Swimbaits are one of the latest tackle crazes to hit the fishing scene. Innovative soft-plastic designs and pouring methods create lifelike baits with natural swimming actions. Swimbaits let you cover plenty of water and have a way of bringing in bruiser fish. This season get an advantage over other anglers and integrate swimbaits into your repertoire. Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for swimbait styles, here's a run down of some popular models in some loose categories.
A shad-shaped soft plastic body matched with a jighead is the most basic example of swimbait.
Jighead and Body Combo
This style of lure is perhaps the first generation of swimbaits. Don't let this descriptor turn you off, though; these baits are time-proven to catch dozens of sport fish in fresh and saltwater. A soft-plastic body is rigged on a jighead. Darter, bullet or shad shaped heads are the most popular. All baits deliver a seductive swimming action and paddletails seem to be the most popular. During the retrieve, these wide paddletail appendages wobble, moving water and putting out plenty of vibration.
Some examples of plastic bodies include:
The abundant selection speaks to the longevity and effectiveness of these baits for a variety or sportfish. Shad shaped baits are quite popular, featuring a fat, wide profile. Alternatively, slender styles also exist.
For the best action, these baits must be rigged straight. Adding a drop of soft-bait glue to the head of the bait before pushing the plastic tight to the jighead keeps bodies properly rigged, even after landing a few fish.
You can boost the effectiveness of these baits by rigging them on belly bladed jig heads, like Northland's Thumper Jigs or Blakemore's Road Runner Walleye Glow Heads. These heads deliver a compact flash to swimbaits and because the blade's swivel is connected directly into the jig head, it flutters and flickers with every twitch or drop of your rod tip during the retrieve.
Internally Weighted Swimbaits
This next type of category encompasses a vast assortment of lures. These baits come pre-rigged and range from basic, swimming shad styles to extremely lifelike replicas of sportfish forage. They come pre-rigged in packs. Simply tie them on and start fishing. Large baits are usually sold individually while smaller lures are sold in quantity. Some have removable heads to be reused and inserted into a new body when the old one wears out. Paddletails or twister tails deliver most of the action to thse lures.
Internally weighted swimbaits can be deadly when used with a spinner blade.
Examples of these baits include:
These swimbaits feature additional detail surpassing the color combinations of plastic grubs. Reflective materials inside the body deliver a baitfish flash. Many also feature large detailed eyes. Sophisticated paint patterns beyond one or two color tones are another common theme in this style.
As previously mentioned, swimbaits can be deadly when combined with a spinner blade. For internally weighted baits, it's best to use wire arm jig spinners. Clipping a Lindy's Jig Spinner or Northland's Slurpies Jig Spinner to the line tie turns the swimbait into a mini spinnerbait, with a plastic body instead of a skirt. The safety pin wire shaft acts as a weed and brush guard. The blade adds flash and vibration. On slack line the bait's fall is painfully tempting. The blade fluttering and the soft-plastic tail flapping mimics a vulnerable, injured morsel.
Within this category of swimbaits falls a mix of soft-plastic and hard baits, as well as hybrid baits utilizing qualities from both.
Natural replicas such as Lucky Craft's Real California help anglers "match the hatch" -- an important feature in clear water systems.
From head to tail, these baits offer a new level of realism for anglers. Paint patterns, size and profile all help anglers imitate a variety of fish forage with artificial offerings. These natural replicas help anglers "match the hatch," an important feature in clear water systems such as Western states where stocked trout have become a preferred and easy meal for monster largemouth bass. Examples of these lures include:
These baits either feature flexible or jointed bodies for an natural, swimming action. Other models feature billed lips to help lures dive and add a side-to-side action. Baits tend to be big and heavy. This style of fishing often incorporates long casts as well. These two characteristics demand a long, powerful rod for tossing these lures but also to hook and play fish with lots of line out.
Hollow Body Swimbaits
Hollow bodied swimbaits are the most recent design in the swimbait lineup. These baits are often Texas rigged on off set hooks, although some companies provide terminal tackle for specialized rigging for the best action and hook-ups. The hollow body gives baits an extremely lifelike swimming motion in the water. The bait's flat sides reflect light as the paddletail wiggles, mimicking the flicker from a baitfish. The other advantage is the hollow body collapses around the hook when a fish grabs the bait for solid hook sets. Some examples include:
When a fish grabs the bait, hollow bodies collapse around the hook for solid hook sets .
Swimbaits are taking the angling world by storm. Although a lot of swimbait buzz focuses on trophy largemouth hunting, many styles of swimbaits are just as deadly for walleye, stripers, pike and other species. Be sure to wet some of these lures this year for more trophy catches -- whatever your favorite species may be.