Paddle Tail Swimbaits

Paddle Tail Swimbaits for Monster Bass! How to fish paddletail swimbaits: proven secrets to catch more bass!

The Rig....

Bait: Rage Swimmer -

Hook: Gamakatsu Weighted Hook -


The Gear...

Rod - St. Croix 7' 1" Medium Rod: 

Reel - Abu Garcia Revo SX - 

Line - FireLine Ultra 8 -

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Glenn: There we go. Oh, he took it. Wow. You know when they want it when they do that. That's awesome guys. Awesome. Boy, he took it. All right.

Hey folks, Glenn May here with Today, I want to talk to you about fishing the Paddle Tail Swimbait. That is, some people call this a Boot Tail swimbait. It's got that little... Let me get right up to here. This little puppy right here. You guys have seen these before with that little tail right there. That's what I'm talking about. This little six-inch. This is the Rage Swimmer right here. I love this bait. There's a lot out on the market. There's a lot of different ways to fish it. They're extremely popular baits. So, I'm going to go through and show you guys how to fish this. First of all, we're going to go with rigging. And then I'm going to show you a lot of different tricks and tips for fishing this bait, starting with the rigging. 

So, what we want to do with is starting off with the hook. There's two different schools of thought here on rigging. A lot of people like to use a screw-lock hook. 4/0 screw-lock. Well, first of all, you have to have a keel weight, my opinion. I like to use a quarter ounce keel weighted bait. It keeps the bait running straight. But this is the screw-lock right there. See that? It's hard to see. Maybe against my hand, you can see a little bit better. But, typically, what that screw-lock does is, see it hangs like that with the bait, with the hook. Just like that. 

So, you screw that into the nose of the bait. Just, like, you literally screw it in. And it holds the bait in place, and then you can rig it. Texas rig like so. It sits in just like that.

I'm not a big fan of screw-locks. At least for this bait. The reason being is no matter how I rig it, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. But every time, it's just a little bit off center from the eye of the hook, either one side or the other. So, it runs a little bit cock-eyed. Just like that. A little bit sideways on me. I'm not a big fan of that. I don't like that. Now, maybe I'm doing it wrong, and you guys have a tip for that. But I haven't been able to rig it perfectly straight with a screw-lock. 

So, instead, I just use a standard keel baited hook like this. The problem is you're like, "Okay, cool. Well, how do you rig it?" Well, if you try to rig it regular Texas style, what you do is you go right down the nose. Straight down the nose. Right down the middle. Just like you normally do. Right to the bend of the hook. You flip it out. You start to go through and you're "Oh well, hold on, hold on, hold on. I hit that weight." What are you going to do? Are you just going to push it on through and tear up your bait? No. Now that you've made that little channel, we're going to use that. 

Let's back that up a minute. We're just going to take that eye and now go right back through that hole we made, and it will go right back in just like so. All right. It goes right back in. Sorry. Right through. Boom. Out it comes. Perfect. So, you first make that little channel, and now you can rig it right through. It's perfect. When you rig it, you just want to Texas rig. Tex-pose it, if you want to call it that. But I just like the skin hook a little bit. Bring it right through. And that's how it's rigged. Perfect. Okay? I'll take that hook point and put that in a little bit. Now, I can bring it in cover without it getting snagged on anything.

Okay. So, this rig that I've set it up right here, this is a weedless type setup. The reason I've done it this way is a lot of the stuff I fish in is weedy. Lots of flooded brush cover. Lots of submerged weeds. And I don't want this to get hung up. However, if I were fishing in a lot of rocks and open water, another way you can rig it is with a jig head. And that just simply is a weight in the front, and then the hook comes out the top and it's exposed. I don't have any of those with me because I'm not fishing those on this lake. But that's another way to rig and fish these baits is with an open jig head. The thing is with those is you are going to get hung up. So, make sure that you're only fishing areas where there's not a whole lot of weeds and stuff. 

Okay. Now that I showed you how to rig the bait, let me show you what kind of equipment that I'm using. In this case, I'm using a medium-heavy. A 7-foot medium-heavy power rod with a fast action tip. That's the kind of rod you want to be using in all sorts of bass fishing. In this case, I'm using it for paddle tail. I rig with it. I'm using 30-pound Fireline Ultra 8 line. I use that because what I'm doing a lot of times is I'm fan casting. I'm covering a lot of water and that Ultra 8 is great for long casting. It's designed for that. So, I can get long, long casts on that. The line is no give to it, so it's ultra-sensitive. So, I can feel that bite when the fish is way out there and hits the bait. I can tell that it's a strike.

And with it, I'm using the Abu Garcia Revo SX reel. I've got in the 7.3:1 gear ratio. I like it a little bit fast because I like to bring that bait back pretty quick. This s a reaction kind of bite. So, I like to move the bait pretty fast. Personally, I like to cover a lot of water, so I'm reeling it rather fast. So, 7-3 is a pretty good size reel gear ratio. I don't need a super high-speed reel. So, you don't need to spend the money on that just for fishing these baits. But if I happen to have one of those, I'll use that as well. But the 7-3 works really well for me. The drag on it is what I like. It's a 24-pound drag on it. Super strong. Super smooth. It's great for fishing these baits. If they tend to bury up a little bit in the cover, I can wrench them out. Because, again, that's what I throw these in. So, that's the bait that I'm using. That's the setup. Now that I have all that, let me show you how to fish it. 

There we go. You got a face full of swimbait. Paddle tail. Come on. Give me your face. There you go. Boy. Look at the mouth. Like that. Not a huge fish but, you know, how can they get big if they're not small first. Ate that paddle tail. I'll let you go.

Okay. So, the first technique that I want to show you is very simple, straight-forward, and works surprisingly well. And that's just your simple retrieve. All you're doing, you're casting it out there. In this case, it might be over the tops of weeds, over some rocks. You might be throwing it next to a weed line. Something where the bass are hiding where they can come out and ambush fish. It's just a nice, steady retrieve. It's nothing real too crazy. I've got my rod tip down. And I've got it to the side. That way I can feel the strikes a lot better, and I'm in a hook set position. 

You don't want your rods sitting way up here. I've got the line out. You don't want your rod, when you're casting this, and when you're retrieving it. Unless you' want it right near the surface. Say, for example, the weeds are right under the surface, you don't want your rod way up here. Because you're not in a hook set position. If a fish bites it, you have to remember to bring your hook down. You bring your rod down. Reel it up really quick, that slack line, and then set the hook. It's kind of difficult to do. So, you got to keep your rod tip down here, and just a nice slow, steady retrieve works really well. Sometimes what I like to do, when I'm retrieving, I'll give it a pause if I see like a little hole in the weeds. I like to drop it down the weeds. I'll pause it and let it kind of just flutter down in there, and sometimes that will draw a strike. 

Another way I like to fish it is burning it back. This is great when you have just submergent weeds right under the surface. You bring it back at a good clipping speed where it just barely breaks the surface where the paddle tail just might be bulging the surface just a little bit. But you're bringing it back really fast. You're looking for that reaction strike. This is great for warmer months. In the spring, all the way through the Fall, you're going right along the weed lines. You want to get that fish to react to it, so you're bringing it right towards the surface. This is great for early morning bites. Especially, if they don't want to hit buzz baits, this is a more subtle approach, and you can usually get that bite. Especially, if that sun starts to come up and starts hitting the surface and they've been hitting surface lures, that's a real good lure to switch to so you can keep that topwater bite going. 

So, the next retrieve is almost the opposite of that. Actually, it really is. It's great for when fish are feeding off of bottom fish. For example, gobies and sculpin and even crawdads. But what I like to do is let it...I cast it out. Let it sit on the bottom. Bring the rod tip down low. And here I'm just crawling it on the bottom. I want to mimic that bait fish that feeds off the bottom. This works especially well in the winter time. When the crawfish are hibernating, you'll get sculpin and gobies and whatnot that are sitting on the bottom of the lake feeding. That's what the bass are feeding off of then. Sitting right on the bottom. So, you're just dragging along the bottom. Now, one way to do it is with the reel, which works in the warmer months because you're moving it pretty fast. But in the colder months, what I like to do is I like to reel up, bring my rod tip here, and just drag it along with my rod tip. 

Here it's a lot easier to feel the bite rather than doing it with your reel. Then you get all the way to here, reel all the way back over, and then do it again. Just drag it with your rod tip. That way you're getting a little pause in the action, too. You're not doing it too fast. You can really pay attention to how fast you are moving that bait because as fast as you're moving the rod tip is how fast you're moving the bait. If you're doing it with your reel it's a little hard to visualize that. Plus you get a lot more sensitivity when you have it out on the side like that. That works exceptionally well when those fish are just hugging the bottom. Feeding off the bottom. Feeding off those little bait fish. Sitting on the bottom does a really good job. 

A lot of people don't fish it that way, so try it that way when the bites off. Now, another way I like to fish this bait is a little bit unorthodox, but I like to use it as a pitching and flipping lure. Again, I've got the same setup. But, if I come across some cover or something that looks appealing to me, I'll actually pitch right out there to it, and let it drop straight down like I would a jig or a worm. I fish it exactly like that. And it can work really, really well. And if you don't think it does, watch this clip. 

Glenn: There's a bass right there. 

Woman: There you go. So you can …. Oh. Oh, oh, got the tail, got the tail, got the tail. There you go. 

Glenn: There you go. Oh, my... Geez.

Woman: Look at that. 

Glenn: Geez. It just whacked it.

Woman: They might be little, but... 

Glenn: This fish. 

Woman: ...they're fun.

Glenn: They're aggressive. Whenever they grow that big they're fun to catch. 

Woman: Little paddle tail is almost the size of your hand.

Glenn: See, that's a lot of fun. Sight fishing is fun, but you saw that fish react to it. I pitched it out there and it was a straight drop. That fish hit it before it even hit the bottom. So, pitching works really well.

Now, one last one is a lot of people like to fish it weightless. I don't have it rigged up that way right now. But, if you fish it without any weight on that keel weighted hook like I've shown you that works exceptionally well. You throw it out there and just reel it very, very slowly and let that paddle tail just slowly wiggle along, and that works really well, too. So, that's another great way to fish these baits. 

All right. If you watched the video this long, now I want to give you some really good tips for maximizing how many fish you can catch with these paddle tails. I'm telling you what. There's a lot of guys who stopped watching this at this point, so you guys are the ones that are going to have it over on them when you're fishing these baits. So, here's the great tips.

First of all, you want to match the hatch. The first thing you want to do is if the fish are feeding on rainbow trout or sculpin or if it's gobies or whatever is the main forage base in your lake perch, bluegill, what have you, you want that bait to match that color and match the action of that bait fish. So, pay attention to that very closely and see what the fish are feeding on, and that will up your odds. 

Here's another quick tip. If the action of the paddle tail is just a little too slow, and you want to bring it back faster. Especially, say, for example, you're fishing it weightless and you want to bring it back quick. But that little tail isn't going to let you. You can grab a pocket knife and carve out some of the plastic around that tail and make it a smaller tail. I haven't done it on this one, but I'm just telling you where to do it. Carve around that and get some of that plastic off of it. Now that tail's going to wiggle a lot faster, and it's going to allow you to bring that weightless bait back quicker. Or, if you just want a faster action on the tail you can do it that way. Just carve it off.

Another thing you can do with this tail is just dip it in some Chartreuse dye. In my neck of the woods, the fish are feeding on bluegill all the time. Especially in the summertime, and actually, this is throughout the United States, fish feed on bluegill in the summertime way more than they are doing it in the crayfish. So, what you want to do is dip that this tail in some Chartreuse dye and make it look a little more like a bluegill. 

Something else that you want to do with these paddle tails. A lot of guys don't take the time to do this, but you want that bait to mimic the prey. And I'm not talking about the color or size. I'm talking about how it moves in the water. Study it. Watch YouTube videos. Watch other videos. Study how these fish move naturally in the water. They don't just come in a straight line all the time. They don't just stop and go. But they go one way. They slow down. They pause. They move a little bit more. It's a little erratic. So, pay attention to how they swim. Then, go to a swimming pool. Hopefully, you've got one or maybe you know a buddy that does. But go toss it in a swimming pool and practice mimicking that fish. You want to mimic the way it moves in the water. A swimming pool is a great way to do it. Or if you have a lake that's super clear where you can practice that. But, that's what you want to learn is that technique. 

Another thing you want to do when you're fishing these baits is make sure your hooks are really sharp. Carry a hook sharpener with you, and always check your hooks. Especially when you're fishing it out in rocks where you're hitting it all the time. It doesn't take more than just bumping it a few more times, then your hook is dull. So, always check your hooks and make sure they're super, super sharp.

One other tip. This is a fun one, but this is great in the Fall and in the colder months. A lot of guys, you're used to fishing. You're used to positioning your boat out and throwing it against the shoreline. That's what we always do because the fish are in the cover. But in the winter time, a lot of times the fish are moved out. In the Fall, the fish will move out. So, what you want to do is take your boat, position it shallow, and cast out into deeper water. In this instance, you just cast it out and you drag it along the bottom. You want it to move along the bottom nice and slowly. Bumping it along erratically. Bringing it up shallow. And a lot of times the fish are positioned down there and boom, you'll get nailed. So, that's a great technique that a lot of people don't do, and so a lot of fish don't see that presentation. So, be sure to do that when the water temperatures are cold. 

There we go. Good fish. Here we go. Stay down! Come here. Here we go baby, come onboard. Look at that. How do you like that, guys? Wow. Again, right in the roof of the mouth. That's where you want them. That's a good fish right there. Nice four-pounder right here. Alright, ready? 

And that's how you fish those paddle tails. I hope those tips help. For more tips and tricks, visit