On April 4, 2012, we published a Midwest finesse column entitled "The super finesse worm." Then on May 3, 2012, we published a column entitled "The super finesse worm, an update."
The April 4 column featured a slightly shortened Z-Man's Fishing Products' Junebug Finesse WormZ affixed to a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig. This combo caught 102 largemouth bass, seven crappie, and one bluegill, and they were caught on Mar. 26 and 27, 2012, and it took five hours to accomplish this deed. This Finesse WormZ rig also tangled with about two dozen bass that didn't make it into the boat.
The May 3 column featured another slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's Junebug Finesse WormZ on a blue 1/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig that tangled with 181 largemouth bass.
Since we published those two columns, we have not published another one that lauds the astonishing durability of a Z-Man's Finesse WormZ that is affixed to a Gopher's 1/16-ounce jig. Nor have we written a column that focuses on its ability to inveigle unbelievable numbers of largemouth bass. That has been a major mistake on our part. As a result of that mistake, many of the new devotees of Midwest finesse fishing are unaware of the incredible effectiveness of the Finesse WormZ, and these anglers' minds, either the Finesse T.R.D. (The Real Deal) or the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ are the baits to use.
Even when the folks at Z-Man began to cater to the burgeoning world of Midwest finesse anglers in 2014, they failed to promote the four-inch Finesse WormZ as a critical part of the Midwest finesse repertoire. Instead, Z-Man focused on the Finesse ShadZ, Finesse T.R.D. (The Real Deal), and Hula StickZ.
Before the advent of those three soft-plastic finesse baits, the Finesse WormZ and its sibling Strike King Lure Company's four-inch Super Finesse Worm, which is manufactured by Z-Man for Strike King, was our primary Midwest finesse tool. At that time it had no peers in the vast world of finesse worms, and to this day, it is still unrivaled. Therefore, on Oct. 10, we penned an email to Daniel Nussbaum of Ladson, South Carolina, who is Z-Man's general manager and executive vice president, asking him why Z-Man does not include their four-inch Finesse WormZ in its finesse system.
Nussbaum responded on Oct. 12, and he wrote: "For whatever reason, the Finesse WormZ has not sold as well as our other finesse baits. Maybe it's due to our lack of promoting it with the rest of the finesse system, or perhaps it's because it looks like many other finesse worms on the market — I'm really not sure exactly why. Part of the reason, I think, is because national retailers €¦ have shied away from stocking it. So it's not as readily available as some of the other baits. Since it's such an effective bait for you and others who are really dialed in with this technique, we'll definitely start trying to do a better job of promoting it as part of the finesse system."
Our exchange of emails also corresponded with some bountiful outings with the Finesse WormZ, which spawned the idea to write and publish this update to our 2012 columns that lauded the manifold virtues of the Finesse WormZ.
The first bountiful outing occurred on Oct. 9, when Rick Hebenstreit of Shawnee, Kansas, and I caught 121 largemouth bass in four hours. The majority of them were caught on a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ that was affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig.
After that Oct. 9 outing, I began an extended test of the durability and bass-catching virtues of a slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ that was affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce Gopher jig. These tests were conducted at three flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, and all three of these small reservoirs are afflicted with heavy predation from anglers.
When the test ended, our fish counter indicated that this Finesse WormZ and Gopher jig caught 238 largemouth bass, six crappie, one bluegill, and one warmouth. This feat was accomplished in 14 1/2 hours of fishing: four hours on Oct. 21, 3 1/2 hours on Oct. 23, three hours on Nov. 4, and four hours on Nov. 5. It caught an average of 16.4 largemouth bass an hour.
Rick Hebenstreit, who joined me on the final test outing on Nov. 5, said that there is no other finesse bait in the world that can match that feat. What's more, he noted that as the Finesse WormZ ages and become more torn and tattered that it seems to become more alluring in the eyes of the largemouth bass.
(1) Anglers can read about how and where we employed the slightly shortened four-inch Z-Man's green-pumpkin Finesse WormZ that was affixed to a 1/16-ounce Gopher jig by reading the logs for Oct. 9, 21, and 23 in our column entitled "Midwest Finesse Fishing: October 2015." Here is the link to that column: https://www.in-fisherman.com/bass/midwest-finesse-fishing-october-2015/. Anglers can read about our Nov. 4 and 5 outings with that Finesse WormZ rig in our Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2015 column, which will be published in December.
(2) Here is the link to our April 4, 2012, column: https://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/04/04/the-super-finesse-worm/.
(3) Here is the link to our May 3, 2012, column: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/the-super-finesse-worm-an-update/.
(4) Cory Schmidt of Merrifield, Minnesota, is a longtime and talented In-Fisherman field editor. And on June 18, 2012, he sent us an email account that focused on the effectiveness of a four-inch Z-Man's PB&J Finesse WormZ.
Just wanted to drop you a note about this amazing bait-- the Z-Man Finesse WormZ. Was in NE South Dakota, fishing a variety of glacial and pothole lakes last week. Decided to rig one of these baits in the PB&J pattern onto a 3/16-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig, while everyone else in our party was pitching jigs tipped with a half nightcrawler.
As it turned out, I caught over 20 bass and perhaps a dozen walleyes on the very same worm. In fact, it would have likely continued to produce had a pike not finally eaten the whole package in one toothy gulp. Nobody in our party could believe how many fish could be taken on a single soft-plastic bait.
What really amazed me about the bait, though, is that the material seemed to form an almost slime-coat sort of effect as it remained in water; almost a gummy feel. I've never used a soft-plastic bait that developed this sort of texture when wet. It really was quite remarkable. And the fish-- mostly smallmouth bass -- absolutely gobbled it.
Have you ever noted this slimy/gummy effect on these baits? Or, what can you tell me about this phenomenon?
Best presentation was a simple slow drag/infrequent twitch maneuver, as the jig slid across old submerged roadbeds. Can't wait to become better acquainted with Z-Man baits as the season progresses.
I'm finally starting to see what you've been trying to tell me about these baits for some time!
(4) Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virginia, is a regular contributor to the Finesse News Network who files logs about how, when, and where he employs Midwest finesse tactics on the rivers of eastern West Virginia. He is also a Finesse WormZ aficionado. When Myers uses the Finesse WormZ, he shortens and creates a three-inch Finesse WormZ, and he affixes it to a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig. He says that it works wonders on a 1/32-ounce Gopher Mushroom Head Jig. And its durability is unrivaled in the finesse-worm world.
(5) After Daniel Nussbaum read the Finesse News Network report about our outing on Nov. 4, he sent us an email, and he said: "I know that a well-worn ElaZtech bait is worth more than its weight in gold, but would it be possible for you to mail that worm to me? We're considering an ad concept that depicts baits like this that have caught unbelievable numbers of fish to highlight the material's durability." We sent it to him.