For years, grubs have been a popular bait among anglers; they’re simple and effective. But since the days of chrome finishes and flashy designs, we anglers seem to forget that what worked when we were kids will still work today. We get caught up in the hype of new baits and forget about the past.
Your browser may not support display of this image. May rolls around once a year and the grub aisles decimate in anticipation for walleye season. June, like its counterpart, also comes once a year; yet the grub aisles remain in tact while the senkos and chatterbaits begin flying from the shelves. I don’t mind.
Your browser may not support display of this image. For the past couple of years I have grown to enjoy the grub, as a matter of fact, I’d say I love it. There are few lures as versatile as the grub that can catch fish and so many situations. Bass love them, and for years I have been reaping the benefits!
Your browser may not support display of this image. Colour: Colour is a touchy subject for fisherman, some think it doesn’t matter at all, yet some feel that colour is everything. I fall in between. There are a few key things to focus on when selecting colours. What are the fish feeding on? On most lakes in Ontario, perch are present and where perch are present, they are generally on the lower end of the food chain. This means you can select yellows, greens and oranges. These colours are great for mimicking perch. On a lake where smelt or shiners are the primary diet, switch to an all white or smoke colour. If you fish warm, weedy lakes, try imitating a leech by using a black grub. Fly fishermen had it right when they began “matching the hatch.”
Size: Again, they say to match the hatch, although it’s a lot easier said than done, and its often not possible to know the exact size of the bait you are trying to mimic so here are some things to keep in mind. During cold water seasons, the fish are less likely to smash at big baits. So, keep it simple with a small 3 inch grub and go bigger as the season progresses and the water warms. There is another reason for doing this; Fish grow, and so does the bait that they consume. Supersize your bait as the season goes on, it’s not uncommon to see five inch shiners at the surface by early fall.
Equipment: I fish my grubs on a medium action 7’2 Shimano Crucial, extra fast tipped spinning rod paired with a 2500 Shimano Stradic spinning reel and 8lbs XPS Fluorocarbon line. The rod provides great castability with a soft enough tip to provide the sensitivity needed when fishing slowly.
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Presentation: There are many ways to fish a grub, and all of them will work! Drift jigging is a very common presentation and a great way to cover water! Drift with the wind and work your grub with a 1/2oz or 3/8oz ballhead jig along the bottom, hopping it every few seconds. This will cover lots of water and pick off any of the more active fish in the area. This is a great way to present the grub over deeper structure like shoals and breaks in 15 or more feet of water.
Once you’ve found fish, throw out a marker buoy and probe that spot. Cast and drag the bait along the bottom, the same way you would drag a tube. You’ll be surprised how effective dragging really can be!
Your browser may not support display of this image. Another way to fish the grub and one of my favourites is to simply cast and retrieve. Downsize to a 1/4 oz or a 3/16oz darterhead or mushroom head and swim to bait back to the boat. It is essentially the most finesse crankbait you’ll ever throw and the curly tail is irresistible to bass. Don’t be discouraged if you’re catching lots of small fish, the big bite is on its way!
Not long after the Gloucester Pool incident, I was fun fishing on Simcoe with a good friend of mine. It was one of the same type of days towards the end of August. We were fishing some of our usual summer locations in 25-30 feet of water dragging tubes. We had a few solid four pound fish, but nothing spectacular. I thought back to my day on G Pool and figured what the heck. I hit a shoal nearby and probed the outside of it with a jerkbait to no avail. I cast the jerkbait up on top of the shoal and a five pounder nearly ripped my rod out of my hand. This fish was sitting in no more than 3 feet of water, and she had company. Four or five more fish of the same size followed her to the boat and we caught three of them. We soon found ourselves on a shallow flat in four to five feet of water, which on Simcoe is considered skinny water. Over a span of about 4 hours we caught nearly 40 fish in the 3-6 pound range, and it remains one of my best fishing days to date.
Under conditions like this, you dont need any flashy or loud baits, the fish can see everything and subtle baits such as senkos, tubes and shakey head worms tend to excel. Light line is not a requirement, but will definitely result in more hookups as the fish's senses and visibility is on red alert.
Don't forget that shaded structure is always a good option on those bright, sunny days, but never overlook shallow flats. The fish are there for one reason; to feed.
Author: Steve Rowbotham
Owner/Operator, Sir Catch-A-Lot Pro Guiding ( http://sircatchalot.piczo.com )
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