Finesse Tricks To Catch More Bass

Finesse Bass Baits

Clear water, heavy angling pressure and cold fronts are just a few scenarios where using finesse tactics catches big smallmouth and largemouth bass. Here are some tips for fishing small baits on light line to boat big bass.


Downsize for More Bites

Small baits get big bites. Think of a tiny bait like a dinner mint or a bite-sized brownie. These little treats are hard to resist, even after eating a big meal. A bass is similar. It may not have feeding on its mind, but put a small bait in its strike zone and it will gobble it up. Downsizing is as simple as dropping down a lure size.



When bass follow but don’t strike a larger X-Rap or RipStop, tying on a No. 8 or a No. 9 will trigger a strike.

Shad Rap

Ultra Light Rippin' Rap

This same rationale applies to small versions of the Rapala Shad Rap, Rippin’ Rap, Blue Fox Classic Vibrax and so on.


Tip: Downsizing isn’t just for hard-baits. The 1/16 and 1/8 ounce VMC DM Marabou Jig, Bucktail Jig and Twitchin’ Jig slowly swam through the water is a deadly finesse tactic. Ditto with a 1/8-ounce Storm 360GT Searchbait.


Fish With Lifelike Baits

Bass like natural, realistic colour patterns in clear water. Decoying not only the size but the colouration of a goby, sculpin, crayfish, perch or other predominant forage is another trick when finessing bass.

Shad Rap Live Series

Jigging Rap Live Series

Achieving the ultimate in realism is as easy as tying on a Rapala lure with a Custom HD (High Definition) finish. The Rapala DT, Scatter Rap Shad, Shad Rap, Jigging Rap and Shadow Rap are just a few series available in our ultra lifelike, Live Series HD finishes.


Tip: Storm 360GT Searchbait’s come in many natural, bass-catching colours, including Smoking Ghost, Smelt, and Volunteer.


Make Every Bite Count

VMC Neko Hook

Quality terminal tackle is critical for landing as many bass as possible, and the VMC Neko Hook may be the ultimate finesse hook. Countless pros use the Neko Hook for its high landing percentage and versatility. The VMC Neko Hook is perfect for neko and wacky rigging a 13 Fishing Bubble Butt and other straight-tail worms. The Neko Hook is equally deadly for drop-shotting.The Neko series includes the Finesse Neko Hook with an adjustable fluorocarbon keeper for many rigging options with different soft-baits. A weedless model is also available. As is a SpinShot version, which eliminates line twist while providing a natural drop shot presentation.Lastly, the newly released Tokyo Rig Finesse Neko features the finesse hook all the pros love, but on a Tokyo Rig. Get some and give your favourite soft plastic baits an action unlike any other rig.


Tip: Always carry a hook file to sharpen points on lures, jigs and other baits.


Use the Right Line

Sufix 832

Matching fishing line to a finesse presentation is another important consideration. One reliable set-up is 6-, 8- or 10-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline tied to a fluorocarbon leader of similar strength. The FG, Crazy Alberto or back-to-back uni knot are all good options for joining these two different lines.Thin diameter superline casts far. Getting the bait away from the boat (or bank) is key to coaxing strikes from bass in clear water and other tough-bite situations. Thin line also cuts through water quickly. This helps dive-bomb a drop-shot or other bait to deep fish marked using electronics. Superline’s no-stretch improves sensitivity and aids in detecting light strikes. This feature also ensures a quality hook set on a long line.

Sufix Advance Mono

Despite all these advantages, superline is not the only option. Monofilament and fluorocarbon can give a bait a slightly different action, which bass may prefer at times. Tie a 1/16 ounce VMC DM Marabou Jig to 4-pound Sufix Advanced Monofilament, cast it over a shallow sand flat holding boat-shy smallmouth and then slowly reel the morsel back to the boat. The mono’s buoyancy gives the jig a lifelike action that even the most reluctant bronzeback can’t resist. Mono is also recommended when finessing bites using a small topwater, like the Rapala Skitter Pop and Skitter Prop.

Sufix Advance Fluoro

Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon in 6- or 8-pound test has many finesse applications as a mainline, and not just as a leader. Fluorocarbon’s higher density index gets your presentation into the strike zone four times faster than traditional monofilament and can give jigs and other baits a slightly different action or running depth than mono or braid. Fluorocarbon is virtually invisible underwater, too, which is always advantageous when fish are line shy.


Tip: Finesse rigs and light line are best fished on a light to medium-light power spinning rod and a reel with a buttery-smooth drag system. Long, 7’ rods increase casting distance. The 13 Fishing 7’1” Omen Black medium-light is one excellent choice.


Final Thoughts

Finessing bass is an uphill battle. Choosing the right bait, using quality terminal tackle and line, and fishing with a suitable rod and reel combo is only part of the equation. Being stealthy and keeping away from fish are equally important. Polarized sunglasses are critical for sight-fishing in the shallows. And, wearing muted clothing, like the Rapala Refraction UV Shirt, will help you avoid being seen by your quarry. Keep all these tips in mind and you’ll finesse your way to a lot more big bass bites this season.