Using Swimbaits as Follow-ups

As spring starts its early fishing frenzy, a good combination of lures to use are Blitz Blades, Rat-L-Traps and swimbaits. The first two are used as primary search baits, while the swimbait is the follow-up. When the water is cooler I’ll start with the Blade in their spotted Goby, Chartreuse/White and Table Rock Shad. Then as it gets a little warmer the primary starter is the Rat-L-Trap, normally in the 1/4-ounce Mini Trap model in colors of Smokey Joe, Diamond Dust and Apricot. Some of their new Natural Colors are also a good choice in the bluegill variety.

Once the fish are found, I’ll then follow up with one of three swimbaits: Natural Forage Baits Swimbait, B-Fish-N Pulse-R and the Moxi. Each swimbait has its own special design. The Natural Forage Baits’ model is a solid body with slits, while the B-Fish-N model has ribs, and finally the Moxi uses a curl tail. All three are selected for their difference, but also for having slits and ribs that will hold Kick’n Bass attractants.

Heads for the swimbaits are another part, and the Precision H20 head when something plain and standard is required is ideal. However, for extra flash, Road Runner has the answer with the Casey’s Runner Head that has a larger hook and willow blade on a ball-bearing swivel.

I like using all of these lures on long rods such as the Buzz Ramsey Steelhead rod in the 8-feet model. This provides greater casting distance as well as fish-fighting power, which is great when you’re from shore and trying to hit holding areas that are farther out.

The Blade and Rat-L-Trap are used with a straight, steady speed, or a rip-and-pause. A rip-and-pause is best for when fishing the colder water. At times, it’s best to let the Blade fall to the bottom between each “rip.”

Three retrieves are used for the swimbait: the normal straight, steady speed, pump and fast-and-brief pause. The last one worked the best when I was using the Power Fish’N electric reel where it could be engaged and stopped. Since then I’ve had to adapt to using a regular reel, cranking fast and making very brief pauses. While this works, it still doesn’t seem to as well when using the electric reel. For swimbait colors, I use ones that are more in tune with baitfish such as oyster, smelt, minnow and a green back. There are a lot of different colors available, and I know they all work at certain times, but using colors to match baitfish seems to provide consistent productivity.

As the water warms more and we head to summer, I won’t be using the Blade as much. At this point, the Rat-L-Trap and swimbait is used on an equal basis, and not as much of a follow-up. Later, once fall starts moving in and the water cools down, then the pattern used like now in the spring will be used again.

Remember, a swimbait isn’t just for cranking along. It can be used for other purposes and with other retrieves. No matter how it’s used, they are productive so give them a try.