January 22, 2020
By Ned Kehde
During the years before the advent of Midwest finesse fishing, several of its forefathers regularly used a split-shot rig. On their split-shot rigs, they affixed a live crayfish – preferably a small one.
For instance, Guido Hibdon of Gravois Mills, Missouri, and his father and brothers were devoted users of crayfish on split-shot rigs. Occasionally, they would trap and seine hundreds of crayfish and take them to Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas. At Bull Shoals, the Hibdons fished until they used the last crayfish. And during those journeys, they caught untold numbers of largemouth bass and spotted bass. Depending on how many crayfish they had trapped and seined, this was usually a two or three-day vacation from the Hibdons’ jobs as fishing guides at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The size and looks of Strike King Lure Company’s Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer reminds us of those halcyon days of the Hibdon clan.
Therefore, we asked Mark Copley of Collierville, Tennessee, who is Strike King’s Marketing Relationship Manager, to send us a few of these soft-plastic crayfish to examine and write a detailed Midwest Finesse gear guide about them.
Here is what we discovered about the Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer.
It is 2 15/16 inches long, and it is endowed several of the anatomical features of a real crayfish.
Its abdomen is fifteen-sixteenths of an inch long. This is where Midwest finesse anglers will insert the hook and collar or bait keeper of a mushroom-style jig.
The abdomen has four abstract versions of a crayfish’s tergum section. This four-tergum section is a half of an inch long. Each tergum is about one-eighth of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about one inch. Its ventral ranges from being slightly flat to being slightly convex with an epidermis that is smooth. The dorsal is convex, and except for the divisions or gaps between each tergum, the epidermis is smooth.
The abdomen’s telson and uropod section is extremely nonrepresentational. Most anglers call this the tip of the tail, and the dimensions of the tip are slightly smaller than the dimensions at the junction with the tergum section. It is seven-sixteenths of an inch long. Near the junction with the tergum section, it has a width of almost five-sixteenths of an inch and a circumference of about one inch.
The Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer’s cephalothorax section, which includes its head and thorax, is 1 1/8 inches long.
Except for the cephalic groove and the two eyes, the epidermis of the cephalothorax’s dorsal is smooth. Portions of its dorsal are flat, and other portions are slightly convex. The front portion of its ventral, which is about a half of an inch long, is flat. The back portion of the ventral, which is about thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long, is somewhat convex.
A real crayfish has four walking legs radiating from each side of the cephalothorax. The Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer has two. They are small, measuring three-eighths of an inch in length, and the tips are forked or V-shaped.
A cheliped extends from each side of the cephalothorax. The cheliped is crowned with a feature that anglers call a claw. At times, we have called it a crayfish’s fifth walking leg. The Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer’s cheliped is 1 3/8 inches long. The segment of that attaches the claw to the cephalothorax is a half of an inch long and one-eighth of an inch wide. The claw is thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long and three-eighths of an inch wide at its widest spot. Its entire ventral is flat with a smooth epidermis. Its entire dorsal is slightly convex with a smooth epidermis.
Radiating from each side of the head is an antenna. It is seven-sixteenths of an inch long. Each one is one-sixteenth of an inch wide at the base and slightly less than one-sixteenth of an inch wide at its tip. The dorsal is convex, and the ventral is flat. The epidermis is smooth.
- To our chagrin, Mark Copley emailed us on Jan. 14 and told us that Strike King has stopped manufacturing the Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer. But it is still available at a variety of Internet retailers. It is available in the following hues: Black Blue Flake, Green Pumpkin, Natural Craw, Pumpkin, and Watermelon Red Flake. It is not buoyant. The price for a package of five varies from $1.69 to $2.18.
- After Midwest finesse anglers affix the Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer to a small mushroom-style jig, they will present it to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass by employing all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. Here the link to our Midwest Finesse column that explains how and where to employ those six retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.