Back to basics – fishing a grub

This 4-inch shad single tail grub is just one of the many grub options available to anglers

Grubs come in all sizes. We sell single tail grubs from one inch to five inches, but there are several bigger ones on the market as well. They are another versatile bait. They can be fished anywhere in the water column. They can be fished weightless and burned across the top of the water much like a wake bait, and they can be put on a jig head and slow-rolled across the bottom, or used anywhere in between. Some grubs have ridges and can be very thick. Others are smooth-sided and thinner, such as our four-inch shad grub. They can all be used for any application, really, and offer the angler a variety of actions for a variety of situations.

For smaller grubs, I use a medium weight spinning rod. For those with super heavy hook sets, a medium light might be better, but I get away with a medium, so I have not bought a rod especially for that application yet. It’s up to each individual angler to determine what works best for them, and if the expense of an entirely different set up is worth it.

For small and weightless grubs, it is a good idea, I feel, to have a spinning reel with a large capacity. This will allow for longer casts with a bit more ease.  I like the bigger spool not only for throwing a weightless grub, but also for throwing a split shot grub. As I have stated in the past, I found some bismuth split shots, and I use those exclusively now. I put the split shots 18-20 inches up the line, or sometimes farther, depending on the depth I am fishing and how much weight I think I need. The idea is to have enough weight to get to the bottom, but also to have it far enough up the line so it does not affect the action of the grub. If the weight is too close, it does not allow the grub to move freely, and that seems to make a difference in the number of fish I catch.

I also like to fish a 3-inch grub on a light, weedless jig head. I use a 1/8th ounce or so, with a single wire weed guard. If I am fishing something other than a rocky bottom, for instance an area where there are some weeds as well, I will opt for a light, weedless jig head. This still allows for a slow fall. Fish will often strike on the fall, so a slow fall gives a better opportunity for that.

I will work a grub slowly through the weeds, lifting the rod tip to move the bait, then reeling down to where I feel the bait again. “Slowly,” can be a subjective word and what I think of as slow may not be the same as what you think is slow. But the big thing is – the fish will make the decision, not you or I. They will tell us what they want.

One of the times that I will throw a grub on a baitcasting set up is when I am fishing it on a swing head. I use a ¼ or 3/8 normally, but depending on depth, I may go up to a ½ ounce if need be. I like a swing head because it helps with the natural movement of the grub. It also seems to come through a lot of different kinds of cover better than a head that does not move. As it hits stumps or weeds, it will mov out of the way as I am slow rolling the grub back to the boat.

Of course, another great use of a single tailed grub is as a swim jig trailer – or, really any jig. As with any trailer, the grub can be used to change up colors a bit, add a bit more action, or even add some flash. I feel like, when most people think about a single tail grub, they think of a swim jig. That said, I won’t go too heavy into it, but I like to use a regular worm and jig rod – medium heavy, and a 6.3:1 reel or higher, depending on what I’m fishing in and how much power I think I’ll need to get the fish out of whatever cover is around. When I’m fishing a lot of vegetation, I tend to go with braid, as that cuts through vegetation when I’m bringing the fish in. Depending on water color, I may or may not use braid at other times. If the water is gin clear, for instance, I will go with a copolymer or a fluoro-coat. I am not a big fan of full fluorocarbon around a lot of rock, because it tends to fray. And that is fine if that is what anglers like to use. They just need to be aware, as with all other applications, they will have to check their line much more often – or risk losing a big fish when the line breaks. Although I like copolymer, though I will use fluorocarbon. As I said, though, it is just important to check the line regularly.

A grub can also be Texas-rigged or used on a Carolina rig. Any technique where the bait is moving, or even being jigged up and down, can be a great technique to use a grub. While it seems to have found its way to the bottom of the tackle box for many anglers, those looking to get more fish in the boat are turning back to the tried and trusted single tail grub.