In the realm of bass fishing, swimbaits is almost an all-purpose presence. It can be used alone or mixed with other categories of lure baits, such as spinner, swim jig, etc. It can be used for small bass of a few inches as well as for big bass for tournament fishing. And when the target fish is larger than 10 pounds, swimbaits become the best choice.


Swimbaits Buyer's Guide

Swimbaits were invented in the early 20th century, more than a hundred years ago, it does not have a strict definition, roughly including two broad categories of soft swimbaits and hard swimbaits, it is very widely used, many types of fish can be used with swimbaits.

Swimbaits are one of the newest tackle crazes, and although they have only been popular for a few decades, Swimbaits are now almost completely integrated into every bass angler's bait box.

Swimbaits attract predatory fish such as bass by mimicking the swimming action of baitfish. Most Swimbaits look a lot like smaller fish, but there is more to it than that, with some being made to look like birds, rodents and frogs.

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Types of Swimbaits

There are several types of Swimbaits, such as Hard Body Swimbaits, Soft plastic Swimbaits and Paddle Tail Swimbaits, to name a few. The different types of Swimbaits are suitable for different types of fishing scenarios, and we will explain later how to choose the right one for you. MinoLure also offers several types of Hard Plastic or Soft Plastic Swimbaits, as well as some special hybrid varieties.

Hard Body Swimbaits

Hard Body Swimbaits feature an articulated design that mimics the side to side oscillation of a real fish. Hard Body Swimbaits with single or double joints are usually designed to be short in size, while longer, larger Swimbaits can have multiple swivel joints, even up to 8 joints.

Due to the special design of Hard Body Swimbaits make their swimming action in the water lifelike, while the complex paint coating process adds a sense of realism to them. Although the color of the Swimbaits coating is not the deciding factor for a good Hard Body Swimbaits, brighter colors in muddy or murky water can make the target fish easier to spot, and more realistic colors in clear water usually work better.

The hooks on Hard Body Swimbaits are usually Treble Hooks (hooks with 3 tips that look like inverted umbrellas). If you buy Hard Body Swimbaits, it is best to put a high quality hook on your lure, you don't want that once-in-a-lifetime fish to escape because of a bad hook.

Soft Plastic Swimbaits

Soft Plastic Swimbaits are usually made of flexible plastics such as PVC or silicone, and some can weigh several ounces. Professional anglers, for example, will decide on the bait to be placed depending on the current weather and water conditions. They will also use a variety of maneuvers to control the lure in the water to lure large prey.

For example, a really dying shad will slowly sink and stop as the water cools. Predatory bass will observe this start-stop pattern and wait for the fish to settle down before striking. Soft swimbaits can mimic this behavior by casting and "jerking" on the rod.

You can often rig soft swimbaits as weedless models, which allows anglers to drag soft and hollow body models along heavy, thick cover such as weeds, rocks, sand and lakebed bottoms with little to no entanglement in that debris.

Soft-bodied swimbaits allow you to attach a line to the front or top of the lure. The hooks are located on the belly or top of the lure. However, top-mounted hooks are sometimes fixed in the lure from the time of manufacture and are not removable. For top mounted hooks, the long line of the hook is welded into the support line inside the lure. This extends its durability and allows the hook to be more exposed. This is a plus for open water, but avoid using it in heavy cover situations as weeds and debris can collect on the hook and cause poor use.

The Importance of Soft Tails

Soft baits have a boot or wedge tail to create action and kick on slow pullbacks. The wedge tail design makes it less active in the water with a very natural, subtle swimming action, and usually a wedge-tailed soft bait will keep its body straight while reeling in the rod.

However, a boot-tailed soft lure will force more water to flow through the body and the back and forth swing of the tail will cause the lure's tail to twist, which will add a more intense wiggle and roll to the body of the swimming lure. Not that one is better than the other, but in some cases, the fish may prefer one of their actions over the other.

Hard Swimbait vs Soft Swimbait 

Hard swimbaits usually have at least 2 segments with joints, but we have seen up to 8 segments of hard swimbait. They can be made from different buoyancy and can be handmade or machined. They are essentially cast a long distance away and then slowly manipulated to reel the line back in. The lure can be manipulated by the user with a variety of actions in the water, such as jerking the lure.

Hard Swimbaits are typically used in large areas where you may cover points where large bass are known to roam, the flats, etc. Larger Swimbaits create a huge splash on the water and this must be taken into account when targeting areas where bass roam, so you don't spook the fish.

Likewise, soft Swimbaits come in a variety of sizes and can be just the body mounted on Treble Hooks or Jig Heads or fully assembled Swimbaits that are already pre-mounted in the body. They are cast like Hard Swimbaits and then slowly reeled back in, manipulating the action as they reel back in. But when you use soft Swimbaits you can be a little more flexible and let them sink a little deeper without having to worry about hooking up to big hooks on the surface like hard baits.

Most people consider swimbait to be the best choice for clear water because they are very visually oriented. Their movement through the water is usually subtle, so the target fish usually have to see them to produce good results.

Paddle tail swimbaits

Paddle tail swimbaits, as the name implies, have large oval tails. Paddle tail swimbaits are usually small, with no hook in the box. This is because most anglers prefer to use the correct hook in different situations when fishing.

It can be used alone with a weighted hook to sink the paddle tail swimbaits; or as part of an umbrella Jig with three or four partner lures. Paddle tail swimbaits are great for avoiding hooking debris and heavy cover during use and avoiding hanging on the bottom.

Glide Baits

Glide baits are essentially jerkbait with a larger profile, and when used properly, they trigger the feeding instincts of larger bass by repeatedly moving from side to side. There are many theories on how to use these beautiful lures.

How Do You Choose the Right Swimbaits?

Swimbaits can be used in clear water, but they are not ideal in muddy water. They can be fished at the surface up to 50 feet deep.

Unweighted or buoyant lures can be fished below the surface, while lures with added weight from lead blocks can be fished on the bottom at depths of up to 30 feet. They perform well in cold water and equally well in current and warm water.

If we want to fish on the bottom in deeper water, we need heavier lures or faster sink rates. If we want to fish over vegetation or near cover, we will choose slower sinkers or lighter weight Swimbaits.

Bass are smart predators compared to other prey. Using Swimbaits can be a test of patients compared to other traditional lures, as you need to let the lure swim naturally in the water. Swimbaits, while making the target fish bite may be slower, Swimbaits offer you the best chance of catching your target bass.

Reeling Action

The lure is designed to do most of the work for you, simply by the angler throwing it into the water and operating the rod to reel in the line. However, if you pull, twist and crank the rod and reel slightly, your lure will develop an erratic or strong swimming action that can be a hard temptation for bass to resist. This method works best when you can retrieve the lure slowly while still giving it erratic action, and doing so will make your lure act like real prey.

Casting Locations

You can also throw your lure over thick cover, such as along a dock or overgrown vegetation. This method simulates the lone prey that falls out of a regular school of fish. Once they leave the cover of the weeds or rocks, the bass will strike at these lone and easy meals. However, when fishing in open water, the bass may stalk the lures for several meters and watch them before deciding to attack.

The Color of Swimbaits

The color of Swimbaits, while not a determining factor in whether a Swimbait is good or not, can equally affect the chances of the target fish taking the bait. For example, when fishing in waters with large numbers of bluegill prey, use a bluegill-colored lure. When fishing in foul muddy water, use more brightly colored lures whenever possible, making them more visible to target fish in the water. When fishing for larger sized bass, use large swim bait lures, or if you are unsure, use smaller sized lures. Normal or small sized prey can always be found in every water.