Soft Swimbaits for Success

Contributed by Daryl Boyd




Do you have a bait that is tied on no matter where you are fishing or how many rods you have with you?  You know, your American Express bait – you don’t leave home without it.  I think we all do and some of us it’s probably more than one.  I know I always have and probably always will have a worm tied on one of my rods but the last few years I have added the paddle tail swim bait to the “must have tied on” lineup.


Specifically, I use the Super Swimmer by Bruiser Baits.  There are several on the market and I’ve tried several but the Super Swimmer has flat out performed literally every time I’ve thrown it.  Personal bias aside if you haven’t thrown one, I suggest you grab a pack and check them out.  They are an incredibly versatile bait and they catch big fish.  The paddle tail swim bait can be fish in several different ways allowing you to cover a lot of different situations without having to change baits.


Top Water

Ok, so who doesn’t like the top water bite?  The answer is nobody.  The paddle tail can be retrieved across the surface and will act a lot like a buzz bait.  Since I always have on tied on, I will usually start out like this just to see if I can induce an explosion to get the blood pumping.  The bait is typically rigged weedless with a weighted swim bait hook or “Texas Rigged” with or without weight so it can be dragged across mat, through vegetation, lily pads or over submerged grass.  I will typically make a long cast and retrieve along the shoreline or across a field of pads.


Straight Retrieve

The bait can also be fished like a spinner bait with a straight retrieve.  If fishing a little deeper water, I can cover a lot of ground with a cast/retrieve in an effort to locate fish or even structure.  I can cast it out, let it sink and retrieve back to the boat or a lot of times I will retrieve 10 feet or so and let it drop.  Retrieve 10 feet and let it drop, etc.  Because of the way the tail works, I think it catches attention primarily on the drop.  But I will admit I have caught several bass just trolling it behind me while I’m moving to another location.



Like a Worm

Although I always have a worm tied on, if I am searching for fish I will use the swimbait like I would a worm.  Lift and let fall.  One of the benefits is I can fish the grass at the bank, that first drop off, and direct retrieve it the rest of the way.  Sometimes I will get that curious follower to chase it out to deeper water to eat it.  Again, most of the strikes for me occur on the fall due to the flash from the tail.  It swirls around in a circle as it falls and fish just have to come check it out.  This is especially effective throwing toward the bank and bouncing it back toward me.  In fact, I the last 3 years, the Super Swimmer is responsible for all but maybe 2 of the fish I’ve caught over 5lbs. primarily when fishing it in this manner.



Presentations for this bait are limited only by your imagination.  I use it as a search bait a lot so I may try various speeds, various depths, or I might fish it erratically like a jerk bait or walk the dog.  Once I find the fish I have the option of sticking with the swim bait or setting up shop and throwing the arsenal at them.



Rigging Options

There are several ways to rig the swim bait.  If fishing it on top, obviously no weight is required although if you are fishing it on a weighted hook, it is still easy to get that buzzing action.  If going weightless, I would recommend the weightless Texas Rig method to keep it weedless.


I primarily have fished this bait with a weighted swim bait hook.  The bait screws on to the corkscrew and the hook is run back into the belly.  This makes for a very weedless presentation and probably the most versatile method.  Any of the retrieves I have mentioned can be achieved with this rigging with equal effectiveness.  The weight on the hook shank acts as a weighted keel and keeps the bait upright during a retrieve.  I have recently started using a heavier weighted hook if I am fishing a lake with deeper water.


I have also been experimenting with a traditional Texas Rig method.  The weight all the way to the front seems to give it a more vertical fall which allows me to fish a little slower.  It can also be buzzed on the top or straight retrieved with this rigging but you lose the keel weighting effect on the straight retrieve.


And finally, it can be fished on a jig head for fishing deep ledges.  I don’t fish a lot of deep water down here in South Florida so I have not used this method much but if weeless isn’t a priority and you need to get the bait deep to get to those ledges where the fish are waiting, this is the method.  It is heavy enough to get the bait deeper quicker and the exposed hook makes for easier hookups in deep water.



And as with most baits and methods, try it and see what works best for you.  Try different rigs, different presentations, and of course, different colors.

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