Fishing swim baits for stripers and largemouth bass:

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By Mike Rude, October 1, 2013

As I’ve mentioned in prior articles, swim baits can be very effective for largemouth bass and stripers. There are a ton of different swim baits on the market with a wide range in size, design and weight. A lot of fishermen focus on throwing the larger, heavier trout imitations when fishing for stripers. These baits can result in catching the bigger stripers and the occasional double digit largemouth. However, this type of fishing requires heavier rods designed to throw these huge baits and a commitment to put in a lot of work throwing all day long in the hope of getting a big fish. Quite frankly, I prefer to use the smaller baits and catch numbers as you still have a shot at getting a large fish when fishing the smaller baits.

Now is the time of year for stripers. Generally the stripers bite best during the winter months. It is also the time of year when the lakes that have a trout stocking program start stocking trout and this of course turns on the stripers, particularly the big stripers.


Busting shad: If the stripers and largemouth bass are chasing shad schools, this is a great time to throw swim baits into the boils. When doing this, I like to let the swim bait sink a ways and then start a fast retrieve. Whether using a single swim bait, or using a Alabama/Cali rig, I like to throw the 3” Rude Baits swim baits in the Smoke Dawg color. This color is closest to the natural shad color and is very effective. (Note: if you are throwing an Alabama rig, remember that you can only have 3 hooks/jigs on it).   You may also want to try using different color swim baits to see which color the fish prefer that particular day. I’m a firm believer that fish prefer different colors according to the conditions. I typically use darker colors in the morning, (Purple Passion is always a good choice in the morning hours and lighter or more natural colors in sunny conditions in the middle of the day; Smoke Dawg; Salty Sardine, Coastal Classic.)

Another extremely effective method is targeting the stripers chasing the trout. When doing this, use the 5” Rude Baits swim baits in the Purple Passion, Cherry Bomb, Coastal Classic and Smoke Dawg colors. Cast to the areas where the stripers are chasing the trout and use a medium to fast retrieve and vary the action by throwing in an occasional jerk to the retrieve.

Western Outdoor News had a great article on using flies for stripers at Diamond Valley Lake and went into detail on the technique. This requires not only finding the shad schools on your fish finder, but trolling the flies on lead core line and imparting a constant jerk technique to the flies in order to elicit the strike. If you’re not familiar with this technique or don’t have the proper line, flies, etc, try trolling Rude Baits swim baits through the same areas and use a shad style jig head in a sufficient weight to get down to the fish zone according to a normal trolling speed, (1.5 to 3 mph). Try trolling at that speed and if you find the shad schools, as soon as you estimate your swim bait is just outside the shad school, gun the motor to rip the baits through the school. That will often elicit the strike.

Another great technique is first finding the shad schools and then simply casting the swim baits to that area and letting the swim bait fall all of the way to the bottom of the lake, or through the shad school before you start your retrieve. Try using a Cotee jig head for this technique. I recommend again the 3” Smoke Dawg for this technique but you may want to try all of the colors we offer.

Rude Baits swim baits are sold at the Diamond Valley Lake marina store so make sure you pick some up when you’re there.

Check out Rude Baits swim baits at

Thanks and good fishing! (Please practice catch and release.)

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