Roger Lee Brown
"The Bass Coach"
Bass Fishing School
at Crown Point, NY
By The Bass Coach
Finesse fishing is pretty much nothing more than "Down
Sizing" a particular type of bait or lure. When it comes to winter
fishing, or times throughout the year that are considered to be
in-active, most anglers will find more success at catching bass by
"Down Sizing" or "Finesse" fishing. Finesse fishing patterns are
usually fished at a much slower rate as far as "pattern" or
"technique" goes due mostly to the inactive bass during these
periods. The biggest factor an angler should be aware of is that the
bass’s metabolism slows way down in colder water temperatures thus
making them very "in-active" or "Lethargic," and a bass will not
extend great amounts of energy during these colder water temperature
periods. By nature, it seems that a bass will always extend the
least amount of energy for the greatest amount of benefit, that’s
why a bass is considered to be more of an ambush fish than a chaser.
There are a few tricks or as some would say a few "How-To’s"
when fishing a Finesse pattern, and I will explain some of the
techniques or patterns used for Finesse fishing that may help you to
become a better angler when it comes to these "cold water" or
First....., lets talk about plastics. Four inch plastic
baits such as "French Fries", also known as Centipedes, "Grubs,"
"Worms," "Crawls," "Tubes," or any other smaller types of plastic
baits are a good choice to use for Finesse fishing. The most
successful techniques or patterns using these small plastics would
- A. Rig these baits like a "Texas Rig" using a thin
wire hook and by using the lightest weight possible (just light
enough so that the plastic bait just barley falls through the
water.), let the bait completely fall to the bottom, and just
make a slow twitch, slowly reel the bait back in, then do it
- B. If the water is more than 40’ deep, try to find
any structure within this depth, a steep bank, rocks, or any
irregular drops, positioning your boat in the deeper water, cast
over these areas and let your bait pendulum fall (swing) itself
back under the boat.
- C. If you have underwater structure areas like
tree-tops, old buildings, rocks, and underwater vegetation, a
technique known as "doodling" can be successful at catching
bass. When "doodling" a Finesse bait, let the bait go down to
where it suspends just over these structure areas and just
lightly twitch the bait and let it just hang. Repeat this over
and over again leaving the bait in the water just above the
structure and hold on!
- D. "Carolina Rigging" can also be used for finesse
fishing!, just use lighter hooks, weights, and baits.
- E. One rig that has proven to be deadly is the
"Double Rig." Sometimes when you’re not sure what type of baits
to use, this "Double Rig" allows an angler to use two baits at
once. First, tie a Jig&Pig on your line, then tie a 2’ to 4’
leader off the Jig&Pig, then tie a hook on the end of the leader
(making sure that you use no weight) and rig a plastic bait on
the hook. Work this pattern just as you would a "Carolina Rig".
Now, you have two choices for the bass to zero in on.
- F. When fishing a Crankbait pattern during these cold
or in-active periods, and you can see by looking at your graph
that the bass are in the 20’ to 40’ depth, and the shad or bait
fish are only small in size: how would you get a small crankbait
to dive down to these depths? Easy!, tie a small crankbait on a
Carolina Rig! There are more techniques and patterns to use for
Finesse fishing, but these are a start for you to try!
I teach several different patterns and techniques to my
Bass School Students as well as use them when fishing with my Bass
Guide Clients. Finesse Fishing can be fished "Year Round" and will
bring success when nothing else seems to work. Try these methods and