Fishing Grubs, The React Lure for all Seasons
One of the most
versatile of all lures, the grub mimics baitfish better than almost any
other soft plastic bait, and they can be fished many different ways and
all year round.
A grub's fat short
body and thin twisting tail displaces a tremendous amount of water as it
moves along, the bass picks up the vibrations with its lateral lines and
movement means food. Once the bass has found the bait its natural shape
and color gives him no reason to suspect a trap.
In cold water, winter
and early spring, the fish are more sluggish and a slower more deliberate
presentation is necessary to fool them. Flipping, and Top water Grubin'
and Shakin' are excellent techniques to catch grub fish this time of year.
In the southern most reaches of the west the bass will come into the shallows
on warm days, even in winter. Grubs will entice even the most sluggish bass
in these conditions.
John Bailey, a Southern
California bass fisherman known for his Jig prowess, flips for bass all
year long. "In winter and early spring I like to start with the sunny tulle
and bulrush areas and the rocky shorelines first." Says John "In our local
lakes most of these areas are in less than 7 feet of water and warm up very
quickly, the shad seem to find these areas, and where there are shad there
are hungry bass." Bailey uses little or no weight, a 3/16oz. slip sinker
at most does the job, and Gamakatsu EWG hooks. "I like the slow fall effect
that no weight gives me, I just watch the line." John uses 14-pound test
flourocarbon line on a Quantum flipping reel and a 7' Graphite rod. "You
need a light line for this technique, but this is no place for 6 or 8-pound
test, the fish will go deep into the tulles the moment he gets the bait
so the heavier line helps get his head turned and coming towards me".
Like many West Coast
fishermen, John's first lure of choice is the Yamamoto grub, he flips a
4" smoke pepper or smoke sparkle w/blue flake. "Using the slip sinker instead
of a heavy jig head it's easier to put it where I want it without making
a big splash". If the fish are feeding on smaller shad John switches to
a 3" Saturn grub from Phoenix. John points out that it is important to be
accurate with your cast But don't disrupt the area if you are wrapped on
a reed or deeper into the tulles than you wanted to be. "On those casts
that weren't perfect, work the bait where it falls, bass will come get a
bait in the strangest places".
"You need to keep
your rod in strike position, don't get caught asleep at the wheel" Says
Bailey. "Be ready it can happen at any time." I like using a slow lift and
fall motion followed by a shake, you need to watch the line closely where
it enters the water, if it goes slack before reaching the bottom or twitches,
set the hook."
Fishing the outside
edges of the wood beds with a small Texas rigged zipper grub is another
of Bailey's cold water techniques. John pegs the sinker and works the crawdad
colored zipper slowly. If the fish are deep in the wood Bailey uses a crawdad
or shad colored, Yamamoto single tail Hula grub. John rigs these on a Gamakatsu
football head and crawls it along the bottom near the brush and fallen trees.
"You have to be careful hear, I use an exposed hook football head and a
miscast will cost you." Says John. "If you get snagged in the trees with
these hooks you will either mess up the area getting it loose or lose a
$1.50 lure setup." But fishing with John Bailey has taught me a few things,
and one thing is sure, the reward is worth the risk.
TOP WATER GRUBBIN'
Every bass angler
who has been on the water for any length of time gets excited when he sees
flooded timber, it has to hold bass. But, what are the key elements to decide
good timber from great timber. To start with I look for old timber as opposed
to green, fresh timber. I am told that new fall or flooded timber leaches
sap, and the water quality is not conducive to forage fish. On the other
hand the old timber tends to rot. This in turn attracts insects, which attract
small forage fish like shad and bluegill, the rest of the food chain follows.
My first target
is the flooded timber closest to an old channel or creek bed, If this area
has a small feeder creek running into it, all the better. Most fishermen
see this area and reach for their spinnerbait or Jig rod. It wouldn't be
a wrong choice, a spinnerbait is a great tool for timber, and if you are
good with a Jig you will probably pick up some of the more aggressive fish.
But next time try a surface grub.
I use a 6' 6" medium
action Graphite spinning rod. Tied to the end of the 12# string is a 4"
Bass Ripper grub. The long tailed, zipper style grub is rigged Texas with
a 2/0 EWG Gamakatsu hook and a pegged 1/16 oz. bullet weight. I like the
flat style body of the Bass Ripper because it helps slow the fall and the
long flutter tail and small silhouette is very enticing to big bass. Another
good choice in a larger profile would be a 5" Yamamoto Grub or a big 6"
When fishing a grub
in this manner you can be very deliberate and work much slower than a spinnerbait.
The twitch and pause method keeps it bait in the strike zone much longer.
With the Texas rig and Pegged sinker I can work right over a fallen tree
and use the "kill" technique, bass hate this. I can also throw it right
into the weeds.
SHAKIN' THAT THING
If your target fish
are bunched up in deeper water, you need a different approach. Shaking a
grub will entice those sluggish brutes to bite. I like a rod with plenty
of backbone but a fast tip for this technique. The key here is light line,
I use 8-pound Trilene XL but any quality line will do. Attach a smaller,
crawfish-colored Hula-grub to a fine wire 1/0 or 2/0 hook and a 1/4oz. brass
n' glass setup. Rig your bait of choice Texas-style, make sure you push
the hook all the way through before skinning the grub with the point.
For fish holding
the bottom, position your boat right over the structure, channel break or
bait school you are fishing. If you are new to shakin', the principle is
quite simple. After the bait reaches the bottom, start shaking the rod tip
gently to rattle the brass n' glass. Work the complete structure keeping
a light hold with your thumb and index finger to feel for subtle bites.
Beware here, not all bites will be subtle, some will be vicious.
For suspended fish
the shaking technique is the same, but position your boat slightly up current
and cast a shad colored bait past the fish. Most bass pros will tell you
that a fish won't go down to get a bait, but most will come up to hit it.
When your bait is to the desired depth use a slight lift pause motion while
shaking, bringing in just enough of the slack line to stay in the strike
zone. The slow fall and natural swimming motion of a grub's tail coupled
with that aggravating click of the B & G would entice most suspended fish
One final note:
The key to fishing any of these techniques is persistence, don't give up,
and stay focused. If your spinnerbait or jig technique isn't working, try
fishing a grub. And if they're still not biting. go somewhere else. And
remember, this is supposed to be fun.
THE REACT LURE FOR ALL SEASONS
For shallow fish, flip 3-4" grubs, for deeper fish shake 3"single tail or
4" twin Hula-grubs. For suspended fish, match the baitfish, size & color.
Try sight fishing a 3" white or glitter grub. For Top water use a 5 or 7"
smoke pepper grub or Tube bait.
For shallow fish go back to flippin, but use a larger 5-7" grub. For inactive
fish try a split shot rig on a small 3'' zipper style grub.
For shallow fish, pitch and flip 4" grubs and for active fish swim or split
was born and raised in SoCal and is an expert freshwater and saltwater float
tube and kayak fisherman.