He said he doesn’t know if El Salto is the best lake in interior Mexico, because it’s the only one he’s visited, but opined that â€œif that’s not the best, then I want to go to the best.â€
Imagine how well he could have done if he had used something other than a five-inch worm with â€œfinesseâ€ in its name. That’s right, it wasn’t a swimbait, a DD22 or a one ounce football jig that did the damage, it was Zoom’s new Magnum Finesse Worm.
What kind of snake oil are the folks down in Bogart, Georgia selling us? This bait is a big fish tool, suitable for fishing in heavy cover, so it’s not â€œtrulyâ€ a finesse deal. It’s only five inches long, so it may not truly qualify for the â€œmagnumâ€ label. And Stone says it’s often best used as a soft stickbait substitute, so it may not even be strictly called a â€œworm.â€ It’s the pineapple of the fishing world â€“ neither â€œpineâ€ nor â€œappleâ€ but rather a category all its own.
Stone says it â€œhandles like a big bait,â€ akin to a six-inch soft stickbait. Since discovering its value, he’s gone so far as to take every soft stickbait out of his big Bass Cat’s cavernous storage compartments. â€œI played with the thing in the pool,â€ he said. â€œIt does everything a (soft stickbait) does but it’s more lively and has more action.â€
But there is also the finesse aspect. In places where he might have flipped a Trick Worm in the past, this lure will be his new go-to lure.
â€œYou can use it in heavily pressured waters and heavily fished areas and still generate bites,â€ he explained. â€œYou’ll be able to go behind people and catch fish. When the fish start getting skittish, the first thing they shy away from is the extra movement of a curl tail.â€
He has three primary ways to fish the new lure, all old standbys with a twist: He’ll Carolina rig it with a one to one and a half ounce Tru-Tungsten weight and a Youvella 4/0 EWG hook. He’ll put that on 17 lb. test Vicious fluorocarbon (both main line and leader) and the coup de grace is a pair of Tru Tungsten Force Beads, one 8mm and one 6mm. â€œI’m a huge believer in those beads,â€ he said. â€œThey draw a lot of strikes.â€
His second rig is a Texas rig featuring his signature T-Rig weight, also from Tru-Tungsten, usually in 3/8 ounce, but he’ll bump it up to a half ounce if it’s windy. He said that â€œthe color (of the weight) doesn’t matterâ€ but he’s sure to add a single blood red Force Bead to the mix. Again, the 4/0 EWG gets the job done, but he often goes down to 15 lb. fluorocarbon.
Finally, he employs the Magnum Finesse Worm weightless. It may be the â€œfinesseyistâ€ of the three approaches, so it comes as some surprise that it’s the one that he pairs with the heaviest terminal tackle, often a 5/0 hook and 20 pound line. His explanation is simple â€“ fished this way the lure is a big bass magnet. With that said, he can’t wait to use it in the early season events at Amistad and Dardanelle, and expects it will play a significant role in tournaments at Smith Mountain Lake, the Mississippi River, Kentucky Lake and Guntersville. In fact, it promises to be on his deck, in one form or another, nearly every day this season. His favorite color is Watermelon Candy, but Green Pumpkin and Watermelon Red aren’t far behind.
It may never be determined whether this is a â€œlittle bait that fishes bigâ€ or a â€œbig worm in a small package,â€ but it’s proof positive that it’s better to keep your bait wet than to debate semantics and miss the bite.