KEEPING IT OLD SCHOOL FROM THE START
Back in the late 70’s John Galida, creator of the Galida Grubz, and his good friend Jerry Hanna began traveling the country living the dream of Bass Fishermen everywhere as a Touring Pro. John and Jerry fished the Bassmaster Circuit, as well as NBA, ABA, Red Man, and Hungry Fisherman tournaments. They were among the few “northerners” who brought their spinning rods and small baits along with their standard assortment of baitcasting rods and flipping sticks.
In those days Mr. Twister, Blakemore and Lindy were a few of the companies that regularly offered a selection of lures that a lot of the everyday fishermen “up north” often used for both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. Through trial and error, it became apparent that the “smoke” color often enticed bass while standard colors like white, yellow, black didn’t produce as well. A good grub in a clear smoke color was hard to find. John owned and operated a sizeable tackleshop whose inventory catered to serious fishermen and hunters. It made sense that at some point, he should start producing his own line of fishing lures. The Galida’s Grubz, became a staple amongst tournament fishermen and everyday fishermen alike. The Smoke Grub soon followed by Avocado were the colors of choice. There were tournaments in Pennsylvania where it was said, “ If you weren’t fishing a smoke grub, you just weren’t fishing.”
John and Jerry often lent spinning rods and supplied a handful of “Smoke Grubs” to some of the top names in Bass Fishing. Spinning rods back then had little or no use for the Southern Fishermen, other than Crappie fishing. The list of fishermen included Ricky Green, Orlando Wilson, Ron Sheffield, Ron Shearer and Harold Allen. Lonnie Stanley said the Clear with Silver Flake was one of his favorite trailers on his famed spinnerbaits. One morning on Chamont Bay on the famed St. Lawrence, Hank Parker finally asked John why he was fishing that yellow grub on the back of his chartreuse spinnerbait? When John stated it was because of all the perch in the weeds, Hank understood and made the change that made for a great day of fishing for the two.
These were great fishermen, but sometimes when a pattern ran out, or something changed, John or Jerry would often grab a “grub rod” and manage to scrape out a few more fish. On the water, mini seminars often took place and a new style of fishing was stowed in the arsenal and old familiar styles took on new meanings. It didn’t matter what time of the year, water temperature, or geographical location Galida’s Grubs caught fish. Waters like Okeechobee, Sam Rayburn, Truman, Thousand Islands, Lake Murray, James River and the Hudson River all yielded some sizable stringers of fish, caught on the Galida’s Grub.
At one time, Galida’s Grubz offered 17 colors and because of numerous mentions in national magazines, a small but loyal network of baitshops began carrying them. People used the grubs in dozens of ways. On Lake Erie, a small legion of wives actually used Smoke Grubs on bobbers, and often caught some of the biggest Smallmouth of the day, while fishing with their much more serious husbands. They didn’t realize it, but they were unknowingly fishing for suspended fish, with a unique presentation, and often times great success.
While fishing with a drag and stop retrieve, similar to fishing a plastic worm, this technique is hard to beat. In essence, the modern rage of the Swim Bait, started way back then, just “swimmin’ a grub.” Jerry Swidzinski also twice held the Pennsylvania State Record White Bass, both caught on a Galida’s Grub. Many people used to associate grubs with small fish. Grubs catch more than their share of trophy sized Largemouths and Smallmouths. John’s heaviest Largemouth on a Smoke Grub was a 7 ½ pounder caught in a Bassmaster Tournament on Sam Rayburn. Lake Erie has accounted for numerous Smallmouth over 6 lbs. for John and dozens of other fishermen.
When you’re fishing with a Smoke Grub, you never know what you’ll catch. For a long time, Gary Wheeler held a Northern Pike Line Class World Record that was 23 lb. 11 oz. caught on a Galida’s Smoke Grub. John has a few old pictures of walleye up to 11 pounds that were consistently caught on grubs. Jerry Swidzinski, another close friend of John’s, for years caught more than his fair share of 5 lb. plus Largemouths, 6 lb plus Smallmouths and to this day catches numerous Trophy Sized Hybrid Stripers, just "swimmin’ a grub.”
Eventually, the original manufacturer of the grubs, closed up shop. John shipped his mold to an old friend Sam Hardy of Finesse Baits, in Central Pennsylvania. After several years, Sam went on to bigger and better things and got out of the Plastics Business. The grub mold had sat idle for a period of years. As time went on, fishermen began running out of grubs and kept bugging John to make them again. The stories of guys getting down to their last few, and phone calls asking John for even one or two began to wear on him. Then one day, a fishermen and his wife pulled into his driveway and told him of a recent 3 canoe float trip, that started out totally fishless, that day was resurrected when he passed out 4 of his remaining 7 Smoke Grubs to a few of his friends. They ended up having a Great Day. He was now down to 3 Grubs and his wife said they'd been searching desperately for John, because they knew there were none to be had in stores.
That conversation started the process to getting the Galida’s Grub to where it is today. John got the original mold from his friend Sam and eventually found a manufacturer that agreed to produce them for him. This new manufacturer produced plastic baits for some very popular brands. It soon became apparent that the old mold was wore out.
After many discussions with John’s wife Kathy, son Chris and close friend and fishing partner Jeff Barkley, John decided a “rebirth” was in order. Galida’s Grubz now has a new mold, new packaging, a slightly larger size, new modern colors and an ever growing legion of Happy Fishermen.
We invite you to try some and send pictures, comments and reviews.
John Galida with 2 fine Lake Erie smallmouth. From the early 1980's
till now, John has virtually caught hundreds of smallmouth
and largemouth like these on his grubz.