The spinning rod is a dangerous weapon for pros like FLW Tour pro and California native Cody Meyer.
There are times when finesse fishing with light line is the best option to catch fish, but he will also employ them with baitcast gear when the conditions call for it.
Meyer typically sticks with four productive finesse tactics; the Texas-rig, dropshot, weighted wacky-rig and swinging football head.
In the simplest terms, finding baitfish is the biggest key for winter bass fishing.
“If you can find the bait you will find the fish. Usually the baitfish are going to be around the thermocline,” he says.
To find the thermocline Meyer relies on his electronics.
“This is where the fish are going to be since the water will actually be warmer down deeper than it is at the surface. This concentrates the fish into a smaller area,” he begins and says that finding the thermocline has never been easier thanks to modern technology.
In addition to finding the thermocline, there is usually one depth range that the majority of the bass on one body of water are using in the winter.
“What I do as I idle out of the marina is look for baitfish. Once you find the bait you can narrow down the whole lake pretty quickly,” says Meyer.
He feels that the baitfish and bass will be in that depth range no matter where you go on that body of water. “Once you find that depth rang the next thing to do is to find some type of structure around that depth,” he adds.
There are many different locations that will hold bass during the winter and in addition to baitfish and thermocline, some hold bass more often than not.
“I like to look for deeper bluffs, the ends of creek, long points and islands. Often the fish will be stacked on thermocline near these areas,” he says and adds that fish will often stay in one area all winter long.
Don't Overlook a Texas-Rig as a Finesse Technique
The old standby Texas-rig is often overlooked when finesse fishing.
“It is really a forgotten technique to some anglers, but it catches tons of fish. It is a very basic and works very well when the water is cold,” says Meyer. He will fish a straight tail worm like the Strike King Fat Baby Finesse worm and says the wider profile of this bait seems to be the best when the water is cold. His setup is pretty straightforward with a 7’2” medium-heavy Daiwa Tatula baitcast rod and 7.3:1 Tatula CT. He fishes the bait on 12-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon and credits the thin diameter for getting more action out of this finesse Texas-rig.
Light Line Dropshotting
No finesse story would be complete without mention of the dropshot. Cody Meyer is known as one of the world’s best at the technique and breaks down his setup.
“I like to throw the dropshot on really light line for my leader, usually 6-pound Seaguar Tatsu or the new Seaguar Finesse line in 6.2-pound,” he says. He uses a 7’ML Tatula Rod, spooing his reel with 15-pound Seaguar Smackdown braid. When it comes to baits he will rig a Dream Shot or Half Shell from Strike King on a #4 Owner Mosquito hook with a tungsten dropshot weight. He uses a much smaller hook than many others and feels that it gives the bait the best action and does lead not to lost fish.
Swinging Football Head as a Finesse Tactic
This technique is not often associated with finesse fishing, but according to Meyer it is all about how you fish it. Typically during the winter he will slowly drag the bait or employ a slow retrieve to keep it just hitting the bottom. He prefers the Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Swing Football Head and believes the smaller profile of the head gives it a more finesse appearance.
“The ½-ounce is more like a ¼-ounce size and matches well with a small creature bait or tube,” he says. He will fish it using 12-pound Seaguar Tatsu.
Finessing a Weighted Wacky-Rig
The final finesse technique Meyer suggests is a weighted wacky-rig also known as a Neko Rig. A soft stickbait is the way to go according to the California pro.
“I use the 5” Ocho with a tungsten nail weight inserted into one end. I like to fish it really slow, watch it as it falls, and then slowly drag it to make contact with the bottom,” he says.
He will use a similar spinning setup to his dropshot but will increase his line size.
Finesse fishing during the colder time of year comes down to finding the fish. Once that happens, there are many ways to get the fish to bite and for Cody Meyer that means finesse fishing.