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Z-Man Micro Finesse TRD Review

I will make a small confession before I get too far into this tackle review. I am not a ned rig guy. In fact I can count on one hand the times I have earnestly fished a ned rig prior to getting into micro finesse fishing. I don’t have anything against a Ned. But I’ve been fishing on Kentucky Lake through the glory days and throwing little bitty baits generally meant you were going to catch a lot of non keepers. In fact, the first couple of times I fished a ned rig, I never caught a keeper. So it really steered me away from it.But then I got my eyes opened and it just so happened to be with the Z-Man Micro Finesse TRD. Literally a tiny itty bitty version of the original Ned rig. Fishing is funny like that.

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marty hughes master angler green sunfish on micro finesse trd


So this review will go a little different because I had my eyes opened to this particular bait by a friend and freelance field staff contributor Marty Hughes. Hughes helps us a lot with kayak content on Wired2fish. He’s one of the pioneers of the sport as he was promoting and kayak fishing two decades before anyone was even making a fishing kayak.

I travelled to Nebraska this year for family, and Marty and I were able to spend a morning fishing in his kayaks on a lake he knows well. We started out catching a few bass and he asked if I liked to catch big panfish. I told him I loved to chase big panfish. So he pulls out a spinning rod with a 1/20 ounce Z-Man Micro Finesse ShroomZ rigged with the Micro Finesse TRD. I was like that’s too big for bluegill right? He said, “not the ones I catch.”

He proceeded to waylay big bluegills to 10 inches on the Micro Finesse TRD and I was immediately spinning scenarios of how I could fish this back home. Well since then I’ve been fishing the Finesse TRD with regularity and it has become one of my favorite panfish lures in my regular rotation.

z-man micro finesse trd baits


The Micro Finesse TRD is 1 3/4 inches long, and comes 8 to a pack. The colors are well done as well with a few brighter colors like electric chicken and glow chartreuse that really appeal to crappie and more natural colors like green pumpkin, the Deal and Yoga Pants that really appeal to big bluegills and shell crackers. And also bass. These baits pair perfectly with the Micro Finesse Shroomz. I personally really love the 1/20 ounce Micro Finesse Shroomz for pan fish. The bait moves very naturally on this rig and I can cast it well on my BFS gear.

The nice thing is you can cut the bait down and make the bait a 1-inch lure easily. Or you can leave it a little longer.

full size and cut down z-man micro finesse trds


So I started throwing this bait after my time with Marty in Nebraska and immediately started catching. I pretty much leave it rigged on my UL BFS rod with 4-pound line. It is nuts what I’ve caught on this tiny finesse bait. I’ve had crappie over 2 pounds. Shellcracker over 2 pounds. Bluegill over a pound. Catfish over 7 pounds and I hooked a bass that appeared to be 7 or 8 pounds on my last trip to Arkansas that ended up breaking my line while trying to play the fish down and land it while bank fishing. So one of the biggest bass I’ve hooked all year came on one of the smallest lures I fish.

But its versatility is what has me hooked on it now. I can drag the bait and catch a ton of big panfish doing that. I can swim it up in the water column and am amazed how well crappie bite this do nothing looking plastic on a steady slow retrieve. Bass like to bite it when you lift and drop it a bunch in their face. I catch a lot on the initial fall. I think it has a slow seductive fall. But I think the profile is why it appeals to so many fish.

There have been multiple studies that have proven that a bass prefers that slender short profile above all others. This is a scaled down version of that preference. I think to panfish it just simply looks like something close to the size of the new baitfish of the year. Or a small craw, or worm or insect in the water. The fact that you really can’t fish it any wrong way makes it very attractive.

bluegill on micro finesse trd


I will usually fish the Micro Finesse TRD with a slow lift and drop. I can achieve it with just a half turn of the reel and then letting it fall back to the bottom. Then repeating. I catch a bunch of fish doing this. Especially when I travel. I will probe areas with the lift and drop. I will change up after that and go to a slow steady retrieve. That usually gets your more active fish to bite. Dragging it works as well. The Z-Man Micro Finesse TRD is made of Elaztech so it will stand up due to its buoyancy. That gives it a lot more movement than you think while you drag it around and lift and drop it.


I have talked before about fishing getting tough and you can’t seem to get that quality bite, you have to change in one of two directions. If it’s tough, you might have to really finesse the fish. And if you’re constantly plagued by little fish, you might have to really up your lure size and throw lures that only target big fish because their size makes them too hard for a little fish to eat. While I’ve caught a lot of bass on 8-inch spoons, 7 to 10-inch swimbaits and giant deep diving crankbaits as well as oversized topwaters, there is a time where going down in size can actually get you big bites. Big is relative but yes there are times where a big bait gets no bites but the subtle bait gets all the bites.

So I took a lot of that into my panfish pursuits. I’ve learned a ton about crappie fishing experimenting with large plastics and baits and also with ultra small baits. Same for bluegills and shell crackers. It’s crazy how many big panfish I’ve caught now on 1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce tiny tungsten bead flies and micro jigs. But then it’s also crazy how a larger than average offering yields impressive results. There are just certain profiles that really resonate with fish. And the Z-Man Finesse Micro TRD is one of those unique do-nothing profiles that does a lot. These are some impressive micro finesse offerings.

You can find the Z-Man Micro Finesse TRD at

crappie and bluegill