If you dream of catching monster largemouths but haven’t tried fishing with a swimbait, you’re missing out. But be forewarned. Only throw a swimbait on your favorite fishing hole if you’re looking to catch the biggest bass on the lake.
It’s no secret that big swimbaits catch big bass. Larger swimbaits generally have great action, a realistic look, and do a pretty convincing job of mimicking the large baitfish that giant bass love. Which is probably why they seem to possess an undeniable power for drawing giant bass out of even their deepest of hiding spots.
Selecting the Right Equipment
Many people mistakenly think fishing with a swimbait is easy. You just cast them out, reel them in, and the fish bite. It’s so simple a child could catch bass with those things. But like fishing with most baits, there is a bit of nuance to it. The nuance, however, isn’t in which bait to choose or even how to make it swim through the water. There have been a thousand articles written about choosing the right swimbait and how to fish it. One thing that is often overlooked, is your fishing setup.
Your equipment, including your rod, reel, line, as well as your chosen bait, should all work together like a well-oiled machine, each complementing the other. Choosing the proper equipment setup is the first step in swimbait fishing success.
Ask any bass angler on the water and he’ll preach to you his favorite setup until the sun sets and the fish go to sleep. There are as many “right” setups as there are anglers. While there is no one correct setup that will successfully catch fish, there are a few basic traits that every good swimbait setup shares. To start off, having equipment that can handle the weight of the bait you’re casting and the size of the fish you plan on catching is a must.
Your equipment, including your rod, reel, line, as well as your chosen bait, should all work together like a well-oiled machine
Choosing a rod that is too stiff and heavy is a common mistake. While a heavy rod is strong enough to handle a huge largemouth, don’t think that stiff equals strong. You want a rod with some action at the end. This helps you feel the fish as soon as they strike, and ensures that your swimbait moves naturally through the water. How a rod affects bait motion is an often overlooked aspect of choosing the best fishing gear.
A rod with a lot of flexibility may help enhance your swimbait’s life like action, but remember that swimbaits are heavy and they catch big bass. Really big bass. The rod you use for flipping a light plastic worm is not going to work well for pitching big swimbaits at the lake’s resident Goliath.
The first thing you want to look for in a swimbait rod, or any fishing rod for that matter, is one that feels good in your hands. That may sound vague, but once you’ve held a few, you realize that some just feel better than others. Look for balance and give.Ultimately, a really good rod will feel like an extension of your hands.
While no one rod works for all fishing conditions, there are some general guidelines for choosing a swimbait rod. Choose a rod that is between 7 and a half to 8 feet long. A good swimbait rod is sturdy enough to accurately cast a heavy swimbait. And it also needs enough backbone to facilitate a good hookset in the thick mouth of a good-size bass, but without feeling like a broomstick in your hands.
many rod manufacturers are developing special rods for swimbait fishing
With the swimbait’s increasing popularity, many rod manufacturers are developing special rods for swimbait fishing. If you are an angler with dedicated brand loyalty, check to see if your favorite brand has a swimbait-specific rod. That is a good place to start.
If you don’t have a favorite rod manufacturer, and you’re feeling confused by the rod display at your local sporting goods store, St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Medium Spinning Rods are popular favorites on the Bassmaster tour. They can be pricey, but you can’t beat the quality.
If you want to buy a reliable and effective swimbait rod that doesn’t make your bank account moan, try Okuma Scott Martin Tournament Concept Rods. The 7’ 11” medium-heavy works well for most swimbaits over 6 inches long. It is a relatively hefty rod with enough give at the tip to accurately pitch a heavy swimbait. It enough sensitivity to work your bait, but is stout enough to keep those monsters fixed once the hook has been set.
Next, you need to find a reel to team with your rod and your swimbait. Deciding between a spinning reel and a baitcaster is mostly a matter of preference. What is more important is choosing the proper gear ratio. The gear ratio of a reel is determined by how many times the spool turns with each single turn of the handle. The more times the spool turns with each crank, the higher the gear ratio the reel will have.
When fishing with a swimbait, you should look for a reel with a medium gear ratio, usually about 6:1. It will give you the speed you need to fish your swimbaits quickly and cover more water but has the oomph that a reel needs to pull a heavy swimming bait through the water.
If you are the type of angler who prefers a baitcaster, the Ardent Edge Elite 6:5:1 can’t be beat. It comes with a 3-year warranty and patented drag tracking technology that significantly reduces the risk of your line breaking while fighting a monster bass.
The Shimano Spirex RG Spinning Reel is a smart option if you are more into spinning reels. It offers great action for easy, one-handed casting and a retrieve that is smoother than a baby’s bottom. If you want your swimbait to look like the real deal, this is the perfect spinning reel for the job.
When it comes to choosing line, remember that swimbaits are notorious big bass magnets. You won’t be wasting time on the little guys because most of them are too small to go after a big swimbait. So, you want to choose a pound test that can handle the big boys. Stay away from anything lighter than twelve pound test.
Fluorocarbon is king when it comes to swimbaits. Because of the near invisibility of fluorocarbon line, you can upsize your pound test without spooking line shy fish. Remember: Those big bass didn’t get that way overnight. They’ve been around the block a time or two. They know their favorite mid-day snack isn’t usually swimming around the lake with a line attached to it.
You want your line to be strong, sensitive, and tough, but you also want it to be covert. Fluorocarbon delivers in every area.
Fluorocarbon is king when it comes to swimbaits.
Seaguar Invizx 100% Fluorocarbon Line in at least 12 pound test is a quality choice. It has great hook-setting power as well as knot strength. With this line, you’ll have a lot fewer stories about “The One That Got Away.”
Berkley has long been a leader when it comes to fishing line. We aren’t a bit surprised that their Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon is some of the best fishing line on the market. This line actually refracts light similar to water, so it really does vanish underwater. The fish will never see it coming.
When you assemble your swimbait setup, get ready for bigger bites, bigger fish, and better results. With the right gear on your side and working together as a team, it won’t take you long to see just how effective swimbaits are when it comes to reeling in the monsters. You’re sure to be hooked.