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Ever since Steve Kennedy's Bassmaster win in 2007 on Clear Lake with hollow bodied paddle tail Bass Trix swimbaits, hollow belly swimbaits have been becoming a mainstay in many anglers' arsenal. However, there are a lot of anglers who still aren't throwing them.

With that in mind, let's talk about these baits and perhaps the most important aspect of fishing them, the methods of retrieval.

So here is the question I place before everyone:

How do you retrieve your soft bodied (hollow or not) swimbaits? Explain how you retrieve them - what speed, how deep, when and why.

:tu
 

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It all depends on the size and style of the soft Swimbait I'm using....The one constant that I have found to be the most productive however is a slow, slow, slow retrieve...

Work the bait beside the boat a bit and watch the action as you're retrieving the lure, as well as watching it to establish its sink rate...
Look for what appears to be the most lifelike action as you try different speeds...This will vary slightly depending on line weight, hook size, body style and using a weighted or non-weighted hook...Most people, myself included, have a tendency to work these baits much too fast...

Every so often, kill the retrieve and let the bait fall back on a semi-slack line...Many times you will get your hit as you re-start the retrieve...You will also solicit strikes if you "rip" the bait every now and then, and then let it drop on semi-slack, or slack line...
 
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I agree with Mo. The only way to retrieve is slow. It is all about match the hatch. You pretty much have to throw what is around. Clear water is the optimum for throwing swim baits but I have had luck throwing in stained water also. Pearl white with just the tip of the tail dipped in a chartreuse or red dye has worked well for me. In stained water I will rig them on a scrounger head. Depending on the depth of water I am fishing will dictate the weight I use. If I am fishing a 4 to 6 inch swim bait I will use a long bill scrounger. anything smaller will be a medium to short bill. as far as regular swim bait hooks I will use a weightless to 1/8 oz for 1 to 6 feet. 1/4 oz for 4 to 12 feet and 1/2 oz or more for 12 to 20 feet. I also may go heavier or lighter depending on the current. If I am targeting stripper or even LM/SM below a dam area when they are generating I will use something like a swim bait jig head in 3/8 oz to 1/2 oz. these I will still fish slow with twitches intermixed and will fish thru the water column.
 

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This is a great thing to talk about.I for one have used them some and seen bass follow them to boat and had a few takers and most time it matches local bait fish.I find slow does work best and I like using them around docks more than anywhere else.
 

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When using a hollow bodied swimbait, I usually let it sink to the bottom give it a jerk to get it moving and retrieve it really slow, so its just off the bottom, sometimes I will add in a jerk every now and then, or let it sink to the bottom and then jerk it off the bottom and start the retrieve again.

If Im fishing it around grass, I will retrieve it just fast enough to keep it right at the top of the grass, once again sometimes I throw in a jerk or pause every now and them.

Hard bodied swimbaits I usually retrieve them, at at rate that will keep them at the depth I belive the fish are holding. Once again, sometimes I throw in a jerk, just incase a fish is following the bait, that will sometimes entice them to go ahead and bite.
 

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I think I have handicapped myself by having a 7.4:1 reel on the rod I use for swimbaits. I end up reeling too fast too often. Only problem is that my lower gear ratio reels are... well... pieces of crap LOL! (still cussing because I missed that blowout on those low gear ratio citicas the other day! lol)
 

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lol you sold/traded your awesome swimbait reel Jared! What were you thinking?!?! :wack:

I fish my swim baits on a Revo Winch, which is 5.4:1. it seems to work VERY well, holds a ton of line, and keeps me from waterskiing my bait in. I use 2 brands of soft plastic swim baits, both are very similar. Kent's Swim Baits are great! The other company i fish is essentially the same swim bait, just slightly different. *mug him and take a few molds please Kent* I tend to use a Moaner Keel Weighted hook on my baits, and having 3 different options to choose from make finding the right depth super simple. Just remember, slow is only good if it is what the fish want!

Brandon
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I know but man that was reel was so huge! lol
 

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I find myself using the slow roll retrieve more times than not. we don't have grass here, only rocky reservoirs. I will cast out and let it sink to the bottom. then start a slow retrieve trying to keep it just off the bottom and bumping bottom and rocks and such.

I will also use it around the thousands of Lake of the Ozarks docks. the fish like to hide just under the floatation as the docks are all floating variety. I will retrieve like a spinnerbait about a foot or 3 deep along side the docks letting it fall just under the level of the float every so often to get fish interested, then make another cast or 2 to the same spot.
 

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dchance said:
I find myself using the slow roll retrieve more times than not. we don't have grass here, only rocky reservoirs. I will cast out and let it sink to the bottom. then start a slow retrieve trying to keep it just off the bottom and bumping bottom and rocks and such.

I will also use it around the thousands of Lake of the Ozarks docks. the fish like to hide just under the floatation as the docks are all floating variety. I will retrieve like a spinnerbait about a foot or 3 deep along side the docks letting it fall just under the level of the float every so often to get fish interested, then make another cast or 2 to the same spot.
That slow roll, bumping the bottom retrieve is the way I usually have the most success with on the waters I fish. They either want it that way, or fast as you can reel it but keep it about a foot off the bottom. Sometimes I have to go up in weight to keep it down that deep and maintain a steady pace.
 

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Many times it seems so slow you wouldn't think the lure is working. It is painfully slow. You really have to watch it because after a few casts you will be reeling too fast and not even know it. It is very easy to reel too fast and that is usually the difference in gettin bit.
 

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oldschool said:
Just read this and will search the site tommorrow for what I have posted on this subject, here is one;
http://www.thebassholes.com/bassin-forums/index.php?topic=3074.0
Tom
http://www.thebassholes.com/bassin-forums/index.php?topic=1293.0 Swimbait Tips.
http://www.thebassholes.com/bassin-forums/index.php?topic=4606.0 Year of the small swimbait, 2008.

Today there are several good swimbaits on the market and you need to choose a few, not too many different colors or types and spend time fishing them. You can't fish a swimbait too slow.
Lets talk a little about the 3 basic types of swimbaits; floaters, slow sinkers and bottom bumpers. If I had to choose 1 it would be a slow sinker like a Huddleston ROF5 68, this is a slow sinker, 6" swimbait with the 8" tail'. The reason this bait is a great slow swimmer; the tail moves when the lures is gliding very slow. The surface swimbaits are floaters that can be dead sticked on glassy smooth water, then swam or twitched...absolutely a deadly presentation. The most common are the bottom bumpers because the average angler can work these a little faster successfully, however have problems with rigging to prevent hanging up.
Remember swimbaits are heavy with over size hooks and you DO NOT WANT TO RIP them out of a snag. Use their heavy weight to GENTLY jiggle them out of any snags, works great.
Tom
 
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OK here is a little swim bait tip for you. I use a 5" hollow belly most of the time and I use this hook in a5/0http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Lake_Fork_Swimbait_Hooks_3pk/descpage-LFULTSH.html
I change out the screw lock to a medium owner screw lock with the centering pin. I also add a split ring to the eye of the hook. When you add the split ring the swim bait action changes dramatically.
I basically fish it most of the time at the speed were I feel the most vibration from the bait. I will kill it at times like when it contacts the brush or over a hole in the grass. then jerk it to get it going again which will cause a reaction bite. I will also use it as a weedless wake bait over shallow grass or pads.
Here is my favorite swim bait 5.5 in natrual perch which looks nothin like a perch to me it has a scale patern in a gold blue on the back and a silver glitter in the body -> http://www.landbigfish.com/showcase.cfm?PID=4858
 

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Here's my .02: One of my favorite ways to fish the line thru swimbait we make (minus insert) take a needle tie on the line and pull it through to the bottom 2 1/2" up from the tail and tie on a Gammy frog hook, keeps it weedless around all of the hydrilla and works good around wood. Another technique we started using a lot more this year is the Shaky deadstick. Our 4" SBs are buoyant without the insert, a 6/0 EWG screwlock shaky is what we use. Bluegill patterns for this technique work best. The dead stick works because any water movement will cause movement of the bait's tail, looks very natural and the bait appears to be feeding on the bottom...an easy meal for a predator. Doing this requires a ton of patience, the bite feels like that of any other plastics, they'll pick it up and start swimming off with it.
 

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That sound like it could be a killer rig on sluggish bass ... would the "shaky " technique also work with the 6" line threw baits such as the Rago BVD ?
 

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It really is going to depend on how I have it rigged and how active the fish are .I may rig it sideways on a jig head , wacky rig it with weight in the nose. fish it weightless with a walk the dog retrieve . you can fish it rigged sideways Carolina style. fish it as a trailer, Personally I think they are pretty versatile . :victory:
 

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Old school went back and read your swimbait tips and you are right on. You must fish swimbaits quite a bit as you know as much or more than the guys that use the swimbait forums.
As to the rigging of the swimbaits I do not like to do it for the reasons you specified and also it seems to me everytime I catch a good fish with one of the treble stinger hooks it will wind up in their gills.
Thanks
 

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Jared said:
I think I have handicapped myself by having a 7.4:1 reel on the rod I use for swimbaits. I end up reeling too fast too often. Only problem is that my lower gear ratio reels are... well... pieces of crap LOL! (still cussing because I missed that blowout on those low gear ratio citicas the other day! lol)
Jared get a 5-4-1 thats what I use for deep diving and soft swimbaits ! works great! :thumbup01: :thumbup01: :thumbup01: :thumbup01:
 
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