ryan Thrift fishes fast with unmatched
precision, often with fast moving baits as he
hits multiple spots in a day. Even with this reputation, he knows there is a time and place to use
finesse tactics and it’s a significant part of his arsenal.
Like everything else in his repertoire, Thrift is fanatical
for selecting the right rods, reel, and line for the job. His
reasoning for each complements his approach and he has
reasons for everything.
Here is a recap of three of his favorite finesse tactics,
a wacky-rig, drop-shot, and shaky head and where he
fishes them and what lines he likes for each.
For Thrift, fishing a wacky rig usually means shallow and clear water situations early in the year and into summer.
“Usually, it’s always going to a clear water situation when I’m fishing a wacky rig around shallow cover like docks,” he said. “I base my braid pound test to the fluorocarbon leader size and try my best to keep the diameters close. I’ll usually start with a 12-pound P-Line Spin-X braid with a leader of 5- or 7-pound Spin-X fluorocarbon leader for smaller baits in ultra-clear water.”
Thrift bumps it up to a 16- or 20-pound braid with a 9-pound fluorocarbon leader with bigger baits on a wacky rig.
“The diameter of the braid is still thin enough that you can get those long casts that keep you further away from the fish,” he said. “Stealth and casting accuracy are the two biggest things for fishing a wacky rig and a smooth braided line with a thin diameter helps you do both of those things.”
Another of Thrift’s favorite finesse setups is the tried- and-true shaky head, often with a 1/8-ounce weight and a simple straight tail worm around shallow to mid-depth rock, brush, and wood.
“The traditional shaky head is pretty basic with a six- inch worm on a shaky head,” he said. “I fish it on 16- or 20-pound braid with a leader of 10- to 12-pound test. It allows me to still make those long casts to target but has enough strength for bigger fish.”
For Thrift, most of his drop-shot fishing is done with a vertical approach and he puts this fact into the equation when selecting the right line combination.
“I’m normally fishing very clear water and dropping straight down on them when fishing a drop-shot,” he said. “That is one situation where line diameter plays a