Skip to main content

Z-Man's T.R.D.

Z-Man's T.R.D.
The T.R.D. at the top is the Canada Craw hue. The middle one is California Craw. The bottom one is Green Pumpkin.

On Oct. 12, 2006, a pair of Midwest finesse anglers began using one of the forerunners of Z-Man Fishing Products' Finesse T.R.D. or The Real Deal, which was introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show on July 15 at Orlando, Florida.

On that fateful outing in 2006, these two anglers caught 109 largemouth bass from a 55-acre community reservoir in northeastern Kansas. And ever since then, the forerunners to the T.R.D. have been one of the principal baits in the repertoire of Midwest finesse anglers. The T.R.D. and its forerunners are short stick- or Senko-style baits, which Midwest finesse anglers attach to a lightweight mushroom-style jig.

Here is an abbreviated history about Z-Man's most recent work with Midwest finesse anglers and the evolution of the TRD:

Since the fall of 2011, Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, has been politely cajoling the folks at Z-Man to create a retail package of at least six baits that focuses on Midwest finesse applications.


Reese is one of the pioneers of Midwest finesse fishing. As a youngster in the 1960s, he fished a lot with the late Chuck Woods of Kansas City, who is deemed by some historians of angling to be the father of Midwest finesse fishing. Woods created the Beetle and Beetle Spin, as well as the first Texas-style jig-worm rig (which is called a shaky-head jig nowadays), Puddle Jumper, and several other innovative baits, which he always employed on a spinning rod. Ultimately, Reese competed in the first Bassmaster Classic at Lake Mead in 1971, where he finished in seventh place by employing Woods' Beetle, Beetle Spin and jig-worm rig, and like Woods and every Midwest finesse angler, Reese wielded those baits on spinning rods.


Reese says he cajoled Z-Man to the point that they finally humored him by introducing the Hula StickZ at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in 2012. The Hula StickZ, which Reese designed, is a four-inch stick- or Senko-style bait with four tentacles. It was designed to be affixed to a mushroom-style jig. Since 2012, it has allured untold numbers of smallmouth bass, as well as scores of largemouth bass, in a variety of waterways in the Midwest and Ontario, Canada.

It is important to note that in the eyes of a few veteran Midwest finesse anglers, the soft-plastic body of Woods' original Beetle, which he whittled out of a frayed Creme worm, was the first stick- or Senko-style bait, and some of the early practitioners of Midwest finesse tactics used to affixed the Beetle to either a 1/32- or 1/16-ounce jig, and they employed the Beetle-and-jig combo the same way the T.R.D. and the Hula StickZ are used today.

Before Reese began his campaign to convince Z-Man to develop a more comprehensive finesse package, their four-inch Finesse WormZ , Finesse ShadZ, Rain MinnowZ, and customized 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ were the key baits that Midwest finesse anglers used. In 2013, Z-Man stopped manufacturing the Rain MinnowZ, which was initially designed for saltwater applications, but Midwest finesse anglers in northeastern Kansas used it to catch endless numbers of largemouth bass. All these baits are made with a soft-plastic material that Z-Man calls ElaZtech.

In some ways, the 2 3/4-inch T.R.D. is a 2 1/2 ZinkerZ, but its body has a slightly different configuration. Its epidermis is not as porous, and it consists of three sections: one section that is about 1 1/8-inches long is graced with a series of dimples, a short middle section that is similar to an earthworm's clitellum, and a 1 1/4-inch section that is encircled with minute rings. It also possesses a softer ElaZtech formulation and different salt content than the ZinkerZ, and straight out of the package, it is softer than the ZinkerZ. To get a ZinkerZ as soft as the T.R.D., some Midwest finesse anglers used to submerge it in hot water for a spell. Like all of the Z-Man's ElaZtech baits, the T.R.D. is extremely durable. (One of the photographs below focuses on the durability of the T.R.D.)


In the eyes of some Midwest finesse anglers, the T.R.D. might possess some of the virtues that they relished in the now defunct Rain MinnowZ. For instance, after anglers use the T.R.D. for a while, it will become almost as buoyant as the Rain MinnowZ was, and buoyancy plays a critical role in the no-feel retrieve that Midwest finesse anglers like to employ.

Since the fall of 2013, several Midwest finesse anglers have worked with several prototypes of the T.R.D., and they have been impressed with its effectiveness at inveigling largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, as well as a variety of other species. (See the photographs below of two of the smallmouth bass that were caught on the T.R.D.) These anglers have found that either end of the T.R.D. can be affixed to a jig, and when one end becomes too tattered to stay affixed to the jig, the jig can be affixed to the other end, which extends the durability almost twofold.

It is available in eight colors: California Craw, Canada Craw, Copperteuse, Green Pumpkin, Junebug, Mud Minnow, New Money, and PB&J.


One online retailer sells a package of eight for $3.99.

Endnotes

In the days to come, we will publish several more gear guides that will feature  Z-Man's new Finesse ShroomZ jigs, 3 1/2-inch GrubZ, and 2 1/2-inch Slim SwimZ.

For more information about the T.R.D., read Ethan Dhuyvetter's review at this link: http://fishingtheback.com/products/product-reviews/z-man-finesse-trd/.

For more information about Drew Reese and Z-Man's efforts to create ElaZtech baits for Midwest finesse applications, please examine the following links: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-hula-stickz/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-network-gear-guide-z-mans-hula-stickz-finesse-shadz-and-2-12-inch-zinkerz-in-canadian-waterways-an-update/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-tactics-for-smallmouth-bass/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/z-man-goes-canada/.

For more information about Chuck Woods and Drew Reese, see this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/legends-of-the-heartland/.

Here is a link to Don Baldridge's YouTube feature on the T.R.D.: http://youtu.be/NA9fK-PBg5A.

Photographs

Drew Reese with a northeastern Kansas smallmouth bass that was bewitched during a field-testing endeavor on Oct. 2, 2013.

A smallmouth bass that Natalie Myers of Lawrence, Kansas, caught on a Canada Craw T.R.D. in the Northwoods of Minnesota on July 30.

This photograph focuses on the durability of the T.R.D. Drew Reese caught 44 Ontario smallmouth bass on this Coppertreuse T.R.D. before it became frayed enough that the shank of the hook was separated from the T.R.D.'s torso.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Doug Stange joins Capt. Aron Kastern on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin where they go after whitefish on ice.

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

The In-Fisherman crew head to Lake Erie to catch smallmouth bass.

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

“If that engine starts without my kill switch on, I ain't the one driving it,” Blake Broussard says after ejection video goes viral.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Their fighting ability is far superior to the largemouth bass—more par with muskies.The Case for Super Bass (AKA Snakeheads) Other Fish

The Case for Super Bass (AKA Snakeheads)

Steve Ryan - July 06, 2020

Their fighting ability is far superior to the largemouth bass—more par with muskies.

Familiar to veteran In-­Fisherman readers and anglers versed in fish sensory abilities.The Book on Bass Accessories

The Book on Bass

Steve Quinn - October 14, 2020

Familiar to veteran In-­Fisherman readers and anglers versed in fish sensory abilities.

When the leaves start to change colors, so does a walleye's attitudes.Top 3 Fall Spots for Walleyes Walleye

Top 3 Fall Spots for Walleyes

Ross Robertson - October 14, 2020

When the leaves start to change colors, so does a walleye's attitudes.

This walleye recipe is a colorful and delicious way to serve your most recent catch.Walleye Baked with Sweet Peppers & Onions Recipe Fish Recipes

Walleye Baked with Sweet Peppers & Onions Recipe

Tom Kavanaugh

This walleye recipe is a colorful and delicious way to serve your most recent catch.

See More Trending Articles

More Midwest Finesse

Ned Kehde breaks down the finer points of the Rabid Baits GobyRabid Baits Goby Midwest Finesse

Rabid Baits Goby

Ned Kehde - October 09, 2020

Ned Kehde breaks down the finer points of the Rabid Baits Goby

The head is ball-shaped and 98 percent of it consists of tungsten.Clam Drop Tg Jig Midwest Finesse

Clam Drop Tg Jig

Ned Kehde - October 29, 2020

The head is ball-shaped and 98 percent of it consists of tungsten.

Its soft-plastic body and tail are phthalate-free.Storm Lures' 360GT Searchbait Midwest Finesse

Storm Lures' 360GT Searchbait

Ned Kehde - August 31, 2020

Its soft-plastic body and tail are phthalate-free.

It is not a traditional ball- or round-headed jig.Missile Baits' NedBall Head Midwest Finesse

Missile Baits' NedBall Head

Ned Kehde - September 24, 2020

It is not a traditional ball- or round-headed jig.

See More Midwest Finesse

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now