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Jennifer Spurgeon

Finessing the bucket mouth.

By Nic DiGravio

"Hey, do you see that log sticking out of the weeds?" , "Where?" ,"Right there!". "I see it now. Who is going to make the cast?" Nick asked. I replied, "You are. You have the right bait for the job.". Well Nick made the cast and as soon as it hit the water the bucketmouth was right on the bait. "There's one! " It was a 'big'n' too, but in the end he lost the fish. We both looked at each other and said simultaneosly "We will come back for that baby." Well we did come back alright, and with the same bait, we caught that same fish.

The great thing about finesse fishing for bucketmouth is that it doesn't spook them into permanent hiding so you can come back to try your luck again. The trick is to go as light as possible with the bait so that the entry into the water is quiet. Stealth and accuracy is what it's all about, while still being able to cast. You can rig your bait weightless if you want, which I think is the way to go, providing you can still cast. If you like to use bait casting reels you might need a 1/8th or 3/16th ounce weight to get it out there, but by using a spincasting rig you can easily cast. Be sure that you have a good rod with your spinning gear. You will need something with a lot of backbone, but with a fast tip to get that light bait out there. If it's too windy, you might need to put a little weight on the bait any way to keep it in the strike zone. If it's too light the wind will easily arch your line and pull your finesse bait away from your target unless you compensate for the wind.

Let's touch on some of the baits that you can finesse, keeping in mind that there are a whole lot of them to choose from. The Slugo, makes a great finesse bait rigged on its own weedless. When you cast this bait, there is barely a ripple, and that's what you want. The Gambler Flappn' Shad is also a great finesse bait, just watch as that Flapn' tail does its thing. I like to finesse 7" Berkley Power Worms in black or even the 7" lizards with spinning gear. Try finessing a 3" Berkley Craw to call in the big hogs from the nearest haunts too. And don't forget, Storm has come out with some great minnow imitating soft plastics that can be finessed as well.

You can virtually use any soft bait for finesse fishing, it all boils down to how it's rigged and how it's fished in the water. Remember, the key to finesse fishing is to make a stealth approach. Happy fishing!

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