Although swimbaits have been around for nearly 40 years, it’s fair to say that their popularity has reached an all-time high. The trend should come as no surprise: Americans obsess over catching huge largemouths, and the anglers dedicated enough to cast and retrieve giant swimbaits all day are often rewarded with monster fish. Because owning some of these baits is as rewarding as catching a fish on them, competition to have the most impressive swimbait arsenal has driven the price of some of these baits through the roof. Though you certainly don’t have to break the bank to buy a productive swimbait, here are 15 with price tags that might shock you more than would a 15-pound bass eating one. And, sure, there are some garage swimbait makers out there with products that costs more than some of the swimbaits on this list, but these are the lures that you don’t have to know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy to get ahold of.
Roman Made Mother Triple
This work of art is a three-segment incarnation of the legendary Roman Made Mother. The Mother Triple lacks none of the original’s craftsmanship, but its jointed construction gives it a fleeing action, with more movement than a traditional two-segment glider. As with all Roman Made baits, the Mother Triple is handmade in Japan, by Toshinori Takeyama. It weighs just shy of 10 ounces and measures 12 inches long, so make sure you have a rod that can handle it. The Mother Triple is available in nine intricate, hand-painted color patterns.
Roman Made Mother
On July 1, 2009, very few American bass anglers had heard of Lake Biwa, Manabu Kurita, or Roman Made. That obviously changed the next day when Kurita tied George Perry’s long-standing world record by landing a 22-pound 5-ounce largemouth bass. Kurita started getting a ton of press, and, though he hadn’t caught the lunker on a Mother, he made no bones about the bait he used regularly to catch behemoth bass. Kurita would later lose a fish on the bait that he estimated would have bested the current world record.
Deps Slide Swimmer 250
The Slide Swimmer has been a huge hit among bass anglers for Deps. The bait comes in two different sizes, and you’ll have to open your wallet a bit wider for the big one. The Slide Swimmer 250 is a magnum-size swimbait with incredible detail, thanks to its 3D eyes and scale and gill patterns that look truly lifelike. The 10-inch, 6½-ounce Slide Swimmer 250 sinks slowly and is engineered to move silently through the water. Its detail and motion are practically flawless.
Another marvel of Japanese bait-making, the Kotetsu is a standout swimbait. The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of treble hooks. Not only does the back- and tail-hook design keep the Kotetsu free of weeds and snags, but it also prevents swinging trebles from damaging the bait. The Kotetsu is made from a chemical wood that has a consistent density. The material also produces a splashing sound and pushes water in a way that mimics real bait. It’s one of the smaller swimbaits on this list, measuring a mere 6 inches and weighing only 1 ounce.
Roman Made South
The South is the third high-end swimbait available in the U.S. from Roman Made. It takes its name from a southern region of Lake Biwa in Japan, where the forage is primarily bluegill sunfish. At 4½ inches and weighing just over 2 ounces, the South is significantly smaller than the Mother and Mother Triple. Its jointed construction helps it replicate the popping noise bluebills make on the surface, drawing bass up from below and eliciting violent topwater strikes. The South is a floating bait and is intended to be waked over weeds and other shallow structure.
ABT Lures Xtreme Wrap Suicide Glide
If you’re not familiar with ABT Lures yet, it’s time to get friendly. Allen Borden, owner and custom-lure maker of ABT, built the company from the ground up, and they’re now a force to reckon with in the swimbait world. ABT currently offers 20 custom made-to-order lures, all of which fetch top dollar. But the Xtreme Wrap lures are the most valued. The Xtreme Wrap Suicide Glide is the priciest, and for good reason. The ample 9-inch, 4½-ounce bait is available in six of the most lifelike patterns you’ll ever see.
ABT Lures XTreme Wrap Hitch
ABT’s Xtreme Wrap Clear Lake Hitch is an inch smaller, a ½ ounce lighter, and a few dollars cheaper than the Suicide Glide. But like all ABT Lures, the Clear Lake Hitch is custom-made using molding technology developed. Once poured, the resin hardens into a body that is incredibly solid and durable. Though the bait still costs over a bill, you’ll get more miles out of the Clear Lake Hitch than you would traditional wooden baits, given the resin construction of ABT lures.
JSJ Baits Siren Slide
The Siren Slide is the flagship creation of master craftsman Josh St. John. The meaty 9-inch, 4½-ounce lure is incredibly realistic and a juicy target for oversized bass. It’s a slow-sinking glide bait that swims with a wide “S”-pattern, and its 3D eyes, gill plates, fins, and textured scale pattern make it really come alive. It’s finished with heavy-duty split rings and premium Owner Stinger Trebles.
Deps Bullshooter 160
The Bullshooter 160 is the second bait from Deps to make the list. It has the profile of a bluegill and is available in six ultra-realistic patterns that match various sunfish species. The single-jointed lure sinks slowly in the water column with smooth-gliding action that mimics the real forage to a T. Like Deps’s Slide Swimmer, the Bullshooter 160 has 3D eyes, a natural finish, and rubber fins. It measures 6½ inches and weighs 3¾ ounces.
Megabass I-Slide 262T
Another tackle giant based in Japan, Megabass has become a household name among U.S. bass anglers thanks to its scores of quality lures, but the I-Slide 262T remains the flagship swimbait. This oversized glider was born from the mind of master lure maker Yuki Ito, who designed the bait knowing that it would need to withstand smash after smash from double-digit bass. As such, the I-Slide 262T is durable and tough. And it’s also near the top of the list in regards to size, measuring just more 10 inches long and weighing 6 ounces.
Imakatsu SG+ Big Roid 210
Imakatsu is another Japanese company with multiple baits on this list, of which the SG+ Big Roid is their biggest and most expensive. At a healthy 8¼ inches and 3½ ounces, the lure is the right size for lunker bass. The bait’s price reflects its construction; it has a detailed scaling pattern, durable jointing, and 3D eyes. The tail on the SG+ Big Roid is replaceable, so you won’t have to worry about buying a new lure after a few heavy hits.
PH Custom Lures Wesley’s W Glide
At 7-inches and 2¾-ounces, the Wesley’s W Glide has both size and swagger. It is made from a specially formulated resin that mimics the buoyancy of wood. As a result, the Wesley’s W has a slow, purposeful sink rate of 1-foot every two seconds. Combined with a double-hinged construction, the swimbait has a natural sweeping action than can be changed by varying the retrieve speed. Each Wesley’s W is handcrafted, detailed with precision, and finely tuned.
This is bait comes from one of the smaller operations on this list, but Mike Shaw’s Slammer is no less impressive. All Slammers are hand-crafted by Shaw himself. And at 14 inches, this is the longest bait on our list, so it has all the size that a goliath looks for in meal. Shaw crafts his baits to handle abuse from not just bass, but also musky, pike, and lake trout. Its sturdy construction and quality components can certainly handle serious punishment.
Imakatsu SG+ Bass Roid
The fact of the matter is that big bass like to dine on, well, smaller bass. Appealing to this cannibalistic nature, Imakatsu created the SG+ Bass Roid, which has an identical swimming action to that of a baby largemouth. This floating glider measures 6 inches and weighs just over 3 ounces. The Bass Roid is finished with 3D technology and is available in patterns that mimic both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Imakatsu Gill Roid
The third and final bluegill imitation on our list, and another high-end Japanese import, the Gill Roidand is one of the more stunning sunfish patterns you’ll ever see. Like the Bass Roid, the Gill Roid is a floating bait that can be adjusted to reach almost any depth by adding lead or tungsten strips. It also comes with two interchangeable tails that switch the swimbait from a gliding motion to thumping action. The Gill Roid is between 5 and 6 inches, depending on the tail, and weighs 2.6 ounces.