Swimbaits in the spring

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B.A.S.S.

Recently I cut a video for B.A.S.S. in which I talked about swimbaits, windy points and spot lock on my Minn Kota trolling motor. It was informative, but there’s a lot more that can be said about swimbaits. 

With that in mind, here we go…

Let’s start with size. At this time of the year — April — I like big, oversize ones. There are basically two reasons for that. The first is that I’m targeting prespawn, spawning and postspawn bass. They’re eating, and I believe they want something big.

The other reason is that big swimbaits are intrusive. Bass in the spring get territorial. They’re protecting the place where they’re going to lay eggs and produce fry. A big swimbait looks like a threat to them so they attack and try to kill it. 

I fish those big swimbaits on the outside of where bass will be on their beds. The reason for that is simple. Not all the bass spawn at once. The idea that the bass are on their beds is not true. Some of them are on their beds. Others are not yet there, and still others are off their beds. Why not target all of them instead of just a percentage of them?

This is what you saw at our most recent tournament, the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork. Lots of guys thought that bass on the beds would win. That isn’t the way it unfolded. The guys who finished at the top fished away from the beds. 

I especially like the first break out from where they spawn. That’s a good spot to find all, or at least most of them. Maybe the best spot of all is the first point going into the backwater areas. And, when the wind is blowing that’s even better.

Some of the breaks and points will be just a few yards from the likely spawning areas. Other might be as much as a quarter-mile away. It doesn’t matter. That’s where the prespawn will hold, and it’s where the postspawn will hold.

The next thing I want to talk about is how to pick the right swimbait. They are not all created equal, and they won’t all catch bass. 

The first thing, whatever swimbait you choose make sure it has all the details — fins, gills, mouth, eyes and everything else. The water at this time of the year tends to be clear. Bass can see. The more your bait resembles the real thing the more bass you’ll catch.

Another thing is your swimbait should be soft and flexible. Hard plastic may last a little longer on your hook, but it’ll catch fewer bass. Every subtle movement matters. Remember, bass can see in clear water. They may not be able to think or reason but they have instincts that have been honed for thousands of years. Those instincts serve them well. They sense when something isn’t right. 

The last thing I’m going to say about picking a swimbait may sound a little crazy but it’s important. Do not buy swimbaits that are packaged loose in plastic bags. Buy only those that are in a bubble wrap or that are in a secure box. And, make sure that the tails are straight and square behind the body no matter how they are packaged. 

I know that those baits I’m talking about will cost a little more. I also know that if the tail isn’t straight and in line with the body, and if the boot isn’t square behind the body of the bait, you won’t get very many bites. It’s really that simple. My pick is the Megabass Magdraft Swimbait. It has all the features I’ve described. It’s detailed, soft and the tails are perfect. 

Don’t let spring and your swimbait arsenal get away from you. If you do, you’ll be sorry.