February 14, 2011 by Justin Lucas
A swimbait is hard to beat as a search bait in the spring, especially when you're fishing a lake you haven't fished before, or you're just not sure where the bass are in a big cove or pocket. I especially like to use swimbaits in practice, when I'm more interested in finding bass than catching them. Cast it out and wind it back in; that's all there is to it. I can cover a lot of water quickly and efficiently. Even if the bass won't hit a swimbait, a lot of times they'll make a run at it or follow it back to the boat - unless a cold front has just passed through the area. I like to use a 4- or 5-inch Berkley Hollow Belly on a 4/0 or 5/0 Owner hook and weighted with a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce sinker or jighead. If the aquatic vegetation is fairly thick, I'll rig it with the Owner; otherwise, I'll fish it on an open-hook jighead. When I'm trying to catch fish, if a bass swirls at a swimbait but doesn't take it, I'll switch to a drop-shot rig or something slower. Whether I want to catch fish or just find fish, swimbaits are my pick. Not only will they find productive water for you, but they'll help you eliminate water, which is very important when you're trying to narrow your options. -- National Guard pro Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala.