April 24, 2017
Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, contacted the Finesse News Network on Mar. 26 and reported that he had crossed paths with Robert Shue of Waynesboro, Virginia. And Myers was euphoric about Shue's 2 3/4-inch Fat Stick.
Shue is the proprietor of River Rock Custom Baits, which he created in 2010. And he is also an ardent and veteran black bass angler, who possesses a special passion for pursuing the smallmouth bass that abide in the streams that enhance the countryside in his part of the world.
The 2 3/4-inch Fat Stick is a hand-poured Senko-style bait. It is not impregnated with salt. Therefore, it floats. In fact, Shue refers to them as "floating sticks."
In early February, one of Myers' friends sent him a small box of Fat Sticks. Since then, it has become his primary tool for catching the smallmouth bass that abide in the rivers and streams that crisscross the landscape of northeastern West Virginia.
Myers says the Fat Stick is tailor made for river smallmouth bass anglers, exclaiming that it is the finest Senko-style bait that he has ever affixed to a mushroom-style jig. According to Myers, it exhibits the most enthralling and unique undulations and quivers that he has ever seen.
Because of Mother Nature's unusually benevolent ways and the 2 3/4-inch Fat Stick, Myers enjoyed the most fruitful February he has ever had in his 11 years of pursuing riverine smallmouth bass in West Virginia.
Myers reports that the Fat Stick is relatively durable, and he extends the durability by using both ends of it. For example, when the head of the Fat Stick becomes too tattered and torn to stay firmly affixed to a mushroom-style jig, Myers removes the Fat Stick from the jig, turns it around, and reattaches the other end or the tail end of the Fat Stick to the jig. Myers estimates that each end of the Fat Stick can withstand donnybrooks with about 20 smallmouth bass.
According to River Rock Custom Baits' website, there are 10 standard colors of the Fat Stick. They are the Amber Smash, Baby Bass with Silver-Pearl, Bluntnose Shiner, Dark Baby Bass, Dark Erie Green, DC Custom, Green Pumpkin with Black, Gumbo, Mocha Jam, and Watermelon with Red. They are coffee scented.
In addition to the 10 standard colors, Mr. Shue will create customized colors for anglers, and he has made one for Myers, which is called Common Brown Crayfish. Myers describes it as "a work of beauty and the only color" that he will use on the waterways he fishes in northeastern West Virginia. Shue has the wherewithal to concoct virtually an unending array of customized colors, and in fact, he told Myers that an angler's "imagination is the only limitation" to the color schemes that he can create. In regard to the colors combinations of the customized Fat Sticks, Shue works with what he calls a match-the-hatch-or-forage philosophy, saying that color is a critical factor in the crystalline streams and rivers that the smallmouth anglers fish in his neck of the woods. Shue said his work with Myers to create the Common-Brown Crayfish Fat Stick epitomizes his endeavors to correctly match the hatch or forage.
Myers' customized Fat Stick is impregnated with a crayfish scent. Besides coffee and crayfish scents, Shue has an anise scent and several scent options for anglers to select.
A package of 12 coffee-scented Fat Sticks cost $5.99. For customized Fat Sticks, anglers have to order at least 300 of them. Shue notes that it can take up to two weeks for orders to be delivered.
(1) Here is the link to River Rock Custom Bait's website: https://river-rock-custom-baits.myshopify.com/products/2-3-4-fat-stick.
(2) In the weeks to come, we hope to publish more gear guides that feature other soft-plastic baits made by River Rock Custom Baits that Midwest finesse anglers can employ.
(3) From April of 2015 through September of 2016, Travis Myers was a regular contributor to our monthly guides to Midwest finesse fishing. Here are the links to those guides: