Swimbaits for Bass Fishing

Take a virtual tour of a tackle shop as we help you prepare for bass fishing with swimbaits. In this article, we will discuss the best rods, reels, baits, lines, and terminal tackle to help you catch the biggest bass in your waters. Different techniques require specific rods and reels, and the same applies to throwing larger swimbaits.


Bass fishing swimbaits can be divided into two categories: hard swimbaits and soft swimbaits. Hard swimbaits are made of wood, resin, or other composite materials. They can be carved, molded, and segmented to give them the ability to swim and glide. Hard swimbaits can be divided further into glide baits and segmented swimbaits.

Soft swimbaits can be molded/rigged or unrigged. Molded/rigged swimbaits come with a weight and hook built-in, while unrigged swimbaits require you to add your own weight and hook. Hollow-bodied swimbaits are easier to rig on a weighted EWG swimbait hook, while solid-bodied swimbaits are better suited for a jighead.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each category, starting with the hard swimbait options.

Glide Baits

A glide bait is a single-jointed hard swimbait that has a wide lumbering action when retrieved with slow pulsing turns of the reel handle or harder chops with the reel handle or rod tip. It can be fished slowly from top to bottom or quickly near the surface. Glide baits are great for heavily pressured or lethargic fish.

Recommended Glide to Start With: G-Ratt Sneaky Pete

The G-Ratt Sneaky Pete is a glide bait that tracks true through the air, making for more accurate casts. It stays further down in the water column on retrieve, increasing the chances of a fish inspecting or eating the bait. It comes in various colors to match the hatch of your local waters.

Implementation: These smaller-sized glide baits are great for working around cover. With a few rod twitches or reel pumps, you can walk this bait back and forth without moving it a great distance. This is a great way to draw fish away from cover. It’s also effective on shallow flats during the fall transition months.

Other recommended glides: River2Sea S-Waver, Storm Arashi Glide, SPRO KGB Chad Shad

Segmented Swimbaits

Segmented swimbaits consist of multiple joints, offering a tight and erratic swimming action. These baits can be fished fast or slow, with various retrieve techniques. They provide a big profile with a lot of speed options.

Recommended Starter Swimbait: Original Bull Shad

The Original Bull Shad swimbait is known for putting fish in the livewell. It covers water effectively when retrieved with a faster cadence, incorporating pauses to entice strikes. It’s great for imitating a reaction bait and comes in different sizes and colors to match your local fishery.

Implementation: The Bull Shad is versatile and can be fished slow, fast with twitches and pauses, or straight and steady. It works well around grass, shallow cover, and ditches in the fall. It’s also productive on main lake, wind-blown points. It’s a great search bait to quickly locate active fish.

Other recommended segmented swimbaits: 22nd Century Triple Trout, Gan Craft Jointed Claw, Roman Made Negotiator or Mother

Soft Swimbaits

Soft swimbaits come in two main types: molded/rigged and unrigged. Molded/rigged swimbaits have a weight and hook built-in, while unrigged swimbaits require you to add your own weight and hook. Hollow-bodied swimbaits are easier to rig on a weighted EWG swimbait hook, while solid-bodied swimbaits are better suited for a jighead.

Recommended Swimbait: Bacca Burrito – Paddle Tail

The Bacca Burrito is versatile and works well throughout the year. It excels when fish are actively chasing shad. The paddle tail gives it a wider thumping kick, imitating a startled or injured baitfish. It’s available in various colors to match your local fisheries.

Implementation: The Bacca Burrito is great for covering water and can be fished shallow or deep. It’s effective around tops of submerged trees, mouths of creeks, and over grass. Its narrow profile allows it to navigate through tight spots easily.

Other recommended soft swimbaits: Huddleston Deluxe – Wedge Tail, Megabass Mag Draft, Keitech Swing Impact FAT

Swimbaits Rods

When it comes to swimbait rods, it’s important to choose the right rod for your fishing style and the size of swimbaits you plan to use.

  • iRod Genesis III Bailey Swim: This 8-foot heavy action rod is designed for soft plastic swimbaits and heavier glides.

  • Dobyns Fury 795: This medium-heavy fast action rod is great for smaller treble hook baits like the Bull Shad and Sneaky Pete.

  • Dobyns Champion XP 908: This ultra mag-heavy fast action rod is a workhorse for larger swimbaits and offers great hook-setting power.

Other recommended swimbait rods: St. Croix Legend Tournament Swimbait Rods, Leviathan Omega Swimbait rods, Shimano SLX A Swimbait Rods

Swimbaits Reels

Choose a reel in the 300-400 size range to accommodate larger swimbaits.

  • Shimano Tranx 300 & 400: These reels are highly recommended for their durability and smooth drag.

  • Daiwa Tatula 300: This reel is another excellent option known for its castability and durability.

Other recommended swimbait reels: Okuma Citrix 364 Series

Swimbaits Lines

For swimbaits, it’s best to use monofilament or copolymer lines to provide some buffer and forgiveness during sudden impacts, such as long casts or heavy hooksets.

  • Sunline FC Sniper: This fluorocarbon line offers great action and presentation. Fluorocarbon is slightly less forgiving, but it gives the bait the most realistic action.

  • Izorline XXX Super Co-Polymer: This copolymer line is strong and abrasion-resistant, making it a reliable choice for swimbaits.

Other recommended swimbait lines: P-Line CXX, Berkley Big Game, Yo-Zuri Hybrid Fishing Line

Swimbaits Terminal Tackle

Choosing the right terminal tackle is essential for swimbait fishing. Ensure you have strong components that can handle big fish.

  • Decoy Quattro X-S21 Hooks: These quad hooks are sticky sharp and great for swimbaits.

  • Owner 3X ST-56 Stinger Hooks: These stinger hooks are heavier gauge and reliable for big fish.

  • Owner Hyperwire Split Rings: These split rings are stronger than stock split rings and can handle heavy fish.

Other recommended swimbait terminal tackle: Owner ST-56 stinger hooks, Decoy Quattro hooks, Owner Hyperwire split rings

With these recommended swimbaits, rods, reels, lines, and terminal tackle, you can confidently gear up for bass fishing with swimbaits. Remember to experiment and adjust your setup to suit your local waters and fishery.

Happy fishing!

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