Swimbaits, part II- Terminal Tackle
Guest Blog by: Brady Garrett 2/8/2013
In eighth grade, for a birthday present I received an Abu Garcia 6500 casting reel. In my eyes, this was like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation where he discovered the tree and the heavenly light shining upon it. It was the end all, be all of fishing equipment. Here I am, 20years later, and this reel is still a primary weapon of mine. I also have a Shimano Calcutta and Daiwa Luna, but those are simply because I got greedy. In truth, all I really need is that 6500. Prices for the Abu Garcia 6500 reels start at about $95 for the smaller models, and go up to around $150. Not cheap, but it can cast those big lures consistently and still has the drag muscle to handle whatever bites. The more popular swimbait reels go for almost $300 so the 6500 is a good option when on a budget.
Shimano has good swimbait rods that will not cost you too much. Their Terramar series are my faves, and the Terramar's also have a lifetime warranty. Shimano also has the Crucial series which is reasonably priced as well. Bottom line is that if you don't want to spend more than $300 (maybe $250 if you're lucky) for an entire swimbait combo, you don't have to. Now onto the line...
The braid issue has been beaten to death, but I started on it about 5 years ago and havenít looked back. Mono works fine as well. If you want to go to the store, have them put on some 20-25lb mono, and go fishing, then that's all well and good. Itís all up to the angler.
Hereís one thing to note: STRAIGHT BRAID TO THE LURE WITHOUT A MONO LEADER IS PERFECTLY GOOD WITH SOME BAITS. I no longer use a leader when fishing the Producer or the Punker. I never thought it to be possible. It took a strike or two before I actually had confidence in fishing without mono, but those stripers and big largemouth do not care about the line when they go after those particular baits. Straight braid is not always a good approach however.
You do not want to use straight braid with the Huddleston. When fishing deeper, use a 2-4 foot leader of 25-30lb mono or fluorocarbon. Some may be surprised at how heavy my line choice is, but youíre basically dropping $30 into trees and rocks. Also, that line size will not stop a fish from taking the bait. Itís the same with the braid, specifically with stripers. When they want it, they go all in. Be prepared for a strike that should not be possible in fresh water.
The issue of hooks is a surprising problem with swimbaits. One would think that when purchasing a $40 lure that it would come with hook strong enough to handle the fish that would inhale said bait. RARELY is that the case. The hooks you should buy to replace the ones on your swimbait are the Owner Stinger Hooks, with the size varying depending on the size of bait you are using. However, DO NOT change the hooks on the Producer. They are hooks specifically chosen because of their weight. They keep the bait balanced and its nose down as it swims so donít change the hooks on this lure.
There is one more way to increase your chances at a big fish on a swimbait. It involves your cast and approach to the shoreline. That will be in the next write-up, which I promise will not take as long to write as this one did.
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 2/11/2013 8:11:25 AM
Thanks for the info
mstevens395, CA 3/7/2013 11:40:05 AM
I rather enjoyed this....as I did the last one.
Native20559, FL 3/18/2013 12:18:13 AM
I hope you're going to discuss the importance of using a shock leader with heavier baits. The best approaches to dealing with the braid to flouro connection (e.g. short 12-18" leader with a mod. Alberto vs. short 12-18" leader with solid ring or swivel vs uni to uni with long 25-30 ft. leader). Any discussion about fishing swimbaits, especially large and heavy swimbaits like the Lunker Punker 8" and Huddleston 8" would be lacking without this material included!