We’ve been asked a lot lately on our recommendations for throwing swimbaits on castable umbrella rigs, like The Alabama Rig. There are so many different swimbaits on the market and we won’t even attempt to cover them all, but we’ll instead give you 10 options that cover a wide spectrum of choices and tell you what is unique about each and how folks have employed them effectively.
Some considerations are how many come to a pack, the price, the sizes offered and the colors offered as well as how well they attach to a jighead as opposed to a weighted belly hook. A lot of anglers have found success using four smaller sizes and then a bigger one in the middle. Lance Walker who caught and released a fish that likely would have beat the Tenn. State Record largemouth bass, and his fishing buddy Jimmy Mason who has caught numerous fish over 10 pounds on Umbrella rigs often uses four 3 1/2-inch money minnows with a 5-inch money minnow in the middle.
We’ve found that keeping all the baits the same color or close to the same color seems to help so that they look like a naturally occurring pod of baitfish. I’ve seen times where one bait being just slightly different can often yield a lot of hookups as we see the bass may be keying on that different looking bait in cleaner water. Jury is still out on that as a concrete rule though.
We have seen where changing the profile of the swimbaits totally makes a different. For example, I might have five Zoom Swimming Flukes on my castable umbrella rig and my partner has five Berkley Split Bellies on his rig and one of us will really blast them for a while and then the other profile baits will get hot for a while. So there is definitely something to the changing profile. We figure it’s like getting a school going on one color of crankbait and then when it cools off pick up another color to get them going again. Or switching from a jig to a worm to catch a few more fish out of a school. Same seems to be true at times with castable umbrella rigs.
The following are 10 popular and also not as common options that have been getting a lot of success on the various castable umbrella rigs. Click on the underlined swimbait below to go to an online ordering source.
1. Berkley PowerBait Split Belly – This is the more recent iteration of the Berkley swimbait that began as the Hollow Belly swimbait. We like the Split Belly swimbait for a few reasons. They have great looking natural colors. The split belly has a more durable head that seems to rig more consistently on the jigheads for us. The fact that the swimbait is not a double laminate pour gives the tail much more noticeable action on the rig as opposed to other hollow bellied swimbaits. 3-pack $5.49
2. Yum Money Minnow – very similar to the split belly, but it has a narrower minnow like profile which we like and the different sizes and natural baitfish colors have worked really well on various umbrella rigs. The swimbaits rig well on jig heads but seem to tear up a little faster than some of the other options. Plastic glues like Mend-It work wonders to repair torn baits though. 4-pack $8.99
3. Big Hammer Swimbait Tails – These shad bodied tails come a large variety of colors and have some great translucent finishes and unique colors for more stained water. They feature a big square pad tail that really kicks and makes the baits swim and roll through the water on an umbrella rig. They come in a large range of sizes too so you can downsize and upsize accordingly to fit the changing moods of the fish. 4-pack $3.49
4. Zoom Swimmin Super Fluke - The Zoom Swimming Fluke offers a much more finesse approach to castable umbrella rigs. We really like it on the thinner wire rigs and in clearer water where big bulk profiles might just be too distracting for the fish. They also come 6 to a pack which makes them a convenient, affordable option to load a five-bait rig quickly and easily. 5 pack $3.79
5. Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper – The grass choice for us is the Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper. If we’re fishing around grass beds or in shallow water, for some reason the fish just really seem to like this swimbait and it seems to be equally well in the larger sizes out deep too. It comes in two great sizes, lots of great colors and again offers a more subtle swimming action which can often be the key in highly pressured areas. 7 pack $4.89
6. Go2Baits Jolt Swimbait – The softest swimbait we’ve tested thus far has been the Jolt Swimbait. The tail just lays over passed the head when you do the upside down test to measure tail kick on a swimbait. If you hold a swimbait head down by the head and let the tail flop over to the side, you can see how much action the tail is going to have in the water. Will it be a big wobbling tail or just a tight wiggle. This bait has a shimmy and shake that makes it very unique and that soft plastic they use at Go2 is going to make this a killer option. 5 pack $6.29
7. Lake Fork Tackle Live Magic Shad – The uniquely jointed body of the Magic Shad has put this swimbait in a class of its own in other applications and the same seems to be holding true on a castable umbrella rig. It’s interesting to see this bait swim with more of a side to side snake action than the typical wobble roll of many other swimbaits on the market. Again the change of profile and action have yielded some great catches. This is another broad bodied bait that offers many colors and sizes. 4 pack $5.99
8. Optimum Double Diamond – We already loved the Double Diamond for deeper swimbait applications and on the backs of swim jigs, but now it’s proven to be another great change up shape and action. It has a rounded paddle tail boot with a wedged body that displaces and makes the baits wobble and kick out occasionally. It can be precarious to rig on a jighead, but biting a little off the end can make it go on a jig head a little easier because of it’s narrow neck design. 10 pack $9.99
9. Poor Boys Baits Silly Rabbit – This solid, hand pour split belly swimbait offers very unique colors, a flat kicking tail, lifelike eyes and more that make it a real unique offering. The fact that they are not as easy to find locally also makes them a nice ace in the hole when we know no one else is throwing this exact bait on our local fisheries. 3-Pack $8.59
10. Mizmo N-Seine Shad – A spin off of the Rabid Shad, the N-Seine Shad is a smaller profile shad type body style that mimics those young 2-3 inch shad. The bait features a unique upside down tail that actually kicks really well and gives the bait a good uniform school look on an umbrella rigs. We’ve been experimenting with them with some smaller castable rigs and really like how they look in the water. Another good smaller offering to mix it up on the fish. 6 pack $5.50
Those are 10 swimbaits we’ve liked so far on castable umbrella rigs that give us a lot of different looks and presentations with the rigs. As we all know, changing it up and keeping it interesting for the fish is the name of the game. We want it to look like a school of fish, but not everyone else’s school of fish if you know what we mean.