Next up in Faircloth’s summer selection is the 7-inch Strike King Finesse Worm — a bait he’ll present on a Carolina rig and a power shot (aka “Bubba shot”). First, the former serves him as an open water rig for covering rock piles, shell beds or ridges with scattered stumps.
“It’s actually a good search bait that you can use to determine soft or hard bottom; and it stays in the strike zone longer,” Faircloth said. “If I find a brush pile or something gnarly and have trouble getting through, I’ll pick up Texas rig and fish it more efficiently.”
Faircloth uses a conventional egg weight, but he forms his Carolina rig a little differently. Rather than linking main line to leader with a swivel, he runs straight 16-pound fluorocarbon to his hook, but adds one or two Carolina Keepers — tension-based stoppers — to create a leader.
“The reason I do it this way is because I have one knot instead of three,” Faircloth said. “Also, I can adjust the leader length. I’ll usually start with 24 inches but might go up to 36 for fish suspended off bottom.
“The longer the leader, the more the bait wants to float around with more action. In thicker cover like brush, I’ll go down down to 18 inches.”
If he uses a weight weighing 3/8-ounce or less, Faircloth knows he can get away with one Carolina Keeper. For a 1/2-ounce or bigger, he knows he needs two keepers because if he gets hung up, the double keepers seldom slip.
Take your shot: Faircloth will fish the Finesse Worm on a beefed-up version of a drop shot in timber, grass clumps and bush piles on a fishery that’s feeling the impacts of heavy fishing pressure.
“I may have gone through with the big worm and caught most of the aggressive fish, but I’ll come back through with the Bubba shot and clean up,” Faircloth said. “It’s also something I’ll fish on baitcasting gear around heavy cover because I can move that fish when I’m rigged with 20-pound Sunline SX1 braid and 14- to 16-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon.”