August 20, 2017
By Ned Kehde
Since 2012, several Midwest finesse anglers have been infatuated with Z-Man's Fishing Products' FattyZ. At times, we have been so infatuated with its ability to inveigle largemouth bass and smallmouth bass in the waterways that we fish that we have published three gear guides and more than 3,049 words about it. And in our monthly guides to Midwest finesse fishing, we have penned scores more of words about how, when, and where we used it.
We published our first gear guide about it in a Midwest Finesse column on July 23, 2012. We noted that it is almost five inches long, which is too long for our Midwest finesse tactics. And we described how we customize it, making a 2 1/2-inch stickbait with a bulbous tail and a 2 1/2-inch tube. And as we began using the 2 1/2-inch stickbait affixed to a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig, we discovered that its bulbous tail undulates and gyrates more than any stickbait we have ever used.
On Aug. 8, 2012, we published another gear guide about it that focused on how, when, and where we used it on our family's vacation in Minnesota, proclaiming that it was our most effective Midwest finesse rig.
Daniel Nussbaum of Ladson, South Carolina, is the president of Z-Man, and we received an email from him on Feb. 10, 2013. At that time, he was the general manager and executive vice president of Z-Man. He told us in the email that he had been using a radically customized version of the FattyZ. He accomplished that feat by cutting off a half of an inch of the head of the FattyZ and 2 1/2-inches of its tail section, and he glued the head and tail together to create a three-inch FattyZ. He also said Z-Man was in the throes of using his three-inch creation as a prototype for a FattyZ that would suit the fancies of the Midwest finesse anglers. But that three-incher did not make it out of the prototype phase.
In a gear guide that we published on Mar. 7, 2013, we wrote: "As the late summer and fall of 2012 unfolded into the winter of 2012-13 in northeastern Kansas, the 2 1/2-inch tail segment of a FattyZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head jig became one of our most effective Midwest finesse baits for alluring largemouth bass -- especially in waters as cold as 40 degrees. It even surpassed our traditional standard-bearer, which is the 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ. (What's more, the 2 1/2-inch head that is customized into a tube has been an extremely profitable tool at times for alluring largemouth bass, such as a five-pound, 11-ouncer that we caught at a 2,600-acre power-plant reservoir on Jan. 7[,2013].)"
For the past four years, the devotees of the 2 1/2-inch FattyZ have been hoping that Z-Man would eventually manufacture the three-inch rendition that Nussbaum created. And to their surprise, Z-Man introduced a new rendition of the FattyZ to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show on July 11-14, 2017, at Orlando, Florida. This rendition is called the Mag FattyZ, which is 7 1/4 inches long. Of course, it is way too long for Midwest finesse tactics. But it is much easier to customize the Mag FattyZ than it is to customize the original FattyZ, and now we can use a pair of Fiskar Scissors and easily make a three- to four-inch FattyZ out of the tail section of a Mag FattyZ. And we can use the front portion of its torso and head as a fat stickbait.
The original FattyZ was difficult for Midwest finesse anglers to customize because along its belly there is a deep hook slot that is 1 1/2-inches long, and because the hook slot is so deep, there is no place to insert the hook and collar of a mushroom-style jig. The hook slot, however, allowed us to use a pair of Fiskar Scissors to create a series of tentacles and a tube-style bait with a solid head.
To our delight, the Mag FattyZ does not have a hook slot, which allows us to create a variety of lengths of the tail section of the Mag FattyZ and of its head and torso section.
Since the advent of the Mag FattyZ, and coupled with the abilities of Midwest finesse anglers to customize soft-plastic baits with a pair of Fiskar Scissors, there is no need for Z-Man to manufacture the three-inch one that Nussbaum customized in 2012. In essence, we are finally in the FattyZ Nirvana.
And that Nirvana manifested itself on July 29 on my first cast with a 3 1/4-inch Z-Man's watermelon-red Mag FattyZ affixed to a customized-red 1/15-ounce Z-Man's NedlockZ jig. On the initial drop of that cast, I caught a largemouth bass and many more after that cast.
It is available in eight colors: Black/Blue Laminate, California Craw, Canada Craw, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Plum, Watermelon, Candy, and Watermelon Red.
It is impregnated with salt, and 25 percent of its body weight is salt.
A package of six sells for $4.99. The ElaZtech material from which the Mag FattyZ is manufactured is extremely durable, and a package of six ought to have the wherewithal to withstand at least 300 donnybrooks with largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
(1) Here is the link to our first gear guide on the FattyZ: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-network-gear-guide-z-mans-fattyz/.
(2) Here is the link to our second gear guide about the FattyZ: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-network-gear-guide-z-mans-fattyz-an-update/.
(3) Here is the link to our third gear guide about the FattyZ: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-z-mans-three-inch-fattyz-prototype.
(4) Lately, some Midwest finesse anglers have had a hankering for Z-Man to make a fat ZinkerZ or T.R.D., but now Midwest finesse can create a fat stickbait with a pair of Fiskar Scissors by cutting the Mag FattyZ in half.
(5) From Aug. 4 to Aug. 18, we have worked with either a 3 1/2-inch or a 3 3/4-inch section of the Mag FattyZ tail on seven outings. These outings encompassed 21 hours of fishing at five flatland reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, where the largemouth bass fishing was problematic. Across those 23 hours, we caught 203 largemouth bass. We used our Mag FattyZ tail rigs during 15 of those 23 hours, and they inveigled 136 of the 203 largemouth bass. We rigged the Mag FattyZ tail on either a 1/15- or a 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig. The heads of our mushroom-style jigs were painted either blue or chartreuse. This is not a stellar catch rate, but the largemouth bass fishing in northeastern Kansas hase been unusually difficult this summer.