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What Is Finesse Fishing? Here’s Our Guide

Mark Armstrong
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You may have already heard about finesse fishing and perhaps you’ve been wondering just what exactly it is. So we thought we’d put together a guide to help you learn a little more about it.

We’ll talk about what it is, where finesse techniques could come in handy, as well as what gear you might need for a successful day on the water.

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What Is Finesse Fishing All About?

Finesse fishing can be a good way to catch bass when other methods may not be working for you, whether it’s because of the weather, water conditions or anything else that might be affecting your fishing, such as a busy lake.

The technique involves trying to lure the fish with bait that might appear more natural to the fish. This means the bass might then be more willing to take the bait because it looks like food.

It can work well in situations where there are lots of anglers or boating activity in the water, or if there’s a cold front. Fish will still need to eat in these conditions, so you just have to know the right techniques and finesse fishing can be ideal.

Most of the time, finesse fishing requires lighter tackle. This means using smaller bait, lighter line and light spinning rods and reels, to give you a bit more of a stealthy approach.

However, the lighter gear does not mean the fish you catch will be smaller. Large fish can still be caught with light tackle. It just means that your tactics will be a little less conspicuous than if you were power fishing.

Basically, for finesse fishing you’re trying to target the fish’s innate feeding reflexes.

Video: What Exactly Is Finesse Fishing? (and some tips!)

Where To Practice Finesse Fishing

You can practice finesse fishing in lots of bodies of water. The depth of the water usually isn’t an issue.

Rivers, however, may not be the best places to finesse fish because there will likely be more baitfish in the water, meaning the fish might not be as easily lured in simply by the prospect of more food.

When you’re finesse fishing, a fish finder might be useful so that you can locate the fish more easily. During periods of high fishing activity or cold weather systems, the fish will likely be hiding in areas of cover.

If you’re fishing in clear water, finesse techniques can be beneficial, as it should mean that with your lighter, invisible line and smaller lures, the fish may be less spooked. This should then mean that the fish will be less suspicious and will be more likely to take your bait.

What Gear Do You Need And Why?

Smaller Lures

Lightweight gear can be ideal for finesse fishing. Smaller lures of around 3 to 4 inches, that appear more like natural bait can be better than the larger or brightly colored lures used for other types of fishing. Scented lures can also be ideal for finesse fishing.

Invisible Line

Invisible line can also work well, especially in clear water. A fluorocarbon leader can be a good idea if you would prefer to use other types of line on your reel, as it can give you the added invisibility where you need it most.

Lighter Gear

Ideally, you should look for gear with high sensitivity so you can feel the slightest bite.

The length of your rod can also be important, with the optimum length for finesse fishing being around 6 foot to 6 foot 9 inches with medium to medium-light action. Spinning reels in sizes between 2500 to 3000 can also work well.

Popular Finesse Fishing Techniques

There are several techniques that can be used in finesse fishing and can be useful when fishing for bass.

Shaky Head Rig

Shaky head rigging is one of the most frequently used techniques for finesse fishing. It involves rigging a finesse worm lure to your hook which can be made to look more natural under the water when you shake the line.

Video: How To Rig And Fish A Shaky Head Worm

Drop Shot Rig

Another popular finesse fishing technique is the drop shot.

This method involves rigging a weight and worm lure and can be a good choice if you’re fishing around docks or weeds, as it can take your bait close to the bottom.

Video: Easy Drop Shot Tutorial

Wacky Rig

Wacky rigging can let you create a natural movement of the worm, for example when you shake your line. This is because of the way the worm is attached to your hook, so that it’s closer to the center but also so that one side of the bait is longer than the other.

Final Words

Now that you know a little bit more about finesse fishing, maybe you’d like to give it a go on your next trip. If the weather’s not quite right or the you’re not having much success, it can always be worth a shot.

Maybe you’ve been successful with some other techniques? Tell us about them. And feel free to share this with your fellow angling buddies to see if they might have more luck with this style of fishing.

1 thought on “What Is Finesse Fishing? Here’s Our Guide”

  1. The information is a bit off-target. My definition of finesse fishing is simple: light lures, small diameter braid, light action rod (not ultralight), light ball head jigs and any one of a million soft plastics. Presentations are few but define finesse fishing when using light jigs. This year has been exceptional for my fishing buddy and me. Over 600 fish caught in four outings (not including the hundreds of fish I’ve caught solo) are proof.


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