BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 72

Paddle Tail

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March/April 2011

Therefore Woods’ ways virtually faded away. But shortly after the turn of the 21st century, several recreational bass anglers in eastern Kansas, who had become weary of power shing and its lackluster catches, began resurrecting and updating the methods that Woods and his cohorts developed decades ago. In order to distinguish these methods from the nesse techniques that are employed in Japan and the Western states, these Kansas anglers called their method Midwest nesse. Now once again the word is spreading that Midwest nesse is the best tactic for recreational anglers of all skills levels to catch bass in a variety of waterways all across the nation. Hibdon was on the mark in 1991 when he asserted that the little Midwest nesse baits catch big bass. For example around Thanksgiving of 2010, Bob Gum of Kansas City, Kansas, caught a seven-pounder and Dick Bessey of Lawrence, Kansas, caught an eight-pounder. Both brutes inhaled a 3” Z-Man ZinkerZ af xed to a small jig. But the primary mission of the modern day Midwest nesse anglers is to catch a lot of bass, which they found dif cult to do by employing power tactics and the nesse schemes of the Japanese and West Coast bass anglers. These Midwest anglers also contend that the shaky-head jigs and deep-water drop-shot rigs used by most tournament anglers can’t be categorized as nesse rigs. Dick Bessey and I are part of this Midwest nesse fraternity. In 2010 we shed 127 times for a total of 509 hours, and on some outings Steve Desch of Topeka or another angler joined us. We shed only public reservoirs that lie in the suburban and exurban corridor that stretches from Topeka to Kansas City, encom- passing a population of 1,251,417 inhabitants. In these waters, we caught and released 5,570 bass, which equals 43.8 bass per outing and 10.9 bass per hour. Thrice we caught 100 bass or more in four hours. By using primarily a small jig af- xed to a 2 1/2-inch or three-inch Senko-style bait, we caught 9,699 bass, which equaled 39.7 bass per trip and 9.9 bass per hour in 2009 and 2010 combined. As long as our waters aren’t covered with ice, we sh from January 1 to De- cember 31. At times the surface temperature can be as cold as 38 degrees and as hot as 90 degrees. On every outing in the winter, we sh from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and during the rest of the year, we sh from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As mentioned, in 2010 we TM shed 127 times for 4 hours a trip. Our nesse tackle revolves around six-foot, medium-action spinning rods that are tted with medium-sized spinning reels. The reels are spooled with 10-pound-test braid and a ve-foot d e t ica l 8-pound-test uorocarbon leader that is attached to the braid with p u d r e v ne a Seaguar knot. To the leader, we af x a jig with an improved clinch knot. Throughout the year we employ three sizes of Gopher Mushroom Head Jigs: 1/32-ounce with a No. 6 hook, 1/16-ounce with a No. 4 hook and 3/32-ounce with a No.2 hook. The heads of the jigs are usually red. Some are unpainted and a few are either black or chartreuse. In 2010, we didn’t use any of Woods’ vintage lures. Instead, we primarily af xed Z-Man’s three-inch Rain MinnowZ, three-inch ZinkerZ, four-inch Finesse WormZ and four-inch ShadwormZ (which will be available sometime in 2011) to the jigs with the hooks ex- Available in 22 colors posed and devoid of weed guards. The ZinkerZ is six-inches long; Sizes: 2.5”, 3.5”, 4”, 5”, 6” we cut it in half, making it a three-inch bait. There will be some out- ings when we nd that the bass prefer the thin end of the ZinkerZ to be af xed to the jig’s collar. Then on other outings they prefer the thicker end attached to the collar. But most of the time we can’t determine a preference. To the eyes of most anglers, the three-inch ZinkerZ on a 1/16-ounce Gopher is a rather unattractive combination, but to the eye of the bass, it has proven to be exceedingly alluring. In fact, it Available in 29 colors was so effective in the late summer and fall of 2010 that one Mid- west nesse devotee has sheepishly confessed that he considers Sizes: 3”, 4” the three-inch ZinkerZ-and-jig combo in a peanut-butter-and-jelly hue to be so effective that he is about to deem it a magic bait.

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