Skip to main content

About Swimbaits

About Swimbaits

Dave Hrbacek, St. Paul, Minnesota, says: "I'm a new subscriber and just read Doug Stange's "Inside Angles" in the October-November 2003 issue. I have questions about swimbaits: (1) What type of retrieve is best? (2) The Berkley Power Bait Swim Shad is a saltwater bait. Is it OK for use in freshwater? (3) What size swimbait is best? (4) Do swimbaits work best on heavily fished lakes, or do they work as well on less-pressured waters?

Doug Stange: The swimbaits work well for bass in some instances. They're particularly good fished on a 1/2-ounce jighead when you're searching new territory, because they can be cast far and retrieved quickly. Cast one out, let it sink to the bottom, or to the intended depth, then retrieve it, using a combination of lift-fall and straight retrieve. Sometimes, in other words, you let it fall to the bottom, then move it along again for 10 feet or so before letting it fall again. And so on. Other times, move it along steadily until you contact weeds, snap your rod tip to break free, then move it along again. Bass eat it on the fall, or as you make a steady retrieve. As you become more proficient with the baits, add further swimming motion to the jig by flexing your wrists to nod the rod tip as you swim the jig along. Bass like it, pike love it, walleyes eat it, and occasionally I get a muskie to bite.

I fished a new lake last year that had a big sunken island in it. I positioned the boat at about 20 feet, off the drop-off, and made long casts with the swimbaits, along the edge of the drop off, and up onto the shallow part of the edge, bringing the jig back to me. Having consulted a lake map before beginning, I knew the general layout of the island. In 30 minutes I had probed all the way around the big island, finding two distinct points that each had a lot of weedgrowth on them. Along the way, I caught four or five bass and a half-dozen pike.


The next pass I picked up a Texas-rigged plastic worm and just fished the two points with the heavy weedgrowth. I was able to catch another bass from each of the points, probing with a lure combo that allowed me to fish slower and get deeper into the weeds.


Some of my best bass catches have been during early summer, but the bait works all season long. The designation "saltwater," by the way, is mostly about marketing, not where the bait can necessarily be used. A variety of swimbaits are available, from the multispecies smaller (4- and 5-inch) kinds I'm talking about, to the huge baits used in the South and West for giant bass. You'll note in our February 2004 issue an article on using the larger baits.

Looking for Baits?

Check prices, read customer reviews or buy it at Everest

Check Prices

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

Drop-Shotting For Smallies

The In-Fisherman crew head to Lake Erie to catch smallmouth bass.

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Lake Superior Whitefish on Ice

Doug Stange joins Capt. Aron Kastern on Lake Superior near Ashland, Wisconsin where they go after whitefish on ice.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

The True Story of the Bass Boat Hero Who Broke the Internet

“If that engine starts without my kill switch on, I ain't the one driving it,” Blake Broussard says after ejection video goes viral.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter Pike & Muskie

Pike Movement and Habitat: Summer vs. Winter

Dr. Rob Nuemann

Do pike under ice cover choose the same types of habitats they use in summer?

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural baits and commercial options.10 Best Carp Baits Available Today Carp

10 Best Carp Baits Available Today

Dan Johnson

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips are tasty and dress up nicely when served in a basket or on a plate with fresh fruit such as grapes and strawberries.Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe Fish Recipes

Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe

In-Fisherman

You're going to love this Beer-Battered Fish Fingers Recipe! These deep-fried walleye strips...

This walleye recipe is a colorful and delicious way to serve your most recent catch.Walleye Baked with Sweet Peppers & Onions Recipe Fish Recipes

Walleye Baked with Sweet Peppers & Onions Recipe

Tom Kavanaugh

This walleye recipe is a colorful and delicious way to serve your most recent catch.

See More Trending Articles

More Baits

This new buzz bait is going to catch some bigguns.New BOOYAH Squelcher Buzz Bait Baits

New BOOYAH Squelcher Buzz Bait

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 12, 2018

This new buzz bait is going to catch some bigguns.

Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater, too.2018 ICAST Hardbaits Baits

2018 ICAST Hardbaits

Cory Schmidt - June 26, 2018

Jerkbaits, Spybaits. Squarebills. Lipless lures. Deep, shallow and medium divers. Topwater,...

When we were working on a gear guide about Northland Fishing Tackle's new IMPULSE Core SwimbaitNorthland's IMPULSE Smelt Minnow Baits

Northland's IMPULSE Smelt Minnow

Ned Kehde - March 12, 2017

When we were working on a gear guide about Northland Fishing Tackle's new IMPULSE Core Swimbait

The Freestyle Frog comes through cover with ease and performs well both on top and below the water.LIVETARGET Freestyle Frog Baits

LIVETARGET Freestyle Frog

Chris Schneider - December 04, 2019

The Freestyle Frog comes through cover with ease and performs well both on top and below the...

See More Baits

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now