Grubs: hooking them properly and the right size

Terry TumaBy March 1, my ice fishing focus is almost exclusively on sunfish and crappies. For live bait, that means waxworms. Everyone thinks bigger is better in this country, and large waxies readily are available. But they come in three simple sizes: small, medium, and large.

Use big grubs for aggressive panfish, middle-sized ones for neutral fish, and small for negative fish. It's pretty much the same with silver wigglers, except we add more of these tiny baits to the hook for more aggressive fish.

To help understand why successful anglers operate this way, think like a fish. If fish are hungry, they want meat, lots of it, and fast. If not hungry, and the bait is too large, the offering shuts them down.

Then there's the issue of proper waxworm hooking. Actually, a guy came up to me on the ice last week and showed me how he was hooking his waxies. He was doing the old-school way of threading it onto and covering the shank of the hook. There's a better way.

I want my waxie hanging straight down from the bend of my hook. You can get some movement out of it this way (silver wigglers, too). Then make sure you just pierce the outer skin, so that the natural juices come out slowly.

Sharp hooks are very important here, because a dull hook will tear apart the whole waxie, thus spilling the scent all at once. We want it to release slow and steady. Though your waxie lasts longer this way, we still should refresh our bait regularly.

For a great bluegill and crappie setup, take a large waxworm with a No. 8 ice lure, then consider putting it half on with your hook exiting the center of the waxworm. It's sort of like fishing a jigworm for bass. You have larger profile, but it's halfway down, so you'll enjoy better hooksets.

Final hint with this setup: Don't be afraid to use two silver wigglers!

Categories: Terry Tuma

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