by Stan Fagerstrom
I suspect any bassin' man who knows the difference between a bass and a barracuda has at least a few plastic worms in his bait box.
The lure marketing and bass catchin' wizard I told you about in my column here last month certainly does. I'm talking, of course, about Allan Ranson. Allan's one of the guys who calls the shots at the Strike King Lure Company.
If you know beans about bassin', you're aware that Strike King has for years been coming up with bass baits that have won trophies and big bucks in professional bass fishing contests from coast to coast.See the worm that's securely pinned to the mug of this dandy smallmouth? It's a Strike King Super Finesse Worm. You'll find Allan Ranson taking them along every time he climbs into a bass boat. Ranson is a top executive of the Tennessee based lure company and himself an expert bass angler.
As I detailed in my previous column, Allan Ranson is just as deep into bass fishing as are the pros who set all those records with the lures the company he helps direct produces. I got him to promise to tell me the three lures he'd select if they were to be the only ones he could use for his next three bass fishing adventures.
Get into bass fishing as deep and for as long as I have and you are probably aware of just how doggone hard it would be for a guy in Ranson's boots to come up with an answer that wouldn't keep him awake at nights.
Well, he's done it. And that's why I mentioned plastic worms in starting this column. Because, you see, it was different styles of plastic worms that Allan chose as his first two of the three lures he'd pick if he was restricted to only three on his next few bass fishing trips.These Super Finesse Worms are especially durable. The material they're made of let's them float. When weighted they'll stand up and move when they reach the bottom of the water you're fishing.
I also made a second promise in last month's column. That promise was, besides getting Ranson to identify the three lures he'd select, that I'd also get him to tell us why those lures were picked.
If you follow Strike King's products (and you're missing a bet if you don't), you'll recognize the one called the Super Finesse Worm. That's the #1 lure on Allan's three lure list.
This lure worm has been around for awhile. Strike King introduced it in 2003 as a part of a new line of soft baits called 3X. The material used in the lure was considered revolutionary because it was softer and more flexible than traditional soft plastic baits.
"You could hardly break one in two by just pulling on it," Ranson says, "but it could easily be penetrated by a hook point. It was incredibly strong despite its softness."
Remember what I said before about Allan Ranson really "knowing" the baits Strike King markets? If you don't, consider what he discovered about the new material used in the Super Finesse Worms when he took some lizard-style lures made of it on a trip to Mexico's fabled lake El Salto.Allan Ranson has been with the Strike King Lure Company for 18 years. One of very favorite lures of this top executive of one of the country's leading lure producers is the company's Super Finesse Worm. He keeps one of his spinning rods rigged with it every time he's on the water.
"I tested one of the first 3X lizard style lures," Allan says. "For two days, I intentionally used the same lure to put more than 40 bass running from 2 to 7-pounds in the boat. The lure was still in decent shape when I finally replaced it with another one."
One of the few things Allan and his crew didn't like about the lures made from this wondrous new material was that in the beginning, it was on the sticky side and couldn't be consistently impregnated with salt. Those early problems have since been eliminated.
"Several years of research and development improved the material," Ranson told me. "The sticky problem has been virtually eliminated and now the material can be impregnated with varying amounts of salt."
Today, lots of lure producers are marketing finesse plastic worms of one kind or another. The folks at Strike King will that you that its ElaZtech Super Finesse worms are in a class by themselves. They aren't the only ones who say that. One of the Strike King lure catalogs I looked at before writing this column carried a picture and comment from of a guy named "Kevin VanDam". For some reason or other, that name sounds familiar to me.
Among other things, this guy "Kevin" said the 7-inch Strike King Super Finesse salt impregnated worm was his ‘go-to' favorite.
I'm only kidding, of course, where KVD is concerned. I've followed his career from day one — we all know VanDam is often called the best bassin' man who ever climbed into a boat. As you're likely aware, one of the reasons so many feel this way him is because he's won four Bassmasters Classic, an event often called "The World Series of Professional Bass Fishing".
Kevin's comments in that Strike King catalog say a mouthful, as far as I'm concerned. Some of the other things Allan told me about these worms make it even more plain why both he and VanDam feel as they do about their effectiveness.That smallmouth might not be smiling but the guy who caught it sure is. He's caught thousands of bass on special worms like this one grabbed.
"Everybody knows," Allan says, "that a finesse worm rigged shaky style on a jighead is one of the most deadly rigs for bass. Due to the flotation of the material used in it, our Super Finesse Worm stands up off the bottom. Its softness enables it to quiver and shake with minimal rod movements."
The result, of course, is that the worm's position, along with its movements and softness, make it look a whole lot more alive than worms made from other materials that just lay right where they've flopped on the bottom.
Allan says he uses a 7-inch Finesse Worm along with a Strike King Tour Grade jighead with a specially designed barb that does a great job of holding the worm right where it needs to be. He always keeps one of these setups rigged and ready, whether his bass fishing adventures take him to the water in June or January.
Once Allan had told me about his first lure choice, I asked him what kind of a rod and reel he used to present it. "I love to throw it with the G.Loomis GLX or NRX 6-foot, 8-inch spinning rod," he says. "I load my reel with 8-pound fluorocarbon line."
That wraps up what one of the country's most knowledgeable bassin' men has to say about just one of his three favorite lures. Stay tuned for next month's column. I'll provide the name of the second lure my friend Ranson picked and I'll again detail the reasons behind his choice.-To Be Continued-