Paddle tail swimbaits have become a go-to lure for bass fishing ledges, drop-offs, and other structural elements thanks to their appealing baitfish profiles, vibration, and depth control. Most varieties are fished with an exposed hook jig head, making them prone to snagging grass, but semi-weedless baits like the Megabass Dark Sleeper come through soft cover with ease. Wired2Fish’s Ryan DeChaine explains how he uses weedless swimbaits to probe the edges of grassy drop-offs most often reserved for weedless baits like Texas-rigged plastics.
- Megabass Dark Sleeper Swimbait
- Megabass Orochi XX Casting Rod 7’2″ Perfect Pitch
- Daiwa Tatula SV TWS Casting Reel, 8.1:1
- Sufix 832 Low-Vis Green Braided Line, 30lb
- Lund 2075 Pro-V Bass XS
For DeChaine, the Dark Sleeper has become a mainstay bait because it combines a realistic baitfish profile with subtle sound and vibration in areas bass aren’t accustomed to seeing swimbaits. Unlike longer, more slender swimbaits, the thicker compact body of the Dark Sleeper resembles everything from crawfish, bluegills, gobi to sculpin, so it’s an extremely versatile tool. DeChaine highlights how to locate bass along drop-offs by making long parallel casts at different depths. The bait can be fished with a variety of methods as well. DeChaine uses both a semi-straight horizontal retrieve as well as fishes it like a jig through the cover. The beauty is that bass bite it and hold on, affording plenty of time for setting the hook.