Kalin’s Tickle Grub


During the 1980s, a goodly number of the pioneers of Midwest finesse fishing became infatuated with the Lunker Grub, which was the creation of the late and great Al Kalin of Brawley, California.

Kalin died on April 20, but the company that bears his name is still manufacturing soft-plastic baits that cater to the tactics that Midwest finesse anglers employ.

In 2007, Kalin sold his company to Acme Tackle Company of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, and in 2019, they created the 3- and 5-inch Tickle Grub.

We exchanged emails and a few telephone conversations with Matt Bichanich, who is the vice president of sales for Acme Tackle, about the Tickle Grub. And he provided us with some samples of them for us to work with and thoroughly examine in order to publish a gear guide about them.

We opted to focus on the 3-inch model, and here is what we discovered about it.

When its tail is curled or at rest, it is 2 11/16 inches long. When the tail is extended, it is 3 11/16 inches long.

Its head is round and slightly more than 1/16-inch long. It has a diameter of a 1/4-inch and a circumference of 7/8-inch. Its tip is flat with a slight indentation, which is where a Midwest finesse angler will insert the hook and bait keeper of a jig.

The entire torso, including the head, is 1 5/8 inches long.

The first 1 3/16 inches of the torso is encompassed with 13 ribs. At ribs numbers six and seven, the width of the torso is 3/8-inch with a circumference of 1 1/4 inches. At rib number 13, it is 5/16-inch wide with a circumference of 1 1/8 inches.

The final 7/16-inch of its torso is devoid of ribs and its epidermis is smooth. And the last 3/16-inch of this part of the torso melds into the grub’s tail. The tip of this segment is somewhat bullet shaped. Adjacent to rib number 13, this portion of the torso has a width of 1/4-inch and a circumference of 3/4-inch. At its junction with its tail, the torso has a width of 3/16-inch and a circumference of 11/16-inch.

Its radically curled tail is thin and flat, exhibiting a thinness of less than 1/16-inch.

Near its junction with the torso, the tail is about 3/8-inch wide. At its widest spot, which is 5/8-inch from its junction with the torso, it is 1/2-inch wide. The width decreases to 3/16-inch at 3/16-inch from the tip of the tail.

The outside edge of the tail is about 3 3/4 inches long and its inside edge is about 1 9/16 inches long.

The outside edge of the tail is adorned with 23 short appendages, and each appendage sports a tiny ball. The tail’s inside edge is adorned with 11 short appendages and balls. These appendages are less than 1/6-inch long. Each ball has a diameter of about 1/16-inch. These 34 appendages are designed to displace water, which will create more vibration than the original Kalin curly-tailed grub.

It is available in the following hues: Blue Pearl Salt & Pepper, Chartreuse Hologram, Chartreuse Pearl, Chartreuse Salt & Pepper, Pumpkin Salt & Pepper, Smoke Salt & Pepper, White, and White Ice.

It is not impregnated with salt nor scent. It is buoyant, which is an asset in the eyes of Midwest finesse anglers.