How to fish big swimbaits? Technique and rigging with KVD

Oversized swimbaits are very popular right now. Check out these tips from Kevin VanDam on how to select, judge color, and rig up swim baits of all sizes, including large swimbaits. 

Strike King Rage Swimmer Swim Bait: Https://

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How to fish big swimbaits? So to kick it off one of the big things, and and you see this right now in the sport is you know big swimbaits, glide baits they’re all the rage. You know there’s lots of different ones out there on the market, people you know showcasing them, a lot of different places that you can fish them, a lot of different techniques and they’re a lot more versatile than a lot of people thought. And I’m no different, I’ve loved swimbaits ever since they came out.

The first swimbait that I ever fished was a tournament we fished out in California. I went out there and bought myself one of those giant tennis shoe-size swimbaits. The first day on Clear Lake, the first bite I ever got was a 10-plus pounder on it, and I was hooked.

But I learned back then that there’s a whole lot more to it than that. It’s not just about tying on a big bait, you know. You have to use them in the right place at the right time and the bait has to be designed properly.

The Versatility of Swimbaits

So what I like is having something flexible, and one of my favorite bigger swimbaits is this 575 Raid Swimmer right here. So you can use other ones, other sizes. This technique that I’m going to show you, this rigging technique is something that’s going to work for both.

Rigging the 575 Raid Swimmer

So what I’ve got is an inline system to rig this and make it like some of those high-priced uh swimbaits that have a treble hook to them. What I like about it is that I can adjust the weight of this so that I can make it run at different depths and more importantly at different speeds.

A rage swimmer is truly balanced and it has, you know, it just has that real slow wag to it with that ribbed body and that fat body that make it special.

So what I’ve done is just threaded this on and have a treble hook in it, but there are a couple of key things that make it different. So I’ve got a little rivet that holds it in place; it’s kind of like a little stopper here on this end. Then I also have one on the nose. You know, I mean adding the one to the nose is not absolutely 100% necessary, but uh it does help.

Treble Hook Placement

And then the other thing is to keep this balance to always want to have it riding correctly in the water. I’ve taken a little lead wire and wrapped my treble hook. So I’ve got this one rigged with a little number two treble hook. You can adjust the size.

I typically put it right into the bait so that it rides well. And again I’ve got a, you know, Strike King tour grade tungsten bullet weight, the same thing you’d use for a Texas Rig right there on the nose of it.

Bullet Weight Adjustment

You can Peg it. I prefer to keep it sliding like that because again when you finally hook a fish, it keeps that there’s nothing but the hook in his mouth typically.

That swimbait uh you know the Raid Swimmer will slide up the line, this is going to slide up the line, and they do not weight to throw there at all. And compared to the other ones where the hook is attached, it just makes a big difference in the number of fish that you’re going to land with it.

Step-by-Step Rigging Guide

So let me show you a little closer exactly um how I go about doing it. So first and foremost all I do is take a straight shank worm hook take a pair of side cutters clip it off and tie it on. It’s my needle.

You could use a sewing needle, but for a 20 lb test line like this, or if you’re going to throw it on a big line, um I just like to take a hook and and cut it off. It just needs to be a straight shank-style hook. And then I’m just going to grab my Rage Swimmer, um this is one of my favorites right here this Carolina Chrome.

You know it has all of that sparkle and flash in it and it’s just so mesmerizing when it’s coming through the water that they just really bite it. Especially if you got this thing riding up high in the water column on a bright sunny day, it just gives off so much flash that it, it really uh really really makes a big difference.

Preparing the Line

So first and foremost on your line, before you tie this on you have to put your bullet weight on there first. And you have to put one of those, uh you know one of those rivets. And those rivets you can just basically get at any uh uh you know at really at any store.

So I’m going to put this first rivet again on so so it’s I’m going to put it on there first. Well, I got to put the bullet weight on first, I’m ahead of myself here.

Put the bullet weight on and then put a rivet pointing backward on your line. And this is go this goes to your rod like like this right here, and so that’s going to be sliding up and down your line.

Threading the Swimbait

And then you tie this uh this threaded needle hook on right here. And once you have that on there, all I’m going to do is take it and look at where the belly of that is, the underside of it is, I’m going to poke it right through the middle and then just have it come out, and again just only about you know uh less than a half an inch down.

And then once that slides through I can clip that off, I’m going to slide another one of these on from the bottom, tie my hook on, and that’s where I end up with this whole complete rig like this.

Finalizing the Rig

So again I’ll just pull this out just so you fully understand exactly what I’ve got. I’ve got a bullet weight, a rivet, and that goes into the nose on this side and you just press that in there and it just acts as a stopper so you can catch a bunch of fish on this without tearing this, this bait up at all right here. I mean it, it lasts for a long time with that rivet again it’s just basically a cork.

And so the same thing I have on the bottom side, you can see I’ve got a rivet. You can put a, if you want your hook a little further back. I like to have mine closer to the head. It seems like especially Smallmouth and big spots, they really go for these and they target hitting that, you’re just smashing it in the head.

So I like to have that treble hook real far forward. And again having that lead wire wrapped on there is really great for balance.

You don’t have to do it, um I mean you can use this with no weight at all and run it up on the surface, but I can also put you know a half ounce of tungsten weight on there and and run this thing a lot deeper and a lot a lot faster. And with that lead wire on there at those faster speeds, it just keeps it perfectly balanced and riding true all the time.

Lead Wire Wrapping

That lead wire, all I do is go to the, you know I go to the Bass Pro Shops to the fly tying shop and you can buy different sizes, different diameters of it but it’s just it’s just fine you know lead wire. You can just take a piece off, I use about four or five-inch pieces, wrap that all the way on there, run it through the eye, and it just tightens right to itself.

You don’t have to put any super glue or anything on it and just like that you’ve got a line through treble hook swimbait um that has a ton of flexibility and versatility as far as being able to adjust it for different fishing conditions.

Compared to Other Hooking Methods

You know there’s nothing wrong with throwing a swimbait on just a belly-weighted single hook, uh but your hooking percentage is just so much higher on this. Again it’s so good for Smallmouth and spotted bass. They try to kill a big bait fish or a big you know a big Shad like this is what they think it is going through the water.

And you know they hit it a lot of times with their mouth closed and you’re just going to catch them with that treble hook. You can even use I’ve got that, you know a Mustad stinger treble that they build for swimbaits, you can even add one of those to the back if you want to, but I have great success with this right here. Um, it fishes extremely well.

Gear Recommendations

I like to throw it on a pretty stout rod. This is a 7 1/2 foot medium heavy action. It’s a KVD GC8. It’s one of my favorites for throwing a swim jig or big swimbaits for you know football jigs, things like that. So it’s long, I can cast it you know this bait a long way and it really gives me a lot of leverage when I hook a big fish on it.

I’ve got it with one of the new LSE Hyper Mag reels. If you haven’t seen this reel go check one out at your local tackle store. I mean it is amazing. The Hyper Mag has always been one of my favorite reels. This new upgraded updated version is uh incredible. It’s got a new um braking system in it, uh it’s super smooth, you just can’t almost backlash thing, it’s probably.

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