October 25, 2017
By Ned Kehde
Midwest finesse anglers are perpetually in search of small creature baits.
To these anglers gratification, Z-Man Fishing Products created one, which they introduced to the angling world at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida, on July 12.
Z-Man named it the TRD HogZ, and they refer to it as a miniature rendition of their Boar HogZ.
During the winter of 2016-17, we were honored to field test the TRD HogZ in the cold-waters of the flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas. To our delight, it caught a bounty of largemouth bass during the month of February, and we wrote glowingly about its effectiveness in our logs that are distributed on the Finesse News Network and published in our guide entitled "Midwest Finesse Fishing; February 2017." In fact, there were spells in February when it was the only efficacious Midwest finesse rig.
It is three inches long.
Its head is cylinder-shaped and an 1/8 of an inch long. The head's circumference is 7/8 of an inch. It is smooth skinned. The top or tip or nose of the head is flat, which allows it to fit flush to the back of a mushroom-style jig, such as Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig or their TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead.
Its torso is 1 13/16 inches long, with a circumference of 1 15/16 inches and a width of 7/16 of an inch at its widest spot. It possesses somewhat of an oval shape. Most of its torso is encircled with a series of 24 significant ribs, and this rib section encompasses 1 3/8 inches of the torso.
Three small appendages, which are 3/8 of an inch long, radiate from each side of the midsection of the torso. These appendages abstractly replicate the swimmerets that adorn the anatomy of a crayfish's abdomen.
The end of it torso is bullet- or cone-shaped, and it is 3/8 of an inch long and smooth skinned. It is adorned with two long appendages, which radiate from the side of the cone-shaped portion of the torso. The folks at Z-Man describe them as either legs or tails, which are tapered. The outside length of each leg is 1 9/16 inches long, and the inside portion is 1 1/8 inches long. The top half of each leg is flat and relatively wide and smooth skinned. One side of the bottom half of each leg is adorned with a series of minute ribs or etches, and the other side of each leg is smooth skinned.
Attached to the bottom of each leg is a small foot, which is flat and somewhat resembles the blade segment of a canoe paddle. One side of the foot is smooth skinned, and the other side is embellished with a series of minute ribs or etches.
It is manufactured from a substance that Z-Man calls ElaZtech, which makes the TRD HogZ very buoyant, durable, and flexible. One TRD HogZ possesses the durability to withstand donnybrooks with more than 50 largemouth bass before it becomes too tattered and torn to stay snuggly affixed to a mushroom-style jig.
To the delight of many finesse anglers, they are not impregnated with salt, which makes them very buoyant and durable. When soft-plastic baits are devoid of salt, Midwest finesse anglers have notice that they glide better than the ones that are permeated with salt, and gliding is a critical element in the Midwest finesse style of fishing.
It is available in the following colors: Black/Blue, California Craw, Canada Craw, Dirt, Drew's Craw, Molting Craw, Mudbug, PB&J, and The Deal.
A package of six can be purchased for $4.49.
(1) When the TRD HogZ is attached to a 1/15-, 1/16-, 1/20-, or 1/32-ounce mushroom-style jig, anglers can employ all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves around all kinds of shallow-water lairs throughout the year. For example, in February of 2017, I caught largemouth bass on a green-pumpkin TRD HogZ affixed to a chartreuse 1/16-ounce mushroom-style jig on a swim-glide-and-shake retrieve in five to 10 feet of water that was 38 to 41 degrees. Across the years, Midwest finesse anglers who fish the flatland reservoirs in eastern Kansas and western Missouri have discovered that a light or small jig is almost always more effective than a heavy or big jig, and this is especially true when anglers use a soft-plastic bait as dainty as the TRD HogZ.
(2) Here is the link to our February 2017 guide: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/midwest-finesse-fishing-february-2017/.
(3) Here is the link to our column that describes how, when, and where to employ the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves: http://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.