Soft Swimbaits

 

Ok I hear so many of my friends say I don’t know how to fish them and I don’t know which one to use. So here we go, when I first started throwing swimbait I decided that I would replace one of my goto baits with it so I would throw it more and build confidence with it. After 25 years I put down my spinnerbait rod. That alone was tough to do because I love throwing spinnerbaits and I still do. Since then I have started using them again but it took some time.

 

Now there are two different types of swimbaits, a hard plastic and a soft plastic. I have found for my style of fishing that the soft plastic baits suit me better, saying that there is nothing wrong with the hard body baits. I have friends that use them and do very well with them. It really is a personal preference. There also two different types of soft plastic swimbaits, the hollow belly like Berkley Hollow Belly and the solid like the Reaction Innovation Skinny Dipper. Both of these baits have a time and place. Once again like most lures it a personal thing.

 I use the Berkley Hollow Belly in open water or large open flats. I rig it on a Owner Beast hook #7 weighted
depending on the depth of the water and the wind. The bigger the better I find, whenever I get worried about the size of my bait I remember a 3 lbs smallmouth I caught with a 9 inch whitefish in its mouth. I use a 7’4” med-heavy fast action St. Croix Avid casting rod with 30 lb. braid and a fluorocarbon leader. Now here’s the trick, super long casts and a brutally slow retrieve. I can’t stress this point hard enough; a slow steady retrieve is a most. Don’t twitch it, jerk it, or burn it, and whatever you do don’t stop it! The bass must see a big dumb easy picking bait fish swimming out in the open that it can follow and hit at its convenience.

 

And now to the solid soft plastic swimbaits. There are many manufactures of this type of bait and so many colorsand sizes it can be confusing. Personally I like mine 4 to 5 inches long in natural colours. My goto bait is Bitters Baits Naked Swimmer, thecolors I use most is Houdini if the water is clear and watermelon black and red flake if it’s dirty. Ithrow this bait in heavy cover and very shallow. I rig it on a #7 Owner 

un-weighted Beast hook and I cast it with a 7’ heavy fast action St. Croix Avid with 50 lb. braid. I swim the bait slowly on top of cover; wither its lily pads, hydra or slop. I cast it up on shore and slide it in the water and slowly reel it in. The hits are explosive like a topwater and you have to give them that second before setting the hook. And when you do set the hook you have to turn the fish out of the cover so set like you want to break the rod. I have caught largemouth and smallmouth like this from Florida to northern Ontario. You can even fish this bait deep alongside of docks and weed edges. Cast the bait out and it will swim naturally down to the bottom then just slow roll it back. I have had hits on the drop and as soon as I have started reeling. The bad side of this presentation is that large pike and musky love it! So hang on! You can even use it like a crankbait and cast it at points and over shoals. I have even seen the hard core smallmouth anglers rig them on heavy football jig heads and drift and drag them in deep water on the great lakes, and their use with A-rigs down south has been phenomenal. I would honestly have to say that swimbaits are here to stay and their versatility is just beginning to be discovered.

I always have a swimbait tied up now, it has become one of my favourite ways to catch fish and I hope it will be for you too. Unless I fish against you regularly in tournaments then please feel free to disregard this entire article.

 

Tight Lines everyone.

Mike Brown

Father, husband, pro angler and Bigfoot hunter

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