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Post-Front Finessing: How to Fish After a Cold Front in Florida

Florida applications for the micro finesse movement: Enticing selective fish on pressured waters.

Post-Front Finessing: How to Fish After a Cold Front in Florida

Catch big fish on bite-size baits when the temperature gauge drops.

The next level of finesse fishing isn’t just for panfish aficionados on reservoirs and glacial lakes in the Midwest. The micro finesse movement is catching on with Florida anglers who pride themselves on the effort it takes to earn bites from bass, juvenile tarpon and exotics in pressured urban canals and ponds.

You might already be aware of how effective finesse baits can be when fishing pressured or post-frontal conditions for Florida-strain bass. Now, take those baits and scale them down to 1.75- to 2-inch proportions. The itty bitty finesse profiles mimic a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates and juvenile baitfish. As you might imagine, there are benefits when presenting snack-size morsels to the wariest of predators.

fish-after-front-micro-finesse-crappie-zman
Micro-baits aren't just for panfish.

If you want to try miniaturizing your soft baits to boost your catch rates, these four micro finesse tips are for you.

SELECT THE RIGHT JIGHEADS

fish-after-front-micro-finesse-movement-zman
Although peacocks generally prefer live bait, they'll definitely go for an easy meal in chilly conditions.

Micro finesse jigheads in 1⁄32, 1⁄30, 1⁄20, 1⁄16, 1⁄15 and 1⁄10-ounce weights will suit a variety of situations. For bass, juvenile tarpon, and peacock bass in South Florida canals, use mushroom-style jigheads between 1⁄10- and 1⁄16-ounce (size 4 hooks), such as Z-Man ShroomZ Micro Finesse jigheads or Eurotackle Soft Lock Tungsten jigheads, depending on current. If you’re targeting panfish or smaller quarry in stillwater ponds or lakes, use 1⁄32- or 1⁄20-ounce jigheads (size 6 hooks) rigged on an ultralight setup. The lightweight jigheads allow you to work slower and shallower while maintaining a super subtle, natural action—which is the trick to fooling fussy fish.

CHOOSE THE BEST BAIT PROFILE

fish-after-front-micro-finesse-tarpon-hanson
It's no secret that baby tarpon are squarely in the freshwater realm of southern Florida and will go for a tiny finesse bait during a cool down.

Some micro finesse baits “match the hatch” with juvenile shad or panfish fry profiles, like the Z-Man 1.75-inch Shad FryZ or Eurotackle 1.3-inch EPF Minnow. These profiles are good choices when bass, juvenile tarpon or peacock bass are keyed in on small schools of baitfish. Others are invertebrate imitations, like the Z-Man LarvaZ or Eurotackle 1.5-inch Anisoptera, that excel when jigged, crawled or hopped along the bottom and are effective for everything from bream to bass. While still others, like Eurotackle’s 1.75-inch Eurotube or the Z-Man Tiny TicklerZ, don’t mimic anything in specific, but are suggestive of a variety of aquatic life and are solid “go-to” profiles.

USE LIGHT TO ULTRALIGHT SETUPS

fish-after-front-micro-finesse-zman
This bass couldn't say no to a mini paddletail combo.

For 1⁄10- and 1⁄16-ounce presentations in urban canals and ponds, a 6'8" light power rod rated for 4- to 8-pound test paired with a 1000 series reel is a good setup. Freshwater angler and Z-Man media manager Cory Schmidt recommends the 6'7" G. Loomis Trout Series Ultralight with the 1⁄30- or 1⁄20-ounce presentations. “The G. Loomis Trout Series really offers the perfect compromise between power and action; the ability to launch a 1⁄30-ounce jig 30 to 50 feet while still handling a 3-pound bass, if necessary,” says Schmidt. He spools a Shimano Stradic or Sedona 1000 with 3-pound Sufix NanoBraid, terminating with 6 to 8 feet of 4-pound-test fluorocarbon in most situations. He goes up to 6-pound when fishing around vegetation or brush.

BOOST YOUR BAIT DURABILITY

fish-after-front-hanson-micro-finesse-ticklerz
Super glue your jighead to your soft plastics for added durability.

With the Z-Man ElaZtech micro finesse baits, you can create an almost permanent connection between the Micro Finesse ShroomZ jighead and the bait. Schmidt suggests adding one drop of Loctite Super Glue Gel Control to the base of the jighead to firmly secure the soft plastic bait and keep it from sliding off the jighead. By adding a drop of the Loctite Gel, he has landed over 200 fish and 11 different species on one Z-Man Shad FryZ alone. FS

Florida Sportsman Magazine December/January 2023

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