June 23, 2018
When the YouTube world occasionally focuses on Midwest finesse fishing, it usually centers its attention on the small stickbaits that we affixed to our mushroom-style jigs. Therefore, a lot of folks who view those videos are under the impression that there is only one rig in our repertoire.
But there is much more to Midwest finesse fishing than wielding a small stickbait rig.
What lies at the heart of Midwest finesse fishing is a small jig. And since the 1960s and 1970s, we have wielded a variety of small jigs that were adorned with various kinds and styles of dressings, such as marabou, buck tails, craft hair, pork rinds, soft-plastic worms, soft-plastic grubs, soft-plastic creatures, and several other options. For instance, a small soft-plastic crayfish has been part of our repertoire since the manifestation of the Guido Bug in 1977.
Since then, a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers have constantly been on the lookout for new soft-plastic crayfishes that are small enough to fit onto the small mushroom-style jigs that we use. And when we were working with John Crews of Salem, Virginia, on a gear guide about Missile Baits' 48 Worm, we notice that we had failed to publish a gear guide about Missile Baits' Craw Father.
Crews is the proprietor of Missile Baits. He is also a professional tournament angler who has competed on the Bassmaster, FLW, PPA, and other circuits during the past 15 years.
He introduced the Craw Father to the angling world at the 2016 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show.
Crews did not create the Craw Father for Midwest finesse applications. It was made for anglers like Ish Monroe of Hughson, California, who competes on the Bassmater Elite Circuit, and an array of power anglers. Crews describes it as a multipurpose bait. And power anglers can affix it to Carolina rig, a skirted jig, a Chatterbait, or a wobble-head jig. They can flip it, pitch it, swim it, and hop it. But it is dainty enough that Midwest finesse anglers can wield it alluringly on either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig.
The Craw Father is abstract rendition of a crayfish. It is 3 1/2 inches long.
The cephalothorax of a real crayfish is adorned with 10 walking legs. The Craw Father's has eight. There are four on each side of its cephalothorax. The front two are large and long, and each one is endowed with an abstract claw that is radically curled and nearly U-shaped.
The other six legs are much shorter than the front two, and they are stick-like.
Its rostrum or snout is triangular shaped. It is embellished with a pair of eyes. It is devoid of the two antennas that radiate from the tip of a real crayfish's snout. If Craw Father possessed those antennas, they would interfere with the dramatic and significant gyrations of the U-shaped claws at the tip of the two front legs.
The back of the cephalothorax is called the carapace. The Craw Father's carapace is smooth skinned, and it has a cephalic groove. The sides and top of the cephalothorax is somewhat dome shaped.
The belly of the cephalothorax is flat and smooth skinned. Also, the belly of its abdomen is flat and smooth skinned.
The shape of the sides and top of the abdomen is similar to the shape of the sides and top of the cephalothorax. The top of the abdomen is segmented into three sections.
The tip of the abdomen is not donned with a tail fin. Instead, it is somewhat dome shaped. It is where anglers will insert a hook when they affix the Craw Father to a jig or the hook of a Carolina rig.
Some Midwest finesse anglers are uncomfortable using a soft-plastic crayfish that is longer than three inches. Therefore they will amputate a half of an inch from the tip of Craw Father's abdomen before they affix to one of their mushroom-style jigs.
No matter if it is three or 3 1/2 inches long, 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: Bruiser Flash, Candy Grass, Desert Storm, El Diablo, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Flash, Love Bug, Super Bug, Watermelon Red, and Wicked Craw.
The Craw Father has very light salt and a combination scent of anise and craw. It is neutrally buoyant.
A package of seven can be purchased from $3.99 to $4.05.
(1) The modern-day stickbaits were added to our Midwest finesse routines in 2003 and 2004. Before that we used a predecessor to these stickbaits, and that bait was the late Chuck Woods' Beetle. Here is a link to the history of Midwest finesse fishing: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/a-short-history-of-midwest-finesse-fishing-for-black-bass-1955-2013/.
(2) Here is a link to a YouTube that exhibits the radical gyrations of the Craw Father's U-shaped claws when it is rigged on a wobble-head jig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSLFemejVNw.
(3) Here a link to a Midwest finesse column that describes the six retrieves that Midwest finesse anglers can employ when they use a Craw Father on a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.