If you have not heard the term "Swimbait" in the past few years, then get out from under that rock man! More than 10 years ago, the original BassTrix hollow bodied swimbait was quietly sweeping up tournament wins all over the southern United States.
That was what some consider the start of the Swimbait Evolution, but in fact the soft plastic swimbait has been around for some time. I remember casting the Blue Fox Vibratail Minnow as a kid, catching many species of fish. But as fate would have it, the wheel was once again re-invented.
Today's soft plastic swimbaits come in many varieties, both in solid and hollow bodied versions. What is unique this time around, are the many tail designs manufacturers are coming up with.
Hollow bodied versions rely on a couple of things to get their action. The hollow interior of the bait is key, but plastic softness and tail size are factors that enable a bait to swim with the desired action. In larger swimbaits, fins are added to stabilize the body roll, producing a more natural swimming action.
Solid bodied swimbaits seem to be getting a fair bit of attention these days. Maybe it's because of the rigging versatility or the even softer plastic used to make these baits. To overcome the problem earlier solid swimbaits had, not swimming well at slow speeds, bait makers have gone to using very soft plastisols. That, in combination with thinner tails and ribbed body designs produced amazing results.
Once you have picked out your new lures and put them in your tackle box, be careful how you lay them out. Since all soft plastics have what I would call "shape memory", keeping the baits straight is important so that they will run true in the water. Once a tail is bent out of shape, from being stored crooked, the lure will swim off center. Although this is correctable with some hot water, it's easier to either leave them in the original packaging, or store them in a straight fashion until you use them.
Swimbaits are not just for bass fishing, in the past few seasons we have seen great catches of Walleye, Lake Trout, Northern Pike and Musky..all succumbing to the seductive wobble of this lure. The many versions available on the market are an indicator that this bait design is not only sellling, but it's catching its fair share of fish!
In my next report, I'll cover rigging soft plastic swimbaits as well as the rods/reels suited to fishing these lures.