Soft Swim bait help Soft Swim bait help
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    Soft Swim bait help
from Jeff Hahn  
4/21/2010 10:40:47 AM


 As most of you know, I'm not fan of "magic baits" or the "secret lure" syndrome. I've cut a ton of tackle from what I carry and instead rely on many fewer tried and true baits. That being said, what's the deal with soft swim baits?

OK, I bought a pack of soft swim baits since I hear guys were catching some nice fish on them in some local tournaments. And, I drew out with Mike Berry, brother of FLW Pro Art Berry in a couple BFL's a few years back and he gave me a few of the swim baits that he and Art sell. I've fished all of these swim baits on and off. The fish I have caught have been nice, but I haven't caught many fish on them...certainly not enough to even have a swim bait rigged on a rod all of the time and I also rarely even carry them in the boat.

Then, a couple years ago, I heard that one local guy was cashing a lot of check on soft swim baits. This fellow is a close friend on one of the local guys who has fished the Elite Series and rode with him to several events and fished as a co-angler, back when the Elite Series still had co-anglers. Anyway, this guy went entered as a co-angler and drew out with a pro who was a swim bait master. The story goes that this pro showed him a couple of "tricks" to really make soft swim baits super productive. Since then, he's been waxing our butts with soft swim baits! He weighed 21 pounds last Sunday to win a local tournament...21 pounds on an inland lake in Ohio is very, very rare! (I don't know the model or size of bait that he's fishing, but I know it mainly white in color.)

OK, so share with me your soft swim bait "tricks and tweaks!" I'm getting tired of losing money!

If you don't want to share your secrets publicly here, my e-mail is hahnjl at mountunion dot edu!

Thanks in advance!

Jeff Hahn

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   Look here Jeff ,, from Rattler  4/21/2010 11:28:55 AM
  these are some of the best
swimbaits I've ever used.......

   Technique? from RICH ZIERT  4/21/2010 11:31:07 AM

I've zeroed in on two brands.

For bigger baits I go to Osprey 6" Blue Gill.

Smaller baits Strike King Shadalicious 4.5" Neon Ghost Minnow.

I think you have to know when and where to use them. I use bigger baits in stained, smaller in clear.

I move the bigger ones as slow as possible - just enough to get the tail swishing.

The smaller ones can be moved faster.

I pause the big ones more.

I dart the little ones more.

Hook size can replace internal weights, or hook weights (if any) at times. Experiment with size and style until you get what you want.

I use bait casting gear on big ones, and spinning gear on the smaller.

Put stinkum on them.

I run my baits at a depth equal to two times the sechi disk reading. . . twice as deep as you perceive water clarity to be.

After lob casting run the ETM away from the bait on free spool. Get a fair distance between you and the bait before retrieving. That "fair" distance depends on water clarity and depth to which I want the bait to run. Longer distances for clear, and / or shallower water.

Slow sweep retrieve when retrieving/paying absolute attention - crank in free line quickly - repeat.

Is that enough? I don't know how you fish. It's personal to you. Trial and error.


   Shoot! from Rattler  4/21/2010 11:34:00 AM

Here it is..... Not saying it's the way you fish it and all but the subtle sway of the tail on these are just to much temptation for a big ol bass. Also, I'm not just plugging a friends bait. They work! Depends on how shallow you fish it and the weight used to keep it in the zone where ever that depth is. I've seen guys throw a a swimbait over cover with a heavy weight and really have to move it to keep it above the laydowns and such and it's just moving to fast. I usually want it moving slow over cover so I use a lighter weight for "overcover situations" and when fishing points I'll go to a heavier weight to get it down but still work it slowly. Rat Rat

Edited 4/21/2010 12:02:50 PM

   secret from MikeF  4/21/2010 11:52:07 AM
 Unfortunately you answered your own question.

"I've fished all of these swim baits on and off. The fish I have caught have been nice, but I haven't caught many fish on them...certainly not enough to even have a swim bait rigged on a rod all of the time and I also rarely even carry them in the boat."

I'm in the same boat. I've used them off and on. The reality is the only way to get good is to use them until you figure out what works. The "secrets" help but nothing beats just using it until the light goes off about your head.

Several years ago I got my butt handed to me on flukes. I took everything out of my boat except flukes until I figured out why they work. I did the same with Senko's and with trickworms. If you don't like to use them you won't use them enough to get the feel. I need to do the same with swimbaits.

   hehehe ,, very true Mike from Rattler  4/21/2010 12:13:04 PM


I've found a swimbait bite here is best during
staging fish and clear water! I fish mostly a
gin clear lake and they work really well during

You've gotta know when to lay any bait down....


   Didn't Skeet Reese just run away win at Smith Mtn. fishing these? from bassbrain2 #14457  4/21/2010 4:15:11 PM
Luckily I had a positive reinforcement the first time I used a S/B, a 5.5" shadilicious. They will catch the bigger fish due of their bigger size and appealling action. Everyone's info is correct regarding their experience with these things, so do not believe they produce dramatic results in all situations. I keep one rigged and handy, and will not leave the water before I've made twenty five casts with it. My best results have been in clear water, and a nice ripple on the surface, which is normally June, July, August time frame. I've been told and believe that a good surface chop is critical in clear water. Those are definitely some good looking baits shown by Rattler. Due to their bulky size, a 7/0 or 8-0, hook is necessary, with screw-lock keepers and I like the 1/8 oz. for now and 1/4 for summer. Buy 1 pack each of these premium s/b hooks and you're set for life! If you're good at swimming a jig or a worm, then you will pick on the optimum retrieve quickly!

   Swimbait alternatives from RichZ #11105  4/21/2010 4:17:57 PM

For smallies, especially early (ice outish) and late in the year, I like to put a 4" or 5" Swimbait on a football head and "grind bottom" with it. Basically, let it hit bottom, then keep it moving slowly with a slight pause every 4 or 5 turns of the reel handle to let it find bottom again. Depending on the depth, wind, line diameter and bait size, this might require anywhere from a 1/4 to more than 1/2 oz FB head.

In shallow water (and the way I fish them in prespawn) I rig it on a Stanly frog hook, with the little triangular weight under the nose of the bait. Usually 1/8 or 1/4 oz.

And when I want a heavier rig, I go with a TitleShot head, just like I use to fish most plastics weedless. When I fish it heavier (other than the steady bottom grind for cold water smallies described earlier), I tend to move the bait with the rod tip and wind slack as it sinks.

The one thing that really stands out to me, is that I've caught maybe 10 times as many fish with the weight at or under the nose of the bait as when using weighted hooks designed to make the bait maintain more of a horizontal attitude in the water.

   Rich, thanks for reminding me about that jig head deal! from bassbrain2 #14457  4/21/2010 4:54:52 PM
 This is a very versatile lure and deadly for all species of bass, walleye, and other toothy fishasaurus's!

   I sort of do the opposite. from Spookchucker #10778  4/21/2010 7:12:18 PM
I use 3/4 oz spinnerbait heads burried inside the swimbaits. This way, I fish it faster & deeper. For me, it triggers more bites, especially on Lanier spots.

   I like weighted hooks with screw in retainers from MikeF  4/21/2010 10:46:49 PM
They add the weight you need and act as a keel to keep the bait from rolling over on it's side. I use Owner Twist-locks up to 5/0 and V&M for the bigger hooks like 7/0 and 8/0. The V&M's have pretty much the same retainer.

   Jeff..... from MikeB/SpotCountry  4/22/2010 7:37:14 AM
 Swimbaits are a different animal. I have been fishing and studying them for a good while. The one thing that I have come to the conclusion is that there are not many people that will be able to put their head completley around the technique due to the simple fact that you don't get alot of swim bait bites on them so that you are able to gain any amount of confidence in them quickly enough. Having said that there are "swimbaits" and then there are "SWIMBAITS" and there is a difference LOL.

My best advice to you is to throw them and get experience with them and continue to try to gain confidence in them as they deserve a spot in every serious bass guys arsenal. Most people can't get over the size issue but the smaller ones work good as well but just be sure to experiment.

As a swimbait manufacturer myself, rest assured MANY of the Elite BASS Pros and FLW pros are going through the very same thing you are right now and have been for a few years now.

Like I said throw them and get some confidence in them and learn when they work and when they don't work. It varies from lake to lake, day to day, hour to hour, condition to condition, season to season. It's not a crankbait technique where anyone can do it and pick up on it instantly. There is no short cut that I could tell you other than to pay your dues and to THROW THEM and learn from them when they work and when they don't work especially when it comes to the bigger swimbaits. They don't work in all situations, but when they do....

I'm pretty sure alot of the anglers around Smith Mtn are asking themselves what just happened when they got Rago'ed. :).


Allatoona Bass Fishing (Atlanta, Georgia)

   Jeff, I think MikeB said it pretty well............................. from Jmac #10965  4/22/2010 9:29:16 AM
Did you see some of the comments by Stephen Browning and maybe Guy Eaker? They basically said they tried throwing the swimbaits before practice and early in the tournament, but pretty much did not have any confidence in them and went back to their tried and true tactics.

   It's like they use to say about Musky Fishing from RICH ZIERT  4/22/2010 11:07:13 AM

"The fish of a thousand casts."

Not really and history has been debunked once again.

If you mindlessly throw big baits , any brand, size and kind of baits for that matter, any place and anywhere at any time you not only have a tired mind, but your shoulder, forearm and wrist as well; and little to show for it except empty tubes of Ben Gay.

There is overwhelming evidence to prove the smart angler is more successful. Winning is more a matter of heart and mind than it is baits and defeatist thoughts, or thoughts that are directed for you. Understand nature better - catch more and bigger fish - leading to conservation of resources and even better fishing down the road for everybody.

   Thanks for the info from Jeff Hahn  4/23/2010 8:30:31 AM
 Guys: Thanks for the info. I'll stick the soft swim baits back in the boat and continue to play with them.

Jeff Hahn

   Polish Used On Swimbaits?? from Griff  4/23/2010 7:06:31 PM
 What polish was the guy using on the swimbaits?



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