March 28, 2016
At the behest of several anglers on the Finesse News Network, we began publishing gear guides in 2015 about finesse baits that we have overlooked since we began publishing this column in August of 2011. We will continue doing this routine throughout 2016, and our first one this year will focus on Reins' Ring Craw, which is also called the Ring Claw.
Ever since Dion Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, created the Guido Bug, as a school science project in 1977, and his father, Guido Hibdon, used this homemade soft-plastic crayfish to win the Bassmaster Missouri Invitational/West tournament at the Lake of the Ozarks on April 23-25, 1980, and the Bassmaster Missouri Invitational/West tournament at the Lake of the Ozarks on April 15-17, 1981, soft-plastic crayfish baits have intrigued scores of Midwest finesse anglers. Across those many years, these anglers have executed untold numbers of casts and retrieves with the Guido Bug and other soft-plastic crayfish, and they have inveigled countless numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.
Reins is a prominent Japanese tackle company that is noted for creating some very effective soft-plastic finesse baits. And at the 2012 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, it introduced the three-inch Ring Craw to anglers in the United States. (At the 2015 ICAST show, it introduced their four-inch Ring Craw Daddy.)
The three-inch Ring Craw is endowed with two bulbous claws. Each claw is surrounded with 13 prominent rings. The tip of each claw exhibits a radical hook or curve, and some anglers say that in their eyes the radical hook looks like a bottle opener. The claws are buoyant, and that allows them to rise off the bottom and replicate a pose that many anglers describe as a crayfish's defensive position.
Two antennae branch out from the tip of its nose. The top of its head is graced with two bubble-like eyes.
The back of its torso is relatively flat and adorned with an abstract rendition of a crayfish's carapace and cervical groove. Except for 16 pimples and the cervical grove, the skin that graces its back is smooth.
Its belly is slightly convexed and the skin is smooth.
Two appendages radiate off of each side of the torso.
Its abdomen, which many anglers describe as its tail, is round and encircled with five significant rings. A triangle-style appendage radiates off each side of its abdomen.
It is devoid of the fan-like tail that real-world crayfish possess. And it is at the tip of the abdomen that anglers will insert a hook, or if anglers opt to employ it on a Neko rig, they will insert the Neko-rig sinker into the tip of the abdomen
Midwest finesse anglers will rig it on either a 1/16-ounce or 3/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, and they might shorten it a touch by removing a quarter of an inch from the Ring Craw's abdomen. The sizes of the hooks on the standard mushroom-style jig that most Midwest finesse anglers normally employ are small, ranging in size from a No. 2 to a No. 4, and the gaps are small, too. Day in and day out, Midwest finesse anglers have found that small hooks are more effective than big ones. What's more, small hooks do less damage to the vast numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass that we catch each year.
The folks at Reins, however, recommend that anglers employ 1/o to 2/0 wide-gap hooks when it is affixed to a Carolina rig, split-shot rig, or slip-sinker rig, and No. 1 to 1/0 hooks when it is attached to a jig with a skirt or without a skirt.
It is available in the following colors: BB Craw, Black/Blue Flake, Black/red Flake, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Blue, Green Pumpkin Silver, Junebug, Scuppernong, and Watermelon Seed.
It is heavily impregnated with salt and shrimp scent.
Anglers can purchase a package of six for $5.99.
(1) Here is a link to a YouTube video that features the way Paul Mueller of Naugatuck, Connecticut, affixes a three-inch Ring Craw to a Punisher Lures Aspirin Head Jig and a customized Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits' Mini Skirt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZTiNkyBBKE.
(2) Here is a link to a gear guide we published about Reins' Bubbling Shaker: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/reins-fishing-tackles-bubbling-shaker/.
(3 ) Here is a link to a gear guide we published about Reins' Craw Tube: http://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/reins-fishings-craw-tube/.