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5 Great Ways To Use a Soft Swimbait

Search-and-destroy, close contact, sniper — sounds like terms from a military operation, but we’re actually talking about soft-body swimbaits.

Models like the LIVETARGET Slow Roll Shiner present a realistic profile with a tantalizing tail motion that emulates anything from shiners, to shad, to blueback herring, to ciscos, and any of the slender forage fish that bass seek.

Rigging one of these 4- to 5-inch baits on a heavy jig head offers a great presentation for deep scenarios like river ledges and rock piles, but soft-body swimbaits also have several shallow water applications. Here, the best option is a Mustad Alpha-Point Infiltrator Swim Hook.

Finding Fish

During the spawning season, bass go through a couple of particular stages where they’re likely to chase the convincing profile of a soft swimbait. First is the prespawn feeding stage when anything they can catch is fair game.

On deeper reservoirs, when bass suspend under floating docks before moving shallow to spawn, they can be difficult to engage, unless you persuade them to come out and show themselves. Slow rolling a swimbait through dock stalls or along the dock perimeters will often draw the attention of an aggressive fish.

Ideally, the fish commits to your swimbait, but if not, a quick follow up with a soft stick worm wacky rigged on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko hook usually closes the deal. Similarly, in smallmouth waters, a swimbait is a great tool for pulling the brown bullies out of deeper areas and into range for more targeted presentations with dropshots, hair jigs, etc.

Targeted Shots

When anglers spot bass “busting bait” (attacking schools of baitfish), quickly getting an equally appealing profile in front of them is essential for capitalizing on the moment. Many baits, including the Mustad Arm-Lock Spinnerbait will tempt these schooling fish, but keep a soft swimbait handy for such occasions and you’ll be pleased with the results.

Trailer Talk

One of the most versatile baits for shallow water bass action is a bladed jig. Models like the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig excel in grassy habitat to open water with their aggressive motion, thumping blade flaring skirts.

Effective in all but the coldest months, bladed jigs work with a variety of trailers, based on angler objective. The swimbait is a popular option when you want a steady, natural swimming motion.

Mighty Mites

Small swimbaits in the 2 1/2- to 3-inch size can be absolutely deadly for smallmouth and spotted bass when rigged on a Mustad Ball Jig. These downsized baits also have a solid largemouth application when the fish are focused on tiny baitfish.

This happens often in the fall months when scores of juvenile shad dart in and out of vegetation and bass ignore all but the smallest of presentations. In this scenario, rigging the smaller swimbaits on a 1/0 or 2/0 Mustad Alpha-Point Assault Wide Gap hook and fishing it on medium-heavy spinning tackle with TUF-LINE Domin8 braid shows the fish an irresistible offering.


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