Robert Shue is the proprietor of River Rock Custom Baits in Waynesboro, Virginia. And during the winter of 2016-17, he has converted Travis Myers of Paw Paw, West Virgina, to being a River Rock disciple. In fact, in a recent email Myers noted that he converses almost daily with Shue about finesse tactics for smallmouth bass that abide in the rivers and streams that crisscross the Appalachian Mountain region and nearby environs.
Myers’ latest fancy is Shue’s 1/8-ounce Crawler Jig, and Myers affixes it to one of the highly customized tubes that Shue makes for him. This customized tube is 2 3/8 inches long and has an outside diameter of three-eighths of an inch.
Shue forges the Crawler Jig onto a No. 2 D0-It Wireguard Wacky Jig 785 Hook. According to Shue, it is a premium black-chrome hook with a wide gap and a 35-degree bend at its head.
The Crawler Jig does not possess the head of traditional jigs, such as balls or mushrooms or footballs or darts. Instead, it somewhat represents a banana, and it is attached to the shank of the hook from near the 35-degree bend of the stem of the eyelet to where the shank begins to make its radical bend. A screw-lock bait keeper is attached to the eyelet of the hook. It is similar to the format of a weighted swimbait hook.
Shue began manufacturing the Crawler Jig about a year ago. Other than the Crawler Jig with a No. 2 hook, Shue makes them in other three sizes: an 1/8-ouncer with a 1/0 hook, a 1/4-ouncer with a 2/0 hook, and a 3/8-ouncer with a 3/0 hook. Shue says these three Crawler Jigs were created for River Rock Custom Bait’s four-inch solid-head Elite Series Tube, and they can also be employed on their Pro Series Tube and their swimbaits.
Shue says they were designed to be affixed externally to the tube, and Myers is the first angler that he knows who inserts the Crawler Jig inside the cavity of the tube.
Myers uses it externally, too. In his report on the Finesse News Network about his April 25 outing, Myers noted that he used the Crawler Jig rigged externally and in a deep-water locale where the smallmouth bass reside during the cold-water period.
“The water temperature was 58 degrees. It had dropped six degrees in two days. The water exhibited three feet of clarity. It was running at 450 cubic feet per second, which is up from the 325 cubic feet per second it was running on April 23.
“The bottom of this wintertime haunt is littered with an equal mixture of giant red oak trees and massive boulders. Its depth ranges from 12 to 16 feet of water. It is a classic wild river wintering run, and its bottom structure does not move even when the river is on an extremely high-water rampage. It is a two-mile stretch of water, and it has a canyon-like cliff on its strong side.
“In two hours and 35 minutes, I caught 30 smallmouth bass. They were caught on a black-and-green-pumpkin 1/8-ounce River Rock Custom Bait’s Crawler Head Jig affixed externally to a custom-made 2 3/8-inch River Rock Custom Bait’s North Branch Craw tube, which I crawled and deadsticked in the timber- and boulder-cluttered bottom. And it never became snagged in those trees and in the many crevices…