Your wife or girlfriend probably owns at least a couple little black dresses. It’s a garment that fits almost any occasion, at any time of year. Looking at lures for anyplace or anytime, a white, three inch twister tail is on the short list of all-time ‘must haves.’ You probably won’t find many fishermen in Ontario who haven’t caught a fish using one. We’ve all got a few in our boxes. They’re inexpensive, versatile and you’ll rarely find a situation where one won’t do the job. Not many other lures can make that claim. A little, white jig really is fishing’s version of the multi-tool.

In the last month, I’ve used a torn up and chewed grub to catch walleye, pike, lake trout, perch, crappie and whitefish, all from the same body of water. That’s pretty amazing, especially given that I carry specialized lures for each different species. One pure and simple little bait works for them all. I haven’t caught any walleye on big spoons or perch on a six inch twitchbait. But the same grub has. The three inch size is easy for any fish to eat. A ten inch perch can suck one back just as easily as a ten pound walleye can. whitejig2It really is a universal prey size. You can go bigger or smaller, but three inches is as consistent as it gets, in my experience. You can bulk up to a five inch for pike or lake trout, if you want. Or drop down to a one inch, for panfish. It’s still just a little, white jig.

White is a fantastic colour for all fish. It’s natural enough for even the clearest water on the brightest days, and equally good in stained water or at night. Most people associate white with the sides/belly of a shiner or other minnow, and there’s definitely some truth to this. But I think that white’s appeal goes beyond that. Lots of insects have light-coloured bellies, and so do crayfish. Mice, birds and amphibians are also lightly coloured, underneath. Almost everything fish eat has a little white in it, somewhere. Gobies make up a bigger and bigger part of fish’s diet on certain fisheries every year. Yes, these little guys are dark and blend in with the bottom. But flip one over and their belly is white, just like any other fish. You can experiment with different shades, too. Twister tails come in a range of hues, from brilliant, snow white to creamier, more drab tones. There’s huge colour selection within this one, specific family of lures.

With a jig, you’re getting a lure that fishes at any depth, as we all know. You can swim them just under the surface or creep along the bottom in eighty feet of water. Add in a universal colour like white, and the effectiveness of this package becomes easy to understand. It’s just as easy to overlook, too. We’re blessed with so many fishing options all year round in this part of the world, and I’d argue that a white twister tail might just be the Number One bait to have in your boat. Can you name another lure that works just as well in July as it does through a hole in February ice? What about for five or six species of fish? I can: the white grub.

I actually carry a seven foot spinning rod with a 1/4oz white twister tail in my boat all season. Anytime we’re marking lots of forage fish or see a fish surface, the jig goes in. It doesn’t matter if we’re plowing along at 6mph, trolling for muskie or whitejig1casting for pike. Chances are very good that whatever you’re seeing will grab the jig. You’ll learn a lot about fish populations and forage connections doing this. The white grub is an awesome ‘census bait.’ I’ve got a buddy who fishes the Niagara River all season. He sent me a text message over the weekend showing a big, chinook salmon that he caught on a white grub. Add another species to the list, I guess.

With their universal effectiveness and ease of use, these baits are dynamite for new fishermen. Anything that’s around will take them. Little rubber grubs look cool in the water, and kids love playing  with them. They’re soft, wiggly and just look like something a fish would eat. Rig a couple up and give ‘em a good run this season!

By J.P. Bushey