Swimbait : Tout savoir sur la pêche aux swimbaits

If the swimbait is a lure initially dedicated to fishing for big black bass, it has developed widely in France and finds perfect use in pike, perch or even trout fishing. Swimbait fishing has become so popular that it has become a category of its own in the lure fishing world. Here is an article to know everything about swimbait fishing: its history, its fishing through the different families of swimbait.

Swimbait : tout savoir sur la pêche aux swimbaits

What is a swimbait?

A swimbait is a hardbait whose initial purpose is toimitate as much as possible a fish, both in its shape and in its swimming. The swimbait is therefore an imitative lure intended to trigger attacks by hunting fish. On recovery, this lure is supposed to reproduce the swimming of real prey of black bass, pike and other type of predators. Usually large sizes, they very often trigger the biggest fish and promise memorable fishing memories for those who know how to be patient.

History of swimbait

The history of swimbait dates back to the late 1980s. Developed in southern California, the first swimbaits mimicked the rainbow trout found in the great lakes of the state, which mainly black bass feed on. The swimbait is also developing during this same period to target striped bass on the coast.

Histoire du swimbait

These lures are then more realistic and larger than all the lures used at the time. Their success is such that the swimbaits develop rapidly towards the American east over the lakes and major competitions.

The Japanese then took inspiration from it to develop their own lures. Many swimbaits which have become legendary today will make this lure famous throughout the world. We could refer, for example, to Mother by Roman Made, at GanCraft Jointed Claw, at Evergreen Esdrive or even at Deps Slide Swimmer. The objective remained the same: to target the big black bass of the island like the bass of the mythical Lake Biwa.

Black bass pêché avec le Roman Made Mother

It was only at the beginning of the 2000s that the swimbait really made its appearance in France with in particular the big success of the Freddy of Illex and Spro BBZ-1. Swimbait fishing is meeting more and more followers today, as its effectiveness can be formidable on large pike.

The different types of swimbaits

There are different types of swimbaits designed each time to mimic various species that our predators feed on. They mainly imitate fish but also rodents, small birds or even turtles.

We generally separate the swimbait into two families: hard body swimbaits or hard swimbaits and the soft body swimbaits or soft swimbaits.

Each family is also subdivided into sub-categories, which we will describe to you in more detail.

Hard Swimbaits

Hard Swimbaits Roman Made

The level of detail of hard swimbaits is such today that they become real collector's items. Some are even snapping up at a high price across the world. We will speak in particular of the mythical swimbaits handmade by the Japanese house Roman Made cited above.

As realistic outside the water by their finish as underwater by their swimming, these swimbaits become real weapons of war in the search for trophy fish.

In general, a hard swimbait has an articulated body to imitate as closely as possible the swimming action of a fish. It can be divided into two parts (Single Jointed) or several parts (Multi Jointed) depending on the lure.

Some versions of hard-bodied swimbaits have a bib to enhance swimming action. Others do not have one and print a lighter swim.

Swimbait Single Jointed

A single-jointed swimbait consists of two solid parts, attached to each other by a hinged connection. It allows the lure to "swim" in S on recovery. The junction between the two parts of the lure can be done in the middle or near the tail.

Deps Silent Killer
  • Here are our top 3 of the best single-jointed swimbaits:
    1. Deps Silent Killer
    2. Megabass Vatalion
    3. DRT Tiny Klash

Swimbait Multi-jointed

A multi-jointed swimbait consists of a body divided into three or more parts, creating an articulated whole. These so-called articulated swimbaits have a wider and smoother swimming action than a Single Jointed model.

Swimbait Multi-jointed

Glide Baits

Glide Baits are generally swimbaits with a more elongated body profile giving the lure a wider “S” swimming action than a standard hard swimbait.

Swimbait de type glide bait

These are excellent lures if you are looking to slow down your presentation in clear water or when the fish are in high demand. They work very well in stop and go, the same way as if you were animating a jerkbait.

Soft Swimbaits

Soft swimbaits are large soft lures with more or less hard gum. Their flexible body gives them a more realistic swim and their flexibility allows a better engame during the attack. The rubber of soft swimbaits is very often reinforced in order to resist wear and repeated attacks by predators.

Here is an overview of the different soft swimbaits available.

Soft swimbait without frame

A soft swimbait without a frame is simply a flexible swimbait all over your body. We equip it with triple hooks attached to the belly, as for a hard lure. Many of these lures do not come with hooks at purchase and must be taken separately. The eyelet is connected to the hook rings through the body of the lure.

  • Here are our top 3 of the best Soft Swimbaits without underwire
    1. Huddleston Delux 8 ″
    2. Castaic Hard Head
    3. Mattlures Dead Twitch

Soft swimbait with frame

Soft frame swimbaits are designed to protect the lure from damage from within. Indeed, it crosses the lure right through its body and slides along the line during the fight. This makes it possible to avoid tearing the lure during the fight and to preserve it over time.

Soft swimbait avec armature

Soft swimbait with single hook

These soft swimbaits are equipped with a single hook crossing half of the body to the dorsal of the latter. Depending on the model, the head of the hook is weighted or not.

This type of swimbait is ideal for pike fishing in uncrowded areas. Some have a ring on the bottom to give you the option of adding a treble hook.

  • Here are our top 3 of the best soft single hook swimbaits
    1. Fox Rage Replicant
    2.  Huddleston Deluxe 68 Special
    3. Live Target Blueback Herring

Swimbait fishing

La pêche au swimbait

The hardest part in swimbait fishing is surely being able to arm yourself with patience. Indeed, the swimbait fishing is often slow fishing, where the possibilities of attack are rare compared to more conventional lures.

Swimbait fishing also involves a specific material as this fishing is heavy and can tire out in the long run. But swimbait fishing can pay off if you are looking for trophy fish and have a foolproof mind.

Here is the basic observation to be made when looking for a trophy fish. Whether it is a bass, a pike or a trout, they have not reached this size without having seen hundreds of lures pass under their noses.

They have therefore learned to be suspicious and to thwart the multitude of traps that we have set for them. If they've slipped through the cracks, tell yourself it's certainly not for nothing. It is therefore normal to be able to arm yourself with patience if you want to one day cross paths with these giants.

The swimbait, by its action of swimming as close as possible to nature, thus tries to thwart this mistrust that these large predators have developed over the years, from encounters with humans and their catches.

How to fish with swimbait?

Swimbait fishing has similarities in its action to that of cranckbait. It generally consists of simply throw and bring back your lure in a linear fashion. But as with crankbaits, erratic action can also help trigger an attack.

Large predators are opportunistic fish, supporters of the least effort. The key to this fishing is to find the slowest and most attractive recovery speed possible so that the lure can swim properly and trigger the attack of a trophy fish.

How you collect your swimbait of course depends on the water layer and the season you are fishing.

If you are fishing in early spring in clear waters, choose floating swimbaits or slow sinking. They mimic the appearance of a dying fish that floats and swims slowly along the surface. With jerky movements, you would imitate a dying fish to perfection that an opportunistic pike or black bass will not resist. This type of fishing adapts well in calm water, early in the morning or at the end of the day.

Matériel de pêche pour pêcher au swimbait

Sinking swimbaits are best suited for cold water fishing where fish are wedged to the bottom and awaiting the passage of prey. The game will consist here of fishing as slowly as possible in order to trigger the attack.

How to choose the size and color of your swimbait?

Choosing the right size and the right color are the two most important factors in choosing your swimbait. Visual appearance plays a primary role in this fishing. Also, we favor the use of lures as realistic as possible in clear or slightly tinted water. This usually gives the best results.

If you know the stream in which you are fishing and the white fish that are there, fish in priority with their imitations, both in color and size.

The tinted water will dull the perception of natural colors in black bass, trout and pike. The use of natural colors is therefore not as crucial as in clear water. You can therefore opt for more lively versions to attract the attention of predators.

Fishing equipment for swimbait fishing

One thing is certain, swimbait fishing requires, above all, suitable equipment! A specific rod, reel and line will therefore be required.

Matériel de pêche pour pêcher au swimbait

How to choose your swimbait rod?

More than any other lure, you need a special rod to fish with a swimbait whose weight can go up to more than 100gr. They therefore need a rod powerful enough to be able to launch these XXL lures but also to manage the combat of powerful fighters.

Fortunately today swimbait fishing has become popular and almost all rod manufacturers offer models suitable for swimbait. You need to select the best swimbait rod for the size of lure you are fishing with. If you plan to cast a wide range of weights, you will need a rod with a range of 1-4 oz.

How to choose your swimbait reel?

In our opinion, there is only one type of reel that will best handle these large lures without tiring too much. It is a casting reel. Choose reels with a low ratio, a high line capacity and a sturdy brake. These reels wear out faster than a conventional reel when pulling big lures and fighting big fish. A stronger reel will stand the test of time and the fish. The most common sizes for swimbait reels are usually size 300 or 400 reels.

Here is our top 3 of the best swimbait reels

  1. Shimano Calcutta 400
  2. Shimano Tranx
  3. Lew's Fishing Super Duty Wide Spool

Which line to choose for swimbait fishing?

For this type of fishing, we personally recommend using a 28/100 braid accompanied by a fluorocarconne leader for more discretion. Many anglers also use at least seventeen pounds monofilament for their discretion and lack of elasticity.

As the monofilament floats, use it for animated swimbaits on or near the surface. If you are fishing with a sinking model, the fluorocarbon is better because it sinks.

But if you only use one reel and are fishing shallow and deep, go for mono or fluorocarbon at the bottom of a braid.

Useful links to complete this article:

Fishing knot: 5 essential fishing knots to master

How to choose your casting reel?

Lure fishing: Which fishing rod to choose according to the lure used?

Learn to fish with a fishing guide

Start lure fishing

Find a black bass fishing guide

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