May 27, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Steve Quinn noted in his feature article in In-Fisherman magazine's June issue that Berkley Glup! and ElaZtech continue to dominate bass fishing.
Since Oct. 12, 2006, several of Z-Man Fishing Products' ElaZtech baits have gradually become the dominate baits in the repertoire of Midwest finesse anglers.
For the finesse practitioners in northeastern Kansas, Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, Finesse WormZ, Rain MinnowZ and ZinkerZ are the mainstays. The ZinkerZ is five inches long, and Midwest finesse anglers cut it in half, making 2 1/2-inches long. All of these baits are affixed to a jig, and many Midwest finesse anglers opt for Gopher Tackle's Original Mushroom Head Jig.
When Z-Man introduced the 3.75-inch StreakZ in 2011, many northeastern Kansas finesse anglers thought that it would quickly become part of our mainstays for plying our flatland reservoirs, but most of us haven't been able bewitch enough bass with it to develop a lot of confidence in it.
Clyde Holscher, who is a multispecies guide from Topeka, Kansas, has worked with it more than any northeastern Kansas angler, and he has occasionally tangled with nice-sized smallmouth bass at Coffey County Lake and Melvern Lake.
But it wasn't until May 9, when Clyde Holscher was guiding a pair of anglers at Coffey County Lake, that the 3.75-inch StreakZ performed the way many of us thought it would.
On this outing, Holscher and the two anglers wielded the 3.75-inch StreakZ in the shiner hue. It was affixed to either a blue or chartreuse 1/16-ounce round-headed jig with a No. 4 hook.
These three anglers were using spinning outfits to cast the StreakZ around shallow flat points and across shallow sections of submerged roadbeds. In fact many of the spots that they were fishing were cover with only three feet or less of water.
Their most productive retrieve was the one that the late Charlie Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, called the do-nothing retrieve, which consist of slowly turning the reel handle, holding the rod dead still and allowing the bait to swim without any shakes, twitches or added action.
By the time this threesome executed their last casts of the day, they had caught 86 smallmouth bass, six freshwater drum, five wipers, two walleye and one channel catfish.
The problem that confounds many Midwest finesse anglers who ply the flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas is that the bait fish population is often paltry. Therefore, the largemouth and smallmouth bass are rarely piscivores. Instead, they seem to spend most of their days and nights foraging upon a variety of invertebrates. Perhaps that is why the 3.75-inch StreakZ, which emulates a bait fish, isn't as alluring to the black bass in northeastern Kansas flatland reservoirs as it is elsewhere.
For instance, last September at Table Rock Lake, Missouri, it was the best bait we found for alluring the suspended and surfacing spotted and largemouth bass that were foraging on schools of threadfin shad. Then it was used on a 3/32-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig.
What's more, anglers who plied mesotrophic lakes in Canada that were graced with smelt found the 3.75-inch StreakZ and jig combo was the best way to entice smallmouth bass that were foraging upon smelt during the late summer of 2011. These anglers were also amazed by the durability of the StreakZ.
We also heard that smallmouth bass anglers on several of the Great Lakes have been impressed with its effectiveness.
Despite the trying times that we have experienced with the 3.75-inch StreakZ in northeastern Kansas, we are impressed with what Holscher and his clients' achieved on May 9. Thus, we will start testing it on a regular basis, and we suspect that it might pay exceptional dividends in August and September, which is when our largemouth bass inhabit offshore patches of coontail and pondweed and become more piscivorous than they are during the other 10 months of the year. In addition, we will employ the do-nothing retrieve rather than the swim-glide-and-shake, drag-and-shake, hop-and-bounce, and drag and deadstick retrieves.
They should be a fine addition to the repertoire of the temperate bass anglers who ply several of the reservoirs along the northern Ozarks and similar waterways across the nation.
In essence, at any waterway where the old-fashioned plastisol fluke-style bait works, the StreakZ should work better.
As 2012 continues to unfold, we will post more information about the 3.75 StreakZ, which is available in eight colors. The suggested retail price for a package of six extremely durable baits is $4.89.
Anglers who are interested in talking or fishing with Clyde Holscher about the StreakZ can contact him at 785-640-5463 or 785-267-0065.