How to fish large swim baits

Large swim baits are all the rage now and they catch monster sized bass. Knowing how to fish them properly can produce trophy size bass.

Large swim baits, like the 12 inch Huddleston pictured above, are very popular in the western and southern United States. In those warmer climates, bass have a longer growing season and can grow to enormous sizes.

For most of the country even 8-9 inch swim baits are considered quite large. They don’t have to be 10-12 inches to be considered large. Learning how to fish these properly will land you very big fish. The most frustrating part about using large baits, is not getting bit. You need to fish them properly.

There are three basic ways to fish oversized swim baits.

Slow Drag
This will be your most common retrieval technique. You cast it out as far as you can. Let it hit bottom. And very slowly crawl it back to you. And we mean, very slowly. Slower than you can imagine. Big bass like big meals that are easy to access. Especially, if it is a lazy time of year. They see this large fish just slowly wandering around their territory, and they don’t like it. So they will eat it. Plus, it’s an easy large meal.

Burn It
This will be your second most used technique. Cast it out as far as you cam. Let it hit bottom. Burn it back to you as fast as you can. Like a spinner bait,. If bass are aggressive and hungry, they will chase this down and eat it. A lot of times they just want this annoying big fish out of their territory.

Burn and Pause
If the above two methods don’t get bites. Use a burn, pause, burn retrieve pattern. Cast it out as far as you can. Start crawling it back. Then burn it. Then pause it. Then burn again. It’s on this second burn that it will get hit. This pattern just triggers an uncontrollable strike behavior in fish. They have been following this thing and see it take off again and just don’t want it to get away. You will catch very large bass on this pattern, but you might not get bit very often. We’ve had this pattern work with even smaller 8 inch swim baits and even swim jigs.

Detecting Bites
This is the trickiest part of catching big bass on big swim baits. You are not going to feel a huge thump and have your line start running away from you. You will barely feel anything. Just a very subtle change in how the line feels or the pole feels in your hand. They just inhale it and leave it in their mouths for a bit. They don’t take off running with it. They don’t explode on it. It’s very subtle. Almost like a little pluck of the line. It’s very important to use braid and a sensitive, medium heavy rod.

You don’t need 9 foot stiff rods to thrown these. We’ve been using medium heavy 7 foot rods. The bait is heavy. The bait will do all the work. Just get the inertia of a cast started, the weight of the bait will carry it. We use 20-30 pound braid for these. You really don’t need the 60-80 braid that people were using on these baits previously. Twenty to thirty pound braid is all you need.

Have fun with these baits. When you catch your personal best, you will be thankful that you read this article.

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Editor in Chief

Over 40 years of fishing experience! Began as a young boy at age 10, and slowly grew deeper and deeper into this hobby! Have been a writer and technology reviewer since 1990.