How Bass Fishing Swimbaits Work

By: Sam Tyler

Techniques for Bass Fishing Swimbaits

­The basic technique for using swimbaits is to cast you line as long­ as possible and reel it in as slowly as possible to create more lifelike movements. It's also important to use a large diameter line, since thinner lines tend to sink too quickly. Some bass fishers have found it necessary to adjust the tail size on some of their swimbaits in order to get the tail to more closely match the motion of a live fish.

The most important technique for swimbaits is the retrieve, and there are different methods for different situations:


  • The key to the stop-and-go retrieve is to pause as you reel to let the bait sink slightly, thus imitating the motions of an injured fish.
  • The twitch retrieve is used with jerkbait lures. Twitching the line on the retrieve causes the bait to move from side to side and show more profile.
  • For top fishing, the drift retrieve can be quite effective. Once you cast your line, let your bait flow with the current.
  • A suspended retrieve isn't really a retrieve at all, since it entails letting the swimbait float just above the weeds to lure the bass out of hiding.
  • Deadsticking is usually done when fishing for black bass and involves letting your bait drop to the bottom where an unsuspected bass will hopefully suck it up. Deadstick has the added advantage allowing you to perform other retrieves while you let your bait sit.

Now that you're well versed in the different techniques for bass fishing swimbaits, you're ready to roll. Don't forget your tackle box!

Relate­d HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Branch, Tom, Jr. " Swimbaits work in the South!" 2008. (Accessed 11/01/08)
  • Bolton, Mike. " Wise bass fall for swimbaits." The Birmingham News. 09/07/08. (Accessed 11/02/08)
  • Duke, Ken. "Stick It To 'Em With Swimbaits." 01/11/2008. (Accessed 11/01/08)
  • Haut, Greg. "Catching Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie and Muskie with Greg Haut." (Accessed 10/29/08)
  • Reddington, Tom. " Bass Fishing Report #145409 for Lake Fork, Texas." 06/14/08. (Accessed 11/04/08)
  • Russbassdozer "The Swimbait - How to Fish with Bass Fishing Lures." eBay Guides. 09/15/07. (Accessed 11/03/08)
  • Schaefer, Bill. "Saltwater Big Bass Hunters Welcome Spring too!" (Accessed 11/02/08)
  • SgtMike. "Fall Fishing With Swimbaits."
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  • "Swimbaits--The Basics." (Accessed 11/01/08)
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