Midwest Finesse On The Tournament Trail With Stacey King

Midwest Finesse On The Tournament Trail With Stacey King

 

Stacey King says he is at the point in his life where he relishes finesse fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass.


Since the 1980s, King of Reeds Springs, Missouri, who is 64 years old, has plied the Bassmaster, FLW, Professional Anglers Association and several other circuits, as well as at the U.S. Open at Lake Mead. Most of his tournament endeavors across those many years have been executed with power tactics. But a finesse tube, hair jig, split-shot rig, grub, and tiny jigworm have occasionally been part of his tournament repertoire, and at times they have paid some handsome dividends.



King says it is difficult to win a major tournament with finesse tactics, but it can be done — especially at some of the reservoirs in the Ozarks. For instance, Shin Fukae of Palestine, Texas, and Osaka, Japan, won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake, Arkansas, in April 2001 by using a spinning outfit decked out with a 3/32-ounce jig dressed with a Gary Yamamoto Custom Bait's Shad Shape Worm (see: http://archives.in-fisherman.com/content/meet-shinichi-fukae-wizard-finesse). And Brent Ehrler of Redlands, California, won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour competition at Table Rock, Lake, Missouri, in March 2010 by working primarily with four-inch Gary Yamamoto Custom Bait's Single Tail Grubs and a four-inch Yamamoto Swimming Senko; he affixed these baits to a quarter-ounce jig (see: https://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/09/08/brent-ehrler%E2%80%99s-winning -tactics/ ). At other tournament venues when power tactics  wane during the last hour or two of compeition, King says he will often use one of his Midwest finesse rigs to inveigle his final keeper-size bass of the day.

King didn't win the April 2013 Walmart FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake, but he caught 49 pounds, 15 ounces of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, which garnered him ninth place on the tournament's leader board and $14,000.


Throughout the four days of competition, he wielded only spinning tackle and four Midwest finesse baits: a 2 ¾-inch Bass Pro Shops' green-pumpkin-red-flake Teaser Tube affixed to a 3/32-ounce jig, a 2 ½-inch Strike King Lure Company's coppertreuse Zero on a 1/16-ounce jig, a four-inch XPS smoke-copper-red-flake Single Tail Grub on a 3/32-ounce jig, and a black 1/8-ounce bucktail jig. (His bucktail jig was sparsely tied and not adorn with a trailer.)


He employed these four baits on seven-foot, two-inch Johnny Morris CarbonLite Series Spinning Rods that were fitted with Johnny Morris Signature Series Spinning Reels (JM20). The reels were spooled with 10-pound-test XPS 8 Advanced Braid Fishing Line and a five-foot leader made from eight-pound-test XPS Signature Series Fluorocarbon Fishing Line.

Before his practice session began on April 7, King thought that he would be making most of his casts and presentations during the practice and tournament days with two power tactics: an Alabama rig and a jerkbait. His three practice sessions from April 7 through April 9 were conducted from Prairie Creek to the dam, which is a massive expanse of clear water. The surface temperature ranged from 57 to 60 degrees. The water level was 3 ½ feet below normal.

To his dismay, he had a difficult time provoking Beaver Lake's bass to exhibit an interest in his jerkbaits and Alabama rigs. Ultimately, he discovered that he could entice a significant number of smallmouth bass and spotted bass that were abiding on what he called "pre-spawn staging areas," which were gravel flats and points in 10 to 15 feet of water that were adjacent to locales that the bass would eventually spawn. And he allured these bass on his four finesse baits. King noted that the water clarity in the areas that he fished had about 10 feet of visibility, and the bulk of the bass that he caught were residing along the bottom in 10 ½ to 11 feet of water.

During his practice outings with his finesse presentations, he tangled with a few smallmouth bass that weighed from 2 ½ to 3 ½ pounds and a couple two- to 2 ½-pound spotted bass, which are considered humdingers around Beaver Lake.

He retrieved the tube by incessantly shaking it along the bottom. He employed a bottom-bouncing retrieve for the 2 ½-inch Zero, and a considerable number of the bass engulfed the Zero on the initial drop.

He retrieved his grub by allowing it to plummet to the bottom, and as soon as it hit the bottom, he slowly swam it back to the boat, allowing it to swim from six to 12 inches above the bottom. During the retrieve, he pointed his rod tip at the grub. He employed a similar retrieve with the hair jig.

At several of these lairs during his practice session, he would wield a jerkbait and an Alabama rig, and they weren't effective in the clear-water areas that he fished. But several competitors who plied the upper reaches of the White River caught the bulk of their bass on Alabama rigs. The tournament was won by Jason Christie of Park Hill, Oklahoma, who worked with an Alabama rig in the dirty water in the White River.

Throughout the tournament, King focused on pre-spawn lairs scattered around a huge stretch of the reservoir between Moulder Hollow and Rocky Branch Park and Marina, which lies in Beaver's mid-lake section. He spent all four days of the tournament working with his finesse rigs. Until the fourth day, which was windy, the tube was his most productive lure, and then when the wind howled at 15 to 25 mph from the south on April 14, the 2 ½-inch Zero became his best option by dragging it and shaking it along the bottom. One of the virtues of this bait is that it cast like a bullet -- even into the wind when it is hellishly strong.

In 2014, the Alabama rig can't be used by anglers on the Walmart FLW Tour. Thus, King suspects a few more of anglers will use finesse tactics when they compete at Beaver Lake on April 10-13, 2014. In King's eyes, that might be a godsend for him. King has caught scores of handsome bass on his Alabama rigs during the past two years, but he says it is not a fun way to fish. King is a master at wielding spoons, big skirted jigs and trailers, crankbaits, topwater baits and spinnerbaits, but if he has his druthers nowadays he prefers to uses a spinning rod and a variety of Midwest finesse baits — especially when he is fishing for the fun of it with his grandchildren.

Recommended for You

Which of the ten is the best? You decide. Bass

10 Best Bass Fishing States In America

Matt Straw - November 01, 2017

Which of the ten is the best? You decide.

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall. Bass

Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites. Walleye

Spring is Prime Time for River Walleyes

Dan Johnson - February 22, 2018

Across the Walleye Belt, early spring is prime time to tap some of the year's best bites.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean's Jeff Miller shares a room-full of new gear for 2020 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...

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...

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

See More Stories

More Midwest Finesse

The Smallie Smasher was designed primarily for drop-shot aficionados. Midwest Finesse

Big Bite Baits' Smallie Smasher

Ned Kehde - September 02, 2019

The Smallie Smasher was designed primarily for drop-shot aficionados.

Midwest Finesse September logs. Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2019

Ned Kehde - October 10, 2019

Midwest Finesse September logs.

The Lunkerhunt Finesse Worm is a great choice for a mushroom-style finesse jig head. Midwest Finesse

Lunkerhunt's Finesse Worm

Ned Kehde - October 07, 2019

The Lunkerhunt Finesse Worm is a great choice for a mushroom-style finesse jig head.

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.

×