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The Sweet Swimmer, Umbrella Rigs and More

The Sweet Swimmer, Umbrella Rigs and More

Gene Larew's 3.5-inch Sweet Swimmer

Gary Dollahon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, recently announced  that Gene Larew Lures has introduced the  3 1/2-inch  Sweet Swimmer to the angling world.

Before it was unveiled,  Bobby Myers of Jenks, Oklahoma, began testing a prototype of the Sweet Swimmer in the fall of 2011 at a variety of Oklahoma waterways, such as  Grand Lake, Lake Hudson, Lake Texoma and Fort Gibson Lake.

From those various tests, Myers concluded that it's a dandy, and his favorite way to employ them is on an umbrella rig, such as the Mann's Slick Lures Alabama Rig.

In Oklahoma, anglers can use five hooks on an umbrella rig.  Thus, Myers' umbrella rig sports five 1/8-ounce Revenge Swimbait Hedz  jigs. The hook on this jig is a 4/0.

Each jig  is adorned with a Sweet Swimmer, and  Myers notes that it is essential that the Sweet Swimmer is attached absolutely strait

Myers uses two colors of the Sweet Swimmer: bright pearl and smoke pepper.

If the water is  stained, the sky is cloud covered, or the wind is howling, Myers affixes five bright-pearl Sweet Swimmers to the umbrella rig.

If the water is clear, the sun is shining and the wind is nil, he opts for the smoke-pepper hue.


During those outings when the water and weather conditions are variable,  or the conditions are somewhere in the middle of the two extremes noted above, he affixes various combinations of those two hues of the Sweet Swimmer on his umbrella rig. At times, he will have two smoke-peppers and three bright-pearl ones, and at other times, his rig will don three smoke pepper and two bright pearls.

He wields his umbrella rig on an  eight-foot  Power Tackle Swimbait rod, model SB5, and a Lew's Tournament Pro reel with a  6.4:1 gear ratio. The reel is spooled with 65-pound-test Suffix Braid 832. He uses a palomar knot to attach the umbrella rig to the braid.

Myers presents his umbrella rig by casting and retrieving it parallel to a drop-off or ledge.

In stained waters, he retrieves it so that it travels a foot and a half above the bottom. He holds his rod at the 10 o'clock position and turns the reel handle at a moderate pace -- similar to the pace that is employed when an angler  retrieves a square-bill crankbait.   Myers never alters the pace of the retrieve, but at times, he will shake his rod to cause the Sweet Swimmers to undulate and quiver.  In short, he doesn't employ what many anglers call a slow-roll retrieve, because he doesn't want it to hit the bottom. If it hits the bottom, it has a propensity to become snagged.

In clear water environs, he retrieves it so it travels several feet above the bottom. For instance, if he is probing a ledge that lies in 10 feet of clear water, he will commence his retrieve as soon as the umbrella rig hits the water at the end of the cast.  Depending of the depth that he is working, he attempts to keep the rig moving about six to eight feet above the bottom in clear water.

The Solo Sweet Swimmer

Myers, also, likes to work the Sweet Swimmer on a single jig.

When he is plying depths of two to six feet with a single jig, he opts for a 1/4-ounce Revenge Swimbait Hedz  jig. He switches to an 1/2-ounce jig in depths of six to 14 feet. A 3/4-ounce jig is the one he uses when he probes depths greater than 14 feet.

Most of his presentations with this combo are executed by making an extremely long cast and a medium-slow retrieve so that Sweet Swimmer travels 1 1/2 to two feet above the bottom.  If he is attempting to bewitch some suspended largemouth and spotted bass around a bridge piling, he will retrieve it so that it travels 2 1/2 feet above the suspended bass.

Meyers wields the jig-and-Sweet Swimmer combo on a  seven-foot, six-inch  Power Tackle rod, model PG104,  a Lew's Tournament Pro reel with a  6.4:1 gear ratio and 12- to 14-pound-test  Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon. The jig is attached with a palomar knot.

Gary Dollahon noted in an April 11 e-mail that several  anglers at Lake Fork, Texas, are  fishing a  single jig adorned with a Sweet Swimmer, and they are catching an impressive array of  largemouth bass by retrieving it across patches of aquatic vegetation.

Joe Davis' perspectives about the Sweet Swimmer on the umbrella rig 

Last winter,  Joe Davis of Tulsa, Oklahoma, tested a prototype of the Sweet Swimmer on a YUM Yumbrella Five-Wire Rig.

He affixed the Sweet Swimmer to either a Larew's 1/8- or 1/4-ounce High Tide Jighead. He used the 1/14-ounce jigs when he was probing lairs in 20 to 25 feet of water. When the bass moved shallower, he utilized the 1/8-ounce jigs.

Before Davis attached the jig to the Yumbrella, he affixed a split ring to the hook eye of the jig. Then he fastened the split ring to the snap on the Yumbrella.

The split ring allowed Davis to more easily liberate the rig when it became snagged.  He freed it  by using his heavy-weight braided line to forcefully pull and yank on the snagged rig  until the split ring separated.   Therefore, instead of losing the entire Yumbrella rig, Davis lost only the jig, Sweet Swimmer and split ring.

It is interesting to note that Davis has determined  that Yumbrella rig and Sweet Swimmers allured more bass when the five wires were  situated close together rather than when they were  spread a wide distance apart.

When he was plying stained water, he used only four Sweet Swimmers, and on the middle wire, he attached a No. 3 willow-leaf spinner blade.  From Davis' experiences, this produced more flash and vibration. What's more, the head of the Yumbrella contains a rattle, and Davis concluded that the rattle was a potent  stained-water attractor.

In the clear water of Tenkiller Reservoir, Oklahoma, Davis dressed the Yumbrella rig with either a gray ghost Sweet Swimmer or a monkey milk one. At times, Davis added a chartreuse line  from the head to the tail of the gray ghost Sweet Swimmer with a chartreuse  Spike-It Garlic Marker, and this created a sexy-shad motif.

In the stained waters of Fort Gibson and Grand Lake, Davis opted for the threadfin shad Sweet Swimmer or Alabama shad one.

Davis wielded this rig on a Quantum (model number TTBC767F) seven-foot, six-inch, heavy-action, fast taper rod. It is called a Tour Tommy Biffle rod. Affixed to the rod is either a Quantum  Smoke SL150HPT casting reel or a EXO100HPT casting reel. The reels were spooled with either 65-pound-test Cajun braid or 50-pound-test Omniflex braid.

His casts and retrieves were parallel to ledges and drop offs, probing water as shallow as five feet and as deep as 25 feet.

During the winter of 2011-12, he spent many outings working it in 20 to 25 feet of water. Then as spring unfolded, he worked it as shallow as five feet of water, but he had trouble with it becoming snagged in these shallow environs.  Then as more and more bass inhabited the shallow-water lairs during the prespawn and spawning periods, Davis decided to rest the Yumbrella until the post-spawn activities  materialized.

Before the 2013 spawn rolls around, Davis wants to find or create a five-hook umbrella rig that can be worked in shallow water.  He is intrigued with the modified Swim N' Frenzy umbrella outfit that Spencer Shuffield of Bismark, Arkansas, used at the FLW Tour Major tournament at Table Rock Lake on April 5-8.   At this event Shuffield used this three-wire umbrella rig to catch 78 pounds, 6 ounces of spawning bass and garnered second-place honors.

Davis suspects that the umbrella rig will undergo a number of permutations in the months to come. He also says that it is likely that rods and reels will be restyled so that anglers can utilize the umbrella rig more efficiently.

Davis says that the Sweet Swimmer is the perfect size and exhibits the perfect action for the umbrella rig. Its effectiveness was revealed by the size of the largemouth bass that were caught at Grand Lake  tournaments  during the winter of 2011-12. Traditionally,  the winning weight for five largemouth bass ranged from 16 to 18 pounds, but during this past winter, the winning weight for five largemouth bass ranged from 29 to 30 pounds.  Moreover, two nine-pound largemouth bass were caught.

Even though his umbrella rig's effectiveness waned during the spawn, Davis suspects that it will shine once again during the post-spawn period. In fact, there are predictions that record-making  catches will be made by the competitors who pursue post-spawn bass with the umbrella rig at the FLW Tour Major event at Beaver Lake on April 26-29. A shad spawn should be occurring during the tournament, too, and that might make the umbrella rig even more effective. Traditionally, five bass that weighed 14 pounds was a whale of a catch at most tournaments at Beaver.   Thus Beaver is an ideal waterway at which to test the effectiveness of the umbrella rig.


The Sweet Swimmer is available in 10 colors, and a package of 10 baits cost $5.99. For more information about the Sweet Swimmer see:;

For information about Bobby Myers see:

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