Stretching Forties with Friends
Ask a crony back in the hood, "What does
it mean to stretch forties with friends?" A few creative
minds may reply it means to quaff forty-ounce bottles of icy gold
gusto with your homies. You should not get many other answers
though, since hardly anyone knows, "What is a stretch
The Stretch 40 is Yamamoto's 2-series single tail
grub. It's not very popular. It's relatively unknown. Yamamoto's
40-series and 18-series single tails are many times more popular
and better-known among anglers. Yet the few standouts who
steadfastly favor the Stretch 40 say it is an awesome bass
catcher - a better mousetrap than the 40 or 18. I'm inclined to
agree with them.
Although it is hardly known by anglers outside the desert
Southwest, the Stretch 40 has a handful of ardent users who
quietly win tournaments with it in that region.
and wife tournament anglers Murph and
Mel McBride from Nevada are a team who definitely know
what a Stretch 40 is - and precisely how to use it.
A Fantastic Flipping Jig
Southwest tournament angler Steve
Batty is a friend who enlightened me to use Stretch
40s as trailers on skirted flipping jigs. Stretch 40s as trailers
had never really occurred to me. The common convention among
Yamamoto pro staffers has always been to prescribe 18-series
grubs as skirted jig trailers. I plead guilty to placidly going
along with the herd mentality, using 18s like everyone else.
However, acting on Steve Batty's sage advice, the Stretch 40 has
become my preferred single tail grub for a jig trailer. So at
least Steve and I use them as trailers now, but I haven't heard
of anyone else who does. Not only don't Steve and I follow the
herd (that makes us mavericks), but there are a pair of appealing
reasons I prefer the Stretch 40 trailer:
Less Tail to Attack. Fish have a penchant
for picking grubs up by the thin tail. With only the thin tail
being held, you rip it off trying to set the hook. The 18-series
has much more tail - at times too much. Some guys figure they'll
shorten the 18 body part, but that typically doesn't help too
much since the 18 tail still stays as long as ever. No matter how
tiny you make the 18 body part, they're still wanting to pick it
up by the tail, okay? So the trick is not to make the body
shorter, but make the tail shorter - about as short as the tail
on a Stretch 40!
More Body to Rig. The Stretch 40 body is
more than long enough to match any jig hook size or jig skirt
length. In fact, Steve Batty usually pinches a piece off the body
to better match the jig size. Always pinch your fingers down on
the short piece you intend to discard. This short piece will
become mushed and misshapen from the pressure exerted by your
fingertips. However, the part you intend to lace on your hook
will be left in perfect shape. It is important to hit the mold
seam line where you poke the hook out, and the circle-shaped tail
should always point down on a jig.
A Killer Color Combination
If you're an astute reader of Bassmaster
magazine, you may have noticed a tip from Mike Iaconelli in a
past issue. Story goes something like Ike may have observed a
preponderance of bait-sized warmouth sunfish and asked his
sponsor, Mann's Bait Company to custom-make green and
orange-patterned baits for Ike to use in the Bassmasters Classic
that he won, if I recall correctly.
A friend, Yamamoto sales supervisor, Jeremy
Riley independently concocted a similar jig color
pattern several years ago. Let me now say this, "I've got
many friends and every one has his or her killer
color-to-die-for. Most have not impressed me yet." I shared
my skepticism so I can say, "This color Jeremy assembled is
the bomb!" No lie. It's a few years back that he first tried
it - and I have used it ever since. It's become a year-round jig
color for me. I've even adapted this jig color pattern to my
crankbaits, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits. It's a brown and orange
rubber skirted jig with a 194 (watermelon pepper) Stretch 40
trailer. At first, I assumed it was a craw pattern jig that
Jeremy put together. This thinking just goes along with the herd
mentality since most people think of jigs as crawdad imitators.
They use jigs in a crawdad crawl or hop in crawdad colors.
In the fullness of time, as I used it more and
more, I realized this color imitates a warmouth - a thick-bodied,
large-mouthed sunfish that ranges from Wisconsin to south Texas,
and from the east coast of the USA through west Texas at least.
It's a thick-bodied, bulky sunfish with dark olive to brown
coloration on back and sides covered with mottled dark spots and
bars on back that can take on a purplish hue. Vibrant reddish and
neon blue color streaks across the face cheeks and gill cover.
The belly and bottom fins are often brightly colored -
chartreuse, yellow, bright orange. A brown, orange and green
color pattern imitates it.
Always Swim with a
Steve Batty gave me the trailer to use, Jeremy
Riley the color. The flipping jigs were hand-tied for me by amigo
Brian "Stick" Nixon
Jigs. Buddy Tom Monsoor
was the spark who inspired me to swim rather than bounce, crawl
or hop jigs on bottom. FLW pro Monsoor's fame is in swimming say
a 1/4 oz finesse jig. Yet I've applied Tom's swimming system to
much heavier models of sturdy flipping and football jigs up to 1
oz. Many persons ask, how do you swim it? Monsoor himself hasn't
said much. A bunch of armchair experts eagerly reply, you swim it
just like it's a spinnerbait - except it's a jig! I don't think
so. To me, I maneuver my swimming jig more like a crankbait. The
same manner and speed of retrieve, fairly fast. Just like a
crankbait, I find a high percentage of hits as the swimming jig
stutters over high spots on the bottom. Also like using different
size cranks to reach different depths, I deploy different size
jigs to reach different depths. A 3/8 oz Pepper Jig swims in less
than five feet, a 1/2 oz Pepper jig swims from zero to ten feet.
I switch to a 3/4 oz football jig for zero to twenty-five feet. A
1 oz football jig can be swum from zero to forty feet on a single
retrieve. These may sound like heavy jigs to you, but they ring
the dinner bell swimming past a bass.
Straighten Out Your Stretch 40s
Pressed against each other in the bag during
storage, the feather-thin tails of Stretch 40s get folded over
and bent out of shape. You will catch fewer bass with badly bent
tails. You will catch more bass by picking out the least-bent
tails in the bag. You can help return tails back to their
original shape by annointing Stretch 40s in an attractant like
MegaStrike. Marinating tends to relax baits and helps ease them
back to their original properly molded-in tail alignment. With a
rejuvenating attractant, Stretch 40s want to go back to the shape
they were cured and solidified in the mold. They get more supple,
limber up, the kinks come out, they spring back into shape.
Exposing the bag to warm sun also aids this process. On a hot,
bright day with MegaStrike in the bag, you can notice the
wrinkles coming out of your Stretch 40 tails within the hour. One
may wonder why should fish care, but in my experience, there is
nothing like a correctly straight grub tail to generate maximum
In a pinch, plain lake water can be used to help
soften and straighten baits back toward their original molded
alignment and makes them slick and slimy just putting some lake
water in the bag of Stretch 40s you plan to use in the morning.
However, an attractant like MegaStrike gets absorbed into the
bait's surface. They get more of a slick slimy feel than is
possible with mere water. They take on a living sheen coat.
Especially the translucent colors become even more translucent
and capture light better when glistening in attractant.
If a fish bites the tail off a Stretch 40 that's
been marinating in an attractant like MegaStrike, you can expect
that bass may immediately hit again on that same cast in
order to get the rest of the bait that lost its tail. However, to
cast that bait in a second time without the grub tail tends to be
futile. One may wonder why should fish care if there's no tail.
Doesn't a tail-less Stretch 40 looks like a Senko? Yet in my
experience, I don't catch many bass once a Stretch 40 is
de-tailed - except on the same retrieve by the same bass that
took off the tail.
Stand Up Jig
nothing special I can see about the Stretch 40 except that a few
of my friends are terribly fond of it and so are some bass. I
particularly like to fish it on an open hook Stand Up Jig model
made by friend Joe Rummelt of
Laketown Jigs. I tend to keep an open hook jig moving more
quickly than a fiberguard jig. I use a stiff rod and whenever the
Stand Up jig hits bottom debris, I'll instantly snap the rod tip
to jig it up and over the debris, which can be rocks, weeds,
brush or wood. As the jig recovers its composure from being
shocked over the debris, I'll get a reaction bite right then. I
call this snap-jigging. It's cool. I use the open hook
Stand Up Jig to do it.
The Stretch 40 is usually reliable for me fished in these
ways, thanks to my friends.
Want Even More Grub
This could easily turn into a diatribe if you try to digest it
all in one mind-meal. So pace yourself. There's a lot of grey
matter about grubs to absorb here. You may even spot some
dichotomy betwixt authors and articles, but that's fishing for
you! Make no mistake, grubs are universal fish-catching tools. If I had to pick only one lure to use the rest of
my life? It would be a grub! - Russ Bassdozer
All grubs shown from Gary
Yamamoto Custom Baits.
Big (really big) grub fishing :
Heavy (really heavy) grub fishing :
Topwater (really, no kidding) grub fishing :
Hula grub fishing :