Swimbaits: The Solution For Not-So-Good Shallow-Water Anglers

In the spring, given that bass are shallow, anglers are often presented with two choices of approach. You can either get in close and fish to bass you see, or keep your distance and do your best to accurately land a bait exactly where you think a fish should be. The most important factor in this decision is water clarity, but overall it boils down to which ability is stronger: seeing into the water or hitting the sweet spot with a long cast. Spring fishing aces can do both well, but if you can’t, fret not. There’s a happy medium.


Anglers in shallow water have a bad habit—one that I’m guilty of, as well—of overlooking the obvious in favor of more difficult tasks. As an example, those that excel at sight fishing are used to flippin’ soft plastics and gently delivering them to precise spots. That’s great for the guy that can pick out fish, but if he can’t flip well, he’s not going to have a great day. The strong casters that choose to stay far away and deliver blindly from a distance, on the other hand, are not really being as efficient as they could be hitting targets then reeling the lure quickly all the way back to the boat. Then about ten years ago, I started noticing something, and if you followed the more recent major tournaments, you might have noticed it too; guys who were not known for their shallow water ability started winning. How? With swimbaits. Speaking broadly, any swimbait measuring more than 4 inches that is made to be simply cast and reeled in can make life easier for the not-so-good spring fisherman, and more importantly, they could make life even simpler for the good spring fishermen if they choose to forgo the precise delivery stuff.

I’ve found that a swimbait has an exceptional amount of “calling power” with each cast regardless of how loud, sloppy, untamed, or inaccurate that cast may be. Bass see it and just have to investigate. They may not eat it every time, but I’ve seen it make heroes out of fishermen that truly weren’t good in clear shallows. And I must admit, at first I resented the swimbait’s simplicity. After all, I spent years trying to perfect spring shallow techniques. But over time, the swimbait turned many frustrating days into fun-filled slugfests where I didn’t need to see anything in the water, or cast within 5 feet of a target. Don’t overthink it. Just pick one up and start throwing.