For some, targeting bass under docks may equate to heavy line and taunting presentations. But, while those jigs, Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits will certainly produce, their popularity inherently implies repetition—fish see a bunch of them throughout the year.
That's exactly why professional angler angler Shin Fukae prefers a trio of finesse rigs.
His go-to for the toughest of bites, Fukae uses Gamakatsu's new Tricky Head, which features a beveled design that not only provides more enticing wobble on the bottom, but also slips through brush and debris, while minimizing water resistance for more active presentations.
"A lot of shaky heads are designed to stand up when you stop shaking them, but I never stop the (movement)," Fukae said. "I'm always swimming the shaky head around docks and my priority is snag-free, because you save more time and catch more fish.
"If you use the flat head-style shaky head, it gets hung a lot. Also, this taper shaped head design skips easier, compared to a flat head."
Further promoting the weedless nature is the Tricky Head's recessed line tie, which streamlines a notorious trouble spot.
Fukae typically rigs his shaky head with a Yamamoto Thin Senko because the bait's larger profile and tapering tail presents an enticing profile for his preferred swimming presentation. To that point, a key element of Fukae's design input was the Tricky Head's bait keeper—an essential detail for one of his pet peeves.
"With the (screw-on style) shaky head, when you skip it, sometimes your bait is bending," he notes. "I like the Tricky Head because when I rig the bait Texas style and skip it, the bait doesn't move."
The Tricky head comes in black and natural lead colors and Fukae uses the former for darker baits and the latter for lighter options. Lastly, Fukae points to the Tricky Head's 3/0 O'shaunessey-style hook, which helps him achieve solid hooksets with the light finesse tackle.
Fukae admits he's pitched and skipped a lot of wacky-rigged Senkos in his career, but patience is not one of his strong suits. Summarizing his overall strategy as "finesse power fishing," he rarely sends a center-hooked worm into dock duty without a weight in the nose—but not just any weight.
Fukae's chooses the G7 Tungsten Screw Sinker Nail Weight, which actually threads into the worm for a secure fit that won't pop loose if the worm hits a dock pier or swim ladder on the skip. He rigs his Neko with a Gamakatsu G-Finesse Weedless Wacky Hook because the titanium weed guard flexes and springs for smooth passage through brush or debris; but won't break after heavy use.
For hook placement and bait endurance, Fukae prefers a G7 Worm Protect Tube over the traditional O-ring, because the former allows him to vary his hook placement:
Parallel: Hook placed under the tube, front to back.
Perpendicular: Hook piercing the tube and the worm.
When he needs to dial down the profile, possibly for a forage matching strategy, Fukae swaps the Thin Senko for a 3-inch Yamamoto Senko and works the Tricky Head with short hops and and bottom bumping.
Now, the natural push back might be line strength. Can Fukae really muscle a big fish out from under a dock with the spinning tackle common to these finesse tactics?
Sure he can — thanks to the 14-pound YGK Sinking Braid he spools on his reels. Blending the strength and sensitivity of braid with the sinking nature of fluorocarbon, this main line — complemented by 8-pound YGK G-Soul fluoro leader — allows him to apply an aggressive style to traditionally down-shifted techniques.