In 2017, we began a quest to publish a series of Midwest Finesse gear guides about soft-plastic hellgrammites, and we hope to continue this endeavor for years to come.
A hellgrammite is the larval stage of the dobsonfly, and there are more than 220 dobsonfly species. They can be found in North America, Central America, South America, Asia, and South Africa. The dobsonfly spends most of its life in its larval stage. When they are larvae, they are also called crawler bottoms go-devils, and grampus, and some folks describe them as aquatic centipedes.
Like a crayfish, the hellgrammite is endowed with an exoskeleton. The head of a hellgrammite is embellished with a pair of mandibles, which are sharp claws or pincers. Its thorax has three pairs of legs, which are called prolegs, and each of them are equipped with a dorsal filament and a pair of terminal hooks. These terminal hooks help the hellgrammite to cling to the substructure of a stream or other waterways. Its abdomen is segmented, and from each side of each of these segments, there is a hooked and leg-like appendage. At the end of each of these 16 appendages, there is a pair of ventro-lateral tufts of tracheal gills, which are cottony or hairy, that absorb dissolved oxygen. The tip or end of the abdomen is graced with a pair of hooks.
The average size of a hellgrammite ranges in length of two to three inches. The shape of a hellgrammite is somewhat flat, and their exoskeleton usually exhibits a black or dark brown or tan hue, or a combination of those three hues.
Mister Twister's TwisterMite, which they introduced to the angling world shortly after the turn of the century, is a soft-plastic rendition of a hellgrammite. Of course, it is an abstract version of a real hellgrammite, and as we have noted in other gear guides, it is categorically impossible for the tackle industry to create a soft-plastic bait that possesses the scores of minuscule features that adorn the exoskeletons of aquatic creatures like a hellgrammite or a crayfish. But Mister Twister has masterfully accomplished a rendition that replicates many of the features of a real hellgrammite, and it has been lauded by some anglers as a very effective bait, when it is affixed to a drop-shot rig or a Carolina rig. And according to these anglers, even the most discerning black bass are not able to quickly notice the difference of the TwisterMite from a real hellgrammite.
The TwisterMite is 2 3/4-inches long.
Its head is devoid of the mandibles. But like a real hellgrammite, it is endowed with two eyes. It is where anglers will affix the hook of a drop-shot rig or a split-shot rig.
Its thorax has three pairs of prolegs, which are devoid of the dorsal filament and terminal hooks of a real hellgrammite.
Its abdomen is segmented, and on each side of each segment, there is an appendage that is an abstract rendition of the appendages of a real hellgrammite. They are devoid of the subtle ventro-lateral tufts or tracheal gills, which are impossible for soft-plastic-lure manufacturers to create.
Like a real hellgrammite, the tip or end of the TwisterMite's abdomen is graced with a pair of hooks.
It is available in the following colors: Black, Black Neon, Goby, Natural, Pumpkin Green Pepper, Pumpkin Pepper, Watermelon Red, and Watermelon Seed.
A package of 15 costs $4.50.
(1) Here is a link to a YouTube about the TwisterMite by Travis Manson of : Conshohocken, Pennsylvania:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg1PM382Mjs.
Manson lauds the effectiveness of the TwisterMite for inveigling smallmouth bass at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on a drop-shot rig. What's more, he applauds its durability.
(2) A number of years ago, Steve Burress, who used to reside in the state of Washington and was a member of the Mister Twister pro staff from 2000 to 2005 , wrote "I have used the TwisterMite in bass tournaments for the past couple of seasons and found them to work very well in a couple of circumstances.
"I use the TwisterMite as a split shot rig. When fish get tight lipped, rig a TwisterMite on a Finesse style hook (I use the Gamakatsu Extra-Wide Gap Finesse) either with or without a weedguard. Place a split shot on your line about a foot above the bait and then shake it. Adjust the distance of the split shot for the desired action.
"The other way is on a drop shot rig. Depending on the bottom composition, adjust your bait so it is up where the fish can see it. Another similar way to fish a TwisterMite is above a jig worked along the bottom."
(3) Mister Twister manufactures scores of soft-plastic baits that have adorned the jigs of some Midwest finesse anglers since the early 1970s. Here is a link to the website and catalog:https://www.mistertwister.com/catalog/2018/mistertwister-2018.pdf.
(4) Besides affixing the TwisterMite to a drop-shot rig and a split-shot rig, the folks at Mister Twister recommend attaching it to one of their Round Jigheads. (Here is the link to their website's feature about that jig: https://www.mistertwister.com/information/round-jigheads/404#RJH32-5%2010). Of course, most Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to a mushroom-style jig. Others will opt for an aspirin-style jig. Whatever style of jig is employed, Midwest finesse anglers can present it to their black bass quarries by employing all of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. (Here is the link to our Midwest Finesse column that explains how to execute those retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/.) The hook of the jig will be affixed to the head.
(5) In addition to inveigling largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, the TwisterMite is acclaimed to be an effective bait for alluring a variety of trout and panfish.