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De- Mystifying Swimbait Fishing

Fishing Swimbaits

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If you are anything like me, you first viewed the swimbait craze with a jaundiced eye. I remember seeing the ocean rods, massive line, car-winch reels, and size 11 high-topped tennis shoe baits adorning the local pros at the sportsmen shows and thinking to myself, I just want to catch fish, I certainly don't need all that! I rationalized that I was not for, and did not need such Paul Bunyan-sized gear in order to compete in bass tournaments. Sound at all familiar ?

Someone Killed the Easter Bunny

And then one morning it clicked in my head. Approximately two years ago I listened to Kent Brown's Ultimate Bass radio show on a Saturday morning. It was the last day of the FLW Stren Event on Lake Shasta in 2006 and, as usual, Kent was interviewing some of the pros in the top 10. Mark Meddock ultimately won that event throwing an 8 inch soft plastic trout swimbait. Heading into the last day, Kent interviewed Gary Dobyns. At that time Gary was in no way a swimbait aficionado. Gary is arguably the most successful tournament angler in the Western U.S. having won 39 fully rigged bass boats in 20 years of professional fishing. Giant rip baits and heavy spinnerbaits characterize Gary's aggressive fishing style. Until swimbaits came along, most considered those rips and spinnerbaits to be the big bait approach.

I smiled. Finally, the "ripping master" would dispel the myth that you need to throw swimbaits to win an event. Gary would go out with his Lucky Craft 128s (a 5 inch, 1 oz. rip bait) and show these swimbait guys that you could still do it with traditional "big baits." I must have looked like a kid who'd just been told the Easter Bunny was dead when I heard Gary tell Kent that he just hoped to finish in the top 5 because this swimbait craze was certainly starting to be the go-to in many events. He almost conceded that his approach, at least for that event, could not compete with the Trout soft plastic swimbait. The Easter Bunny is dead.

Gary made a point from that day forward to learn to throw swimbaits. He makes his living fishing and he knew he needed to be on top of this new technique. Well, he learned them, indeed. Not only is his garage littered with what might be over 100 8 inch trout swinbaits, but he designed a rod with the express purpose of fishing the big swimbait all day long when he came out with his new rod company in January of 2007.

From that day forward, I researched swimbaits and swimbait fishing in a quest to bring this eccentric style of fishing down to the commoner's (my) level. I didn't want to be intimidated by the Paul Bunyan setups anymore. I too, wanted to chuck massive hunks of rubber into a lake and catch 8+ pound fish. It took me the better part of two years, but I'm there.

In this article I detail how I do it. I'm not saying my approach is the only or even the best approach, but I can tell you that it absolutely works. I would not even consider myself an accomplished or particularly skilled swimbait fisherman. But perhaps that is why I may be the best person to tell the story of how I overcame my fear and developed confidence in hurling the bait that killed the Easter Bunny.

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