There’s no denying that bass fishing is popular with people both in the United States and abroad. As you probably know, there are many ways to bass fish, and one popular method that’s taken the fishing world by storm is fishing with hard swimbaits.
That’s because more folks set out to catch large bass and up using swimbaits between six and twelve inches long. You’re likely here because you want to know more about using hard swimbaits for bass fishing. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know:
What Are Hard Swimbaits?
There are different swimbaits you can get, and one of the most popular types is hard swimbaits. In a nutshell, hard swimbaits mimic the actions of baitfish and appeal to predatory fish like largemouth bass, spotted bass, and smallmouth bass.
Hard swimbaits get designed to produce a reactive strike from the predatory fish. It’s worth keeping in mind there are variations of hard swimbaits, with some producing a more natural swimming action in the water than others.
That’s because some hard swimbaits are single-jointed, whereas others are multi-jointed, with the latter producing a more natural and realistic action in the water to lure bass. The following explains more about the different types of hard swimbaits available to buy:
Multi-Jointed Hard Swimbaits
Arguably the most common hard swimbaits used by keen anglers are the multi-jointed variety. They get made up of three or more body sections, all of which get connected together by hinges.
Multi-jointed hard swimbaits have wide and smooth swimming actions, and some longer examples will have more joint sections. Premium examples will look extraordinarily lifelike, and their finish boasts excellent attention to detail.
Single-Jointed Hard Swimbaits
In contrast, a single-jointed hard swimbait comprises just two body sections with a single hinge connecting the two. With some single-jointed hard swimbaits, the hinge gets installed in the middle body section, while with others, it’s nearer to the tail.
Single-jointed hard swimbaits are usually cheaper to buy than multi-jointed versions. The hooks used on both multi and single-jointed hard swimbaits are typically treble hooks (three-pointed hooks that look like upside-down umbrellas).
Lastly, glide baits are similar to single-jointed hard swimbaits, except they are elongated and result in a wider “S-shaped” swimming motion in the water. They are ideal for anglers looking to slow down their presentation.
Best Hard Swimbaits Setup
Whether you’re new to bass angling or are a seasoned angler, one thing’s for sure: you need to have the right tools for the job. The sad truth is that even some experienced bass anglers may not have the right fishing equipment.
There are three essential elements you need for a successful hard swimbait setup. They are as follows:
One of the most essential tools in your arsenal is rods. If you don’t have the right rods to suit each type of size of hard swimbait, you aren’t likely to get the best results when you’re seeking out some large bass.
Ideally, you should have at least three rods. The first should be for small hard swimbaits, while the other two should be for large and “giant” hard swimbaits respectively.
It also makes sense to have a selection of different reels available when you’re out trying to catch some bass. If you’re using a rod for small hard swimbait, a reel like the Shimano Calcutta TE 300 makes sense.
Otherwise, consider a reel like the excellent Shimano Cardiff 400A for larger hard swimbaits. As you undoubtedly know, there are many reels on the market, so it’s worth checking the reviews on applicable ones for your needs to make the right choice.
You need to consider the best lines to use for hard swimbaits. Some anglers prefer to use braid, whereas others opt for monofilament. In any case, you need to keep in mind one rule of thumb about lines for hard swimbait.
If the hard swimbait is 2oz. or bigger, use a line that’s 18lb or more. 2oz to 4oz hard swimbaits should get paired with a 20lb line, and a 4oz to 6oz hard swimbait works best with a 25lb line. Hard swimbaits over 6oz should use at least a 30lb line.
How to Fish Hard Swimbaits
By now, you have a clearer understanding of the different types of hard swimbaits available, along with the various items or accessories needed to catch bass wherever you go. But, if you’re new to bass fishing or inexperienced, how can you fish hard swimbaits?
One fact to keep in mind is that the action of hard swimbaits originates from the front of the lure. The action moves towards the back, resulting in a more horizontal swimming action in a body of water.
Hard swimbaits are very versatile. You can have a top, middle, and bottom countdown system, which articulates the hard swimbait left or right when you rip or jerk it. The following are some tips on how you can effectively fish hard swimbaits:
If you fish from a bank to a distance of around six feet, you should “slow roll” your hard swimbait. When the lure you use ends up near a tree or some other cover, simply let it drop slowly next to your target area.
Choose the Right Conditions
As you can imagine, some fishing conditions are better than others when it comes to catching big bass. Typically, hard swimbaits work well in clear to moderately-stained water; however, very murky water isn’t a good idea for achieving successful results.
Have the Right Combination
One final point to note is that you need to have the right combination of equipment to have a fruitful haul. The section earlier on the best hard swimbait setup will undoubtedly give you an idea of what to buy and use.
Make sure that you take all your equipment on each trip, so you can ensure you have the right kit at your disposal to create the right combination for the conditions.
When to Use Hard Swimbaits
One question that is probably on your mind is when should you be using hard swimbaits? Some anglers prefer to use them all the time to catch big bass, while others might only use them in specific cases, like when fishing on a clear body of water.
The truth is, each person has individual techniques when it comes to fishing bass. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, you can use hard swimbaits whenever you feel it is necessary to do so.
If you’re still unsure, here are some examples of when it can be a good idea for you to use hard swimbaits:
Your Existing Lures Offer Slim Pickings
Do you find that the lures you’ve always used in the past haven’t resulted in much success? If so, now’s the time to consider leveling the playing field with hard swimbaits.
You Only Want to Catch Big Bass
When you first start fishing for bass, you might get excited when you catch smaller examples. Soon, though, you’ll only want to bring home fish like the largemouth bass.
You Want to Lure Bass Easier
Hard swimbaits are perfect if you want to catch bass in certain conditions, like in shallow waters during colder months or when bass swim closer to the bottom during the summer.
You Don’t Want to Use Live Bait
Lastly, if you’re an angler that has always used live bait like wild-caught live shiners or shad to catch bass, you may prefer to stop and use an “almost real” solution instead.
Best Hard Swimbaits
Hard swimbaits offer so many benefits and advantages for catching bass, and with so many examples on the market, how do you know which ones offer the best value for money? Take a look at the following recommendations:
1. Spro BBZ1 Slow Sinking Swimbait
Arguably the best slow sinking hard swimbait on the market is the Spro BBZ1. It features protruding fins and realistically painted scales and sports a couple of treble hooks. The Spro BBZ1 weighs 8oz.
2. River2Sea S-Waver 168 Swimbait
If you’re looking for a single-jointed hard swimbait, the River2Sea S-Waver 168 is for you. Weighing less than 2oz, it’s lightweight and features a soft PVC tail for enhanced swimming action.
3. Bassdash Multi-Jointed Swimbait
Made from ABS plastic, the Bassdash multi-jointed swimbait has five joints for superior swimming action. It’s a tough product and can withstand any heavy-duty fishing, including in extreme weather conditions. It has two treble hooks and is 3.5-inches long.
4. Savage Gear 3D Rat Swimbait
Let’s face it: bass will eat just about anything they can. With that in mind, you could go for something a little different, like the Savage Gear 3D rat swimbait. It’s a single-jointed hard swimbait, and it’s made from plastic and boasts a foam-injected body.
5. Rose Kuli Multi-Jointed Bass Swimbait
Last but not least, the Rose Kuli is just over four inches long and looks highly realistic – even with the 3D eyes. It’s an ideal hard swimbait for peak bass fishing hours, such as early in the morning or on a summer evening.