Gear

Beginner’s Tacklebox: Steve Kennedy

Throwing a swimbait, and especially a big swimbait, can seem intimidating at times. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Steve Kennedy provides the right lures and steps to begin throwing a swimbait.
Photo: Shane Durrance - Throwing a swimbait, and especially a big swimbait, can seem intimidating at times. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Steve Kennedy provides the right lures and steps to begin throwing a swimbait.
Photo: Shane Durrance - "It's no secret that I love to throw swimbaits. The bigger the better for me, but for some guys it's intimidating to throw those bigger baits."
Photo: Shane Durrance - "I wanted to put together a variety of swimbaits that would catch fish, not just the biggest fish in the lake."
Kennedy begins with a deep 3700 Plano Box with no compartments inside.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy begins with a deep 3700 Plano Box with no compartments inside.
The first swimbait Kennedy grabs is a small Keitech swimbait.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - The first swimbait Kennedy grabs is a small Keitech swimbait. "This bait is a fish catching machine. You probably won't be winning an Elite Series event with this bait, but it catches them everywhere we go."
Kennedy chooses a Keitech 2.8 Inch Swing Impact Fat in a natural shad color. Typically he will rig this bait on a 1/4-ounce ballhead jig.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy chooses a Keitech 2.8 Inch Swing Impact Fat in a natural shad color. Typically he will rig this bait on a 1/4-ounce ballhead jig. "You fish this swimbait on a spinning rod. Throw it out there and slowly reel it in."
A larger size Keitech is Kennedy's next choice.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - A larger size Keitech is Kennedy's next choice. "This bait still catches a lot of fish. You can throw it in grass or open water to cover water just like you would do with a spinnerbait."
Kennedy likes to rig the 4.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact Fat on a belly-weighted swimbait hook. His favorite is an Owner Flashy Swimmer.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy likes to rig the 4.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact Fat on a belly-weighted swimbait hook. His favorite is an Owner Flashy Swimmer.
Kennedy's next choice is a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy's next choice is a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish. "I fish this bait closer to the bottom. It doesn't have the same kick of some of these other baits."
Kennedy rigs the Trash Fish on an Owner Beast belly-weighted hook. The Trash Fish is a 6-inch bait, but they are also available in an 8-inch as well as a smaller 4-inch size.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy rigs the Trash Fish on an Owner Beast belly-weighted hook. The Trash Fish is a 6-inch bait, but they are also available in an 8-inch as well as a smaller 4-inch size.
The Megabass Magdraft is Kennedy's next choice.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - The Megabass Magdraft is Kennedy's next choice. "I'm typically known for throwing those Bass Pro Shops swimbaits, but they are no longer made. I feel like this is as close as you can get to those old baits."
The original Magdraft comes rigged with treble hook attached to a magnetic harness on the belly of the bait. They have since come out with the Freestyle Magdraft which is the same bait, but without the pre-rigged hook. Kennedy likes to use the same Owner Beast hook for the Freestyle version of the Magdraft.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - The original Magdraft comes rigged with treble hook attached to a magnetic harness on the belly of the bait. They have since come out with the Freestyle Magdraft which is the same bait, but without the pre-rigged hook. Kennedy likes to use the same Owner Beast hook for the Freestyle version of the Magdraft.
Kennedy grabs a glide bait as his next choice.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy grabs a glide bait as his next choice. "Now we're getting into the hard baits. They make this bait in a 5 1/2-inch version as well as a 7 1/2- inch." said Kennedy. "The smaller size is a great option for someone who wants to experiment with a glide bait and still get a good number of bites."
This particular glide bait is a Sneaky Pete by G-Ratt baits. The smaller version of the bait is called a Pistol Pete.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - This particular glide bait is a Sneaky Pete by G-Ratt baits. The smaller version of the bait is called a Pistol Pete.
Another alternative for a glide bait is the S-Waver by River2Sea. Kennedy found inspiration to throw this bait from Tactical Bassin's Matt Allen and Tim Little.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Another alternative for a glide bait is the S-Waver by River2Sea. Kennedy found inspiration to throw this bait from Tactical Bassin's Matt Allen and Tim Little. "The Lite Trout color is the bait that they are really pushing for beginners who are just getting into swimbait fishing to use."
A closer look at the River2Sea S-Waver.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - A closer look at the River2Sea S-Waver.
Kennedy's final swimbait is a Triton Mike Bucca Bull Shad.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - Kennedy's final swimbait is a Triton Mike Bucca Bull Shad. "The Bull Shad has three joints in it so it swims just like a shad. My favorite way to fish it is by burning it pretty fast."
The Bull Shad comes in multiple sizes ranging from 3 to 9 inches which allows an angler to match the size of bait on a local body of water.
Photo: Kyle Jessie - The Bull Shad comes in multiple sizes ranging from 3 to 9 inches which allows an angler to match the size of bait on a local body of water.