Fall Swimbait Fishing

Sun, Nov 14, 2010

Basic Swimbaits, Topics

November Swimbait Fish Since filming the post, “Which swimbait should you choose” I’ve had quite a few questions come in about how to fish the baits as the water cools. Throwing a swimbait in late fall and into winter is very different from the rest of the year. Its no longer about trying to attract big fish from a long distance or about getting them to react to the bait. Instead, your goal is to present a big, slow meal and do it in a way that appears very easy to eat. I’ll likely follow this post up with another that shows a simple modification that will allow your baits to kick at slower speeds so that you can more easily target cold water fish.
All of the questions about how to catch these fish inspired me to actually get out from behind the computer screen and head to the lake. Luckily the fish were right where I expected them to be and I was rewarded with a gorgeous Northern California bass. She weighed in at 8.85 lbs and as the video shows, was caught creeping a swimbait along the bottom in 30-35 feet of water. If you watch closely you see me bump into a rock and then she crushes the bait!
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For those of you that live outside of California, this is for you. As you can see, the fish is caught on a trout pattern swimbait that is approximately 8 inches in length. This particular body of water has absolutely no trout in it. The color of the bait has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it gets bit. As long as you are presenting a slow-moving meal, bass across the country will readily engulf it regardless of whether they know what a trout looks like or not.

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22 Responses to “Fall Swimbait Fishing”

  1. Christopher Burgert Says:

    Matt great video. Makes me wish I could fish in Cali.

  2. Matt Says:

    The braid is definitely the way to go. You’ll be able to work the bait with a lot less effort. That said, be sure to include a leader to absorb shock or you’ll bend the hooks on fish every time.

  3. Travis @ DVL Says:


    I have a 9″ Lunker Punker and cant decide if the 25# Mono or 65# Power Pro braid is better. I fish gin clear water in southern California for large 10-20lb Stripers. Which line? Thanks!

  4. FishFearMe Says:

    Anyone ever fish the rof 5 over deep water ? If your not, your missin out. Especially in crystal clear waters…..Single trap hook Butch Brown’s style but w/ 100lb powerpro braid & I use the vmc hooks he uses. I put it just a lil further back is all. I like to longline it over rockpiles while drifting w/ all the electronics off. I use 20lb sunline fc to get it down & the T motor to control speed/depth..

  5. Matt Says:

    Thanks guys!
    Ali, Thank you for the correction! You’re so right. It is the 807 Mag HSB. Its the heaviest swimbait stick Dobyns makes. And yes, I was cranking the handle. Nice and slow, right on the bottom. If you watch you see the bait bounce off a piece of cover just before she engulfs it.

  6. Steve Adams Says:

    Hey Matt, Great video! While I watched, Patience by Guns N’ Roses was playing in the background. I thought what a perfect match of music with the video,.. Only to realize it was not the video audio, but just Pandora in the background on my computer. Anyways, still a great match! Nicely done stylized video, sunset, calm water, etc…. Nice!

  7. Ali Says:

    Hey Matt,
    Awesome video. Where you even cranking when the fish hit, it is hard to tell. So in 35′ of water you are waiting for about 30 seconds (ROF12) for the bait to get down?

    BTW – I believe you like the Dobyns 807 MAG HST. That SBMT is for Punkers.


  8. Matt Says:

    The reel is the Calcutta 400B spooled with braided line. The TE’s are sweet reels but are just a little more than I need.

  9. Ed Says:

    Matt your useing the Shimano Calcutta B Series 200 when you landed this fish? Braided line?
    Almost pulled the trigger on the TE 400, but thought it was to beefy

  10. DanielR Says:

    You read my mind, I have the Cardiff 301 on my list. Until I fish the technique, I would rather not buy the Calcutta due to the price. Thanks for your input.

  11. Matt Says:

    It really depends on your budget. If you can afford it, I would immediately jump into a Shimano Calcutta B Series. If you just don’t have the funds for that, step down to the Shimano Cardiff A series. I do believe that the slower gear ratio and overall strength of the round reels is very important. Here is a link to them on tacklewarehouse: http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Shimano_Reels_Casting/catpage-RLCSHIMANO.html?from=tbassin

  12. DanielR Says:

    Matt, Great video. Love the contrast with the sunset in the background. I’ve been meaning to ask Tactical Bassin one thing; what reel do you guys recommend a beginner start using when getting into swimbaits?

    I have a rod picked out, but am going back and forth between several reels. Just need a good recommendation.

  13. Matt Says:

    I do everything I can to avoid using stinger hooks of any kind. If I do have to use one I’m very specific about how I place it on the bait to minimize damage to fish. I agree with you that stingers cause the baits to be much more “snaggy” around cover, but even more important to me is that those stinger hooks often get caught in the gills of big bass and do permanent damage.

  14. Matt Says:

    That rod is a Dobyns 807 SBMT. Its an 8 foot, extra-heavy, moderate-fast action rod. Its got tons of power to set the hook over long distances but still has plenty of give to keep the hook in place. I LOVE it for any swimbait that has a single jig hook on top.
    Depth is completely variable. The specific location I was fishing had fish stacked off the end of the point in 30-35 feet so that is where I was fishing. Depending on the lake fish can be found from 2 to 60+ feet of water right now and are actively feeding at all depths.

  15. Crump Says:

    Nice toad Matt. I agree with the single, factory jig hook only. I’m a pretty stingy person when it comes to buying SB’s but every now and then I’ll treat my self to a Hudd.The only time I ever seemed to lose them was when using a stinger around submerged wood at one of my favorite resevoirs. Far easier to fish without getting hung up, on a jig hook, working the bottom structure, especially for those who prefer to fish SB’s like jigs this time of year.

  16. Ed Says:

    Nice fish Matt!

    Whats the rod specs on that rod your useing in the video?
    Noticed you set the hook pretty fast on that fish.
    Is it pretty much of the norm fishin at 30-35′in the fall there or do you prefer deeper water in the fall?
    And you mentioned you bumped a rock before that fish bite?

    Love the site too incase i didn’t mention it before Matt

  17. GRAIG Says:

    good stuff thanks Matt

  18. Matt Says:

    Thanks Graig! In the past I really didn’t rely that much on electronics. Over time I’ve developed a handful of spots on each lake that I consider “high percentage” locations and I would fish them with confidence. As the days and years tick by I’m starting to get a little more lazy. These days I rely pretty heavily on my electronics to tell me there are big fish in the area. If I see them, I let the location settle for a few minutes then come back and fish. I’d seen several big fish on the graph about 20 minutes before we started fishing in the video.

  19. GRAIG Says:

    Great fish Matt congrats!!!!
    Matt curious as to when u r fishing in deep water like that how much do you rely on your electronics…. do u actually graph these big fish and then target them??? Thanks Matt

  20. Matt Says:

    Thanks Lance! 99% of the time I fish the 8″ huddleston with just the stock jig hook. I see absolutely no reason to add a stinger hook. Anything over 3 lbs will swallow the bait whole if they’re hungry enough.
    That particular bait was the ROF 12. I like how the ROF 12 moves through the water so even when its deep I just wait a little longer for it to get down there.

  21. Lance Krueger Says:

    Did you catch her on the top hook? Was that the only hook on that bait? No trap hook for you, huh? It’s kinda hard to tell in the video, but by the way you easily unhooked her, it must have been just a top jig hook.
    What ROF was that Hudd? I take it the ROF-16 if you were fishing at 30-35 feet, right?

  22. Lance Krueger Says:

    Man, that makes me want to get out there and do some more swimbait fishing!!! That was SWEET!! Nice, big bass!!!! Congratulations on sticking a pig!!

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