Zona’s Dirty Little Finesse Swimbait Secret

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Bass anglers usually fish finesse swimbaits just off the bottom with a slow and steady retrieve. While this traditional approach works well, Mark Zona shares a hybrid retrieve that involves making bottom contact and commotion as a way to trigger reaction bites.


Zona stresses the need for maximum casting distance with finesse swimbaits in clear water. The reason is part stealth — bass are spookier in clear water so distance from the boat reduces the spook factor, and secondly, a long retrieve provides trailing bass more time to follow and commit. Bottom contact is a mechanism to convert followers into biters — adding a lift and fall cadence to the retrieve causes the bait to hang and flush free from bottom grass which triggers reaction strikes.

The overall rod setup is critical to the presentation. Get it right and you’ll be able to cast a mile and hook fish with ease. As with a lot of finesse systems, don’t jack ’em on the hook set. Instead, use the power of the braided mainline in conjunction with rod load to ‘reel set’ fish.