of a real crayfish.
The belly of the cephalothorax is segmented with 11 ribs.
A live crayfish has 10 walking legs. The Flash-J Craw is endowed with six appendages that are abstract renderings of a crayfish's walking legs. A pair of them radiates off of the side of its cephalothorax at the second rib and third rib on its belly. Extending from the sixth rib along its belly, there is another pair of walking legs. The third pair of walking legs branches out at the junction of the cephalothorax and abdomen.
The ends of the first two walking legs are adorned with claws. These claws are significant. There are reflective inserts molded inside each claw, and these inserts are made with aluminum foil. They are designed to produce a flash, which the designers thought would catch the eyes and attentions of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.
Its abdomen is encircled with five segments, which replicate the tergum sections of the abdomen of a real crayfish. Rather than being endowed with a tail fin, the end of the abdomen is dome shaped, and it is where anglers will insert a hook when they affix the Flash-J Craw to a jig or a split-shot rig or a Carolina rig or a drop-shot rig.
Midwest finesse anglers will rig it onto a small mushroom-shaped jig with an exposed hook, and they will retrieve it by employing the six Midwest finesse retrieves or subtle variations of those retrieves.
It is available in the following colors: Black Blue Flake, Cinnamon Brown, Crawfish, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue Flake, Kamozari, Scuppernong, and Softshell Craw. Some retail venues do not have all of these colors.
A package of five costs $9.99.
(1) On July 30, 2014, we published a gear guide about Fish Arrow's Flash J, which can be seen at this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/fish-arrows-flash-j/#ixzz52xORiEKK.
(2) On Feb. 20, 2014, we published a gear guide about Fish Arrow's Flash J Jig, which can be seen at this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/fish-arrow-j-head/.
(3) Here is a link to the Midwest Finesse column about the six Midwest finesse retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.
(4) Here is a Midwest Finesse column about Guido Hibdon: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/the-fishing-and-family-life-of-guido-hibdon/.