The big swimbait craze is gaining steam throughout the country; it’s no longer limited to states like California, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Southern states have a stranglehold on utilizing swimbaits but the northern tier is just beginning to see their effectiveness on large gamefish like stripers, hybrids, musky and northern pike too. Bass anglers are a little slower to respond but those that have seen the bonanza can certainly attest to their effectiveness.
Some anglers still believe that 6 to 8-inch swimbaits are too large for their fish and because they don’t get as many bites on them, they feel that northern fish won’t bite them as well.
“That can’t be further from the truth,” said famous swimbait builder Ken Huddleston. “I have fished in Illinois, Wisconsin and numerous other northern states and have seen that swimbaits used as they were designed can make a huge difference not only in more fish, but bigger fish as well.”
For the last few months, I have been testing a variety of baits based on situations and recently started toying with the Huddleston Deluxe 68 Special Weedless. It’s a 6-inch swimbait but utilizes the popular tail from the 8-inch Hudd.
The action of the 68 Special Weedless is very subtle but the pressure waves put off by the tail of the bait is dynamic. It’s not a side-to-side wobble like paddle tails produce, but more of a swimming motion like a shad or other baitfish meandering through the water. A slow wind and intermittent twitches make this swimbait dart and kick-out with a directional change before returning to its natural swimming action. Most, if not all of, the bites I’ve had are right after the bait regains its swimming action. Because it is a single-hook bait I was skeptical of hookup ratios but due to the collapsibility of the head when bit, the hookups have been outstanding.
The single hook runs along the back just in front of the dorsal fin and is super sticky. Tex-posed, the 5/0 Mustad hook was built especially for this bait and is super strong and doesn’t flex which is very important on this style of bait.
“The neat thing about the weedless is big fish engulf it,” Huddleston said. “There’s nothing that gets in the way and bass eat them like live fish.”
The Huddleston Deluxe 68 Special Weedless comes in two weights; a 12 which weighs 2 1/3-ounce and has a Rate of Fall (ROF) of 12 feet per 10 seconds and a 5 which weighs 2 ounces and has a ROF of 5 feet per 10 seconds.
I have been fishing shallow waterâless than 6 feetâwith the 2-ounce model and have yet to hang it up, even when I’ve tried to. I’ve been running it through tree tops and around stumps and twitching it at the end of the tree or around the stump. To date I have not lost a single fish that has hooked up and the bait looks like the day I got it.
We do not have trout in our lakes but the Phantom Rainbow Trout has been like catnip to the bass. The Iridescent Pink seems to anger the bass and they have been smashing it!