knapp 7-13-21

Dan Brown displayed a nice river smallmouth bass taken on a Texas-rigged twister-tail grub.

Over the years, I’ve written about the virtues of the twister-tail grub. But most of that coverage has been directed toward early spring and late fall when water temperatures are cool to cold. But the twister tail merits fishing during the summer months as well.

Consider a trip to the Allegheny last week when Dan Brown of Virginia joined me for two mornings of fishing. Dan’s a skilled angler, one who uses a variety of tactics when targeting river smallmouth bass. This includes topwaters, hard and soft jerkbaits and soft swimbaits. All these options are great when bass are active and willing to chase down a moving bait.

But even in the warm water of summer there are times when bass get lethargic forcing you to slow down and present finesse-style baits close to the bottom. One of the best for this, I’ve found, is the twister-tail grub, more specifically the locally owned Galida’s Grubz.

The Galida Grubz is a 4-inch twister-tail grub with a heavily ribbed body that transitions into a slender, sickle-shaped tail. When fished as a swimbait — retrieved with a more-or-less steady retrieve — the tail kicks into gear resembling a minnow. When jigged and hopped along the bottom it suggests a crayfish.

During Dan’s outings we had periods when the smallmouth would chase down jerkbaits. But when that action died, we continued to catch bass by dragging Grubz along the bottom. Rather than rigged in a classic style with an open hooked jighead we rigged the Grubz Texas-style with a no. 2 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook and an eighth-ounce slip sinker. Set up this way we experienced very few hang ups. Had we fished them with an open jighead in the modest current areas smallmouth bass prefer this time of year we would have experienced many snags. The biggest smallmouth of the trip, a 19-incher, came on the T-rigged Grubz.

Twister-tail grubs are also excellent profiles for crappies. While traditional thinking suggests grubs in the 2-inch range for crappies, I can attest that they have no problem eating a 4-inch Galida’s Grubz.

During an outing a few days ago, I caught numerous crappies in the 10- to 13-inch range by slow trolling Grubz at a 1 mph pace. I had the Grubz rigged two different ways.

The most productive rigged was via a three-way swivel setup. Naturally, one ring of the swivel was tied to the running line coming off the reel. A 6-inch section of monofilament was tied to the second ring for attachment of a bell sinker. A 24-inch section of monofilament was tied to the final ring of the three-way swivel, this for the Grubz. I’ve used varieties of this three-way rigging when targeting crappies this year with good success. By finishing off the ends of both the sinker dropper and the lure dropper with small snaps, it’s a simple matter to change out sinker size or lure choice. VMC’s new crankbait snap has proven ideal for this. During my recent crappie outing I used a 3/8-ounce bell sinker and rigged the Grubz on a 3/16-ounce jighead.

The second rigging was simply a 3/16-ounce jighead, which was trolled about a cast length behind the boat. With both setups the rods were placed in rod holders. Even though I trolled over depths in the 15- to 30-foot range most of the crappies were suspended just 8 to 10 feet below the surface.

While both rigs took fish, the three-way rigging provided the means to quickly drop the jig closer to the bottom when fish marks showed up in deeper water on my Garmin Echomap chartplotter. This resulted in a few bonus fish.