While recreational boaters have hung up the wakeboards and skis for the season, the cooling temperatures of fall transitioning into winter present one of the best times of year to hook into large bass. Bass will begin to feed heavily in preparation for the slower, colder winter months. The cold water season presents a perfect time to mix small swimbaits into your arsenal. Dropping temperatures, quickly changing weather patterns and windstorms are a perfect recipe to target those bass pushing bait along structure, points and vegetation lines.
My personal favorite small swimbaits are the Spark Shad by Megabass and MinnowZ by Z-man. While Spark Shad come in larger sizes, I prefer to utilize the 3-inch swimbait on a 1/8 ounce to ¼ ounce jig head. Both of these small swimbaits offer a natural looking movement, keeping an even keel as you retrieve it. That life-like, stable swim action really attracts me to these petite swimbaits; it definitely attracts bass looking to gorge before winter.
While there is a plethora of swim jig heads to choose from, keep in mind with a small swimbait you will want to use a smaller jig head profile. For working hard structure such as rocks and boulders, you can go with a traditional round jig head, which is perfect in rocky terrain. It will bounce off rocks and other structure more efficiently and can be easier on the pocketbook. If you are looking for a more natural looking, straight retrieve, then the swim jig head is a perfect match for that small profile. No matter the jig head you choose to use, make sure that you thread that swimbait perfectly straight on the jig head. Keeping a natural swim motion through the water is key to success with these small plastics. You want it to mimic a fish, hooking at an off angle will impact how your bait moves through the water and often cause it to spin unnaturally.
The beauty of the small swimbait is the variety of retrieves you can work into your fishing trip. You can pop and bounce it along the bottom, mixing a slow retrieve like a finesse bait. If you are working in current, the small, light profile allows you to hover the bait in the current like a natural baitfish, popping and letting it move back and forth as you slowly retrieve it along banks and current breaks. You can skip small swimbaits up under docks and along weed lines or even run a straight retrieve at various depths. It is incredibly versatile in a variety of conditions, allowing you to be agile as fall conditions change.
Katherine Field is a multi-species angler, competing in elite-level kayak bass fishing tournaments on a national scale. She calls the beautiful state of Utah home and enjoys spending her time traveling across America, competing in national trails and exploring legendary fisheries.