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Chalk Talk: Lee’s finesse playbook

Chalk Talk: Lee’s finesse playbook

(Editor's note: The following is the latest installment in a series of fishing tips presented by The Bass University. Check back each Friday for a new tip.)

Jordan Lee isn’t afraid to have a spinning rod – or several of them – on the deck of his boat anytime he’s competing for cash. His two Classic trophies, and specifically the latter one earned at Hartwell, demonstrate his willingness to do what it takes to win.

He’s not the only one. “There’s been a lot of money won on a spinning rig,” the young Alabama pro said.

Like most of his peers, he’s caught thousands of fish on a dropshot and shaky-head, but the newest technique that has captured his fancy is the Neko rig. He’s not quite sure how to pronounce it, but in recent seasons it has become his go-to finesse tool. It works 12 months out of the year, can be fished from 2 feet down to 40 feet, and it’s effective from the coldest period of the year through the most sweltering parts of the summer. Additionally, it works equally well on largemouths, smallmouths and spotted bass.

His rig starts with a No. 1 or No. 2 wacky-rig hook, often the one from the Berkley fusion lineup. Some anglers go larger, but he said that the smaller version allows his soft plastic to wiggle more freely. Also, the hookup percentage is incredibly high. “It doesn’t take much for that hook to bury up in the fish,” he said. The vast majority of the time he’ll use a 3/32-ounce nail weight, sealing it into his worm with a drop of super glue, but sometimes he’ll go up as high as 1/8, typically when fishing larger plastics in deep water on lakes like Guntersville. No matter the size, the weight goes in the worm’s head.

He puts an O-Ring around the worm’s egg sack and then runs the hook through both the worm and the ring.

He fishes this rig on a 7-foot Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier spinning rod paired with a Revo MGX reel, the same combo he uses for every finesse spinning technique. He spools up the reel with 8-pound Berkley x5 braid, to which he affixes a leader of 8-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon. Sometimes he’ll go as high as 12-pound fluoro if he’s around heavier cover or bigger fish.

His favorite lure for this technique is the Berkley The General stick worm – 5 inches for most presentations, although the 4-inch size often gets the call in smallmouth country. In deep-water situations around larger fish, he’ll often go to the Berkley Fatty Bottom Hopper, a slightly larger bait. “You can fish it on ledges at Guntersville,” he said. “It’s a great ledge bait.” In either case he relies heavily on green-pumpkin and green-pumpkin party patterns.

He loves the Neko Rig because it presents fish with a fall they haven’t seen before, and catches both numbers of fish and big fish.

“I’ve caught multiple 7-pounders in one day on a ledge on a Neko Rig,” he said.

If you want to learn some of the other keys to Lee's Classic-winning finesse secrets, including the scenarios in which he uses a dropshot or shaky-head instead of the Neko rig, check out his full video, available only by subscribing to The Bass University TV.

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