May 22, 2014
On April 21, Paul Finn of Olathe, Kansas, filed a report on the Finesse News Network about the effectiveness of Missile Baits' three-inch Drop Craw. He noted that he and his son fished four hours and 15 minutes on April 20 at a 195-acre community reservoir and caught 42 largemouth bass. His son caught the bulk of them by wielding a green-pumpkin Drop Craw that was affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce homemade mushroom style jig.
In one of Finn's subsequent notes about the merits of the Drop Craw, he said his devotion to the Drop Craw has been going on for more than a year and a half. Since he discovered its many merits, one of his spinning rods always sports a Drop Craw affixed to a mushroom-style jig.
Shortly after Finn's report circulated on the Finesse News Network, a veteran Midwest finesse angler suggested that we should pen a profile of the Drop Craw and the other finesse baits in Missile Baits' repertoire. We agreed, and here's what we found:
Missile Baits' headquarters is in Salem, Virginia. Its proprietor is John Crews, who is also a professional angler on the Bassmaster circuit. Since Missile Baits' conception in 2011 and 2012, Crews has designed and created nine soft-plastic baits and a shaky head jig. Besides the Drop Craw, Finn and other Midwest finesse angler can wield Missile Baits' Fuse 4.4, Missile Craw, and Twin Turbo on several sizes of mushroom-style jigs, such as a Gopher Tackle's 1/32-, 1/16-, and 3/32-ounce Mushroom Head Jigs. What's more, Missile's big Tomahawk worm can be radically shortened and affixed to the same jigs.
The Drop Craw is three inches long. Its torso is smooth and slender. Two willowy claws radiated from its head, and they gyrate almost incessantly with virtually no provocation. Most Midwest finesse anglers will rig it on a jig through its tail. But John Crews says that drop-shot anglers find that it reaps impressive dividends when it is rigged through its head with a small drop-shot hook. And that head-rigging tactic should work with a mushroom-style jig as well. The Drop Craw is available in seven colors: Brown Ghost Craw, Bruiser, Green Pumpkin, Melon Cinnamon Purple, Oxblood Red Flake, Pinkalicious, and Watermelon Red. Anglers can purchase a package of 15 for $4.39 at missilebaits.com. At other retail venues, a package can be purchased for $3.99.
The Fuse 4.4 is described as a slim crawfish-shaped worm. Crews calls it the ultimate finesse worm. Its tail is thicker than its torso, which allows it to easily accommodate the barbed collar on the Gopher jig without tearing it. Its torso consists of seven short segments, which enhances its ability to undulate alluringly. The belly or bottom of its tail, torso, and head is flat. Two small claws radiate from its long, smooth, and narrow head. The appendages that attach the claws to the head are thin and designed to accentuate the movement of the claws. Crews says it is an ideal bait to affix to a shaky-head jig, drop-shot rig, Texas rig, Carolina rig, and split-shot rig. Most bass anglers will opt to rig it Texas style or Texas posed. But Midwest finesse anglers will prefer to rig it on a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, and that is because an exposed-hook rigging will allow the Fuse 4.4 to undulate more alluringly than it will when it is rigged Texas style or with the Texas-pose method. Some Midwest finesse anglers' jigs are endowed with a hook or weed guard, which will allow Midwest finesse anglers to dissect an assortment of snag-filled lairs. The Fuse 4.4 is made in 11 colors: Candy Grass, Green Beret, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Purple, Green Pumpkin Red, Green Pumpkin Watermelon, Oxblood Red Flake, P. Funk Red, Pinkalicious, Purple-ish, and Watermelon Red. A package of 12 can be purchased from $3.99 to $4.39.
The Twin Turbo is said to be 3 1/4-inches long, but that measurement does not include its two appendages that radiate off of each side of its body. When those two appendages are measured, it is more than 4 1/2-inches long. In the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers, it is a double-tailed grub that is endowed with some crayfish and creature-bait features. Midwest finesse anglers will rig it on either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, and they will employ it the same way they use a traditional bass grub. In addition, these finesse anglers might make it a smaller bait by trimming three-quarters of an inch off its tail before they affix it to a jig. Crews says it is an extremely versatile twin-tailed bait, and from his perspective, the Twin Turbo is an ideal football jig trailer, swimming jig trailer, Chatterbait trailer and spinnerbait trailer, and occasionally these anglers might wield it on a Carolina rig or Texas-style slip-sinker rig. The two twister or curly tails that protrude off of the sides of the Twin Turbo's body are reinforced with a short ridge of soft-plastic, and this ridge keeps the tails from becoming misshapen and easily detached from the body during a donnybrook with a bass. It is available in eight colors: Bamer Craw, Bruiser, Cinnamon Purple, Fisholicious, Golden Amber, Green Pumpkin, Pearl White, and Watermelon Red. The retail price of a package of eight ranges from $3.99 to $4.39.
The Missile Craw is four inches long. Its relatively lean torso is circled with five ribs, and its belly sports a hook slot. Its head is graced with two eyes and one antenna. Two unique-looking crayfish claws radiate from the side of its head. According to Crews, it was designed to supplant the flipping tube, and it also works well on a shaky-head jig, Carolina rig, and as a trailer on a skirted jig. The Midwest finesse anglers who used to rig Dion and Guido Hibdon's original Guido Bug onto a small jig might find that the Missile Craw will work well on either a 1/16- or 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig. The hook slot in its belly prevents Midwest finesse anglers from shortening the Missile Craw by trimming is tail. It is available in 10 colors: Bruiser Flash, California Love, Candy Grass, Golden Amber, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Red, June Bug, Love Bug, Oxblood Red Flake, and Super Bug. The cost of a package of eight ranges from $3.99 to $4.39.
Missile Baits' Tomahawk worm is 8 3/4 inches long. It is endowed with a pair of thin twister or ribbon tails. Its torso is encircled with 10 ribs. Of course, it is too big of a bait for Midwest finesse applications, but if several inches are trim off of its head and upper portions of its torso, it looks as if it would be a dandy finesse worm to affix to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. If and when any Midwest finesse anglers shorten it and attach it to a mushroom-style jig, we would appreciate it if they would write a report and post it in the comment section below. Please tell us how, when, and where you used it, as well as how many bass it inveigled. It is made in 10 colors: Blue Fleck, Bruiser, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Watermelon, Lovebug, Melon Cinnamon Purple, Plum, Red Shad Green, Scuppernong, and Watermelon Red. The price of a package of six varies from $3.99 to $4.39.
Here's a link to Paul Finn's April 20 log that describes how, when, and where he and his son used the Drop Craw. The photograph near the top of this story show us how Finn rigs Drop Craw on his homemade 1/16-0unce mushroom-style jig.