The relics of the forefathers of bass fishing to modern-day finesse

The relics of the forefathers of bass fishing to modern-day finesse

For decades In-Fisherman has recommended versatility as a piscatorial attribute.  And on September 14, Brent Frazee ofParkville,Missouri, exhibited an extraordinary tribute to the art of versatility.  In the eyes of some bass anglers, however,  Frazee's versatility will look a touch odd and way out of date.

The out-of-date piece of Frazee's day began slightly after the first ghost light of dawn, when Warren Platt of Kansas City and Bill Sonnett of Jackson, Michigan, climbed into Frazee's boat at Riss Lake, Missouri, carrying two 1933 Heddon Pal seamless tubular steel rods fitted with either a Pflueger Supreme reel or Shakespeare Marhoff reel and a True Temper seamless tubular steel rod fitted with a Pflueger Nobby reel. The reels were spooled with 12-pound-test braided nylon line and a four-foot 12-pound-test monofilament leader. Each outfit sported a vintage topwater lure, such as an Arbogast Jitterbug, Creek Chub Baby Injured Minnow, Creek Chub Plunker, and Heddon Chugger.

Except for the line and leader, all of their tackle was more than a half of a century old.


Since the late 1990s, Frazee, who is the outdoors editor for the Kansas City Star, has fished with Platt, 72, and Sonnett, 67, a number of times and written several newspaper stories about them.


For instance, one of Frazee's recent stories on Sonnett appeared in the August 11 edition of the Kansas City Star, which featured Sonnett fishing Stony Lake, Michigan, wielding antique baitcasting equipment in his old-fashioned boat, which was powered by a 7.5 horsepower outboard motor and a pair of oars. On this outing, Sonnett tangled with an impressive array of bass, and the story about his catch can be seen at http://www.xploreutah.net/story/angler-proves-antique-fishing-equipment-still-works.


Platt and Sonnett are nationally known collectors of antique fishing tackle. Both have become exceedingly proficient at wielding these old wares and catching bass with them. They also compete in tournaments, such as the Missouri Old Time Tackle Tournament, at which anglers must employ tackle, including the line,  that was manufactured before 1940. The Missouri tourney combines distance and accuracy casting competitions, as well as a bass fishing contest.

When Platt and Sonnett joined Frazee on their September 14 crack-of-dawn outing, they inveigled 27 largemouth bass, including one that almost weighed six pounds that Platt allured to his ancient Baby Injured Minnow.

Later that day, about three hours before the hot, late summer sun was setting on the western horizon and cutting apricot- and raspberry-colored ribbons out of a massive bank of stratus clouds, Frazee made a 180-degree turn in his approach for catching largemouth bass atRissLake. On this twilight outing, he became a finesse angler, working with a six-foot, light-powered St. Croix Premier spinning rods. His spinning reels were spooled with four-pound-test monofilament. To his line, he tied a 1/16-ounce black jig. Each jig sported Z-Man's 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ in either an PB&J or a Junebug hue, a Z-Man's  four-inch Finesse ShadZ in a green pumpkin shade, a Kalin grub in a bluegill pattern, and  a Gene Larew Lures' smoke-and-silver-flake Swimming Minnow.


On his evening outing, he and Bruce Cochran of Kansas City tangled with 23 largemouth bass, but these bass were considerably smaller than the ones that Platt and Sonnett caught with their antique tackle on their morning outing.

Across the past decade, Frazee has become a devotee to finesse angling for bass, and at the same time, he finds that wielding antiques lures for bass is an intriguing way for the serious recreational bass anglers to develop an appreciation of the history of this great sport.

In Frazee, Platt and Sonnett's eyes, an understanding of how the forefathers of bass fishing, such as Jason Lucas, dealt with the mysterious ways of their quarry will help contemporary anglers become more knowledgeable and perhaps more proficient at pursuing their quarry.


Consequently, Frazee acknowledges that his antique outings with Platt and Sonnett have mysteriously made him a better practitioner of finesse tactics for catching largemouth bass

What's more, Frazee notes that antique and finesse tactics prove that serious recreational anglers don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on state-of-the-art equipment to catch their beloved quarry.

Recommended for You

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance. Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make an irresistible and addictive crust for catfish fillets Fish Recipes

Pecan-Crusted Catfish Fillets Recipe

Emilie Bailey

This is not your run-of-the-mill fish recipe! Buttery, savory pecans are seasoned up to make...

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley. Bass

Sensational New Softbaits for Bass

Steve Quinn - April 22, 2019

Steve Quinn talks new softbaits for bass from Berkley.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Secrets to Busting Big Fish

Secrets to Busting Big Fish

The In-Fisherman staff tackles super-tough customers, trolling up 50-inch muskies!

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

Room Full of New Gear from L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean's Jeff Miller shares a room-full of new gear for 2020 with Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

The Best Catfish Rigs

In-Fisherman - January 11, 2018

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

See More Stories

More Midwest Finesse

Designed by Micheal Iaconelli, the Berkley Powerbait Water bug provides a unique profile and action. Midwest Finesse

Berkley Fishing's Powerbait Water Bug

Ned Kehde - November 25, 2019

Designed by Micheal Iaconelli, the Berkley Powerbait Water bug provides a unique profile and...

Here is what we discovered about the Finesse Craw. Midwest Finesse

Lunkerhunt's Finesse Craw

Ned Kehde - November 06, 2019

Here is what we discovered about the Finesse Craw.

Incredibly effective on a Ned Rig, but lethal on a variety of other presentations. Midwest Finesse

Strike King Lure Company's Rage Ned Cut-R Worm

Ned Kehde - December 17, 2019

Incredibly effective on a Ned Rig, but lethal on a variety of other presentations.

See More Midwest Finesse

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.