Spider Grub Techniques
By Steve vonBrandt
Ponds, Lakes, and Rivers are receiving more and more pressure as each year goes by, not just from weekend anglers, but tournament fishing as well. If you apply some new tactics with these spider grubs, you can be more productive in your recreational and tournament fishing alike.
Surprisingly, this deadly soft plastic bait is not a staple in everyone's tackle box, but in many other states, it is a long time favorite lure when the going gets tough. Several companies make spider grubs, but I prefer the ones made by "Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits" the best. The grubs come in a variety of colors and sizes, from two to five inches long. They are absolutely deadly on spring largemouth and smallmouth bass alike. Most anglers like to use them on jig heads, and this is an extremely effective method, but I also like to rig them Texas style. The grub resembles a darting crawfish depending on how you fish it. It is the most effective in clear water, but also produces bass in stained and muddy water.The lure is compact like a jig and pig, as versatile as a worm, can be fished vertically or horizontally, fast or slow. You can pitch it, flip it, swim it, hop it, or drag it on the bottom. Here are some of the ways I like to fish it that really produce bass.
Use Them As A Search Tool
When searching for bass, you want to try to cover the water quickly. The spider grub is a great search tool when you're looking for bass that are feeding on crawfish around scattered weeds and rocks on shallow flats like the Susquehanna, or similar shallow areas. You can fish it faster than a jig, cover the water quickly, and trigger more reaction strikes, The earth tone colors are easy to match with the forage and blend in well with the surroundings. This is critical in clear water, when the bass rely more on sight. Sometimes I like to fish it fast, with an erratic, jerk bait type motion. The lure is always moving, but on or near the bottom.
When fishing the open flats with scattered grass, I rig it on a light jighead, or if the cover is thicker, I rig it Texas style. I found that I land more fish If the hook is exposed, and if it becomes hooked on weeds occasionally, I jerk it free, sometimes causing a reaction strike. I like to use 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce jig heads, depending on the depth of the water, wind, currents, or how hard it is to keep on the bottom. I also prefer to fish them on a 6 1/2 to 7 foot spinning rod with a medium action soft tip, in graphite. Using six to eight pound test P-Line. Sometimes you can go to ten pound line, depending on the cover. The light line gives the bait more action, and is less likely to hang up in the weeds. I have used these successfully on the grass flats in the Potomac River and on the Susquehanna flats. Working it the right way takes some practice. You want the lure to scoot along in short bursts, on or near the bottom, without making excessive hops. Don't pull it too hard, or you will lose contact with the bottom. Keep the rod low to the water, and on the side of the boat so the wind doesn't bow the line and ruin the action of the bait.
Keep contact with the bait at all times, because many of the strikes will feel mushy or heavy like it is on grass, but most of the time when I set the hook, it is a bass. If it is just weeds, it pulls free and sometimes triggers a strike.
Swimming the Spider Grub
Sometimes I swim the grub like a jerk bait. Once in a tournament the bass were ignoring the jerkbait, so I switched to the spider grub, and fished it erratically over the weeds, stopping it occasionally. This triggered the strikes that I needed to win. Fifteen pounds of bass slammed the spider grub while ignoring the other jerkbaits and crankbaits that were being worked in the same area.
Dragging the Spider Grub
Sometimes when I am fishing on a long, sandy, gravel point, I use a stand up jighead and just pull it slowly on the bottom. I work it very slow, and maintain contact with the bottom all the time. Also, I Carolina-Rig the bait, and when I feel it hit rocks or heavy cover, I start shaking the line, and this causes strikes to occur much of the time. This has been working real well in lakes in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but I have used it with success all over the country.
Going After Suspended Fish
Frequently after a cold-front moves through, bass will suspend over some structure. When this occurs, You can rig it Texas style, on a very light weight, or with no weight at all, and let it float down to the bottom. When conditions are tough, this works wonders at times by keeping the bait in front of the fish longer. I have even tried drop-shotting this bait with success. They are more prone to strike the bait with this method, over a bait that moves quickly by them. When you are searching for fish, and the going gets tough, this is the bait to try. I like to use a good spinning rod, such as G.Loomis or St.Croix, and a good reel like a Shimano or Daiwa. Sensitivity is very important, and a combination such as this improves your chances of catching them when they strike. This technique has worked well in clear lakes all over the Midwest, and in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. I caught a lot of nice bass using these methods at Table Rock Lake, in Missouri also. Whether it is spring, summer, fall, or winter, this is a bait for all seasons.