Call it a Curl Tail Grub, Twisted Tail Grub, or just a plain old Grub…
The result is the same. The curl tail grub is the best lure of all time when it comes to versatility. And not just freshwater but saltwater too.
Grub + Jig = Fishing Success
You can use the same 3″, White, Curl Tail Grub to slay Largemouth Bass in a farm pond as you can to pound tailing redfish off oyster beds. The presentations are different but the jig and grub combo is the same.
Why is the Curl Tail Grub the Best Lure of All Time?
Grub’s in the twisted tail fashion, let’s just call them grub’s from now on for convenience, have the ability to present themselves as different baits. The technical term would be dynamic, meaning grubs alter their form based on speed and action. The key here is that a curly tail grub can look like a baitfish OR a worm depending on the speed or action you give it. If you reel it in at a steady pace, the curl tail will rotate quickly enough and it will look like a baitfish swimming with its tail paddling. If you jig it (lift -> drop -> let slack -> reel -> repeat) the tail will rotate a bit slower against the water on the drop resembling a worm’s tail end wriggling while searching through water.
Grub for Saltwater AND Freshwater?
The grub is versatile and can be altered accordingly, that’s why we include them in both our Freshwater Fishing Kit and Saltwater Fishing Kit. So why use the same bait for a Large-mouth Bass as a Red Drum for example? Because a Shad is a Shad. Grubs do an amazing job of replicating bait-fish action in an inexpensive and readily available soft plastic. A white 3″ grub reeled past a Bass looks like a Shad just as much as the same white grub under a popping cork looks like a Shad to a Redfish. Sure, the presentations are different but the baits are virtually the same. The jig and grub has been catching fish since the 70’s and is fundamental to being successful on generally any body of water near shore. But presentation will change based on location, species, and body of water.
How to Rig a Curl Tail Grub?
You should start with a jig and grub pairing. The most common jig and grub pairing is a 3″ grub on a 1/8 Oz. barbed jig like those in our Freshwater Fishing Kit.
Most common jigs in 1/8 Oz. will have a hook shank at the right length for a 3″ grub and contain a barb at the base of the jig head which secures the grub from sliding off of the jig after wear and tare. This general recommendation is used to target Bass, Trout, and Walleye. To target panfish, such as Crappie, Perch and larger Bluegill, step down a size in each. Switch to a 1/16 Oz. barbed jig paired with a 2″ grub. For finicky panfish or small stream trout you may have to go even smaller. In this case scale down to a 1/32 Oz. barbed jig paired with a 1″ grub.
Helpful Grub Technique in Freshwater
Casting small panfish pairings is a challenge. Furthermore, when panfish are finicky, they often only bite when the lure pauses in place. That’s tough to do if the jig keeps sinking. It is very common among panfish enthusiasts to jig your grub + jig pairing with a slip bobber. This allows you to jig the grub in place and pause, a technique you wouldn’t be capable of if you just had a jig and grub to retrieve. The extra bonus is that the slip float adds more weight to your casting distance.
How to Rig a Grub for Saltwater?
The same pairing is your primary choice for saltwater fishing as well, JIG & GRUB! That’s the great thing about this set-up, it is basically the same for everything. You’re generally going to want to go bigger, typically start with the 3″ grub on a 1/8 Oz. barbed jig for your smaller in-shore saltwater species like Sea Trout (Weakfish) and Fluke. For larger in-shore species like Snook and Red Drum (Redfish) you should increase your jig size to 1/4 Oz. to match your higher test braid and larger rod & reel. Otherwise, you will have a tough time casting. A typical 1/4 Oz. jig should be paired with a 4″ grub to match the hook shank size and present a larger meal for larger gamefish.
Side Note on Grub Size
A 3″ is a bit too small for a 1/4 Oz. jig but in no way limits your ability to coax Snook and Drum. The ideal size would be a 4″ grub so that it covers the hook but is still small enough to target smaller species like fluke and weakfish. This way you can target everything with 1 grub & jig on the same rod and reel. (FYI this is why we added it to our saltwater fishing kit.)
A Helpful Grub Technique in Saltwater
Similar to Freshwater, adding a float to your jig & grub rig in Saltwater is important! A common way to target smaller inshore species like sea trout and puppy drum (redfish < 24″) is to place a popping cork or a clicking float 2-3 feet above your jig & grub pairing. The float holds the jig & grub at a set depth, allowing you to present the lure above the oyster beds or grassy patches you are targeting.
Popping Cork for Snapping Bait
This method goes the extra mile by giving your presentation the appearance of schooling bait. While retrieving your float + jig + grub combo, “pump” the combination by driving the cork down a few inches into the water, pausing, and reeling in a foot or so. This action imitates the scattering of bait fish or shrimp. Use this method to target shallow areas, as the bait appears to panic against the surface when only in a few feet of water. If there is a lot of bait, which is what you are trying to show, they will break the surface of the water, causing ripples and a small wake in their panic. Your popping cork or clicking float delivers a panicked school of bait. Check out this video to learn more about fishing a popping cork.
What color grub should I use?
This is actually pretty easy to answer. What are you trying to represent?
White = Bait Fish
Natural = Insect, Worm, Leech
Neon = Deeper than 8 Feet
If you are trying to look like a shad or baitfish in general you should be using a common White. You can get more detailed with silver, pearl, laminate combo, 2 tone combo, etc. , but what can the fish see? Rephrased, does a dog know the difference between a filet mignon or a flank steak?
Brown, Green, Black, pick the natural color of the bait you are trying to represent. Ok to go with flakes, sparkles or tones that bring out more emphasis to your bait, even better when your fishing deeper. In general, just do your best to get an adequate representation of the real thing and don’t over think it.
These look artificial to the fish. But when you are fishing in depths > 10ft. your primary goal is to call fish to your bait. By default, you’re covering more water because the fish can be scattered in the water column (hi & lo) and there is no visible cover to target. You need to focus on calling fish in. While your unnatural color is not ideal, rely on your realistic shape and presentation to seal the deal.
Why the Curl Tail Grub Works
The Curl Tail Grub is the best fishing lure of all time because it is versatile. If I was forced to pick one lure for the rest of my angling life, a 3″ Curl Tail Grub would be my pick. It is not going to catch the most, or biggest fish in all scenarios. There is usually a more productive option. However, it works well in almost any scenario in freshwater and saltwater. The grub is the best because you can use it for anything.
hello ed what size jig head do i need for a 2 inch curly tail
For a 2″ curly tail grub I typically use a 1/16th oz jig which gives it the best hook concealment and jig head size relative to the body of the lure. However, if you are having a tough time getting the bait casted far enough you can put it on a 1/8th oz jig head. It won’t look as appealing to the fish but getting it in front of the fish is most important.
Thanks for another great blog. I am new to your products but your articles about top ten lures, wacky worm and white grub are excellent! Thanks!
Do you need to add a split shot to this rig?
No it’s better with a jig head like in the images pictured but you can run it on a plain hook with a split shot. In gerneral, you want it weighted somehow because the lure needs to be moving to provide the action and it can’t provide that at underwater at optimal speeds.
Thank you for taking the time to share for an old man to use. Fishing for over 37yrs and the only thing i have ever caught was a cold. Taught all three of my sons and they do more than well when they go out, I guess that’s all that really matters. Many thanks and much respect.
Thank you Ed….really helpful insight about the grub.
Ed, would using a 1/8oz jig head with a curly tail grub be too big for bluegill and sunfish?
you can if you use a smaller 2″ grub. If its midsummer they are going to be biting on everything so it will work. Maybe not the best move when the bite is slow but this will work on a hot bite for weeding through the smaller fish.
Do you have a newsletter? If so, do you send out blog posts like these to your list? I would be interested in signing up if you do.
Yes we do! Just go to our home page to subscribe or download any of our free ebooks!
I just read your blog on Why the white curly tail jig always works. I was impressed! I’m 56y and just learning to fish and have been told I need to get this this and this. After reading, I realize I already need to downsize! 🤠
Thanks so much! I have caught Bass, Bream, Red Drum and Seatrout on the same jig and white curl tail grub in the same day. Simple is effective and it makes the day relaxing.