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Mastering Swimbaits for Diverse Game Fish: Insights from Angling Buzz Episode 6

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Angling Buzz Episode 6

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In this engaging episode of Angling Buzz, presented by Omnia Fishing, viewers are introduced to the versatile world of swimbaits—a lure category effective for targeting a range of game fish. Featuring insights from seasoned experts, the episode delves into techniques and tips for using swimbaits in different fishing scenarios.

Swimbait Basics: An Effective Lure for All

The episode opens with a broad overview of swimbaits, emphasizing their ease of use and effectiveness. Spanning from small paddle tails for crappie to large soft plastics for muskie and pike, these lures are accessible for anglers whether they are fishing from shore, kayak, or boat. This segment sets the stage for the episode's focus on swimbaits, particularly their popularity and diverse applications.

Expert Insights on Swimbait Fishing

Oliver Knight, a swimbait specialist and designer, shares his experiences with swimbait fishing across different regions. He emphasizes the effectiveness of large swimbaits in the upper Midwest and provides tips for targeting larger bass with these lures. Meanwhile, Jeff Gost, a recent Bassmaster Classic winner, discusses the role of swimbaits in competitive bass fishing. He highlights their versatility as minnow imitators and the importance of carrying various sizes to match local baitfish.

Musky Fishing with Swimbait: Expert Guidance

Doug Wegner, a musky fishing guide, offers his perspective on using swimbaits for musky fishing. He advises matching the lure size to the forage base and demonstrates various modifications to optimize swimbait performance, such as adding weights and blades for added attraction.

Swimbait Techniques for Walleye

Joe Nelson shares his approach to using swimbaits for walleye, particularly in rivers and lakes. He focuses on the versatility of swimbaits, demonstrating different retrieval techniques suited to various water conditions and fish behaviors.

Highlight Destination Feature: Alexandria, Minnesota

The episode features Alexandria, Minnesota, as a prime destination for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. With over 350 lakes, the area offers abundant fishing opportunities for species like walleye, bass, and northern pike. Apart from fishing, Alexandria is also noted for activities like kayaking, canoeing, and golfing, alongside cultural attractions such as the Runestone Museum.

Buzz Bite Report: Fishing Updates from Across the Region

The segment provides updates on fishing conditions and techniques in different locations, including Devil's Lake, Alexandria area, Leech Lake, Lake Vermilion, and northern Michigan. Experts share insights on species-specific tactics and local conditions.

Cool Products and Technique of the Week

The episode concludes with a showcase of relevant fishing products and a demonstration of an effective jig trolling technique. This section offers practical advice and product recommendations to enhance viewers' fishing experiences.

Key Segment Summary with Timestamps

  • [00:00] Introduction to swimbaits
  • [02:30] Oliver Knight on swimbait fishing
  • [05:45] Jeff Gost on swimbaits in bass tournaments
  • [08:10] Doug Wegner on musky fishing with swimbaits
  • [10:35] Joe Nelson on swimbait techniques for walleye
  • [13:20] Alexandria, Minnesota feature
  • [15:50] Buzz Bite Report
  • [18:30] Cool products and technique showcase

Original Transcript

There's one lower category that can be used to catch any game fish. Whether you're fishing from shore in a kayak or in a boat, these are relatively easy to use and they're incredibly effective. We're talking about swim baits. They come in a variety of different sizes from tiny paddle tails for croppy all the way up to big molded soft plastics for musky, pike and everything in between.

We have some great guests today to share their expertise in how to catch more and bigger fish with swim baits. This is Angling Buzz brought to you by Omnia Fishing, a smarter tackle shopping experience.

The great thing about swim baits is that they closely resemble the shape and action of bait fish. And I fished in California where swim baits mean big baits. We're talking about the big custom molded soft plastic baits as well as these hand-carved wooden baits. And we're going to focus on swim baits for this episode, the soft plastic side of things which have really gained in popularity over the past decade.

The numerous tackle manufacturers today, they make swim baits as well as jig heads and hook delivery systems to be using combination. Our first guest today is Oliver Knight. He's a swim bait specialist and designer and also owner of Big Bass Dreams. Oliver, thank you for taking some time out today. I know this time of year is very busy for you.

How would you compare swim bait fishing here in the upper Midwest as to say the West Coast or even down in Texas?

Troy, excited to talk to you about big swim baits, glide baits and other big lures in that genre. One of the misconceptions that I've heard time and time again over the years is that those big swim baits won't work on my water. And I've made a living since 2014 touring the country, proving otherwise, especially the upper Midwest.

The majority of the fish that I'm pulling and catching with a bait somewhere in this size is actually on average between 4 to 7 pounds and the upper Midwest is chock full of fish in that caliber and potentially bigger. Now this is a terrible way to fish if you're looking to catch numbers of bass, but it is a fantastic technique and presentation of your targeting the bass.

Get it, oh my god, look at that thing. That might be your new PV. Some of my fondest memories are traveling through the Midwest during a big bait. So do yourself a favor. Taiwan on, big baits, stick lines, heavy weights. Get out there, aim high and dream big. Have fun.

Well, thanks Oliver. I think that's some great advice for anglers at all levels. Our next guest is Jeff Gost of St. Gussie, who recently won the Bassmaster Classic. Yeah, the classic couldn't have went any better. Obviously highlighted my fishing career and a lot of things collided, went my way. Month later still really can't believe that it happened, but it's been fun and looking forward to getting on with the rest of the Elite Series season.

Jeff, you fish all over North America. You fish a lot of bass tournaments. How do you see swim baits factoring in to the bass world?

Swim baits. Well, on the Elite Series, 104 anglers, probably every angler at just about every event has some sort of swim bait tied on. They're just the ultimate fish and minnow imitator. All the bass and walleye and pike and predator fish that we chase eat minnow. It's hard to beat swim baits.

I carry a bunch of them in the boat with me. There's a good one. We'll throw swim baits on top. We'll throw shad imitators. I've got a few down south right now, a few big ones that I throw around. I'm no expert with the big baits, but I've definitely put some nice fish in the boat that have helped me out over the years. I use a lot of Z-man stuff, the Elaztec baits. They're very durable. You can catch a lot of fish with them.

I carry a variety of sizes with me and just basically so that I can imitate whatever size bait fish I feel like the bass are chewing on. You've got to have different swim baits in the boat with you when you're competing all over the country fishing all these different bodies of water.

Well thank you, Jeff, and good luck the rest of the season on a tournament trail. Our next guest is Doug Wegner. He's a musky fishing guide, a YouTuber. He fishes in Canada and Wisconsin catches a lot of big fish. Doug, what advice can you share with us in regards to musky fishing and swim baits?

When it comes to muskies and swim baits, one thing I really try to do is just match the size of my lure to the forage base that my fish are feeding on. There's a lot of different varieties. Obviously we've got more of our mid range here, like a 10 or 11 inch swim bait. We've got our monster swim and dog here, a 16 inch profile, and then some smaller stuff here in the 7 to 8 inch range.

Basically, it's just depending on what the fish are feeding on, is what I try and match the profile of my lure to. So our things I really like to do are modifications. Are these small little magnets here, either the musky fishing is magnet, so you get screw in here, and it keeps your hook placement perfect every single time for any of those fish that want to come and nip at the tail, those magnets are awesome.

Another little mod are these chaos deep throughout weights, like put at the front so I can get this bait to run a little bit deeper. And honestly, as well, you can also put, I love to put blades in front. These are just so small little musky frenzy. Those are in front of here to add some vibration, some flash, and then also you get that nice tail kick here in the back as well.

And this one actually put a little weight right on the nose itself to help get that bait down a little bit deeper. Straight retrieves are awesome when the water's warm and then as the water cools down, I like to do a lot more pole pause stuff to get the baits down to the straight side.

Put a couple swim baits in your box, and I'll definitely catch you a few lessons. Thanks, Doug, for your time and good luck this season. Up next is our timely topics feature. We're talking more swim bait fishing, specifically for walleyes with Joe Nelson.

There we go. You know, I'm on the river here and no matter whether I'm fishing rivers or lakes, a swim bait, it's always a prime bait of choice. I saw her there. And it's always one of the best baits in the box because it's so versatile. There's a million different things that you can do with a swim bait.

And that goes for whether you're getting the pre-rigged ones like the mimic minnows or you're running something like an MVP jig with a impulse paddle tail. There's a lot of different ways that you can fish them and that's what we're going to talk about today.

You know, early in the season, if you're not fishing jigs and paddle tails, you're probably missing out on extra bites. And one of the reasons is water's high, things are a little bit dingy. You've got that paddle tail back there, thumping away, creating not just visual enticement, but actual enticement through the fish's lateral line.

They can feel that vibration. And there's a couple different ways you can fish these baits. You can see I'm kind of doing a stop, slow pause, retrieve, letting that bait kind of wash down current. But there's another one that you can do especially that works really great in clear water situations, natural lakes, not just rivers like we're fishing here.

You can also just cast the thing out, let it settle a little bit, get towards bottom or near bottom, simply rewling it and letting all that thump from the paddle tail do its job. That can really be a game winning technique. In clear water scenarios, fish can come up, they can see it from a long ways away.

It's amazing how well a simple, slow retrieve can work wonders. Another great technique is dragging these jigs and it's a very common technique for where we're at right now, we're on the Mississippi River. Usually the bow mount's going typically, we just drop the rod along the side of the boat, settle on a jig head weight that allows you to get near bottom and every once in a while you're contacting as you're going upstream with the bow mount trolling motor, fish will trail in behind you and every once in a while you give it a little pop, you give it a little bit of enticement, that's all it takes for those fish to kind of come unglued, come up over, take the bait.

Other days simply dragging it and holding the rod dead can produce just dividends. So there you have it, there's a lot of different ways to fish a swim bait but no matter which way you're fishing it, the enticements there visually, it's there from a vibration standpoint and the key is really getting the jig in the fish's face.

You do that with the jig and paddle tail combination, you're going to have a hard time not getting a bit for walleyes in all waters, rivers, natural lakes and everything in between. And now it's time for a highlight destination feature, we're going to explore Alexandria Minnesota.

Welcome to Alexandria Minnesota, a destination for those seeking adventure, relaxation and the great outdoors. Nestled in the heart of the land of 10,000 lakes, Alexandria is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. With over 350 lakes in the area, Alexandria is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. From walleye to bass, northern pike to crappies, the waters of Alexandria are teaming with a wide variety of fish.

But fishing isn't the only outdoor activity on offer in Alexandria. The areas lakes and rivers are a perfect place for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding. You can explore the lake at your own pace, taking in the natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds you. For golf enthusiasts, Alexandria offers several world class golf courses, perfect for a relaxing round with family or friends.

The historic downtown area is full of unique shops and restaurants that'll keep the whole family entertained. Take a stroll down Broadway and check out the local artisans and craftsmen's or grab a bite to eat at one of the many locally owned restaurants. Make sure to visit the famous Runestone Museum where the whole family can learn about the Vikings who settled in our area over a thousand years ago.

And see the mysterious Kensington Runestone for some family fun visit our Big Ole Central Park where you can take a picture with Big Ole, a 28 foot Viking statue, the Town's mascot. If you're looking for some educational experiences, visit the Legacy of Lakes Museum which showcases the history of boating and fishing in our area.

You can also visit the Carlos Creek Winery, where the family can taste some of our locally made wines and learn about the history of winemaking in Minnesota. Finally, if you're looking to escape into nature, visit our state parks. Lake Carlos State Park offers miles of hiking trails and a pristine beach, while the Glacier Lakes State Park offers stunning views of rolling prairies, oak savannas, and sparkling lakes.

Alexandria, Minnesota is truly a destination for everyone. Whether you're an avid fisherman, a nature lover, or simply seeking a bit of tranquility, Alexandria has something for you. Come and explore this hidden gem in the land of 10,000 lakes and experience the beauty of the great outdoors like never before.

It's time for this week's Buzz Bite Report. To kick it off, we're going to head to North Dakota with Johnny Candle. The walleye bite is absolutely fantastic, especially if you enjoy casting to shallow water. Jigs with plastics, shallow diving crankbaits are getting the job done, and there's actually an incredible haired jig bite going on right now.

It's really simple, try to find water above 60 degrees, and if there's any wind at all, use it to your advantage. The fish are definitely frequently using the shallow wind blow shoreline in Devil's Lake. Northern Pike are mixed in with the walleye. Nothing really big there.

We've had one 15-pounder this week in my boat, and the white bass is the best kept secret around. And actually, if you know anything about Devil's Lake, it's not a secret. Find moving water, typically near a bridge. Cast jigs and plastics or small crankbaits, you're going to have yourself a blast.

This is going to last a couple of weeks. There are a few bug hatches going on, so be ready and keep your drinks covered up when you're in the boat. But get over here to Devil's Lake and enjoy what we've got to offer. Thanks, Johnny.

Now let's head to the Alexandria area in Minnesota with Joe Segura. Hello, Joe Segura here with the Alexandria Fish and Report. Fish remains excellent in the area. Really doesn't matter on the species, whether you're after walleye, panfish, or bass. Northern. They all seem to be producing weight well this week.

A lot of bigger walleyes are starting to show up after the spawn here. Last week we were in very shallow water, three to six foot pitch of minnows. This week we're out into that new weed growth in maybe 12 to 20 foot of water, anywhere those new weeds growing. Using leeches crawlers, they've been really doing really well.

If you've got minnows, they're still working as well. They'll probably be using minnows maybe for another week or two, but then transition completely over to leeches and crawlers. As far as panfish go, they are getting ready for the spawn. So you're seeing them up in the real shallow area, pencil weeds, as well as out over 10 foot, 15 foot of water.

So don't just think they go shallow. They will be very, very concentrated though in all those different depth of rain just so keep on your locator, keep moving. If you're not on the fish, they are very concentrated this time of year and the fish is excellent.

Next Joe, Melatid North to Leech Lake with Toby Kavali Vog. Here's the deal. The water temps are very, and right now we had a cold day. You cool the water temps down. The fishing got a little bit tougher here on Leech Lake, but then it warmed up. And now we find fish in the anywhere from 58 to 65 degree water temperatures are still eating jigs and shiners on the sand flats, around rock piles and some weeds. It seems like the sunny days, the weeds are a little bit better. 6 pound line, getting it far away from the boats, real important. I'm not jigging it, but still kind of a drag is more efficient than actually popping the jig it seems like. But Lindy Rigs. Lindy Rigs this week certainly have been fantastic. Night crawlers and leeches both, as well as some bigger minnows. But that's the report. Leech Lake is going real well. Croppies are still being caught. Perch are starting to slow down as they're spawning. But jumbo perch, croppies and walleyes. Thanks Toby.

Now let's head a little further north to Lake Vermilion with Billy Rosner. The warmer water temps, the bass are starting to move into spawn. Both the large ants mob out. The walleye bite's been holding strong. We're getting to that time of year with the water temperatures. The walleyes are kind of on the move. They're going to be transitioning out to some of the reefs and rock piles. The main lake structure. Light bait rigs. Don't forget your leeches now and your crawlers too. They're all putting on fish, jig and wraps, hair jigs. That's all starting to put off fish too. And for the walleyes, just think transitions on rock to mud, sand to mud. That sort of thing. And depths are kind of all over the place depending what part of a million you're fishing. And if you're after some northern pikes, some good action fishing. Finding those back in weed beds. 48 feet. Your soft fertile baits. Don't spinner baits. We place bullets. Hit line bucktails like blue fox or a map. So give you some good pike action. Thanks Billy.

Jump over to Michigan with Captain Chad Dilts. We've been experiencing some much warmer temperatures in here in northern Michigan and in southern Michigan. Northern Michigan we've been seeing a lot of days in like the upper 70s and in southern Michigan they're seeing even some 90 degree temperatures. Lot of the walleye are finishing up the spawn moving back out in the lake area in Lake St. Clair but they're still doing good in the Detroit River. A lot of our inland lake walleyes in northern Michigan have moved into that 20 to 40 foot range. Guys are getting them good on jigs and harnesses. And of course they're moving in shallow at night. Our small mouth are starting to approach the beds. If you are going to target small mouth on beds please remember take a picture get them back as quick as you can. On the Great Lakes the thermocline is starting to establish and guys are starting to get those trout and salmon down 50 to 60 feet. It's a great time to get out and take advantage of a lot of different species. If you're looking for a captain or guide in the state of Michigan look us up at sportfishmichigan.com.

Now it's time for our cool products brought to you by Omniafishing. We're going to start off with the spawn sunglasses from Wavy Label. These feature a polycarbonate lens. This is the blue lens. They also have a gray lens. This is great for both eye protection as well as well sight fishing which is a favorite of anglers pretty much all season but especially in the summertime in open water. And also these have a lifetime warranty. They come with a nice case. Very very comfortable to wear the spawn sunglasses from Wavy Label. And next from Northland Tackle a great jig to mimic jig. This is designed for swimbaits and they come in a few different sizes here. And sizes like this the quarter round this is great for slow rolling. You can also use this for walleye snap jigging for walleye slow roll and swimba its for small mouth large mouth bass. A quarter ounce like this would be great on spinning rods. And then a bigger size like this a half ounce this would be something you throw on a bait caster you know for bigger large mouth bass if you're fishing around. Even kind of sparse weeds are around maybe brush or timber. They also feature a nice bait keeper to keep the swimbaits locked in place on the jig. Like that the mimic swim jig from Northland Tackle. And next from Blackfish gear the angler UPF long sleeve. This is a very comfortable shirt especially in the heat and humidity of the upper Midwest. You have these little pockets here to help wick away moisture and heat. The cool charge is a chemical free cooling technology you know after fishing all day this is very comfortable because of these little pockets on here because it is less contact with your skin it's very very comfortable. UPF rating of 30 in fact the whole Blackfish line is incredible. This one is really nice the angler long sleeve UPF. Next SIFO motor treatment truck in SUV. This is a larger can for bigger tanks this helps stabilize fuel for up to two years. It's very easy to use you just pour it right in your tank add one ounce per gallon of fuel. This helps maximize horsepower and performance of your engine. SIFO motor treatment truck in SUV. And from St. Croix rods this is their swimming baits spinning rod. St. Croix offers a lot of different technique specific rods and this one well it's perfect for swim baits. This is a 7 foot 10 inch medium power moderate fast action so you have a lot of backbone in this rod as well as a sensitivity through the middle to end of the rod which is perfect for swim bait fishing. St. Croix quality especially in their legend tournament bass series this is the 7 foot 10 inch medium moderate fast action swimming baits model. And you can shop online anytime at omniafishing.com.

And up next is our technique of the week. Technique that Troy and I got on this particular point to what we've been doing is jig trolling. And this is just a half ounce VMC moon eye jig with the 3.5 big bite suicide shot on it. And the handle out that should have that clam extend handle. It's a little better one. Alright. The presentation is really sort of dynamically different because we're not casting the bait out and jigging it back. What we're doing is I'm getting on the trolling motor and I'm running it about 0.5 to 0.8 miles an hour and we just take the baits and throw them in back to the boat and you want to let out just about enough line so the bait is close to the bottom or intermittently hitting the bottom. A lot of times what I like to do is to actually hit the bottom then I reel it up a little bit so the bait is running like 2 or 3 feet off the bottom. Then that tail is going like this. And it's a fabulous technique in the fact that you can actually cover quite a bit of water. That works. I've caught a lot of big fish on these lakes at different points and times with this presentation. Back you go. As you can see there's a lot of different ways to fish a simple swim bait and jig. The products featured in today's video are linked below in the description. And also be sure to enter our sweepstakes. There's a link below in the description as well. You can win an awesome weekend up on Lake Vermilion. That's a big fish factory. All expense is paid. A guided fishing trip with myself as well as a hand selected tackle pack from Omnia Fishing. And if you have any comments about today's episode let us know down below and here's another video from Anglin Buzz.