No. 5: Soft-plastic swimbait

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The Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper and Gambler Big EZ are two baits that work phenomenally well in super-shallow vegetation. I was first introduced to this style of fishing in the Promised Land of south Florida on Lake Okeechobee. There are few things more exciting than fishing a swimbait like this through a hayfield with a foot of water on it knowing that at any second a legit double-digit bass could try to take it away from you.

Typically with this bait I’ll either wake it just below the surface or actually buzz it along the surface like a toad. Though usually, if I’m wanting to buzz a bait along the surface I’ll just go with the toad. So I’d say 85 percent of the time I’m fishing subsurface with this bait. Which means I’m fishing it a lot like the stick bait with a tail spinner. So when do you choose which?

I like a swimbait like this when I need to make longer casts and I’m fishing around bigger fish. These swimbaits have a good bit more meat to them than a stick bait with a tail spinner, so you can throw them a good bit farther. And that allows you to beef up the hook and line size as well to try to tip the scales in your favor when colliding with larger fish.

Keeping the bait free of debris is important when fishing a swimbait like this. You typically want a nice steady retrieve so it’s best not to be snatching and popping the bait to get grass off of it if you can help it. One way to help prevent the pile up, use something like a Gambler Hollow Point. These look like bullet weight buts are made of plastic. You thread your line through the Hollow Point before tying on your hook and then you screw it into the soft plastic. This helps the bait shed vegetation and other debris better than the blunt, soft nose of most swimbaits.