BassWestUSA - Spring, 2013, Page 84

anybody’s go-to bait, sometimes you just have to switch it up. I don’t like putting the swimbait down, but sometimes you just can’t force them to eat it,” explained Bailey. Come tournament day, he is 100% committed to the swimbaits he was successful with in practice, devoting 8 rod/ reel combos with subtle variations in the working swimbaits. In team tournaments, he and his partner usually throw baits that vary in some fashion. Unless they are zoned in on the exact bait and both catching fish, they do their best to cover all the angles to catch their best limit. For example, one might be slow rolling a swimbait along the bottom while the other is swimming a bait up near the surface. They both could be using the same swimbait, just different colors. Paul uses the iRod Large Swim for seven-inch plus baits and switches to an iRod 754 or Swim Jr rod for baits six inches and smaller. With so many different swimbaits on the market today, it often gets overwhelming. Paul simplifies it for us; again, it depends on what the bass want, but he offered some things to help narrow down the selection. He uses the softest possible plastic swimbaits for slow rolling the bottom, relying on the erratic action of the tail. The slower he can turn the handle while still maintaining a fast tail action, the better! Paul claims wooden swimbaits undoubtedly have their place in bass fishing, especially when it comes to topwater action; a wooden bait is a vital part of the swimbait arsenal. There are so few swimbaits that need tweaking out of the package these days. However, every now and then Paul will take off some lead to lighten the bait. Most of the time, Bailey assures, you can buy a swimbait, and start fishing it. Bailey continued, “I think most tournament guys are just leery to the risk of not catching a full limit and put the bait down too fast. The crazy thing is I know guys who will throw a dropshot for four hours and not get bit, yet they keep throwing it, but the same guy will put down the swimbait after no bites for only an hour. If you want to reap the rewards of big swimbait fish, you better be willing to take the risk of going down in flames. Even though I would consider myself very successful with the swimbait, I have my share of flame outs.“ Choosing the right size swimbait is also dependent upon each lake you fish. Paul insists on doing your research, becoming familiar with the forage. Keep in mind, swimbait fishing is not solely based off of trout mimicking. Bass are ter- ritorial, so they will fight off just about anything, carp, catfish, bluegill, herring, etc.. One technological advancement Paul relies on his is a watch, keeping track of the tides for tidal waters and, moon phase, which his Reactor watch displays



Spring 2013