Undoubtedly one of the hottest bait styles to come along in years is the soft-plastic swimbait. The Basstrix is the one that got it all started, kicking off the hugely popular paddletail craze almost a decade ago. Now it seems that every soft-plastic bait company since has attempted to come up with its own new and improved version.
Indeed, if imitation is the highest form of flattery, Bruce Porter, who invented the Basstrix must be thrilled.
The reason soft-plastic boot-tail minnows are so popular is because they flat-out catch fish, often without much effort. As a matter of fact, the insanely popular Alabama-rig, adorned with multiple swimbaits has proven to be so deadly—especially during the tough, cold-water periods of the year—that it has now been banned by the top FLW and Bassmaster circuits.
It seems too many rookie anglers were picking up swimbait-adorned A-rigs, one upping the big-name pros and walking away with too much money. We can't have that, now, can we?
And swimbaits haven't just taken the bass world by storm, either. Anglers fishing with X-Zone Swammers, Bass Magnet Shift 'R Shads and Water Wolf Shadzillas—the top Canadian made swimbaits—have been nabbing huge walleye, gargantuan lake trout and giant northern pike and muskies. Truth be told, if you're not swimming a Swammer or Shift 'R Shad below the ice for lakers right now, you're missing out some of the best action.
The reason swimbaits catch so many fish is that when you pin them to a jig or weighted EWG hook, they swim in a uniquely three-dimensional manner. What I mean is that the boot-tail kicks back and forth, while the body sways in an exaggerated side-to-side manner. Few other lures behave the same way.
Surprisingly, one that does is the almost-forgotten curly-tail grub, fashioned along the lines of the original Mister Twister and Yamamoto grub. Twister tails were once the gold standard soft plastic dressing for perch, crappies and stream trout in the smaller one- and two-inch sizes, walleye and bass in the four- and five-inch ranges and lake trout, muskies and pike in the big Bubba category.
What many anglers didn't realize at the time—and still don't today—is that the twister tail grub was the original swimbait. That's why I am never surprised when I am on assignment with a tour level pro, and I see him dig out a curly-tail grub when everything else seems to be failing.
Which brings us the key question of the day: Do you rig a curly-tail grub on your jig or hook so that the tail rides up or hangs down? Consider it for a moment, and then click on this short Outdoor Canada video clip that I shot for the folks at Fish 'N Canada television. We'll see if great minds think alike.