There’s nothing better than buying a bait that you can fish in multiple situations. Let’s be honest, tackle isn’t cheap and sometimes, we are our own worst enemies by over-packing our boat or tackle bags trying to make sure we are prepared for every situation.
Mark Zona, Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, has stumbled onto what has become one of his favorite baits in the Strike King line-up because of its versatility, the Rage Tail Menace Grub.
Rigged on a Ball Head
Once upon a time, the tube jig was a sure hit with most bass, especially smallmouth.Today, some say the tube jig doesn’t have the drawing power it once did. Zona believes that bass have become conditioned to seeing tubes, grubs, and small swimbaits. To that, Zona uses the Rage Menace grub rigged on a ball-head as a back-up plan.
“The beautiful thing about a Menace, or the Baby Menace which has the same power as the bigger size, it’s incredibly good in massively cold water,” he said. In water colder than 50-degrees, he’ll fish 6-pound Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon- anything warmer and he’ll stick with 8-pound test. His jig head weights are either 1/4, 5/16, or 7/16-ounce.
“I can make that technique have a lot of action or I can really dull it fishing it slower. It doesn’t throw a lot of water and its very natural fished on a ball head.”
Green pumpkin, green pumpkin sapphire, and green pumpkin gold/purple flake are his favorite colors.
He’ll fish the rig on a 7’1” Daiwa Tatula Brent Ehrler Signature Series Drop Shot rod paired with a 2500 series Daiwa ProCyon spinning reel.
Tungsten Swin Head
The newest addition to Zona’s approach is the swinging head jig. It enables an angler to rig their own hook to a football-styled weight and the bait swings freely behind the sinker.
|Strike King Tungsten Swinging Football Head|
"It’s power fishing 101 and I have found that they’ll eat that thing when at times your traditional drop shot and tubes are absolutely not working,” Zona said.
Fished fast or slow, the rig offers incredible action.
“I have been in areas in the last two years that they will not bite a tube and you’ll crush them with the Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Swinging Football Head and a Menace Grub,” he said.“If I’m fishing a rock vein that is 40-feet long, you know they are sitting there! You’ll catch 3 that are 2- to 3-pounds on a tube. You go through it with this rig and you catch a dozen that are 3 ¾ to 4 ¾!”
Zona finds the rig to be especially productive when fishing either a rock, sand, or grass combination of any two of the three. The only place it doesn’t work is in thick grass.
|TroKar Extra Wide Gap Magworm Hooks|
He’ll rig a standard sized green pumpkin hue Strike King Menace Grub on a 4/0 Lazer Trokar TK-125 fish hook that he’ll bend the hook point out a touch to increase hook-ups. Available in two sizes, the ½-ounce model in 10-feet of water or less and the ¾-ounce in anything deeper.
No need to use your spinning rods, Zona rigs up a heavy action Daiwa Tatula Elite Signature Series Ish Monroe Frog Rod paired with a Daiwa Tatula SV reel with 8:1:1 gearing spooled with 17-pound Seaguar Abrazx fishing line. “You can absolutely hit them with everything you’ve got on planet earth!” Zona said.
He stresses the need for a high-speed bait casting reel to pick up line while working the bait and once they hit as they will rocket to the surface.
He’ll work the rig at a brisk pace.
“I never stop it while I am reeling it- I just want it to consistently crunch along the bottom. When they hit it, you have to keep reeling until the rod loads and then you hit them hard,” he started. “What happens is, they grab it, they’re swimming at you, you need them to turn right or left. If they keep swimming at you, you are going to pull it right out of their mouth.”
Swim Jig Menace Grub
Rigged behind a swim jig, Zona believes the Strike King Rage Tail Menace Grub helps to provide the best profile of a bluegill, which is what he’s trying to emulate.
Sure, there are several different swim jig trailers to choose from, but Zona prefers the Menace Grub when chasing heavily pressured bass.
“It gives a much more compact and subtle presentation. It doesn’t throw as much water as other standard swim jig trailers. It’s a better finesse swim jig presentation,” he said.
Watermelon, watermelon red flake, and green pumpkin are all colors you can find Zona stocked up with.
The Texas - Rig
|Strike King Rage Tail Twin Tail Menace Grub|
When targeting largemouth bass in heavy cover, sometimes you need to use a little finesse.
Zona will still fish 20-pound Seaguar Denny Brauer Flipping Fluorocarbon but he’ll downsize his bait and rig up on a Texas Rig a green pumpkin or black/blue standard size Menace Grub and “finesse flip” those fish.
“It’s hands down one of the nastiest punching baits I use. You can fish through and area with a jig and think to yourself, I know they’re here, but you go back through there with that bait and you’ll find out if they are there or not,” Zona said.
Sometimes using a different approach from other anglers who have fished the same area can result in more bites. Unlike many anglers who would flip a heavier fishing weight in a similar situation, Zona prefers a 5/8-ounce bullet sinker that he’ll keep in place with a rubber peg t-stop that he inserts through the sinker.
He’ll fish a Daiwa Tatula Elite Ish Monore 7’6 Signature Series heavy-action flippin stick paired with a high-speed Daiwa Tatula SV reel.
|Strike King Hack Attack Jig|
Occasionally, bass want a larger profiled bait without the bulk, like a Strike King Hack Attack Jig paired with a Menace Grub trailer instead of a plastic craw or jig chunk. “I do like that trailer because it helps to create more of a compact jig,” Zona said.
He’ll fish both the ½ and ¾-ounce models in any grass he can find. Green pumpkin or black with blue flake are his color choices.
“Generally, when I'm using this it's HEAVILY pressured and I'm just trying to give a subtler presentation. It has a small compact bluegill profile which is always what I want when I’m flippin submerged grass,” Zona said.
He’ll fish the same combo that he fishes with a Texas-rig but substitute 20-pound Seaguar Abrazx line.