By Bill Dance

Bill Dance is widely recognized as America’s all-time favorite TV bass angler-and he’s an expert at finesse fishing in summer. I love to wade creeks and fish small ponds and lakes. Fishing knee deep and casting for bass brings back memories of when I was a kid, and it is still one of my very favorite ways to spend a summer day.

Light “finesse” tackle is perfect for this kind of fishing. It resembles ultra-light gear, but the length and the action of the rods are different. The traditional ultra-light tends to come with soft action in a 4 1/2- to 5-foot length. A finesse rod averages 6 to 6-1/2 feet with some in the 7-foot range. It is a little stiffer and more sensitive, and it allows you to handle a good fish more effectively and to deliver a better hookset.

Like ultra-light, finesse tackle employs a small spinning reel and light line. Select a reel that balances with your rod. If it’s too heavy it overpowers the rig. Generally, I like a size 10 reel with a high retrieve speed and an aluminum long-cast spool. My Quantum Accurist spinning reel is so small that you can palm it, and it weights less than 6 ounces, yet it holds 140 yards of 6-lb line, which is perfect for the casting distance and strength I need.

Finesse tackle opens the doors to a wide variety of lures, not just the small jig or feather-weight lures required by true ultralight gear. Here are some of my absolute favorites.