Bait and terminal tackle

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soft plastic swimbaits for bass fishing

This type of swimbait fishing is synonymous with one bait in particular, a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper. This was one of the first baits to be fished this way over a decade ago and most anglers now refer to this technique as throwing a Skinny Dipper regardless of the brand of the actual bait they’re using. This tendency is similar to the way people refer to all soft-plastic jerkbaits as Flukes since the Zoom Super Fluke was the trendsetter of that genre of bait.

I’m a big fan of the Skinny Dipper as well but have leaned more towards the larger Gambler Big EZ that I have rigged here in recent years. It’s a larger bait so I’m able to throw it farther and it seems to draw just a little bigger bite for me. The latter part of that statement is likely more of a confidence thing than rooted in fact but regardless, this is the bait that’s found its way into my hand time and time again when I’m looking for a big bite.

Since this bait is pretty big though, you’ll need a comparable hook to go with it. I typically use either a 6/0 or even a 7/0 extra wide gap hook with this bait and I’ve had great success with both the Gamakatsu EWG Monster Hook and the VMC Heavy Duty Wide Gap Hook for this presentation.

If you want to back down to the smaller Skinny Dipper, a 5/0 EWG hook is plenty big enough. I also typically rig this bait weightless, especially this time of year because I want to fish the bait a little slower and don’t want it to fall fast. But if the vegetation is still a little thick, you can add a weight to your bait by using a belly weighted EWG hook or hanging a bell weight on the hook shaft, which I personally prefer because it tucks up near the tail of the bait on the retrieve and tightens up the wobble a bit.

What appears to be a bullet weight here in these pictures is actually a screw-lock plastic cone that is nearly weightless. It’s used to make the bait a little more streamline and thus help it shed vegetation, while also preventing the vegetation and line from regularly damaging the nose of my soft-plastic bait. The hard plastic tube inside of the screw lock keeps my braid from tearing the head of the baits as I snatch the bait free from cover and also set into and fight fish. I bought a jumbo pack of these specific nose cones years ago and I can’t for the life of me remember the name brand, but Gambler Hollow Points are really similar and will serve the same purpose.