Catch More And Bigger Bass On Swimbaits


Largemouth and smallmouth bass can’t resist swimbaits. It’s understandable why. Swimbaits have a natural, baitfish profile and an alluring, tail-kicking swim. Here are several reliable swimbait rigs for catching bass.


Swimbait Rigging For Cover

13 Fishing Pleasure Shad


The new 4.5” and 5” Pleasure Shads are designed to easily slide through vegetation and other cover-rich bass habitat. The 13 Fishing “DAS Boot” tail design produces an extremely aggressive kicking action, which draws bass out from cover and makes them strike out of instinct.


Storm Largo Shad


Another option is the Storm Largo Shad new this season. Available in a smaller 3” and 4” size, this durable swimbait features an easy to remove connector on the tail paddle that when removed gives your bait a completely different, wider wobble action. This incredible new bait also has a grooved top and bottom for a weedless hook presentation. Quickly becoming a proven favourite for many Rapala Pros, the Largo shad will soon be a staple in many anglers’ tackle trays.



Weedless rig the your chosen swimbait on a 4/0 or 5/0 VMC Heavy Duty Weighted Swimbait Hooks. Screw the bait’s nose onto the locking spring. Then, run the hook point through its belly and into the slot along the back.


Swimming Around Veg And Wood

A weedless swimbait is excellent for catching largemouth and smallmouth bass in 3 to 15 feet relating to flats, points, chunk rock, boulders and sunken wood. Fan cast areas to cover water or make targeted casts to isolated spots, like the perimeter of a fallen tree.


Pleasure Shad is in its element in vegetation. It catches bass when swam through sparse grass. Same goes when it’s retrieved over the top and along the outer edge of thick deep weeds. The Pleasure or Largo Shad can be retrieved close to the surface or allowed to sink for a suspended presentation. Use a slow to moderate retrieve. Quick bursts of the reel handle combined with pauses trigger strikes.



Tip: Fish either of these swimbaits on a medium-heavy casting rod, like an Omen Black Gen III. Spool the reel with 40-pound Sufix ProMix Braid or 17-pound Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon.


Open-Water Swimbait And Jig Options

A swimbait on a jig catches smallmouth and largemouth bass from open-water and around rocky structures, sand bars and flats. Here, one can use an exposed jig hook as heavy cover is not a concern


The VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig is tough to beat. Its strong, wide gap maximizes hooksets. A spring keeper holds the plastic securely. This jig is great for 3” to 4-1/2” Largo Shad, Churro and My Name’s Jeff swimbaits.



Also awesome are the 360GT Searchbait swimbaits. These highly realistic baits come in a range of sizes in slender minnow or wider shad profiles.



Want to show bass something different? Tie on the 360GT Searchbait Swimmer. Its head has a molded diving lip, which adds crankbait action and improved depth control unlike any other bait on the market.


Open-Water Swimbait Tactics


Smallmouth cruising shallow sand-grass flats or rocky shorelines will chomp a 1/8-ounce, 3-1/2” 360GT Searchbait or a 3” Churro on a 3/16-ounce Hybrid Swimbait jig. Cast near tufts of grass, pencil reeds, rock piles, boulders, logs and other isolated features.


Start with a steady retrieve, adding speed changes to prompt a bite. Gear picks include a medium or medium-light spinning rod with 10-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline or 131 Braid to a 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.


Mid to deep rock flats, points and humps requires more weight. A 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jig is typically plenty for a 3” finesse swimbait slowly retrieved on thin braid with a medium spinning rod. Let the swimbait fall to bottom, then hop it up and swim it back above the floor.


Bigger swimbaits create more water resistance and may require heavier heads for working deep points, humps and flats.


Heavier jigs also allow for a faster retrieve. For example, steadily swimming a 4” Largo Shad or 4.5” Pleasure Shad on a 1/2- or 3/4-ounce head easily catches active smallmouth feeding on suspending baitfish over deep basins.


Use a medium to medium-heavy casting rod and 15-pound fluorocarbon for heavier jigs. A similar power spinning rod with 20-pound braid and a fluorocarbon leader is another option.


Drop-Shot Swimbaits Rig


The 3” and 4” Vertigo Minnow swimbaits are specifically designed for drop-shotting and like candy to bass. Whether moved by an angler or current, the hand-poured Vertigo Minnow’s flat boot tail produces a seductive kick bass can’t resist.



For maximum action, nose-hook the Vertigo Minnow on a 1 to 1/0 VMC SureSet Drop Shot or Neko hook. For more durability, thread the swimbait on a Finesse Neko hook past the fluorocarbon keeper.



Secure the hook with a palomar knot to 6- to 8-pound test Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, which can be used as a mainline or as a leader to 8- to 10-pound Sufix 832 Advanced Superline or Sufix 131 Braid. Tie an overhand knot at the bottom of the tag end and add a VMC Tungsten Drop Shot Cylinder, Ball or Teardrop weight. Experiment with 6” to 24” of line between the hook and weight. Drop-shot with a medium-light spinning rod.


Swimbait Drop-Shot Strategies

Vertically drop-shotting a Vertigo Minnow catches bass from offshore humps, deep points, sand bars and deep flats. With the drop-shot weight on bottom, lightly shake the rod tip to add action. Then pause. This is all that’s needed to tempt fussy bass.


Drifting a drop-shot covers water and catches bass. Keep the line fairly vertical, maintain bottom contact and focus on positioning the boat over the best water.


Casting a drop-shot rig works when bass are relating to sand, mud and other areas with limited snags. With the sinker on bottom, twitch the rig forward, then leave it still for a moment. Steady swimming also works.


Whether rigged weedless, threaded on a jig or added to a drop-shot, bass can’t help but eat swimbaits. Tie one on and get ready for a fun day on the water.



Tip: Use a longer(7’+), lighter weight(Medium-Light), X-tra Fast spinning combo like the Omen Black Gen III or Fate Black Gen III rod paired with Creed X or Creed GT reel for drop-shot presentations. Line your reel with Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon in 6 to 10-pound test giving you low stretch and visibility for this finesse approach.