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Squirrel Tail Action

By: Scott M. Petersen


Whenever I have to face fishing in tough conditions I have one set of baits that I always turn towards and the confidence to fish. That line of baits is Big Bite Baits Jeff Kriet’s signature baits the Squirrel Tail family. I have three different options to choose from, but I can tell you when you break it down between all three of these different bait options you have some basic tactics that work across the line but each bait have a few things that stand out in certain situations.


Squirrel Tail: Let’s start at the beginning; Jeff came to Big Bite with an idea of a worm that the tail would float up off of the bottom. This was a way in Jeff’s mind for bass to find his offering and to be able to key in on his bait when he was faced with fishing in tough conditions. To tell you the truth the rest is the start to the Jeff Kriet Signature line of Squirrel Tail baits. Jeff was able to take the Squirrel Tail worm and match it with a Jewel Shaky Head Jig and the rest is kind of history. This Squirrel Tail and Shaky Head Jig combination with Kriet calling the shots had a lot to do with the Shaky Head pattern that we all fish today.


In the last few years I have come to depend on the Squirrel Tail worm for more than just fishing it on a Shaky Head, let’s cover some of these tactics to expand your Squirrel Tail options.


Sq Tail Family


Shaky Head /Jig Head: For those of you that are new I am going to cover a quick how to Shaky Head presentation.  Pick your favorite Shaky Head Jig one of the best is the Kriet signature Shaky Head that is made by Jewel. Pick either a 4.5″ or 6″ Squirrel Tail and thread it on to the hook with the hook exposed. If I am fishing this presentation on the weed edge I may rig this presentation weedless by threading the hook point back into the plastic.


Make your cast and let the Squirrel Tail settle down to the bottom, you will know you are on the bottom when you see your line go slack. Left your rod tip from the 9 o-clock position to the 11 o-clock position; slowly to keep your Shaky Head on the bottom. If you feel your Shaky Head go up against a rock stop and let the bait sit for a few seconds. Try to shake the bait in place a couple of times before you move the bait again, pay close attention as this is when many of your bites will come. Now you may not feel the bite you might just see the line start to move off, if this is the case set the hook.


Depending on the weight of the Shaky Head I am fishing that will dictate if I use a baitcaster or a spinning system. If I am using 1/16oz to 3/16oz Shaky Heads, I fish these weights on a spinning system. 7ft medium action rods matched with spinning reels that are spooled with either Sunline Sniper 7lb or SX-1 20lb braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. If I am fishing in a clear water situation I will use a 7lb test Sniper leader but if I am fishing in dirtier water conditions I will tie my SX braid directly to the Shaky Head Jig.


To switch my Shaky Head presentation up a little in the last year I have started to use a Shaking Squirrel or a Flying Squirrel option in place of the Squirrel Tail. These two different baits have a different look and action giving me a different profile and in some cases catch more fish in tough conditions.


Texas Rigged Squirrel: One of the biggest things that I have done is to start to use the Squirrel Tail and the Flying Squirrel fished texas rigged. Most of everything that you have read now and in the past talks about the Squirrel Tail being rigged on a Shaky Head Jig. So in looking at options of how to use this bait in different types of presentation I have been fishing the Squirrel Tail and Flying Squirrel texas rigged for about the past two seasons. This has been one of my best kept secrets that is until now.


I will generally use either 4.5″ or 6″ Squirrel Tail to match the conditions I am fishing in. If the bite is extra tough I will down size and texas rig a 4.5″ Squirrel Tail. I will use 1/16oz to 1/8oz tungsten weight and a 2/0 EWG Gamakatsu worm hook. Most of the time I will fish this presentation on a 7ft medium action spinning setup, teamed with a matching reel that is spooled with 7lb Sunline Sniper Line. This is key; if I am fishing in open rocks I will not peg the weight but if I am fishing in the weeds I will peg the weight to keep the presentation together. 


On the other hand, if the fish are active I will tend to fish a 6″ Squirrel Tail or Flying Squirrel presentation. This is a bigger profile bait that will attract active bass. Another time that I will reach for the bigger profile Squirrel is when I am fishing in weeds or in dirtier water conditions. The bigger squirrels will throw off more vibration making it easier for the bass to find your bait.  


For this presentation I generally will use a baitcaster system for this offering, a 7ft medium heavy to heavy action baitcaster rod teamed with a reel that is spooled to match the conditions I am fishing. Line sizes will range from 12lb to 20lb. My line of choice is Sunline Shooter or SX-1 30lb braided line with a fluorocarbon leader.   


Split Shot Squirrels: This is a presentation that really does not get a lot of press but should always be in a fisherman’s arsenal. Generally fished on a spinning setup this presentation can also be fished on medium action baitcaster system as well.


A true split shot system is a 7ft medium action spinning system spooled with 6lb to 8lb test line. About 1ft to 1 1/2ft up the line take a few small split shots and crimp them onto the line and at the end of the line tie on a 1/0 EWG Gamakatsu worm hook. Texas rig your Squirrel Tail onto the worm hook and you are all set. Now this system will work with all the signature Squirrels but the best two to use would be the 4.5″ to 6″ Squirrel Tail or in real tough conditions rig on a Shaking Squirrel in either 4″ or 6″.


To branch this tactic out a little more I have been using this same presentation as a finesse Carolina rig. I will fish this either on medium action spinning or baitcasting system. I will use weight sizes that range from 1/8 to 3/8oz.


Tie the finesse Carolina rig the same way you would a regular rig. If you want to cut corners I have many times just taken a tungsten worm weight, slide it up your line 2ft and crimp a slit shot behind the sinker and tie an EWG Worm hook at the end of your line. You now have a quick finesse Carolina rig setup.


If I am faced with an extra tough bite I will rig a Shaking Squirrel in either a 4″ or 6″ model. My second bait choice would be a Squirrel Tail. I generally use this if I am fishing in weeds. The tail of the Squirrel Tail floats keeping this worm presentation up out of the weeds; offering the bass a move visible target to bite.


Drop Shot Squirrels: If you look back at the Elite Tour in 2012 you will see that drop shot fishing had an impact on not only helping some of the pro’s place but also helped win a few events. Drop shot fishing is a viable way to take both active bass as well as inactive bass. In the last few years I have come to rely on the Squirrel Tail family of worms to be one of my drop shot offerings. One of the reasons that I like the Squirrel Tail is each bait gives me a different look and offering. Let start with the Squirrel Tail, I will many times use this bait in a nose hooked position the floating tail makes this bait ride hide and has a lot of action in the water.


When looking for a different presentation or look I will turn towards a Shaking Squirrel. This bait was originally designed to be a drop shot bait so we are back to square one with this bait, but how you rig this bait will give you a few different looks. For one I will use this bait in a nose hook position. When I need a different look I will take the Shaking Squirrel and rig it wacky style.


If you are faced with fishing around weeds I will many times make a switch and beef up my drop shot offering. I will put away the spinning setup and opt to use a medium action baitcaster setup. Line size for this will be 10lb fluorocarbon line. I will generally use a regular 1/0 to 2/0 Gamakatsu EWG worm hook this way I can texas rig my offering. My first choice of baits for this presentation is a Flying Squirrel. Do not be afraid to put this offering into the weeds, I will many times use this on the weedline edge to try to trigger inactive bass to bite.


Jig Trailer: One last option I would like to talk to you about is to use the Squirrel Tail as a jig trailer. The Squirrel Tail is a fantastic choice when it comes to a finesse jig. The tail sticking up above the bait makes it easy for the bass to notice your jig offering sitting on the bottom.


One of my best combinations for the last few years has been to team a Flying Squirrel with a football jig. This combination is a win, win. The Flying Squirrel is a great craw imitator on the back of your football jig; it has a lot of action when you get the jig up against the rock. With the two tails up in the air it does not take much action to get the bait or the legs to move.


So if you are looking to make a difference in your fishing this coming year make sure you have some of the Big Bite Squirrel Tail Worms in your box. As you can see you will have a lot of different ways to fish these baits so do not leave the dock without a few packs of each in your tackle box. To see all of the baits that Big Bite has to offer please go to www.bigbitebaits.com



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