As the years in my angling résumé quickly add up, I find myself turning more and more to fishing a spinning rod. There are a lot of reasons for that, including the fact that the Midwest, where I fish for bass the most, has many small reservoirs that receive a fair amount of fishing pressure. Add to that a desire to catch more fish and be more productive in clearer water, which brings about the need to downsize lures.
With spinning gear, using 8-pound fluorocarbon line and presenting small baits to wary fish becomes much more practical. On top of that, it’s flat-out fun to catch 5-pound bass on this type of equipment.
The new Z-Man Finesse ShadZ is a superb spinning-rod bait. Due to its ElaZtech (the incredibly durable, naturally buoyant and non-toxic plastic used by Z-Man) composition, the 4-inch bait moves with the slightest twitch of the rod.
Fished by itself on a 2/0 light-wire extra wide gap-style hook, the Finesse ShadZ is a great shad-imitator in clear water. I found several other uses for it as well.
Obviously, this is a great lure for a dropshot setup, but my two favorite ways to fish the ShadZ are on a light-wire 1/8-ounce shakey-head, which is extremely deadly not only on largemouth but on smallmouth as well, and as part of a splitshot rig.
For the splitshot application, try casting the Finesse ShadZ on 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon line with a light-wire octopus-style open hook or a 2/0 light-wire Texas-style hook. Attach two or three small spiltshot about 2 feet ahead of the lure. Cast out along a dam or similar rocky area and let the lure fall on a slack line to the bottom.
If that doesn't draw an initial strike, hold the rod low to the water and slowly drag the lure a foot or two. Stop, reel up the slack and repeat. The strike usually results in your rod being pulled toward the water. Go with it, and then do a light sweep-set, which almost always drives the small hook home.
An 8-pack of Finesse ShadZ retails for $4.89. For more about Z-Man, click here.