Finesse Fishing: 3 Ways to Improve Your Skills


There are days on the water where it feels like you couldn’t catch a fish even if you hit one square on the head with a lure. What was working just the other day — spinnerbaits, crankbaits, etc — just isn’t doing the trick anymore. However, your day doesn’t have to be ruined if you know how to slow down. Finesse techniques are the best way to turn a bad day around on the water. As with any fishing technique, there is always room for improvement.

Give It a Try

It still surprises me to know how many anglers haven’t tried finesse fishing. However, you can’t catch fish with finesse tactics if you’re not utilizing them. It can be intimidating to try something new when you have so much history—even successful history—with other tactics, but wise anglers will embrace versatility and adaptability. To jump start this process, perhaps try hitting the water with nothing but finesse rods one day, or if that’s still too hard at first, maybe simply dedicate the last few hours of a trip to using finesse technique. Yes, it’s slower and requires more patience than other tactics, but once you get a couple bites, you’ll find your confidence increases, along with your willingness to stick with the new technique.

Not All Finesse Fishing is Slow

There are some finesse baits that can be fished faster than others. Grubs, for example, offer a bit more speed, and can be flipped, twitched, pulled, and even jerked quickly through the water, around timber, or across rocky bottoms.

Use Braided Line

I’ve heard many new finesse fishing anglers complain that they can’t feel strikes with the softer rods and line used with the tactic. The best advice I can give to remedy this issue is to use 10 to 15-pound braid as your main line, with a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader between 4 and 6 feet. Braided has no stretch and provides anglers with maximum sensitivity for picking up even the slightest of nibbles, making it ideal for finesse techniques. Solid options for braided line include Spiderwire Stealth, Sufix Performance Braid, or PowerPro.

Try Different Techniques

There are several different finesse techniques, so even if you find yourself bored out of your mind with one, try a different one. For instance, if you dread the drop-shot rig, switch to a shakey head rig. If that’s still not your cup of tea, then pick apart some submerged timber with a Texas-rigged worm. For drop-shot rigs, I like Berkley’s 4” Power Worm, Netbait’s Finesse Worm, or Strike King’s KVD Dream Shot.

Watch legendary angler, Kevin Van Dam, demonstrate fast finesse fishing with Strike King’s Rage Tail Menace Grub.

Photo credit: Dreamstime