Swimbaits Series, Part I: Purchasing Swimbaits...
Guest Blog by: Brady Garrett 11/11/2012
It is getting on that time of year that a new type of fishing emerges, one that only rarely includes catching, at least for me. Still, it is the kind of fishing that makes a grown man who has a home and a warm bed sleep in his truck at the gate of the lake for the sole purpose of being the first bait on the water. Iíll stay all day. Call it ignorance, optimism, or patience, but I still expect to catch a fish every time I go. Most of the time, I am wrong. The fact is that I would rather catch (or hook) a beast rather than several smaller fish, but that is just me. The type of fishing I am referring to is using trout pattern swimbaits. They will work on monster largemouth bass, but my favorite target is stripers.
Before I go any further, there are people out there who are far more knowledgeable than I am, some perhaps may read this and disagree with something I write. I welcome the input. These are just some things I have learned from the tackle shop workers and while on the water. In short, I am no expert.
The whole concept of fishing swimbaits can be intimidating. Buying them is a chore. I remember looking at the selection in the store and thinking that they all looked more real than any baitfish I had seen. Swimbaits are also expensive.
So how can you maximize your pay to fish ratio? Simple: start with a Producer Plug. Itís over $40, but is easy to fish, but can only be ordered either online or from select tackle stores. Last Chance Tackle in Hemet carries them. Otherwise, go to producerplug.com. The guy who makes them, Kenny, is really helpful when it comes to advice. Working this plug requires you to cast out and reel in. Thatís it. The Producer has a very slow side to side wobble that can ďproduceí some awesome strikes. Both big largemouth and stripers will hit this bait.
The Producer is a good surface lure to start with, but if you want to drop a bit deeper, youíll need a Huddleston. This is pretty much the staple bait for swimbaits. It is also the cheapest at under $30. At times it can look more like a rainbow trout that an actual trout. There are 4 main versions: the ROF (rate of fall) 0, 5, 12, and 16. The 0 is a floater while the others sink their number per ten seconds. For example, the ROF 5 sinks 5 feet in ten seconds, the 12 twelve feet in ten seconds, etc.
The Hudd can be worked several ways. One of the most popular has become crawling it along the bottom, like a worm or a jig. This would mimic a wounded trout. Many of the pros actually leave it motionless for several seconds, and then give it a twitch. Others, like me, prefer a VERY slow steady retrieve across the bottom. Bottom bouncing works best with a 12 or a 16. The Hudd is an excellent big bass lure, but stripers will hit it as well.
Hudds are cool, Producers are cool, but my absolute favorite is a lure that requires a little bit extra work for the angler. The Lunker Punker is a bigger, heavier topwater lure that zig-zags across the surface. The strike that comes with this motion will keep you awake at night. Largemouth will hit this bait, but not as willingly as stripers.
In the next write up, Ill discuss what tackle I use to throw these baits.
Brady grew up in North San Diego County. His home lakes were Dixon and Wohlford, but when Diamond Valley opened it became one of his passions. He also fly fishes the Eastern Sierras, particularly Hot Creek and the East Walker. When the surface action begins in the ocean in late spring and summer, he fishes offshore 2 or 3 times a week. He lives in Long Beach and is very close to some excellent surf fishing spots for halibut, corbina, and spotfin.
Blog content © Brady Garrett
Flyrodn, CO 11/14/2012 6:12:51 PM
Thanks for the intro to swimbaits.
LastKast2010, CO 11/15/2012 8:05:33 AM
Nice blog Brady... oh.. and by the way.... nice halibut from shore... looks like some Long Beach action... just South of the Queen Mary???? I lived in Long Beach for 4 years before i moved here...
JKaboom, CO 11/15/2012 1:05:34 PM
Interesting read, I don't know anything about swimbaits - Thank you :)
spinn3r, CO 11/15/2012 7:44:12 PM
Thanks, Brady. Nice to hear it in an overview format.
In Colorado now but I grew up near your Long Beach photo. Caught my first fish off Bayshore Ave just up from 2nd. Good memory.
Brady Garrett (BradyG), CA 11/15/2012 9:12:54 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys. Any place that there are big fish, swimbaits will work.
There are also smaller versions on the Producer, which Im sure would work in CO for larger bass out there. Huddleston makes makes baby bass and shad versions as well.
Good to hear from the former Long Beachers too. LastKast, you nailed the spot. I live right above that beach, and there are some monster halibut right there.
mavybenson, CA 1/7/2013 6:04:42 PM
waiting for your next write up.:)