There are a variety of swim baits currently on the market, both in hard and soft bodied versions ranging from small Shad imitations, bluegill, bass and Hitch to large Trout baits. Yes, there are tons of them out there so I’ll just touch on a few of them.
The trout baits generally imitate stocked trout, which at least in California are a big bass staple. These trout looking lures range in size from 5 to 18 inches and resemble a rainbow trout. There are a wide variety of lures out there the Huddelston Deluxe is one very popular soft trout imitation’s on the market as is the Rago and Matt Lures. For hard bodied ones the JSJ Tackle Snack Size Swimbaits and Bettencourt Baits Real Fish Trout are hard to beat.
Believe it or not but out here in the land of Giant bass you can ALWAYS be sure that many of the largest bass in the lake will make their home somewhere close to the boat ramp. No, not to ambush sleepy bass fishermen launching their boats but they do stay in the area to ambush something.
Speaking from my own personal observations I know for a fact that bass get “In Tune” to the sound of the trout stock truck. Hold on, I know what your thinking “Mike, you’ve spent way to much time in the sun and you’ve gone crazy” Hear me out. Over the years, back before I got my first bass boat, I can remember sitting on the dock fishing, have the stock truck pull up and as it sat preparing to dump its load and start seeing huge dark objects start to appear out of nowhere, as they got closer it was clear that these objects were bass, big bass, and this is well before the first trout hits the water. Then as the trout were being dumped the carnage begins, DINNER IS SERVED!
Here these poor trout are stunned from the ride, not knowing what is going on, dumped into the lake where they are considered Candy to the bass. I remember trying all kinds of different lures at these monster bass in an attempt to get them to bite to no avail. They were 100% focused on the trout. During this same time frame I talked to several other fellow anglers who had witnessed the same phenomenon at other lakes so I knew it was not some kind of fluke.
I covered allot of the history of trout swim baits as well as rigging techniques in “My Personal Quest For Trophy Bass” post so I don’t think I need to do it again. One thing I didnt mention was if you see trout “porpoising” on the surface, running scared cast your trout lure in that direction. Chances are Mr. Trout is being chased by a big bass wanting to make a meal out of him.
Next lets talk about other swimbaits. In case you didn’t know there is whole array of different types of swim baits. There are the Shad looking, Sunfish looking, Bass Looking models and of course they come in Shallow diving, deep diving, suspending and sinking models. We have the soft plastic, hard plastic ones, part hard part soft ones and wooden ones.
A person could easily spend their kids inheritance trying to buy everything out there but as a basic rule follow the K.I.S.S rule, (Keep It Simple Stupid). If you can afford one of each, do it. If not some soft shads, soft sunfish and soft bass in the 3-5 inch variety should be sufficient.
As a general rule of thumb these lures are not as big as the trout imitators so they don’t require the magnum tackle one would use with the trout lures. However depending on the size of the lures stout tackle will still be needed.
Some tips on how and when to use each swim bait are as follows. When? Anytime of the year, of course you need to factor in several variables when selecting which one.
During spring the sunfish would be a good choice. Bass will be protecting beds from sunfish so this would be a good search bait on flats around spawning grounds.
During summer the bass would be a good choice mainly because there will be allot of small bass swimming around from the spawn.
During late summer into fall the shad type lures will excel mainly because bass will be keying on them during this time of the year to fatten up for the winter when forage is not as readily available.
The best tip I can give you for winter time swimbaiting is to go slow. I’m talking so slow you almost fall asleep, yes all, I’m talking very slow. During the colder months the bass’s metabolism slows way down and especially the big bass, 10 pound plus, generally will not chase down a fast moving bait. But as I have mentioned before, nothing is written in stone.
I’ve touched on the when, now I’ll touch on the how. What I do is keep a close eye on my electronics, looking for bait on structure, this is when good electronics come in handy. When I find the bait I’ll cast my lure out past the structure, let it sink to the desired depth and start my retrieve.
Remember to impart some erratic action, even if very subtle, to make your offering look like its injured, bass by instinct will always pick off the injured ones first, its in their genetic makeup. Once again, nothing is written in stone. There has been times that I would make a long cast and get a professional over run, yes, even I get the breaded backlash from time to time. Anyhow, as I’m picking out the backlash and my lure is sitting motionless on the surface I’ve had bass just blast it as it sat there so as with ant other yime of the year, let the bass tell you how they want your presentation.
Another tip is to watch for balls of shad suspending. These can also be seen on good electronics as a big gray ball. Watch the shore line for activity, “dimples” on the surface could be sunfish or shad feeding. This would be a good place to make a cast.
Try some of these tips on your next trip and you should have some success.
Thanks for visiting my site. Be sure to tell all of your fishing buddies and come back soon.
Until Next Time, Good Luck and Tight Lines To Ya!