We use little swimbaits for just about everything now. As the umbrella rig era of bass fishing started about a decade ago, many companies jumped into the game and started making soft-plastic swimmers. This overabundance of swimbaits led to an explosion and evolution in other techniques where the baits could be used as well. We started seeing a lot more anglers rigging single swimbaits on jigheads and sliding these little nuggets up on the back of vibrating jigs, spinnerbaits, swim jigs and buzzbaits. Suddenly there were little swimmers everywhere and lots of options to choose from.
If you found yourself a good swimbait, you likely stuck with it; that was the case for me anyway. I found a couple I liked and laid with them. But there were a ton of other good baits out there that I never really tried, until I started writing these product reviews. This occupation has pushed me out of my comfort zone time and time again and forced me to try new baits. And quite often, I find something I really like as well or better than the baits I’ve used for years. Such is the case with the bait we’ll be talking about today, the SPRO Pocket Tail Minnow. There’s a lot to look at with this one, so let’s get to it.
I don’t even really know where to start with this bait, so I’m just going to go with one of the more obvious differences that I believe sets it apart a bit from the competition. The main body of the bait has a defined V-hull to it with a flat back, to where if you took a cross section of the bait it would look like an upside down triangle. This helps the bait track really well, as the V-hull functions like the hull of a boat cutting through the water. Then the flat back sheds the water well as it flows over top, pushing the bait down.
A lot of small swimbaits like this have a tendency to roll. While you want the bait to wobble back and forth a bit, you never want it to roll all the way over. If a bait like this rolls repeatedly it will not have a very appealing action and will cause line twists, which will create a big mess. The body is also covered with pretty tall ribs. Pairing these pronounced ribs with the wide wobble of the bait, this swimmer gives off a good bit of vibration, which will help the fish track the bait better in stained water.
The tail end and durability
The body has a pretty consistent width to it until you get back to about where the hook comes through. Then the tail-end of the bait starts to taper down until it’s pretty thin where the actual paddle of the tail connects to the bait. The thinner this part of the tail is, the more action the paddle will have. But on the flip side of that, this section can be too thin which leads to short striking bass biting your tail off all the time. I am pleased to report however that this one isn’t too thin, and is just right in my opinion.
In my first outing with this bait, I rigged it on a jighead and caught 7 or 8 fish with one lure. I also had a few fish short strike the bait on the bite, meaning they didn’t get the whole bait in their mouths. When I snatched and missed the fish, I was pleased to see the tail still intact when the bait got back to the boat.
Not only does this bait being durable allow me to use fewer of them, but it also affords me the luxury of making an immediate cast back to where I missed the fish. I did this twice that day and caught the fish that I had likely missed on the previous cast. Had I needed to re-rig a new bait, there’s more of a chance the fish would have moved or that I might have lost sight of exactly where the bite had come from and I wouldn’t have caught the fish.
The paddle and the action
The actual paddle of this bait is where its name is derived from. There’s a shallow cup on the inside of the Pocket Tail Minnow’s tail. This is a neat design feature that SPRO went with in order to offer a little something different. And it makes good sense that a tail with a pocket in it would catch more water and thus kick harder and further than a tail with a flat surface.
Thanks to the angle of the paddle, the pocket on the inside and the overall thinness of the tail end, the Pocket Tail Minnow has some serious action on the back end. I threw this bait in some fairly clear water so that I could see what the fish sees and the tail kicks back and forth nicely, even when reeled super slow, which is something not all swimmers are able to do and an important feature when fishing them in cold water. Adding the tail action to the rocking wobble of the body, you have a bait with a really nice overall presence in the water that can be fished at various speeds with various weighted jig heads. But this bait isn’t just for swimming solo.
There are lots of ways to use little swimbaits like this. As we stated at the onset, these are great baits to be fished on jigheads, either individually or as a group on an umbrella rig. But the SPRO Pocket Tail Minnow also makes for a great trailer on skirted baits. If you’re looking to bulk up a swim jig and add a little action to the back end, this swimbait will do just that. And it offers your swim jig a trailer that will come through thicker vegetation better than a craw-style trailer would.
Want to beef up your ChatterBait a bit? Again, the Pocket Tail Minnow can do just that by adding to the body of the bait and then slipping a little kicking tail out to dance just behind the skirt. This also makes a great trailer for spinnerbaits when you’re wanting to slow roll one in cold and stained water. And it’s even a great bait for rigging on a buzzbait, with or without a skirt.
Other details and final thoughts
The SPRO Pocket Tail Minnow comes in eight colors and one 3 3/4-inch size. At $5.99 for a five pack, they’re comparable in price to some of the other baits in this genre and will last just as long or longer per bait.
Impregnated with Amino Bite Scent, the baits have a relatively strong but not overwhelming smell to them and a similar amount of oily feel. They’re slick to the touch but don’t come with enough oil in the packaging to tune up your car like you see with some baits. In fact, there’s very little oily residue in the packaging and the scent and oil seems to stay in and on the baits well.
I really like SPRO’s take on the packaging here as well. They went with a hybrid hard and soft package, instead of just putting the baits in a bag or using a full clamshell approach. Each pack has a small plastic tray inside that holds the baits in a fairly rigid position to help them keep their general shape and insure they’re not bent up over in the corner of the bag somewhere. All in all another great bait from SPRO and the first soft plastic of theirs I’ve ever used. But judging by the SPRO Pocket Tail Minnow, I don’t suppose it’ll be the last I try out.
The SPRO Pocket Tail Minnow is available at the following online retailers: