Small swimbaits — big impact

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Bernie Schultz

When the swimbait revolution began in the late 1980s, the trend moved quickly toward larger profile bodies with exaggerated swimming actions. The belief was that bigger baits that swam hard would catch bigger bass, and that’s true … sometimes.

But not always.

Lately, the trend seems to be less is best. More and more touring pros are leaning toward smaller profile swimbaits — for all species of black bass, regardless of size.

From Florida to Ontario, California to the Carolinas, hardcore anglers have discovered they can rely on smaller swimbaits, especially when the bite gets tough. 

In the Mix 

Among today’s more popular brands are Keitech, Storm and Yamamoto. You’ll find variations of these in nearly every touring pro’s tackle selection. 

Why? Because they work!

Whether we’re dealing with passing cold fronts or heavily pressured fish, when the bite gets tough, smaller profile swimbaits can still trigger fish to strike. It’s the same principle that works with other lures: A smaller profile combined with a subtler swimming action can often make the difference between getting a bite or not.

Whether I’m fishing in my home state of Florida or traveling to the Great Lakes, you can bet I’ll have a broad selection of smaller swimmers with me. So long as the water I’m fishing has good clarity, I know there’s a strong chance they’ll work.

It’s true for lakes, rivers and manmade impoundments, too. Whether a body of water features wood or grass or is virtually barren of cover, swimbaits work. They can draw fish from dense cover or a bare bank, provided the water has reasonable clarity.

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