Archive

Category Archives for "Bass"

What Size Spinning Reel for Bass?

What Size Spinning Reel for Bass

​Whilst most anglers will run a baitcaster for most of their bass fishing a common question I often hear is "what size spinning reel for bass?"

If your aim is to use lighter rigs and lures then a spinning setup for bass may well be the best option, however there is no best size spinning reel for bass.

You need to match your rod, reel and line to the type and size of lure you are using and where exactly you will be fishing them.

​For example there is no point in using an ultralight setup if you are fishing in and around really thick weed cover as the rod will not have enough backbone to handle hauling a bass out from the weed.

And conversely you will find it very difficult to cast light lures on a bass fishing setup that is to heavy. 

Saying that if you are looking for an all rounder then the best size spinning reel for bass will be a 2500.

​What Size Spinning Reel for Bass?

​1000

A size 1000 spinning reel is what is considered and ultralight spinning reel. These reels are designed to be used with really light line. 

Monofilament in the 2 to 6 lbs range of breaking strain. They need to be paired with an ultralight spinning rod.

This type of setup is usually used when "finesse fishing" i.e. throwing really small and light lures in shallower waters.

They are commonly paired with an ultralight rod that is normally 6'6" or under and has an ultralight power rating with a fast action.

They are commonly used as a trout reel for use in smaller rivers and streams.

2000/2500

The size 2500 is probably the best spinning reel for bass by size as it strikes a decent balance between light weight and still having a decent line capacity and drag system.

They will generally hold monofilament line up to 8 lbs and braid up to 12 lbs which are a good match to most light weight rigs and small lures.

​For a lot of anglers a size 2000 may well be a little too small and they would consider it an ultralight reel.

You can pair a 2500 size spinning reel with a 6'6" to 7' spinning rod with a light/medium power rating with a fast action.

The fast action is a must when using lighter gear as it gives a lot of tip sensitivity which is crucial when using lighter presentations and small single hook bait rigs.

This type of combo is really versatile and can be used with a good amount of lighter bait rigs and lures.

​3000/3500

Once you hit a size 3000 then you get the added benefit of a larger spool.

A larger spool will generally mean less coiling of your line especially monofilament as it can have a pretty high memory depending on the brand.

​You will also get a lot less line twist when the reel has a large spool on it.

If you are targeting large bass near to thick cover then a higher breaking strain line is always a good idea.

Being able to spool your reel with 12 lb line can give you a lot more confidence than using much lighter setups.

  • February 13, 2020
  • Bass

Chatterbait vs Spinnerbait

Chatterbait vs Spinnerbait

Chatterbait vs spinnerbait - just how different are these lures in terms of design and fishing applications?

​Most anglers can tell the difference between an chatterbait and a spinnerbait just by looking at them.

Where the biggest confusion lies is where and when is the best way to fish them.

Both are fished on fairly similar tackle and both do create quite a bit of disturbance especially when they are fished right under the water surface.

​If you are not overly familiar with how each lure is constructed then below we describe the exact make up of each lure and how it swims:

  • Chatterbait - A chatterbait is also known as a bladed swim jig and the two terms can be used interchangeably. Chatterbaits have a semi-hexagonal blade that is mounted in front of a swim jig. It has a jig head and a trailing skirt. The blade does not spin a full 360 degrees around the front of the chatterbait. Instead it vibrates back and forth from side to side but never fully spins. It also gives off a very distinctive sound.
  • ​Spinnerbait - A spinnerbait has a bent wire construction at 90 degrees. One on side of the wire there is a jig head and a trailing skirt. One the other side there is a spinning blade or often multiple blades. The blades are free to spin fully around the wire and give off a really solid vibration and flash in the water.

Chatterbait vs Spinnerbait

​The main difference between a chatterbait and a spinnerbait is the types of blades used in their construction and how those blades spin.

On a chatterbait the blade is a hexagonal shape and is mounted on the front of the lure. The blade vibrates from side to side but never fully spins around and around.

Whereas on a spinnerbait the blade is a more traditional type of spinner blade such as a willow or Colorado blade.

The spinnerbait has the blades mounted out to the side of the jig head and skirt compared to a chatterbait that has the blade mounted directly in front of the jig head.

​When to Fish Them

​The best time to choose a chatterbait is when you are working in and around heavy weeds. Chatterbaits really do excel here and you can fish a chatterbait over the tops of weeds by either burning them quickly or using a more stop start technique.

​That vibrating blade can draw bass out from cover and they will smash a chatterbait hard from below.

Spinnerbaits work really well on very windy days or in darker waters.On really windy days some topwater lures can perform poorly but ​fishing a spinnerbait just below the surface and your chances will increase greatly.

The give off a lot of vibration and flash from their spinning blades so any time you need to really attract bass in because of poor light or dark waters then the spinnerbait is one of the better options.

Spinnerbaits are of the few lures that are actually quite productive year round. Although I prefer a chatterbait over a spinnerbait during summer months.

​Tackle Considerations

Both these types of lures can be fished on very similar tackle.

​Light spinning gear is not the best choice of setup here. A good quality baitcasting rod and reel will be the better option.

Line choice will also be pretty similar.

A spinnerbait rod needs a decent backbone so a medium/heavy power rating is usually best and a fast action.

​The same too can be said for when you are choosing a chatterbait setup, most chatterbait rods will have a fast action.

Occasionally you will see one used with a more moderate action, this is done when using very large chatterbaits especially ones with long trailers as you might want to delay the hook-set slightly.

  • January 30, 2020
  • Bass

How to Fish a Chatterbait

How to Fish a Chatterbait

Since the original launch of the Zman Chatterbait success of these odd lures spread like wildfire.

They were hailed as a hybrid lure somewhere between a spinnerbait and a swim jig.

​The terms chatterbait and bladed swim jig are used interchangeably.

​When fishing a chatterbait you need to be aware of what type of water it performs best on.

​What is a ChatterBait ?

​A chatterbait is essentially a bladed swim jig. They have a hexagonal blade that vibrates back and forth that is mounted in front of the jig head.

  • ​The blade is not like a regular Colorado or willow blade that you will find on a spinnerbait, instead it is hexagonal in shape.
  • ​The mounting point of the blade is also different, it is attached directly in front of the jig head.
  • ​It does not spin in a full 360 degree rotation either. Instead it vibrates back and forth from side to side.

​​​This motion is why it gives off such a distinctive noise and hence the name 'chatter' bait.

They can be rigged with a trailer, which is usually some kind of soft plastic lure. This adds a little more life into them also helps to hide the hook even further.

​How to Fish a Chatterbait

The best way to fish a chatterbait is in and around heavy weed cover, over gravel beds and over the tops of submerged trees.

Chatterbait fishing is particularly effective when bass make their seasonal moves towards more shallow holding areas.

Slower techniques using various different bass rigs are a lot more effective in colder months. But ripping lures such as bladed swim jigs is rarely attempted.

​1. Weed Cover

​There are generally two types of weed or grass that you need to concern yourself with, heavy and light.

When fishing a chatterbait around heavy weed the best approach is to fish it right over the top of the grass tips.

​Burning a chatterbait at speed really makes that blade sing and will most definitely make bass sit up and pay attention to your lure.

Bass like to stay camouflaged in weed so look for spots in the weed were there is a sign of recent disturbances or a natural clearing.

In lighter grass beds you can fish the chatterbait directly through it and just above it, varying your depth and speed.

They are fairly weedless however the clip in front and the blade can get fouled up so it is good practice to regularly clean them and remove even the slightest build up

When fished through weeds a chatterbait will be superior to a spinnerbait as due to their design a spinnerbait can get fouled up with a lot of weed on it's wire frame.

​2. Gravel Beds

​Smallmouth bass in particular are very fond of hanging out over gravel or shell beds during the summer heat.

In this instance you can work a chatterbait low and slow.

Aim to run your lure along the top of the gravel occasionally touching so that a small bit of sad or light gravel is disturbed.

These types of visual stimulation's can be the difference between a bass striking you lure and just inspecting it.

​Combined with the very distinctive sound that a bladed jig makes bass will tend to chase these lures a lot.

​It is crucial to vary your retrieval rate to make sure that the bait looks as natural as possible.

Another technique for chatterbaits that works well over gravel is yo-yo'ing.

​The yo-yo retrieve involves casting your lure out allowing it to sink until it touches bottom.

Now raise your rod tip and move the lure upwards and towards you, reeling in any slack.

You then let it sink again and continue this pattern until the lure is back near the boat.

Yo-yo'ing works extremely well on sandy or gravel bottoms as there will be less snags to get caught up on and the impact on he bottom can also raise a small cloud of dirt.

​3. Submerged Trees

​Old logs and stumps make a great ambush spot for bass to lay in wait for a tasty snack.

Work a chatterbait over the tops and in and around any branches taking are not to get snagged as you go.

Vary the retrieve as a method to adjust the height you are working at.

If you need to run shallower over a branch raise your rod tip and increase the speed that the lure is moving at. This will help it to rise up over the the branch.

Once clear you can then slow down the chatterbait to allow it to drop a couple of feet.

You can repeat this pattern over and over but only if you can see all the snags.

​Chatterbait Fishing Tips

1. Slow Your Strike

A slower strike and hook-set seems to be the best way to use a chatterbait and really increase you hook up rates.

This is particularly true if you are using a large soft plastic trailer. Give the bass split second or pause to allow them to really engulf the chatterbait in their mouth.

Failure to do this can result in a lot of missed hook sets, you will be literally ripping the lure right out of their mouths if you strike too quickly.

​2. Vary the Retrieve 

Vary the retrieve regardless of how and where you are fishing will make the bladed jig seem far more natural.

Not only that, it will also have a big effect on the noise and the vibration that the chatterbait blade will be giving off through the water.

​3. Slow Roll

Slow rolling works great in colder water temperatures. In open water if you are casting along the side of drop offs or other deep structures you can work the chatterbait right down where the bass will be in the deeper depths.

You'll need to use a fairly large chatterbait for this and stay away from light and smaller sizes.

​Tackle Considerations

Any decent medium/heavy baitcasting setup that you have can work for both a chatterbait or spinnerbait.

A best chatterbait rods tend to have a lot of backbone as you will be fishing them around heavy cover and hauling a bass through thick weed is next to impossible on a light weight spinning setup.

Look for a rod that has a medium/heavy power rating and a fast action. There is an argument for a more moderate action similar to a crankbait style setup as it can slow down your hook-set ever so slightly.

  • January 30, 2020
  • Bass

How to Fish a Ned Rig for Bass

how to fish a ned rig

​Ned rigs continue to grow in popularity as more and more anglers realize just how effective they are.

Ned rigs really excel when bass are not keen on chasing larger faster moving lures such as crankbaits and topwater lures.

The produce fish all year long. Big largemouth in deep cover or smallmouth over a gravel bed next to a drop off the Ned rig really does produce.

What you need to make a Ned rig:

  • ​1/16 or 1/8 ounce mushroom style jig head
  • 2.5 inch soft plastic stick bait or worm

​Tackle tends to lighter than your average bass combo so a good Ned rig rod will need to have a light power rating and a fast action for added sensitivity. Ultralights rod are okay but can prove too light when fishing around heavy weeds.

What is a Ned Rig?

A Ned Rig is a soft plastic lure or worm that is threaded onto a mushroom shaped jig head. The jig head is weighted, whereas the material that the lure or worm is buoyant.

Ned rigs are fished mostly on the bottom with very slow movements. As they move the jig head will naturally stay down and the tail will point upwards due to its floating properties.

They are fishing on very light tackle, which is commonly referred to as finesse bass fishing.  

​Who Created the Ned Rig?

​The Ned Rig was created by Ned Kehde who was a strong advocate for finesse bass fishing in the mid west as early as the late 1950's.

During the 1980's Ron Linder introduced Kehde to a small mushroom shaped jig head.

Kehde originally used to cut  Z-Man's 5 inch ZinkerZ worm in half before there were dedicated ned rig baits available.

The thing that made the Z-Man's soft plastic so unique was that it had a natural buoyancy to it. This allowed for the tail of the lure to float upwards whilst the Ned rig hook jig head would sink.

When on the bottom the jig appeared to have it's tail in the air and it's head burrowing into the lake floor making it look like some kind of bottom feeding creature.

​How to Fish a Ned Rig for Bass

​In open water you fish a Ned rig by casting it out and allowing it to sink, the jig head is then slowly twitched along the bottom in a very soft and delicate manner.

There are a number of different retrieval types for the Ned rig but the one above is the most simple to master.

It is actually more difficult than you think as most bass fishermen will become impatient ad will start to twitch it too quickly.

For best results the Ned rig is fished low and slow through the water.

You are not trying to run the jig too quickly. Stubborn bass do not like quick moving lures especially once the water temperatures start to drop.

They can be fished off the bottom, simple cast towards cover and allow them to sink, more often than not bass will hit them as they slowly sink downwards.

Ned rig fishing is all about making a subtle presentation. Try to make as little splash or noise as possible.

​When most bass anglers strike to set the hook they do so with a rather violent jerk of the rod tip. This is not the way to set the hook of a small jig like a Ned rig.

Instead you should lightly lift your rod tip and reel in at the same time. This allows the hook to set without ripping it out of a bass's mouth.

​Tackle Considerations

A finesse Ned rig setup although ideal will normally be too light for bass if you are working around or in deep weed cover.

You still need a rod with a bit of backbone but light enough to be able to use small jigs. Look for a light/medium power rating with a fast action.

You can pair that with either a size 2000 or 3000 spinning reel. Main line can be braid or fluorocarbon as both have very little stretch.

If using braid then you should tie on a fluorocarbon leader.

  • January 27, 2020
  • Bass

How to Tie a Spinnerbait Rig

spinnerbait rig

​Spinnerbaits in the right hands can be one of the most effective lures available particularly in and around deep and heavy cover. 

Lots of anglers complain that they never end up catching much when using spinner baits despite buying a dedicated spinnerbait rod and having a large selection of lures to choose from.

​I see a lot of anglers rigging their spinnerbaits incorrectly which an lead to the blades failing to spin.

But;

Just how exactly do you tie a spinnerbait rig ?

​This will depend on the type of loop that you have on the spinnerbait. Some will come with a closed loop and others with an open tie on loop.

The preference is to always buy a spinnerbait lure that has a closed loop as it can avoid a lot of the problems associated with using open loop tie on points.

​How to Tie a Spinnerbait Rig

​The best way to tie a spinnerbait rig is with an improved clinch knot directly to the eye of the bend. 

​The only time you should use a snap link is when the spinnerbait has a closed 'R' style loop as the tie in point.

If you are using a spinnerbait rig that has an open style loop then using a snap link can run the risk of the snap running freely up towards the blades and stopping them from spinning.

Another reason to not use a snap link or clip when rigging a spinne​r bait is that a lot of spinnerbaits are considered weedless lures.

If you use a snap link then the snap itself can pick up quite a bit of weed especially if you are dragging it through very fine weed beds.

However, if you do want to use a snap link then you need to make sure that the snap will not run up towards the blades, this is a real problem when using an open style loop.

​There are two ways to stop the snap link from moving out of the loop, both approaches effectively do the same thing which is to turn the open loop into a closed loop:

  • Use a small rubber band and loop it around the open side of the loop
  • ​Similar to the rubber band above you can wrap some heavy monofilament behind the snap link to close the loop.

I have also seen knots running up when using an open loop spinnerbait. Tying on a spinner bait with a weak knot can result in the knots running up and down the wire.

One way to avoid this is ti use a small dab of superglue on the knot once it is tied on.

This should stop it from moving assuming it has been tied correctly. Always be careful when using super glue to not get any on your fingers.

  • January 19, 2020
  • Bass

Frog Fishing for Bass

frog fishing for bass

​Without question top water frog fishing for bass has to be one of the most exciting forms of freshwater fishing.

Seeing a largemouth bass engulf your frog from below will get any anglers pulse racing.

You can throw them in and around heavy cover, twitch them across open water and put them under low hanging trees and docks all to great effect.

​There are some subtle differences in how you fish a frog lure in each of the scenario's above.

Knowing what size and how to retrieve it can have a massive impact on your strike rates.

Your tackle also needs and upgrade to be able to handle all that weed and other potential snags.

The best frogging rods will have need to have a stout backbone so a heavy power rating is a must.

You'll need a fast to extra fast action so that every move of your rod tip is translated quickly to the frog and it will also set the large single hooks most of these lures have.

Ideally it should be 7 feet or more in length a longer rod gives you better casting performance but also a bit more control as you will be working the lure on the top of weeds and lilies.  

​A main line choice will always be braid. The heavier the better, 50 lb braided line is not uncommon particularly in very heavy vegetation.

Braid slices through weeds much easier than mono or fluoro due to it's thinner diameter.

It also has close to zero stretch which is crucial not only for setting your hook, but translates your rod movement more directly to the frog.

​Frog Fishing for Bass

Frog fishing for bass means getting you frog right up in heavy cover were frogs would naturally be hiding, it is crucial that when you move it across the water that it generates some noise and splash.

A lot of noise and splash will help the bass to see or locate your frog from below.

If you are fishing ​a frog lure in open water then you may need to drop down a size, but in heavy cover sometimes the bigger the better as you can cause a lot more disturbances with the larger one.

​How to Fish a Frog Lure

​Fishing a frog lure involves casting it towards and into cover, the frog is then walked or popped across the top with regular pauses during the retrieve.

More often than not a bass will strike the frog during the pause phase of your retrieve.

This pause can be crucial to your success. Not pausing does not give a bass a chance to have a good look at it and think about striking.

​Pausing however needs to be done properly. Try not to pause for too long in open water.

​For example in a large mat of lilies there can be gaps in between them, make sure to pause here only for the briefest of moments.

​You don't want to give the bass too long to inspect your fake frog as they may decide against it.

The same holds through when fishing in open water.

When you do go to set the hook often a slight pause is best, sometimes up to 2 to 3 seconds.

Pausing for this long can seem counter intuitive but you will be rewarded with a higher hook up rate and that is what is important.

It takes a few milliseconds for a bass to properly engulf a lure like a frog and setting your hook to quickly will result in just ripped it straight out of the bass's mouth without the hook bedding in.

​1. Thick Cover

​For the majority of bass fishermen frog fishing means working their frog across the top of heavy vegetation or cover.

That could mean a variety of different types of cover:

  • Lily pads
  • Heavy weed
  • ​Pond scum

Thick cover frog fishing means making a lot of splash and noise.

Whilst smaller frogs are more suitable to open water when fishing in thick cover use a big frog as it will make more noise and create a lot more splash.

​A lot of anglers will throw a frog at cover and then just mindlessly reel it back towards themselves.

More often than not this type of approach is hurting their success.

Frogs don't swim in straight lines at the same speed all of the time.

​When working this type of water you should be using a weedless lure.

If you are in a boat facing at the bank of the lake then you can cast the lures right up to the waters edge of the bank.

Some anglers will even cast onto the bank and then skip or hop the frog into the water to simulate a frog entering the water from the land.

This would not be possible without a weedless lure!

​Once in the water then vary your retrieve to pop the frog forwards and out to the side by varying the direction of your rod tip.

Allow a slight pause and then continue with the same action varying each pull to make them look a bit more natural and random.

​2. Open Water

Open water is not what most people associate frog fishing with.

But, it can be very effective.

​This is where using a slightly smaller lure will pay dividends. The smaller lure creates less splash and in open water too much splash would look unnatural.

​To help this kind of presentation you can use slightly lighter line. In thick cover strong line that can slice through a lot of weed is essential but in open water not so much.

This is also where a hard body frog will really shine, especially those that have legs that kick when moved through the surface.

You want the appearance of the frog to be as natural as possible so a smaller lure that generate smaller wake as it if fished is best.

If the wind is blowing then after a certain speed it will be creating too much ripple on the surface.

Bass in this scenario are relying on their sight and your lure to create a bit of wake on the water surface.

Too much wind and you won't get nearly as many strikes as in calmer waters.

​3. Along Drop Offs

Identify a drop off on your fish finder or by sight if it is shallow and a clear day and then work the lure along the contours of the drop off.

This approach will work best of their is vegetation on the hallow side of the drop off.

Bass love vegetation as cover and in the right scenario will break that cover to smash a topwater lure like a frog.

This approach can beat out thick cover frog fishing on certain days and I find it usually depends on the light conditions and how much wake the wind is causing on the surface.

Too much wind and it's not that effective.

​4. Around Docks

Fishing for bass in and around docks is nothing new. In fact most kids will either start fishing off of a dock or in a small river.

Fishing with frogs however is not that common place.

Saying that it can be very effective, not sure why but it works.

Just like fishing in open water you should aim to use a slightly smaller frog.

Work the frog along the side of the docks and even underneath them if the structure allows.

  • January 19, 2020
  • Bass

6 Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups

Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups

​As you progress as an angler at some point you will start to out grow your first rod and reel setup and look to purchase some more specialized gear.

​For a lot of fishermen having a few rod and reel setups to hand is more than commonplace.

​Bass tournament anglers on the other hand take it to a whole other level with up to 20 setups on a boat during a pro comp

Different techniques do call for different rod lengths, powers and actions. If you really wanted to you could have a separate rod and reel for every imaginable type of bass lure and rig.

But;

​Not only would that become a pain to store and transport, your credit card would also take a severe beating.

​If you have been fishing for bass for any length of time you may well of heard of the 6 rod bass fishing system.

So what is the 6 Rod and Reel Bass Fishing System ?

The 6 Rod Bass Fishing System is six different rods and reels of varying actions, powers and lengths that can cover most if not all of the most common ways to catch bass.

​Each rod can cover roughly one to three different types of techniques, ​together they should be ​more than adequate for any recreational angler.

​If you were to be limited to only two bass rod setups then the medium power spinning setup and a medium/heavy power baitcasting rod would give the ability to cover a wide range of bass fishing techniques.

​6 Bass Fishing Rod and Reel Setups

​1. Medium/Heavy Casting Rod Fast Action 7'

​This rod is suitable for use with Texas Rigs and as a bass jigging rod. Single hook lures need a fast action as you will need to be setting the hook as quickly as possible.

Jigging also requires a fast action so that you can get as much action through the rod tip and down to the jig to give it some life.

The medium/heavy power is required especially when you are throwing jigs or heavier rigs in and around thick cover.

​2. Medium Power Spinning Rod Setup 6'9"

​When using lighter lures or rigs you are often better off using a bass spinning rod with a medium power rating. Generally below 7' feet in length.

​A good bass spinning reel will be a size 3000 for general work.

This can be used with small plastic swimbait lures, small jerkaits or any other small topwater lures and some of the lighter rigs like a shaky head rig or dropshots rigs.

3. Heavy Power Casting Rod X-Fast Action 7'3"

​If you are throwing frogs, big swimbaits and flipping and pitching in and around heavy cover then a heavy power baitcasting rod is essential.

A fishing frog lures the is a high possibility that you will end up in heavy weed cover and all the best frogging rods need a lot of backbone.

​A heavy power rating is also essential for a good pitching and flipping rods even though you are working close up to cover that extra length can give you a bit more power to steer bass away from thick weeds.

The best swimbaits are usually larger lures so your swimbait rod needs to be able to handle these larger lures and should be paired with a decent swimbait reel in the 300 or 400 size range.

​4. ​Medium Power Casting Rod 7' Moderate Action

​If you are casting any kind of slow moving lure with large treble hooks on them then a more moderate action is a must.

Fast action rods are suitable for single hook lures or rigs as you need to set that hook quickly.

With large trebles it is best to delay that strike for a few milliseconds as often if you strike too quickly you can end foul hooking a bass somewhere on the head.

A more moderate action means a softer hook set which is ideal for larger crankbaits or jerkbaits.

​5. Medium/Heavy Casting Rod Moderate/ Fast 7'

This type of setup is suitable for larger single hook lures such as spinnerbaits and swim jigs.

​The best rods for spinnerbaits will ​have a medium/heavy power rating as they are lures that create a lot of drag through the water and you need a bit of backbone when using these types of bass lures.  

​6. Medium Power Casting Rod X-Fast 6'9"

When using a lure that requires a lot of added action by twitching the rod tip such as a jerkbait then you will get the best results with a rod with an extra fast action.

That means a lot of sensitivity through the tip and the slightest twitch of the rod should be transmitted quickly through your line to your lure.

Top water lures also need such and action if using a topwater frog in and around heavy cover  however you should be using a rod with a heavy power rating as it will have a lot more backbone.

  • January 16, 2020
  • Bass

Best Swimbaits for Bass

Best Swimbaits for Bass

​Throwing swimbaits for bass has become somewhat of an obsession for some bass anglers.

The lure of the that trophy lunker has proven just too much for some and they will happily trade lower success rates for larger fish.

​Although there are plenty of smaller sized swimbaits available, for the majority once you mention a swimbait they imagine large, lifelike lures with either a jointed body or a large paddle tail.

​Personally I like to use smaller swimbaits just as much as I would a crankbait or worm but when targeting really big bass size really does matter.

​There are three broad categories of swimbaits to choose from:

  • Hard Body
  • Soft Body
  • Paddle Tails

Each has there own specific characteristics but there is also a lot of cross over between the different kinds for example you can paddle tailed swimbaits with soft bodies and some can have their hooks on top or on the bottom or be multi-jointed.  

A lot of the soft body swimbaits for bass will also require the addition of an added specialized weighted hook or a jig head before you can fish them.

Most hard-bodied swimbaits however will come with everything included and can have several attachment points for your line so they can be fished in different styles.

Smaller soft boby swim baits can aslo be used as trailers on spinnerbaits.

​Best Swimbaits for Bass


The​ Shadalicious swimbait from Strike King has a huge following due to it's exceptional swimming action.

It is a hollow bodied paddle tail swimbait available in a large range of colors and ​3 or 4 sizes.

AS the name suggest they make a killer shad imitator for both small and large bass.

​You'll need to rig these on a either a jig head or a weighted hook to get some decent casting distances as like most soft body swim baits they are pretty light without the addition of some kind of weighted hook.


​Spro BBZ1's are some of the most lifelike lures you can buy. No self respecting swimbait fisherman would be caught without a Spro, Huddleston or a River2Sea in their tackle box.

​You can rig these straight on to your line as they have a enough in built weight for casting. I tend to favor low and slow as the style of fishing for when using these.

Just be aware that those large treble hooks can snag easily on weed and other underwater obstructions so either fish them deep along a drop off or high as a topwater lure when targeting bass around weed beds.


​Another Strike King swimbait lure the Rage Swimmer has a ribbed body that gives off a lot of vibration even at slow speeds.

​These are a great choice if you are targeting small to medium size bass and I always keep a couple to hand.

​They are very versatile and can be used on a variety of different bass rigs like a plain swimbait, drop shot or you can even jig them when targeting bass close up.

They can even be used as a spinnerbait trailer when targeting bass in heavy cover. 

You'll need to rig them yourself with some added weight.


​The Fat Swing Impact is pretty similar to the Rage Swimmer above but is available in a large range of sizes some as big as almost 8 inches in length.

​They have a two tone color design with the top portion of the lure having a bit of sparkle. A really great shad type lure they can destroy bass in the right conditions.

​These are rigged straight through the body for better swim action on either a weighted hook or large jig head.


​One of the all time classic jointed swim baits the River2Sea S-Waver has a killer swim action that is perfectly tuned to mimic small bait fish.

​The 168 refers to the length in millimeters so that's roughly 6-3/4 inches in length from tail to tip.

Targeting large lunkers means using giant swimbaits for bass in the 6 to 8 inch range and River2Sea are one of the most established players on the scene.

​For best results fish them slowly just below the water surface. The resulting wake from the S like swimming pattern will draw in big bass from far and wide.

Although they have a hard jointed body the tail is actually made from hard wearing PVC so you can considered them a hybrid lure.


​Huddleston are known for pouring some of the most life like swim bait patterns ever. They pride themselves on making super realistic hand painted patterns particularly when imitating small trout.

​They come pre-rigged with a top hook so can be worked over the top of snags and weed beds with a lot more confidence that bottom hooked swim baits.

These are sinking swimbait lures and you can use a slow count to guage how deep it has sunk after casting. Holding your rod tip up will help them to run shallow and they can often be smashed from below by hungry bass.


​When bass are on the shad they can ignore just about anything else you throw at them.

Similar top hook design to the Huddleston above but much smaller lures with a built in lead head on the hook.

​They also have bio-salt impregnated tails and a holographic foil finish for added attraction.

You can run these slowly in deeper waters for early season bass or over the top of weed beds in the summer as the water temperatures start to rise and bass head for shallower waters.

​One of the most realistic swimbait fishing lures you can buy the Savage Gear 3D is a paddle tail lures that maintains it's swimming action even as it falls down through the water.

​I like to fish these at several different depths on the same cast as when you pause and allow them to sink the tail continues to paddle, you can get hit by bass as you start to reel in again and they start to swim up slightly.

The internal jig head is weighted so you can control the exact swimming depth easily once you are accustomed to how quick they sink.

​Available in three colors and both a sinking and slow sinking model so you can tailor your exact lure to how you want to fish it.


​One of the most life like jointed swimbaits lures you will ever see the hard bodied Jackall Gantarel is a cut above the rest.

A fairly heavy lure so not one for use on light tackle big you be thankful as big bass love to smash these lures.

The swim action is one of the best you will ever see and the super realistic patterns are of the highest quality.

​One of the most expensive swimbaits to buy these lures are for the serious fisherman only.

​Both trebles come dressed in natural feathers and also come with a tail tip eye so you can run a stringer hook at the back.


​Swimbaits for Bass

​Throwing swimbaits for bass has become many anglers go to technique for targeting trophy fish.

The only real draw back is that when using these larger bass lures you have to realize that you will get less strikes.

A lot of small bass will quite simply ignore them and to greatly improve your chances you need to be laser targeted with where you fish them.

Big bass tend to be well distributed across any stretch of water and due to their size a certain lake or pond can only support so many of them.

​Swimbait Tactics

Low and slow is generally the name of the game when using these lures for bass and it can take a few casts to fine tune the lure when it comes to how fast you should fish it.

​The time of year will have a huge impact on how you fish a swimbait and it will generally dictate what depth you should be fishing at.

Look to work them in and around drop offs when looking to fish them in deeper waters earlier on in the season as bigger bass will tend to stay away from the shallows until the water temperatures begin to slowly rise during summer.

​Once summer hits and bass move towards shallower waters and vegetation such as weed beds and lilies then you can start to target them in the top few feet of the water column.

​Tackle Considerations

The size and weight of the lure you are using will have a big impact on the type of swimbait rod that you should be using.

Normally look to use a fast action rod with a medium to heavy power rating and length wise from seven feet all the way up to nine feet when using really big swimbaits. Swimbait reels are normally baitcasters and the bigger the better without it unbalancing your rod.

  • January 13, 2020
  • Bass

How to Fish a Swimbait

How to Fish a Swimbait

​The number of swimbait designs and manufacturers has exploded since they were first championed in California in the ​1990's.

Since then bass anglers all over the country have come to embrace the swimbait as one of the best choices for targeting really big bass. 

But a lot of anglers still ask the question: How to Fish a Swimbait ?

​How you fish a swimbait will vary depending on the time of year and where the bass are most likely to be found. Low and slow through the water where the bass a holding.

Shallow water summer fishing will need a different approach to deeper pre-spawn season swimbait fishing.

Size and color/pattern will also play an important role but location is the first thing to get right. The best swimbaits for bass will match the hatch so to speak in terms of what patterns to use.

I like to start with a simple shad pattern and work from there.

Once you have settled on a location that is likely to hold big bass then you can figure out what kind of depth you need to be fishing a swimbait at.

​How to Fish a Swimbait

A swimbait should be fished with a low and slow retrieval, running a swimbait too fast will result in it rolling on itself and spoiling the natural swimming action that is built in to it.

You can cover a lot of water when swim bait fishing and if you are not familiar with the venue on which you are fishing the using a fan like pattern with your casts can allow you to tackle a large area before moving on.

​Look to run the swim bait along underwater structures or drop offs and weed beds.

​One of the best swimbait fishing tips I ever received was to try and find where the shad were moving through as you can be sure that large bass will not be far behind them.

1. Deep Water Swimbait Fishing

During the pre-spawn season when bass will stay down in the deeper waters and this really is were you need to target them.

At this time of year with lower water temperatures bass will try to expend as little energy as possible, meaning they are less likely to chase a lure that is moving too fast or is too high up in the water column.

I like to use a heavier swimbait that has a decent amount of built in weight. that way you get down into the deeper water quicker and it is easier to keep them there as you work them forwards.

A slow retrieval rate is crucial when working swimbaits for bass in colder months. They quite simple will not chase anything if it traveling too fast.

So low and slow is the name of the game even though it an be a little boring at times.

​2. Mid ​Water Swimbait Fishing

I consider the mid range of the water column to be between 3 and 5 feet. Ideally you will target a structure like a submerged log pile and cast a swimbait just beyond it.

​Using a slow sinking swimbait you can gauge at what point it sinks to roughly the four foot mark and then start to haul it in slowly.

Occasionally pausing to allow it to sink a little as they will rise as they move.

​3. Shallow Water Swimbait Fishing

As temperatures start to rise and bass move towards the shallow you need to start to target them in by running your swimbaits in shallow waters particulary across the tops of sunken logs or branches and large weed beds and lilies.

​When casting a swimbait in shallow water with a lot of weeds around it is best to use a weedless hook or a swimbait that has it's hook mounted on the top.

This types of lures can greatly increase you chances as when weed fouls on some swimbaits it can affect the swimming motion.

​Tackle Considerations

​Fishing a swimbait is basically cast and retrieve all day long so you will have a much easier time using a casting setup.

Spinning setups are fine for really small finesse style swimbaots but for almost everything else a baitcasting rod is a real must.

​Rod

​All swimbait rods share one thing in common and that is a fast action. You should look for a rod that has a medium to heavy power rating and should be roughly 7 to eight feet in length.

​Reel

​If you are using a baitcasting setup then your choice of swimbait reels should match the size of the rod and line that you are using. As long as it has a quality drag and decent casting performance you should be good.

When fishing very large swimbaits you may need to beef your reel up a little and your rod too, this may call for a specialized rod and reel.

​Line

​The chose of fishing line for swimbaits these days is usually a modern fluorocarbon line with a breaking strain that is normally in the 15 to 20 pound range.

If fishing in shallow waters then monofilament is just as good as it does tend to float a little better than fluorocarbon.

  • January 13, 2020
  • Bass

How to Fish a Spinnerbait

How to Fish a Spinnerbait

​Spinnerbaits are one of those rare lures that can produce bass year round irrespective of water temperature.

Cast and retrieve is still the tried and tested method when fishing a spinnerbait, that being said you can still work them in a more start stop vertical pattern and they will still produce fish.

There are a number of different blades available as well as a wide selection of skirts. There are also tandem rigged hooks available on some spinner baits which can be effective if the bass are biting a bit short.

​How to Fish a Spinnerbait

Spinnerbait fishing can be as simple as casting along cover or a drop off and simply retrieving, varying the speed of the spinnerbait can be one of the best tactics to utilize.

1. Blade Selection

There are normally three main type of blades for spinnerbaits:

  • ​Colorado
  • Indian
  • Willow-Leaf

The most popular or common type is the willow with the colorado next and you will rarely see the indian.

Colorado blades are the largest of the three and create the biggest vibration through the water. They are the best choice in murkier waters, at night and in colder waters when you may want to fish your spinnerbait a bit slower.

They create the biggest amount of resistance when draged through the water and you'll definitely feel the difference between a colorado blade on a spinnerbait and a much lighter willow.

Indian blades are effectively a cross between a colorado blade and a willow. They neither create too much vibration nor too much flash. The also spin at a speed somewhere between the two.

Best used on hot summer days when bass are more likely to be spooked by flashier lures.

If you see someone tie on a indian blade spinne rbait on purpose, then that angler really knows their blades and when to use them.

Willow-leaf ​sometimes just called the willow blade, these are the most slender of the three blades used on a spinnerbait. You will find that the willow blade is the most popular blade.

It spins faster than the others and because of this it has less vibration and gives off a lot more flash.

It is much easier to use a deeper depths or in and around weeds, it's the one to choose when bass are at their most active and not to be used if the appear to be sluggish.

​2. Colors

​Like most bass lures you'll find that there is a huge selection of spinnerbait colors available to buy. But spinnerbaits are one of those lures where simplicity is best and keeping your colors toned down a notch is usually the safer bet.

When the waters are really clear aim to use a simple color that has a more natural color or shading to it.

Remember it is the blades that are doing most of the work when it comes to attracting bass. Using a flashy or artificial type color on a bright day with calm waters will result in lots of bass turning their nose at the spinner bait once they get close to it.

On duller days or when the waters are running a lit more brackish then you can experiment with brighter colors.

This includes the blade colors too. Painted or patterned blades can be very successful on dark days or in muddy waters.

3. Weather Conditions

Lower light days especially if there is a bit of wind can be the most productive time to fish a spinnerbait.

You can use them all year round, you'll need to adapt the color and the blade type as described above if you intend on using a spinnerbait in summer months when the water is warmer.

4. Location

Spinner baits can be used in open water given the large amount of vibration that the blades give off.

However were they rally start to shine is near a drop off or on the end of a thick weed bed. you can also work them over the top of a weed bed that has a few feet of clear water above it.

Across the top of fallen logs especially of there are a few fallen ob top of each other can be an excellent choice as bass are very happy to lie in wait under logs in ambush of bait fish.

​Tackle Considerations

​Most good spinnerbait setups will be on a casting outfit and not spinning gear. The best rods for spinnerbaits will have a fast action, medium to medium/heavy power rating and be at between 6'6" and 7' in length.

The best fishing line for spinnerbaits is usually flourocarbon unless you are working them in and around a lot of thick cover. Then I would opt for braid as a main line with a flourocarbon leader.

  • December 21, 2019
  • Bass