Last time we covered the various options for bass in current. Now I want to tell you about the various finesse presentations I use under different moving water conditions.
Here's how I decide which presentation to use: A horizontal presentation usually works best in slow to moderate current. This means your choices should include soft, weightless stickbaits, a tail-weighted French fry, a grub and possibly a weightless fluke-style lure. In 2005, I won a national tournament on the Potomac River by finesse fishing in current. The area I chose to concentrate in, Chopawansic Creek, was receiving extremely heavy pressure from at least two dozen contestants, so I stayed in the mouth of the creek to target postspawn bass filtering out of the creek into their summer habitat in the main river.
Because the fish were locating behind individual clumps of milfoil in water less than 4 feet deep and waiting for food to flow past in the current, I chose a soft stickbait, rigging it weightless and working it on 8-pound-test line. The majority of the other anglers were power fishing with spinnerbaits and big Texas rigged worms, but these lures never reached the bass. The spinnerbaits went over the fish and the weighted worms snagged in the milfoil. When I cast my smaller weightless stickbait upstream, however, the current brought it back down in a natural drift. After the tournament, I can't tell you how many of the pros admitted to me how they'd totally missed the need for such a natural presentation under those circumstances.