Fishing is certainly one of the times where bigger is not necessarily better, even though your buddy sitting next to you in the boat is convinced it’s true. Sure there are many situations where big fishing equipment is appropriate and will probably lead you to more fish in the boat. However, fishing’s popularity is growing and space on the water is becoming a little more cramped. The fish are starting to take notice too. Some of these fish have seen it all from us fishermen and they are not being fooled anymore. In heavily fished areas the best fishermen have developed a new technique for success; Finesse Fishing.
I can hear the screams of fishermen worldwide, “What in the heck is finesse fishing and why do I want anything to do with something that has the words finesse and fishing in the same sentence?” Well, like it or not some waters are being fished so heavily that the good fish aren’t biting anymore. They have seen the tricks employed by the common fishermen and are ready for a better show. That is why we need to alter our approach a bit to fool the fish onto our lures again. Finesse fishing, in its simplest explanation, is just downsizing our equipment to throw a new look at an old fish. The easiest way to convert your game is to buy smaller and lighter versions of your current equipment. Let’s start with the rod. To get started on your finesse venture try buying a light to medium light action spinning rod. Buy something inexpensive to get the feel of a lighter action rod. With a little experience you will develop a preference for something a bit lighter, heavier, or lose interest in finesse fishing altogether. This way you can avoid wasting money on your first finesse purchase. Many fishermen say they feel like they are re-learning to fish. This new style could add some excitement to a day on the water and give you an excuse to buy more fishing gear. In fact finesse fishing is catching on quick and as a result many manufacturers have devoted a portion of their production of rods just for finesse fishing.
Don’t stop with just the rod; downsizing the reel in your setup will make a drastic change in how you fish and more importantly how many fish you catch. Some of the small reels available these days are set up nicely to carry a lighter line, like the one used by finesse fishermen. When shopping for a small reel, treat it just as you would be shopping for a large reel, except in a smaller format.
The most important change for a traditional fisherman trying to convert to finesse is in the line. When I first got into finesse fishing I got lost in all of the different options available on the market. Luckily a friend of mine was quite knowledgeable and one of his best pieces of advice was this, “When choosing a line stick to the traditional monofilament. Trust me.” Well I did trust him and have been happy since. The reason he didn’t like to use a braided line is because it floats, and floating ruins the function of a floating lure. I tried a braided line a couple times and I can add this additional word of guidance: mono lines tend to blend in underwater and help the bait look natural versus a braided line. Another consideration is line weight. Any line between six and ten pound test will work, and with a bit of experience on the water you will develop a preferred test weight. Some situations will require a six pound line to fool the most hesitant fish.
Choosing a lure is another necessity for any finesse fisherman. Fortunately there are hundreds of different lures available that fit finesse setups. The lures you choose will depend entirely on personal preference and necessity based on the waters you tend to fish. Be sure to buy a few different styles and test them out; some fish will respond better than others to particular lures. While some may still contend that bigger is in fact always better, sometimes it is worth it to mix things up. Try finesse fishing to add a new unique aspect to your fishing arsenal and increase your chances of going home a happy fisherman!