How To Fish A Swimbait – A Practical Guide

Once you have ever tried swimbait fishing, I am sure that you have encountered the same problem as me. There was an annoying plentiful amount of bass fish nudging the bottom of the bait instead of hooking up to it. However, after a lot of times going swimbait fishing, I could finally learn how to fish a swimbait in the most proper way. In the end, I get a lot of rewarding results- some of the biggest fish in the lake to bring home.

Here are some of the things you should know about swimbait fishing.

Why you should know how to fish a swimbait

  • According to many experienced anglers, swimbaits are one of the best lures to catch huge bass fish.
  • Swimbaits are presentation bait with their natural look as well as visually appealing movements. They could be able to catch the attention of the bass from a very far distance.
  • Swimbaits come with a lead head to help penetrate to deeper areas of water. And you might have already known that deeper areas are where bigger fish live. You are also able to cover bodies of waters at different depths.
  • In general, swimbaits are bigger and heavier than most of the other lures. They are exactly what you would need if you are a big fish hunter.

When Should You Use Swimbaits

When Should You Use Swimbaits

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  • The best condition of water is clear or slightly stained. I have tried fishing swimbaits in many of the clear waters in Pennsylvania as well as stained California and found a lot of success.
  • Still, these swimbaits are quite versatile which you can use practically any body of water. There can be various surrounding structures including grass, wood, and docks. A swimbait can go as far as 20 feet in a lake and around 40 feet in open water.
  • However, swimbaits are not really your best choice when the water is muddy.
  • The area where you go fishing should have a lot of big baitfish. Swimbaits are big and heavy in size and weight. Hence, they are a good imitation of these natural preys of bass fish in the local area.
  • Swimbait fishing is not for impatient and amateur anglers. Also if you are aiming for catching a lot of fish, this type of fishing is not for you. On the other hand, if you think you are patient enough for a big bite, you should try this style of fishing.

How To Fish A Swimbait

There are 3 main types of swimbaits you can find on the market- namely the hard, the soft and the hollow belly swimbaits. These types are then varied in colors and sizes, making it quite challenging to choose a suitable swimbait.


Whether you prefer hard bait or soft bait is personal. However, you should choose the size of the bait according to the size of the fish you want to catch.  I often use 3.5-inch or 4.5-inch swimbaits, which are enough to help me catch big bass and cover a large area as well.  If you are lucky, you can still catch a big bass with a smaller sized swimbait though. Actually, using a small swimbait also increases your chance of catching smaller fish as well.

It is worth noting that if you use a large sized swimbait, you need to wait for a longer amount of time. The reason is that big bass are not as many as smaller bass.


Image source: FLW


The weight of the swimbait you want to choose depends on how far you want it to go into the water. Keep in mind that a heavy swimbait can help you attract big fish living in the bottom of the area. However, you need to trade off for more limited movements.


Which color you should use would all depend on the condition of the body of the water you are currently fishing in. For example, when the water, as well as the sky, is clear, using a blue swimbaits can lure some of the hungry bass fish out. When the water is really clear, I would use a translucent swimbait.

For the best imitating effect of the swimbaits, choose the one whose color is the perfect replication of the baitfish in the same area. For example, you can use one swimbait with a white base and blue black to mimic the color of the shad fish.


Image source: SWBA

Tips On Swimbait Fishing

  • For fishing with swimbait effectively, you need a right set of equipment- those that are combined well with the swimbait. The fishing rod and line should handle the weight and size of the swimbait. They should also be capable of handling the weight of the fish you are aiming at.
  • The best line for swimbait fishing is fluorocarbon fishing line. This line with the crystal clear color can trick the fish well
  • Don’t just use one particular set of equipment all of the time. Change them according to different conditions of water or weather. For example, when aiming for the big fish of the lake in the winter, use an 8-inch heavy duty rode with a 20-pound fluorocarbon line. Some other times, I use a medium heavy fishing rode and a 12-pound fluorocarbon line.
  • Modify the swimbait a little bit can help to increase your chance of catching a big fish. You can split the body of the bait to prevent the plastic body from wading up around the curve of the hook. You can also attach the hook through the nose of the bait or use glue to attach it to the nose. When the hook is held securely, you would prevent the risk of missing a fish that bites.
  • In addition, you can use shad scent to bring more effect to the swimbait. Just spray a bottle of shad scent into the back of the swimbait and cast it normally.
  • Last but not least, move your fishing rod slow and steady, allowing time for the bass fish to lock on the target.


Overall, a swimbait can give you a huge advantage in term of catching big fish. It works well for a variety of bodies of water with different depths as well. It is not really difficult to learn how to fish a swimbait. The key thing here is you need to be patient enough for a big bite among various smaller bites. I hope with all of the information and tips above, you would be able to go for swimbait fishing on your next trip. With skills, knowledge and a little bit of luck, surely you would bring home a lot of big bass with heavy weight.