5 Great Ways To Use A Soft Swimbait

September 30, 2023
Tackle News Archive

Search-and-destroy, close contact, sniper — sounds like terms from a military operation, but we’re actually talking about soft-body swimbaits. Models like the LIVETARGET Slow Roll Shiner present a realistic profile with the tantalizing tail motion that emulates anything from shiners, shad, blueback herring, ciscos or any of the slender forage fish that bass seek.

Rigging one of these 4- to 5-inch baits on a heavy jig head offers an excellent presentation for deep scenarios like river ledges and rock piles, but soft-body swimbaits also have several shallow water applications. Here, the best option is a Mustad AlphaPoint Infiltrator Swim Hook.

Finding Fish: During the spawning season, bass go through a couple of particular stages where they’re likely to chase the convincing profile of a soft swimbait. First is the pre-spawn feeding stage, when anything they can catch is fair game.

On deeper reservoirs, when bass suspend under floating docks before moving shallow to spawn, they can be difficult to engage unless you persuade them to come out and show themselves. Slow rolling a swimbait through dock stalls or along the dock perimeters will often draw the attention of aggressive fish.

Ideally, the fish commits to your swimbait, but if not, a quick follow-up with a soft stick worm wacky rigged on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko Hook usually closes the deal. Similarly, in smallmouth waters, a swimbait is an excellent tool for pulling the brown bullies out of deeper areas and into range for more targeted presentations with dropshots, hair jigs, etc.

Targeted Shots: When anglers spot bass “busting bait” (attacking schools of baitfish), quickly getting an equally appealing profile in front of them is essential for capitalizing on the moment. Many baits, including the Mustad Arm-Lock Spinnerbait, will tempt these schooling fish, but keep a soft swimbait handy for such occasions and you’ll be pleased with the results.

Trailer Talk: One of the most versatile baits for shallow water bass action is a bladed jig. Models like the Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig excel anywhere from grassy habitat to open water with their aggressive motion and thumping blade flaring skirts. 

Effective in all but the coldest months, bladed jigs work with a variety of trailers based on angler objectives. The swimbait is a popular option for a steady, natural swimming motion.

Mighty Mites: Small swimbaits in the 2 1/2- to 3-inch size can be absolutely deadly for smallmouth and spotted bass when rigged on a Mustad Ball Jig. These downsized baits also have a solid largemouth application when the fish are focusing on tiny baitfish. 

This often happens in the fall months when scores of juvenile shad dart in and out of vegetation, and bass ignore all but the smallest presentations. In this scenario, rigging the smaller swimbaits on a 1/0 or 2/0 Mustad AlphaPoint Assault Wide Gap hook and fishing it on medium-heavy spinning tackle with TUF-LINE Domin8 braid shows the fish an irresistible offering.