On April 1, 2006, at Beaver Lake, Arkansas, Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan, taught the insular world of Midwest finesse anglers a thing or two about the manifold virtues of affixing a minnow-shaped soft-plastic worm to a jig. In essence, these rigs are a combination of a crude swimbait and an unusual-shaped worm.
Since those rudimentary days, a lot of changes have been taking place in the angling world. And LIVETARGET Lures of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, is one of the pacemakers in guiding this grand transition.
And from the perspectives of the veteran Midwest finesse anglers, LIVETARGET has created two avant-garde minnow-shaped worms, making the primitive and abstract rig that Fukae was wielding 14 springs ago look antiquated.
These two baits are called the Ghost Tail Minnow and the Twitch Minnow.
We exchanged several email and telephone conversations about these new creations with Morgan Trojner, who is in charge of LIVETARGET’s sales and marketing, and he sent us some samples of the finesse-sized ones to work with and thoroughly examine.
Here is what we discovered about the Ghost Tail Minnow.
It is manufactured in four sizes: 3 3/4 inches, 4 1/2 inches, and five inches.
We worked with a 3 3/4-incher. And according to our measurement, it is exactly 3 3/4 inches long, which is the ideal size for Midwest finesse applications.
In a number of ways, its snout, eyes, pectoral fin, lateral line, scales, and the contours of its torso parallel Joseph Tomelleri’s stellar illustrations of the common shiner, red shiner, and sand shiner. In that sense, it is quite realistic.
LIVETARGET uses a manufacturing process that is called Injected Core Technology. According to one of its press releases, this process allows them to create “a lifelike profile and vibrant metallic flash that looks exactly like a real live baitfish.” They also describe it as an “ultra-realistic dropshot bait.”
This realistic segment of the Ghost Tail Minnow is two inches long. This section is described as containing its inner core, which encompasses its snout, head eyes, pectoral fins, lateral lines, scales, and part of its torso. It is encased inside a transparent plastic substance that LIVETAREGT calls an Exo-Skin.
At the junction of its head or predorsal section and its torso, which is situated about a half of an inch from its snout, it has a circumference of about 1 1/8 inches and a width of a quarter of an inch.
At one inch from the tip of its snout, the Ghost Tail Minnow has a width of a quarter of an inch and a circumference of 1 3/16 inches.
The end of the inner core is two inches from the tip of its snout. At this locale, its torso is three-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of seven-eighths of an inch.
Its torso is devoid of a dorsal fin, pelvic fins, and an anal fin.
The first two inches of the predorsal and dorsal areas are endowed with two hole. The first two inches of its ventral area has two holes. Trojner says the holes are part of the manufacturing process. And some anglers use them to insert nail weights.
The rest of its torso is seven-eighths of an inch long. It is devoid of the inner core, and it is totally transparent. The dimensions of this portion of the torso gradually decrease as it approaches the junction with its tail. At its junction with the tail, it possesses a width of one-eighth of an inch and a circumference of about seven-eighths of an inch.
The tail is transparent and fifteen-sixteenths of an inch long. The last nine-sixteenths of an inch of the tail is flat, and this portion of the tail is shaped somewhat like a willow leaf, and perhaps it acts like a pair of invisible wings. It is embellished with two fins. The dorsal fin possesses a triangular shape that is about seven-eighths of an inch long with a height of about one-half of an inch. The ventral fin has a triangular shape that is nine-sixteenths of an inch long with a height of one-eighth of an inch. According to the folks at LIVETARGET, this tail “generates a finesse quivering action to emulate the subtle movements of a small minnow.” It also assists in creating a straight, stable, and subtle swimming motif.
The rationale for designing the transparent tail and the transparency of seven-eighths of an inch of its torso was to create a super-finesse presentation, which LIVETARGET calls “a smaller hatch size.” Thus, the 3 3/4-inch long Ghost Tail Minnow becomes two inches long in the eyes of a largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, or spotted bass.
The Exo-Skin is said to be “an advanced plastic that has a slight pliability,” which is “incredibly tough and resilient.”
It is manufactured in the following hues: Silver/Purple, Silver/Blue, Silver/Green, Silver/Brown, Silver/Pearl, and Silver/Smoke.
They are not impregnated with salt and scent.
It is very buoyant.
A package of four costs $9.99.
As noted above, the Ghost Tail Minnow was primarily designed for drop-shot anglers. But as Fukae taught Midwest finesse anglers many years ago, a minnow-shaped worm, like the modern-day Ghost Tail Minnow, is extremely effective when it is affixed to a jig, such as a mushroom-style one. When it is affixed to a jig, Midwest finesse anglers will be able to present it to their black bass quarries by employing all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight improvisations of those retrieves. Across the years, we have found that working with a jig is a much more versatile method than using a drop-shot rig.
(1) Here is a link to LIVETARGET Lures’ website: https://livetargetlures.com/collections/new/products/ghost-tail-minnow.
(2) Here is a link to the insights of Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Arkansas, and a veteran professional tournament angler: https://livetargetlures.com/collections/new/products/ghost-tail-minnow.
(3) Here is a link to our Midwest finesse column that explains how to employ the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.
(4) Joe Tomelleri’s illustrations can be seen in “Fishes of the Central United States.” Joseph R. Tomelleri and Mark E. Eberle. The Fishes of the Central United States. Lawrence, Kan. University Press of Kansas, 1990.
(5) In the weeks to come, we will publish a gear guide that focuses on LIVETARGET’s Twitch Minnow. We will also publish gear guides about their new Slow-Roll Shiner and Skip Shad.