Paddle Tail Swimbaits: The Complete Guide To Rig & Fish

One of my favorite setups for fishing clearer water is a paddle tail swimbait because you can make it weedless to plow through any sort of cover. In this post, I’m going to be talking about how to rig and use a paddle tail swimbait to catch more fish.

This is a minnow style soft plastic that’ll create a bunch of action moving through the water. It comes in a bunch of different colors but the one I prefer is a natural shad color. Natural always seems to work best for me and I always try to figure out what the fish are mainly eating and get something similar.

I’m going to be talking about what gear to use with this bait, what hooks work best, the fishing line to use, and then how to actually fish it. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to rig and use a paddle tail swimbait.


When To Throw This Bait

This bait was mainly designed for fishing around cover in pretty shallow water. What you want to look for is grass beds, weeds, sunken trees, or whatever else might be in the water. It’ll be really tough to get a lot of other lures in these areas and that’s what makes this the perfect bait to throw.

Fish tend to go to shallower water when the weather is a bit cloudy. They sit in deeper water when it’s hot out and then come to the shallows to feed. That’s another really good time to throw this bait.

If you’re using a shad colored swimbait, it’s normally going to get the best results in clearer water. It’ll catch fish in pretty much any condition but something darker is normally better in stained water.

What Gear To Use With It

You can get away with using this bait on anything that’ll cast but I prefer using a baitcasting rod. If you’re going to make the lure weedless then you’ll need a rod that has a bit of backbone to be able to set the hook properly. Spinning rods aren’t as sturdy but you can still use them if you want.

You’ll want to make sure you’re using at least a medium-heavy rod to get the most out of this bait and I like using something around 7 feet long. You’ll have a tough time setting the hook if you’re using a lighter rod.

I like using a braided fishing line with a fluorocarbon leader. It’s what I use for almost all of my setups and find it works best. You’ll want braid because it’s a lot stronger and if you get hung up on a log or in the grass you’ll be able to yank it off without the line breaking. I normally use 20 lb braid with 12-15 lb fluoro.

How To Rig & Fish It

My favorite hook to use with this swimbait is something weighted with a screw. The screw is super easy to use and the weight will help with casting. You’ll want to screw into the nose of the bait and then hook the bait through the bottom and out the top. Make sure the hook is in the center of the bait to make sure it will swim properly. If you want to make it weedless (to go through cover) then tuck the tip of the hook back in the plastic. See our favorites here.

You’ll want to cast it somewhere close to an area of cover because that’s most likely where the fish will be. The good news about this bait is that it’ll do a lot of the work for you. If you simply cast and retrieve you should have no problems catching something.

I like reeling in slowly and doing that will give you a lifelike wobble through the water. If your hook isn’t in the center, it’ll cause the bait to swim funny. You can experiment with pauses and twitches but it’s not necessary if you don’t want. One thing I like to do though is changing the angle. If I’m reeling in directly in front of me then I might move the rod to my right. It just causes a little bit of natural movement which will help your chances of catching something good.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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