Go with Gliding Swimbaits

Lews Fishing
Power Pole
Strike King
Bucks Falcon Mercury
Bucks Skeeter Yamaha

by Bill O’Shinn

Bill O'Shinn with an SWaver Fish

Bill O’Shinn with an SWaver Fish

One of the newest crazes in bass fishing is the glide swimbait. Otherwise known as an S-Waver or a jointed swimbait, the glide bait is a hard swimbait with two sections. This type of construction creates a, wide zig-zag style of style swimming action, known as “S Action.”  This differs from the tighter slithering action of a three jointed swimbait.  This seductive action can call fish from the deepest of depths alluring them to investigate and kill.  Companies like River2Sea, GanCraft and Deps make them, but River2Sea is the company that made the category popular here in the U.S.

Ranging from four inches to as much as a foot long these baits can catch some of the biggest fish that swim in your body of water.

First off let’s start with the gear. Because these baits vary so much in size the best way to look at your rod selection would be situational.  I personally like to use a lighter action rod than say I would for the same size rubber swimbait.  These baits are big and have treble hooks, with only one joint they are easily thrown during the fight if you are using too heavy of a rod. The second reason is that too heavy of rod tip will affect the action of the bait not allowing it to swim naturally.

For the most common sized glide baits; which are generally six to seven inches long, I like an IROD Swim bait JR 783 for throwing at a target or making shorter casts.  If I’m on points or open water and want to make as long of cast as possible I will go with a 7’10 3 power rod to get the maximum distance. For the bigger glide baits I use the IROD 794.

Gear ratio is very important on these baits, they are designed to be thrown on a 6.4:1 ratio; any slower or faster and you are not getting the proper action. Line is also situational, the lighter you go the deeper your bait will run and give you better action. I like 12 to 15-pound-test  fluorocarbon on smaller baits; but, for the bigger baits 20 or even 25-pound  fluorocarbon is a must.

A Nice Spotted Bass Caught on the SWaver

A Nice Spotted Bass Caught on the SWaver

Lighter line also increases your ROF, (rate of fall) so be sure that you are counting down your particular bait and line pairing to fish the desired depth range. When fishing shallow over grass I like 15 or 20-pound-test monofilament because it helps keep the bait a little higher in the water.

Weather while fishing glide baits is very important and can be the ultimate deciding factor between seeing a bunch of  followers, and getting those big ones to commit. Wind is your friend, however big waves are the enemy.

Waves that are too high will create an unnatural bow in your line and diminish the action of the lure as well as move your bait off target.  In this instance one thing to try is to drop your rod tip as far down in the water as you can than click free spool while bring your rod tip above the water. This will put more of your line under the surface of the waves and diminish the affect on your bait.

Optimal wind for these baits is five to 10 miles per hour. Overcast and rain are great, just change to a more contrasting color.  On Shallow grassy lakes I like to go with a darker color and on clear deep lakes, I choose something lighter and brighter.

Water clarity will also factor in my color selection.  If the water has less than three feet of clarity I would opt for a different presentation. Those high pressure bluebird days can be the toughest conditions for these as well as many baits. In clear water, or tough conditions, make as long of cast as possible and use ambush points or docks. I like to set on the sunny side of a point and envision the back side where it creates and shade line and cast through that shade line, and target my presentations there.

On these “Blue Bird” days you will get a lot of fish that will follow the bait all the way to the boat like the pied piper calling in his mice.  However, no matter the amount of twitching and tempting those wary big girls just won’t eat it.  Here are a couple things that work for me. Peg a 1/4 to 1/2-ounce bullet weight about 18 inches in front of the bait.  When you see those dark shadows following your bait simply stop reeling. The weight will make that bait swim downward toward the depths and give the appearance of getting away. A lot of times this is enough to induce the strike.

Bill O'Shinn with a Big Glide Bait Fish

Bill O’Shinn with a Big Glide Bait Fish

The second option I’ve found is to simply give two or three medium to quick cranks of the reel, not twitching it or using your rod tip to affect the action; but, just speeding  it up a little. Twitching or trying to about face the bait too much will simply spook the fish never to be seen again. Another option would be to try a different size bait.

Occasionally, nothing will work and you will frustrate yourself seeing fish after fish swim up behind your glide bait to do nothing more than kiss good bye as you pull it from the depths toward your boat. If this is the case, change it up.  Mark a way point and come back in an hour or if the conditions change.

When you come back, you know the fish are there, try something different like a jig or a soft plastic you’ll often find that those big girls are still laying down there and may be much more willing to eat something a little less intimidating.  I use this method a lot while practicing for tournaments. I can run fifty points in half a day and not only know which ones are holding fish which you could do with your electronics but I also know how big they are.

There are seasonal adjustments for these baits.  Winter is a great time of year for the biggest baits in your box. Those big fish want a big, slow, easy meal.  This is when I use my 8-12 inch glide baits like a Deps Slide Swimmer.  I also like a more natural color this time of year.  Rate of Fall and timing are key this time of year, typically the fish will be feeding near there deep winter haunts. They will lie deep in holes moving up to feed once a day.

I look for the first break or structure off of deep water and fish them in the warmest part of the day when the fish will be most active.  Early prespawn is the best time of year for big  glide baits just in that transition where the fish are starting to roam and really want that big slow meal.

Then, on into spring you can use the bigger or smaller faster presentations in the flats and creek mouths. Brighter colors are good now and get reaction strikes.  This is where I go with the River2Sea SWaver in six-inch size, or the eight-inch GanCraft Claw; but River2Sea has just come out with the new eight-inch SWaver, so I’ll be choosing that one as well.

Bill's Weapons Top to Bottom River2Sea SWaver GanCraft Claw Deps Slide Swimmer

Bill’s Weapons (Top to Bottom) River2Sea SWaver, GanCraft Claw and Deps Slide Swimmer

Summer can be a tough time of year for these baits as they typically have exposed hooks and grass can foul your action to the point where you are spending more time clearing your bait then actually fishing.  Although, They can still be effective on the deep reservoirs where rocks and hard bottom prevail.

I like the smaller presentation in summer because they tend to foul less in vegetation. Fish will travel further this time of year to eat so use a brighter or darker color depending on the natural light.

In the fall look for schooling fish. This is when I use the smallest of my glide baits as the fish are typically keyed on smaller baitfish this time of year. When I am fishing on the fall I always have one rigged if I see a wolf pack or cruiser I will cast past it or them and bring the bait right to their face.

These baits take time and dedication to learn and fish. These are big fish baits, not baits that you will pick up and throw a few times and master.

I hope that the techniques and tips that I have illustrated will help all with this very formidable weapon for any serious anglers’ arsenal. Good Luck