TIPS / TRICKS
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AA - Ask the Pros
Q: I am new to fishing finesse swimbaits. What type of gear works best?
Stephen M. Lansing MI
A: My favorite rod and reel combination for fishing small swimbaits such as
the 3” Bad Bubba Shad is a 7' to 7'6" medium action spinning rod paired
with a 3000 series spinning reel. Spinning gear allows me to easily make
long casts and the 3000 series reel has a larger diameter spool which helps
with line management and wind knots. I'll spool up with a 15lb braid
mainline connected to a 12' leader of 8lb fluorocarbon. I prefer to use the
FG knot to make the connection between the mainline and the leader.
Another knot that works well and is quick and easy to tie is the Crazy
Alberto knot. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: I like fishing soft plastic swimbaits, but sometimes I have a hard time hooking up when I get a strike. Do you have any suggestions? Roger Vista, CA
A: This is a common concern that many anglers have when fishing a swimbait. A lot of times the tendency is to try and set the hook the instant you feel the strike. This does not work well with swimbaits, instead resist your natural reaction to set the the hook immediately. Just continue reeling until you feel the rod load up. Once you feel the weight of the fish reel faster and sweep set your rod to drive the hook into the fish. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: What can I do to change up the look of a standard shad tail swimbait?
A: A quick and easy modification is to switch up your jig head. In place of a traditional swimbait head, select an underspin instead. The blade will add flash and vibration to your presentation. Sometimes a simple change can make the difference between a good day and a great day on the water. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: I fish many high pressured waters. The fish often see the same baits over and over. What can I do to get more bites?
A: Many times utilizing a finesse approach with slower moving soft plastic baits can be a good strategy. Sometimes a change in bait style, profile or size can be effective. Also don't be afraid to change colors. A little trick that can make a huge difference is to show the fish something they have never seen before. Try altering the coloration of your stock plastics with a liquid plastic dye or a dye marker for a true custom look. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: I've noticed that AA's has a wide selection to choose from. What are your favorites? -- Justin P. Lakeside, CA
A: AA makes tons of color/style combinations that are fantastic. However, there are a few baits that I call “confidence baits.” These are lures that I generally start out each trip with.
- CALICO BASS: 5” Shad Tail or 5” Bubba Shads in Hot Belly Calico, Clear Chartreuse, Green Back Chovy, or Casey’s Classic
- Sand Bass: 5” Twin Tails and 4-5” Monarch Grubs in Chartreuse & Gold, Tomato Pepper, Hot Belly Dorado, or Ghost Shrimp
- Spotted Bay Bass: 3” Single Shrimp and 3” Baby Puss in Chartreuse& Gold, Clear Red Flake, Casey’s Classic, Green Back Chovy
These are just some of my favorites. For an in depth look at species specific lure/color choices, please refer to charts contained in this website. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: I like going out on 3/4 day trips for Calicos. I get bit a lot on the fall but I am missing a lot of those fish. Any advice? – Henry W. Long Beach, CA
A: There are a few small adjustments you can make that will help you increase your hookup ratio. 1) Don’t set the hook until you feel the weight of the fish. Simply throw the reel in gear, drop your rod tip, and only swing once the rod loads up a bit; thereby allowing the fish ample time to grab the bait. 2) Try using scent on your plastics. Products such as Unibutter, Hotsauce, and Pro-cure can make fish hold on to the bait longer. 3) If you still miss the fish, throw your reel back in freespool. A lot of times, that same fish that missed the bait will come back on it. 4) Downsize your bait. The difference between a 5” bait and a 4” bait may not look to be all that much. But in actuality, the volume of the baits is vastly different. A smaller bait may be just the ticket. -- AA Pro-Staff
Q: I like fishing plastics, but sometimes I get tired of throwing the standard shad tail. When is it best to branch out and try a different bait?
A: It’s never a bad time to try new baits. Fishing is all about experimentation with lures in different conditions. Each angler has specific baits he likes to fish given the conditions he’s fishing in. However, you’ll never find that one lure if you don’t try. Don’t be afraid to vary the style of bait, size, color, and method of retrieve. The slightest change can make all the difference. But remember; always take notes on what you’re doing. It may be tedious, but once you’re able to see a pattern emerge, you’ll be glad you took the time. -- AA Pro-Staff