Mini Swimbaits


Swimbait fishing has been around for a long time. During recent years there has been a revival of this lure in the bass fishing arena. If it is downsized to the smaller versions it can be a great lure for many other species, while still producing nice- size bass.

As most of my audience knows, I’m partial to using smaller finesse-style lures. This definitely holds true in swimbaits. In fact, the largest I normally use is a 4-inch, with the extreme occasion of a 7-inch Crazy Leg Gulp Shad. Otherwise, I use 1- to 3- inch sizes, with the 2-inch Power Ripple Shad being the most frequently used.

Others used are B-Fish-N Pulse R, Mann’s 1-inch Swimmin’ Grub and Big Hawg Bait’s Swim Shad.

Rigging is done in a couple of ways. Most of the time I use a 1/32- to 3/16-ounce B-Fish-N Precision H2O jig head. However, there are times when I will use the smallest baits on a Blitz marabou Crappie Jig, and up to 3 inches on a Blitz Spyder Finess Jig—I also like using them as bodies on Road Runner heads.

The smallest of the swimbaits will be used on spinning gear, which allows the chance to use them with the finger jigging technique. This gives the bait two actions: swimming and jigging/bouncing. And if they are used with a Road Runner head, there is also a spinner.

A White Blitz Finesse Jig teamed with a Pearl 3-inch Ripple Shad, fished with a pumping retrieve helped hook this bass.
A White Blitz Finesse Jig teamed with a Pearl 3-inch Ripple Shad, fished with a pumping retrieve helped hook this bass.

Spinning or casting outfits are used for the 3-inch and larger size, depending on the size of the head. Casting is definitely preferred when using the Blitz Finesse jig combination.

“Swimbait” fairly says it all for the technique; the tail does most of the action of back and forth, except on lures like the Crazy Legs and Swim Shad, where it has a tail made with 3 or 4 smaller swimming legs. So, a straight-pulling action is the main approach.

Other ways to fish the bait is the aforementioned finger jigging, reel-and-pause (allowing the bait to drop momentarily), reel-and-stop (allowing the bait to drop to or near the bottom before starting again), lift-and-fall (a pumping motion), and quick jerks.

The different types of jigs dictate some of the ways to best present the lure. With the H2O head, I use it for all of the retrieves. The Road Runner head and Blitz Crappie Jig are primarily used for finger jigging, straight pull, lift-and-fall and reel-and-pause retrieves. For the Blitz jig combination I normally use it with a straight pull and lift-and-fall retrieve.

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At this point another jig head should be mentioned, especially for using with the Gulp Crazy Legs with the reel-and-stop retrieve. This is the Mad Bug Dragon Hopper. It is an excellent head to use on any lure that is fished at or near the bottom, and it will allow the lure to stick upward on the fall because of the swinging hook.

The key factor for a swimbait is having one that has a good tail action. Most have this, but some fall short. The reason for this is to make sure the action is still present when using any of the retrieves where the bait is falling. All of the lures mentioned have that ability.

This nice crappie took a 2-inch Ripple Shad used as a body on a 1/16-ounce Road Runner head.
This nice crappie took a 2-inch Ripple Shad used as a body on a 1/16-ounce Road Runner head.

As with all soft plastic lures, there are a multitude of colors available in swimbaits, but only a few are needed. I stay mainly with something similar to a shad/white/oyster color, but have used black and colors similar to green pumpkin. Selecting which color to use when and where is pretty much like any other lure. Start with the shad-type color, especially if baitfish are present, and if it doesn’t work go darker, especially if you are fishing closer to the bottom.

Another thing that I like to use on these lures is Kick’n Bass Attractants’ Anise/Shad scent. Kick’n Bass has a lot of other scents, but I have found the Anise/Shad to work the best for this type of lure. The only other scent that I will use is garlic. B-Fish-N’s PulseR is perfect since it has ribs that help hold the scent longer, and disperses on multiple casts to make a good odor zone.

A swimbait is a lure that can be fished at about any time of open-water season at about any depth. Plus, it is simple enough to be used by anyone on any sort of tackle.

Downsizing to the smaller lure has resulted in nice-size crappies, big bluegills, white bass and the occasional catfish, while still producing some good-sized bass. So grab yourself some mini swimbaits, and find out how they can catch fish.


If you have any further questions about this or any other fishing subject, drop Dan Galusha a line through the Dan’s Fish ‘N’ Tales® website at, or Facebook page at