Bass Fishing Tip: Lighten Up To Get More Bites

Veteran professional angler Shaw Grigsby is no stranger to thick cover and gnarly conditions, but when he needs more bites he downsizes his line size.

Bass Fishing Tip: Lighten Up To Get More Bites

Veteran angler Shaw Grigsby is no stranger to catching big bass on finesse tactics, which means using lighter light. Fluorocarbon line is one of the best to use for finesse fishing thanks to its strength and ability to 'disappear' in the water. (Photo: Seaguar Line)

Bass fishing isn’t always easy. Weather conditions such as cold fronts and high-pressure systems, as well as probing the same waters as lots of other anglers can make fishing tough.

But there are ways to increase your odds in difficult conditions. One of the best? Finesse fishing — fishing smaller baits on lighter line with a more deliberate, slower approach.

When it comes to finesse fishing, one of the greatest finesse bass anglers on the scene – legendary bass pro and tournament angler Shaw Grigsby – has a wealth of critical information to share.

One of my favorite fishing techniques is finesse fishing — smaller baits, lighter line, a lot of fish and loads of fun! Why finesse fishing? There are so many times that big baits are just too big for the fish,” Grigsby says. “Bass see them but they just don’t want them; they see the lure too well or the conditions are difficult, like cold fronts, high blue skies, clear water or a lot of people around you fishing, and you just can’t catch them.

"So downsizing and going finesse can be the key. Just lay your bait out there and kind of jiggle it and really, what it does is all these smaller baits make it look like what’s natural for the bass to eat in their environment.”

Whether you're going for smallmouth, largemouth or spots, bass often react better to finesse baits that mimic preferred forage such as crayfish, alewife, gobies or shad. (Photo: Seaguar Line)
Whether you're going for smallmouth, largemouth or spots, bass often react better to finesse baits that mimic preferred forage such as crayfish, alewife, gobies or shad. (Photo: Seaguar Line)

In terms of specific techniques, some of Grigsby’s favorite presentations are drop-shot rigs, shaky head worms, wacky worms, tubes and the legendary Ned Rig. He typically presents all of these in natural colors such as green pumpkin and watermelon red.

“When you present these techniques to them, it appears so real and it’s so small that they don’t have an issue with it,” Grigsby said. “A lot of times a big bait may appear too bulky – and maybe you’ll catch a giant fish using a big bait at times – but when you get clear water and difficult conditions, then it’s pretty much time to downsize and go finesse. And I’ve caught giants on finesse tactics. Finesse techniques catch as many big fish as they do small and average-size ones.”

Grigsby keeps a half dozen spinning rods rigged up with finesse presentation in his boat at all times. He’s a fan of medium-light power, fast-action Skeet Reese Signature Series spinning rods, typically in the 7’3” range, and Skeet Reese size-30 Victory Pro Wright McGill spinning reels, which he favors for their large spools.

The linchpin to the system, though, is his choice in line. He spools his with Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon, a line designed specifically for finesse bass fishing applications.

“It’s really delicate yet strong stuff that excels for all my finesse fishing,” he said. “I wouldn’t think of using anything else. And compared to other 8-pound line, Seaguar’s 8.4-pound is remarkably thin, supple, and strong. It’s typically my first choice in every finesse fishing application.”

Seaguar has a host of Finesse 100 percent fluorocarbon lines for every finesse-fishing situation including 5.2-pound, 6.2-pound, 7.3-pound, and 8.4-pound sizes. These are double-structure fluorocarbon lines, an exclusive Seaguar line technology that combines two different resins into one line. The high-density interior resin improves tensile strength and sensitivity while the softer exterior resin enhances knot strength. That means great sensitivity, knot strength, and the strength to handle any big fish you hook while remaining super supple.

“When you’re dealing with spinning tackle, that’s what counts – having a nice supple line that still has the hook-setting power and the strength to hold them,” Grigsby said. “Because when you’re finesse fishing you never know when that next hookset could be an 8-, 9-, or 10-pound bass. It could be the biggest fish of your life because they’re suckers for those little baits. So that’s why I always carry specific technique rods and reels and use line designed specifically for finesse fishing.”

Grigsby's Plan of Attack

One of Grigsby’s favorite finesse techniques is fishing a drop-shot rig, a small plastic bait suspended above a short length of line terminated at the bottom with a weight.

“With the drop-shot, you can literally float your baits above bottom and really catch ‘em,” he said. “For most of my drop-shot set-ups I’m using Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% Finesse Fluorocarbon, which holds up really well and the fish can’t see, whether I’m fishing in clear, open water or around a lot of cover.”

That brings up another point Grigsby is adamant about, and that’s not limiting finesse fishing tactics to clear waters.

“You might find flooded areas with a lot of cover where the instinct is to pound with a jig, but finesse tactics – even in heavy cover – can really produce,” Grigsby said. “Don’t overlook finesse even though you’ve got a lot of cover. It’s simple – hook ‘em, play ‘em, and get them out. Always concentrate on getting the strike, don’t worry about landing them. Landing them generally happens.”

Grigsby is a big fan of fishing wacky worm rigs in heavy cover, typically a 5-inch Strike King Ocho on a Trokar hook with weed guard on Seaguar 7.3- or 8.4-pound 100% Finesse Fluorocarbon line. “When you throw something really light like a wacky worm into heavy cover on a finesse rig, it can really produce. A lot of times you can catch ‘em when other methods fail to produce.”

Fishing the Ned Rig

Lastly, Grigsby also carries a rod or two in his boat for Ned Rig fishing, a finesse technique that has earned an almost magical reputation across the country.

“The Ned Rig has really come along to be one of the main finesse baits to just catch ‘em,” he said. “It’s awesome. I got introduced to it about three or four years ago with its flat head – like you took an aspirin and put a hook in it – and using something like an Ocho worm that you cut in half. I didn’t have any of the right jigheads so I just took the Ochos I had, cut them in half, and started fishing them on a regular 3/16-oz. shaky head and just caught the fire out of the fish!

“But once you get a Ned jighead and it stands up so perfectly it works even better. Something I found out that’s really interesting is that when you discover the bass are eating this little bait, a Ned worm also works wonders on a Trokar nose hook fished as a drop shot. I started fishing it on a drop shot and the fish I caught was ridiculous. So, I now combine the two techniques quite a bit.”

This story has been provided by Seaguar Line.


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