May 03, 2012
By Ned Kehde
On April 4, we posted a blog about catching 102 largemouth bass on the same four-inch Z-Man Fishing Products' Junebug Finesse Wormz that was attached to a blue Gopher Tackle Company's 1/16-ounce Original Gopher Mushroom Jig Head.
Here's the link to that blog: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/04/04/the-super-finesse-worm/
In that blog, we noted that it was likely that we would continue to herald the durability and seductive nature of the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig in some blogs to come. And this is one of those blogs that trumpets the manifold virtues of this combo.
Here's what this combo accomplished on April 26, 28, 29, 30 and May 1:
On April 26, I fished with a friend from Overland Park, Kansas, at a 100-acre community reservoir in suburban Kansas City.
We fished from 11:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Our spinning outfits were rigged with the following baits: a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's purple-haze ZinkerZ affixed to a 1/16-ounce jig, a Z-Man's PB&J Rain MinnowZ on a 1/16-ounce jig, a four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ on a 1/16-ounce wacky jig, and a four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a 1/16-ounce jig.
My friend's jigs were generic ball or round-head jigs.
Except for the wacky rigged WormZ, my baits were dressed on Gopher Tackle Company's Original Mushroom Head Jig with a No. 4 Mustad hook. My wacky jig was a Zappu Inchy Wacky Jig.
We caught 75 largemouth bass, three saugeye, one crappie and one channel catfish, as well as a goodly number of bluegill, green sunfish and warmouth. None of the fish were lunkers. Both of us caught about the same number of fish.
Our most fruitful bait was the Junebug Finesse WormZ. We presented it to the largemouth bass by doing some deadsticking, as well as a lot of dragging and some shaking.
Most of the fish were extracted from rocky environs, and several of those rocky lairs were exceedingly snaggy.
During this outing, my friend lost four Finesse WormZs. Three were pulled off the jig by fish. One became snagged in the rocks, and he lost his jig and Finesse WormZ on this snag. I didn't lose any baits that were rigged to the Gopher jig, nor did I get that combo snagged. But I did lose one Finesse WormZ that adorned the Zappu Inchy Wacky Jig, which is not unusual.
Throughout an entire year, which encompasses about 125 outings, I rarely lose a Finesse WormZ or any of the Z-Man's soft-plastic finesse baits that I routinely use on a Gopher Mushroom Head Jig. One reason why I seldom lose a Finesse WormZ is the double barbs on the collar of the Gopher jig keep the Finesse WormZ securely affixed to the collar. Another reason is that the flat head of the jig and the small hook makes it extremely snag-free even though the hook is exposed. From my experience, the primary reason why my friend lost those four baits was that he was not using a Gopher jig.
( It needs to be noted that some of my friends, who don't use a Gopher Mushroom Head Jig, use super glue to affix the Finesse WormZ or ZinkerZ or Rain MinnowZ to the jig. The glue prevents a fish from liberating the Z-Man baits from the jig, but if anglers opt for a Gopher jig, they don't have to mess around with glue. What's more, without the glue, the collars of the jigs don't get gunked up with glue and ElaZtech, which is the material that the Z-Man's baits are made with, and if the baits aren't glued, anglers can readily change soft-plastic baits on the jig.)
During this April 26 outing, I caught 31 largemouth bass on the Junebug Finesse WormZ and blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. This combo had been used on several outings before this one.
On April 28, I fished from 11:30 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. at a 140-acre state reservoir, wielding the same four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ and blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig that I used on April 26. By employing a drag-and-shake retrieve, the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig combo tangled with 51 largemouth bass and several panfish. One of the bass weighed four pounds, five ounces, but the rest of the largemouth bass were small. Most of these fish were caught around rock-laden lairs on a drag-and-shake retrieve.
Thus, over a course of two outings, which encompassed eight hours and 15 minutes of fishing, this super worm and jig allured 82 bass, as well as a few other specimens.
On April 29, it rained until 2:30 p.m. After it stopped raining, I hightailed it to a 195-acre community reservoir, where I fished the dam and an adjacent shoreline from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., using the same Finesse WormZ and blue Gopher jig that had caught 31 largemouth bass on April 26 and 51 largemouth bass on April 28.
During this outing it was cloudy, and it sprinkled occasionally. The wind was nearly nil. The water was clear, and the surface temperature was 65 degrees.
The bass were exceptionally active and preferred the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig to be presented with a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve, and they wanted a lot of shaking. In fact, I can't ever recall shaking my rod as much as I did on this outing. By the time that I had executed my last shake, 53 largemouth bass, as well as some bluegill and green sunfish, had been bewitched by the FinesseWormZ and Gopher jig.
So, after three outings and 10 hours and 15 minutes of fishing, the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig had tangled with 135 largemouth bass, and this combo looked as if it still had the wherewithal to allure more largemouth bass on April 30.
On April 30, I took that four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ and blue 1/16-ounce Gopher jig to a 55-acre community reservoir. From 11:20 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., I worked this combo incessantly along rock-laden shorelines and some patches of American water willows.
For the first two and a half hours, the largemouth bass exhibited a hankering for the Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig to be retrieved with the swim-glide-and-shake motif, and they wanted the bait to perpetually shake and quiver. Thus I was constantly shaking the rod.
The wind was nil. It was cloudy and slightly misty until 1:45 p.m. Then as the sun began to appear, the largemouth bass became more and more difficult to allure.
From 11:29 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., this combo allured 36 largemouth bass and about a dozen bluegill and green sunfish. From 1:45 p.m. to 3:15, it inveigled only eight largemouth bass and a couple bluegill and green sunfish.
At 2:15 p.m., I decided that I should see if the bass would be enticed by another bait. On the first two casts with a Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse ShadZ affixed to a chartreuse Gopher jig, I caught two largemouth bass. For the next hour, I worked with both lures. The Finesse ShadZ caught only two largemouth bass, and Finesse WormZ caught four.
Thus across four outings and 14 hours and 10 minutes of fishing, this combo had tangled with 179 largemouth bass and a sundry of other specimens .
During this quest of seeing how many bass this Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig could catch, I developed a minor fraternal and even familial bond with these two items. I even felt a tad remorseful when I began using the Finesse ShadZ on another Gopher jig at 2:15 p.m. on April 30.
As I removed the Finesse WormZ from the Gopher jig to store in its original package at the end of the outing on April 30, I was a touch disheartened to see how tattered and torn it had become. In addition, the jig's hook exhibited a minor S-curve that a channel catfish dished out on April 26, and there was a touch of rust around the area where I used a pair of pliers to try to straighten the S-curve. I thought about retiring them forever, but as the ghost light of dawn on May Day graced the eastern horizon, I decided that the first day of May would be appropriate to keep on testing the wherewithal of this super finesse bait.
On this May 1 outing, I fished with another friend from Overland Park, Kansas, at that same 100-acre community lake in suburban Kansas City that I began the test to see how many largemouth bass that a four-inch Z-Man's Finesse WormZ and 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig could catch. Straightaway at the first offshore rock pile that we fished, this combo caught two bass. But as the second bass jumped, executing an acrobatic twist, an inch-and-a-half segment of the tail of the WormZ became detached. Thus, after I unhooked the bass and released it, I removed the WormZ from the Gopher jig and put it in a safe place so that it could be photographed for archival reasons.
By the way, the Gopher jig is still working. In fact, it helped catch several of the 55 largemouth bass, as well as some saugeye, bluegill, green sunfish and warmouth that we caught between 11: 10 a.m. and 4:10 p.m.