Gear 5 favorites: Douglas’ finesse baits Posted on August 2, 2022 Written by David A. Brown Staff Photo: Andy Crawford - After a decade of competition on the Bassmaster Opens circuit, Minnesota pro Josh Douglas earned his Bassmaster Elite Series invitation by finishing third in the Southern Opens standings. Notably, his best finish was a third place on the lake in Tennessee that shares his last name. Between tournaments, Douglas guides on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake, where he routinely puts his clients on hefty smallmouth. His vast tournament experience has made him a very diverse angler, but Douglas is partial to finesse baits. He recently shared his lineup of favorites. Marabou Jig. No surprise that this smallmouth specialist likes this fluffy bait. His choice is an 1/8-ounce Outkast Tackle Feider Fly in black, brown, green or pink — color chosen to match forage and water color. Douglas’ two best times to throw this bait is early in the season when cold water has the fish lethargic, and then during the mayfly hatch. A simple technique of cast and reel over semi-shallow flats does the trick. Drop shot. Douglas commonly uses the drop shot in conjunction with his Lowrance ActiveTarget to target boulders, rock piles or individual fish that he sees on his screen. His typically rigs a Jackall Cross Tail Shad on an Owner mosquito hook and a WOO! Tungsten cylinder weight. Drop-shot leader management is a constant consideration between uses, and Douglas employs a simple binding technique. He “borrows” hair bands from his wife, Bri. Ned rig (For sight fishing). This high-vis package comprising a chartreuse Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned Rig head with a white 10,000 Fish Sukoshi Bug is his go-to choice for bed fish. He wants to see the bait even in greater spawning depths because when it disappears, he knows he’s on. Douglas prefers this rig for finicky offshore fish — the ones sitting high in the water column. In shallower water, he’ll use his Neko to pitch to cruising fish. Neko rig. Inserting a WOO! Tungsten nail weight into the nose of a 4-inch Yamamoto Senko, Douglas fits the worm with a VMC Crossover Ring, which sports a perpendicular hook holder for the ideal positioning without tearing the worm on each bite. Douglas prefers this rig for finicky offshore fish — the ones sitting high in the water column. In shallower water, he’ll use his Neko to pitch to cruising fish. Ned rig (Standard use). Calling this his bread-and-butter bait, Douglass uses that same Outkast Tackle Perfect Ned rig head, with a Biospawn ExoNed whenever he’s trying to imitate a crawdad. Noting that he likes to power fish a Ned rig, Douglas said he uses a 1/8-, 3/16- or 1/4-ounce head depending on depth. He’ll target big rocks, boulders and schools of offshore fish.