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Swimbait Basics - Top 10 List 


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Swim Baits...what started off sounding like “western bass fishing hype” has proven to be one of the hottest big bass techniques for several years now! In the early days, many viewed Swim Bait fishing as a few “Oversized” baits being fished by a few die-hard big bass hunters in the west. Swim Baits are now main stream and they have turned into one of the most productive lure categories across the nation and around the world! Put simply, swim baits have become one of the most productive techniques anywhere in the world...period! The goal of this “Outdoor List” is to bring you solid basics to get you started in understanding the world of Swimbaits. While there are too many baits to list all that's available, I wanted to bring you a comprehensive list to get you started in your Swim Bait fishing. To complete this list I went to one of the most respected and knowledgeable people on this subject, Matt Paino. Matt is the president of Optimum Bait Company. Matt has been in the swim bait business for many years. With Matt’s help, here is our list of basics for understanding and choosing the right swim baits for your needs.

Here is our top 10 list for Swim Bait Basics (in no particular order).



1)  9” Thumper Tail

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9” Thumper Tail

Length: 9′′ Weight: 5.2oz

Style: Soft Plastic, Swimming Boot Tail, sinking swimbait

Rigging: -Pre-rigged with VMC Size 1 top treble hook crimped with fishing wire

Water Type: All water temperature, water clarity and depths of 4-16 feet

Method -Moderate to fast retrieve on a 7’6-8’ Heavy/XH Swimbait Rod with a 6.5:1 reel loaded with 20-25lb fluorocarbon

Colors: 10 Colors


2)  6”Boom Boom - Weedless: 1.4oz, Rigged: 1.8oz 

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6”Boom Boom - Weedless: 1.4oz, Rigged: 1.8oz

Style: 2 Variations - Soft Plastic, Panicked boot tail swimbait

Length:  Weedless Length 6" Weight 1.4oz, Rigged: Length 6" 1.8oz,

Rigging: -Pre-rigged with bottom treble hook. Also available in weedless which requires wide gap screw lock weighted swimbait hook 8/0 or larger

Water Type: Best in Clear to stained

Method: The Fred Roumbanis’ Boom Boom swimbait is designed to fish with a slow retrieve speed. It features a quivering head action, tight body roll and thumping tail kick. This panic action entices lurking fish into committing to strike the bait. Hold the rod up to keep it shallow, or down to reach deeper depths.

Line/Equipment: 10-20lb Flouro; Use 50-70lb braid for weedless type Rod: 7ft - 7/11 Med Heavy Action Reel: 6.5:1 Gear ratio or slower

Colors: Weedless has 15 offerings: Rigged has 12 Colors 



3)  5” Original Optimum

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5” Original Optimum

Style -Soft, swimming boottail, sinking swimbait

Rigging -Bait is rigged with a single top-hook

Water Type/Method: low 60’s-low 70’s, Clearer water and depth range from 5-40 ft Retrieve -Slow to medium retrieve Rod:-7’-8’ Medium Heavy rod Reel: 6.5:1 reel Line: 14lb Flurobarbon

Colors: 8 Natural Baitfish patterns


4)  6” Line-Thru

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6” Line-Thru

Style -Soft, swimming boottail, slow sinking swimbait

Rigging: Bait is rigged with a bottom treble hook that pulls free.

Water Type/Method: low 60’s-low 70’s, Clearer water and depth range from 5-20 ft Retrieve -Slow to medium retrieve Rod:-7’-8’ Medium Heavy rod Reel: 6.5:1 reel Line: 14lb Flurobarbon

Colors: 21 offerings


5)  4” Double Diamond

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4” Double Diamond

Style: Soft, swimming, Unrigged sinking swimbait

Rigging: The Swimmer`s body features a slot so it can be fished weedless with a weighted (or not) offset hook, or it can be rigged with an open hook bullet/type jighead when fishing open water. Perfect for Swimjig and Chatter Bait Trailer!!

Water Type/Method:  All water temperature, water clarity and depth Retrieve -Moderate to fast retrieve Rod -7’ MH rod with 6.5:1 reel loaded with 14-20lb fluorocarbon

Colors:  Available in 10 colors


6)  6” Opti Shad

opti shad clear small

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6” Opti Shad

Style:  Soft, swimming, Unrigged sinking swimbait

Colors: 18color options

Rigging/Methods:  Can be fished with a variety of techniques, including, weightless, Texas rigged, darter head, scrounger head, chatterbait trailer, A Rig -All water temperature, water clarity and depth -Ultra slow to fast retrieve -7’ MH rod, 6.5:1 reel loaded with 14-20lb fluorocarbon


7)  AA Worms 5” Bad Bubba Shad

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AA Worms 5” Bad Bubba Shad

Style:  Soft, swimming, Unrigged swimbait

Rigging:  1/2oz to 3/4oz swimbait head with 6/0 Hook Size Type of water

Water Type:  All water temperatures, water clarity and depth

Methods:  Retrieve -Slow to fast retrieve Rod: -7’- 8’ Medium Heavy, 6.5:1 reel loaded with 14-20lb fluorocarbon

Color: 51 Color Options



8)  Deps Bullshooter 160 (Sinking and Floating)

bull shooter rack small     bull shooter clear small

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Deps Bullshooter 160 (Sinking and Floating)

Style:  Hard, gliding sinking/floating swimbait

Size: 6.4inches – 3.5oz

Colors: Sinking: #01 Real Blue Gill, #02 Flash Baby Gill, #03 Pumpkin Seed, #09 Metallic Gill #10 Tropical Glitter Gill, #11 Spawning Gill, #12 Natural Ghost GillFloating: #01 Real Blue Gill, #11 Spawning Gill, #13 King Buna, #14 X Ray, #15 Scum Perch

Rigging:  Pre-rigged with bottom trebles

Water Type:  Warmer water, all clarity and various depths

Retrieve Speed:  Slow to moderate retrieve

Rods: -7’6-8’ Heavy swimbait rod

Reels:  6.5:1 reel loaded with 20lb mono (floating), 20lb fluorocarbon (sinking)



9)  Deps Slide Swimmer 175 & 250

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Slide Swimmer 175

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Slide Swimmer 250

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Deps Slide Swimmer 175 & 250

Sizes: 175 – ( 7.5inches 2.8oz ) – 250 (10inches 6.2oz)

Style: Glide Bait, Hard ABS plastic Body with Silicon Skin Rigging

Prerigged with bottom trembles

Water Type: Clear to stained

Method: Slow to Medium steady retrieve speeds produces gliding action from 1.5 feet to 3 feet wide.

Recommended Rod: 8 Ft Heavy Recommended

Reel: 6.5:1 Line: 14-17lb Fluro for 175 size. 20lb Fluro for 250 size


10)  Madness Japan – BALAM 300

balam clear small     balam package small

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Madness Japan – BALAM 300

Size: 12inches, 6.5ounces

Style: Sinking 4 jointed Swimbait with soft silicon Tail

Colors: Trout and Shad

Method: Action is very tight between joints. Produces a head body roll while tail kicks back and forth. It can be fished with multiple retrieve speeds. Creates reaction strikes when burned.

Water Type: Clearer warmer water.

Rod: Extra Heavy: 7-8ft Line: 25lb Flurocarbon

Reel: 6.5:1




You have probably realized by now, that there are many options when it comes to choosing swim baits.  So, in additon to Matt Paino's top ten list, we are providing a list of other swim baits that may intertest you.   



 Tackle Warehouse



Optimum Baits



Outdoor Lists are a production of American Bass and authored/compiled by Craig Sutherland. American Bass has been the #1 bass fishing organization in the western U.S. since 1983. Craig Sutherland is the President of American Bass and has been the editor of American Bass Magazine and American Bass Fishing News, Co-Host of American Bass TV & Radio and many more activities in bass fishing. Outdoor Lists is a fun and informative collection of interests for everyone that enjoys bass fishing and the outdoors.  If you would like to see a topic featured in Outdoor Lists, please send us an email with your suggestion.  [email protected]