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Berkley Powerbait Swim Shad Review

Swimbaits have become popular choices when fishing for deep bass. Weather the water is 90 degrees or 35 degrees, a swimbait can closely mimic a large easy meal for big bass. I hadn’t realized until now that I hadn’t reviewed on of my affordable, staple swimbaits when I’m fishing for bass on the bottom in deep water. That swimbait is the Berkley Swim Shad.

The Berkley Powerbait Swim Shad swimbait really started as saltwater swimbait and was modified somewhat in shape and in color to fit more freshwater applications. There are several things I find really great about these swimbaits that include the following:

  • Right weight
  • Swims nice
  • Price is right
  • Cover a ton of water


Get down and stay down

With these Berkley Powerbait Swim Shads, I’m trying to fish them right on the bottom or just above it. I’m often fishing them in current. So I liked that they have some weight and a compact profile, and they aren’t too hard to keep down. Sometimes a swimbait has too much buoyancy or kick and the turbulence with the lack of weight causes them to rise.

The weight is probably what kept me throwing these swimbaits for so long. I know I’m around the fish at the clip I normally reel them back. And even though they are heavy, they have a soft body and they come across rock and other cover really well.

Nice swimming action

As you can see from the video, the Swim Shad swims with a big tail kick and a pretty pronounced wobble. But the bait has a real natural look to it. I’ve caught a lot of fish on a slow steady retrieve. But I’ve caught them with a lift and drop retrieve and even a sporadic stop and go retrieve at times. And I’ve caught big smallmouths as well as big largemouths. So I know they look good to the fish.


Priced for every angler

I like the 5 and 6 inch models the best. And I love that you can get 3 swimbaits for around $5. I think as fishermen we sometimes have a tendency in certain classes of baits to think if it’s not expensive, it’s not as good to the fish. I reckon it all depends on how you fish and where you fish. But where I fish with big schools of deep bass at times, these baits work.

While the hooks will rust and get dull, both are easily remedied by an angler. I’ve even fished them on umbrella rigs and caught fish. The hooks are real strong. So you can fish them with heavy line and lean on the fish pretty good. I do sharpen the hooks a lot. But I do that on all my single hook swimbaits.

But for under $2 a swimbait, you can’t beat em.

Great big fish and search baits

I’ve thrown big hard swimbaits on clear lakes as a way to find bass. I’ve caught some nice bass on big swimbaits. But I like that these baits will catch 7 pound bass as well as they catch 2 pound bass. I can’t quite explain why that is, but it’s nice that they are not just big fish baits but also big fish baits. And it’s nice that they can do a lot of work for you.

These baits because of their compact nature and weight will absolutely fly on a cast. I fish them on heavy swimbait rods and 15-25 pound fluorocarbon line. But if your rod has some backbone to it you can make a long cast and cover a ton of water on every cast. I like that, especially when I find big aggressive schools of bass. It’s a ball then.

Parting thoughts

The baits come in 5 sizes from 2 inches to 6 inches and 11 colors. I personally liked the Silver Mullet, Shad, Silver Shad and Chartreuse Shad colors. They retail for $4.49 a pack for the pre-rigged swimbaits. You can find them at Tackle Warehouse and Omnia Fishing and many other retailers that carry Berkley Powerbait products. Every bass angler should have a pack or two of these swimbaits in their bag in my opinion.

When I started fishing this swimbait 6 or 7 years ago, it was called the Berkley Mullet and it was actually a saltwater bait. I loved those original baits. I still have some that are 7 years old that I fish regularly. I’ve had to sand off a little rust here and there. I’ve had to sharpen the point multiple times. I’ve knocked them off stumps in 25 feet of water. But I’ve caught so many bass on them over the years. That it always surprises me when anglers scoff at them because they think there is no way a 3-pack of $5 swimbaits can work that well. Fine by me.