Skip to content
Karl's Fishing & Outdoors Logo
Swimbait Size: How To Choose The Best Swimbait

Swimbait Size: How To Choose The Best Swimbait

Despite being only 10 years removed from their earliest use by dedicated western big-bass chasers, swimbaits are now fully integrated into the mainstream basser’s arsenal. That’s not by mistake either – swimbaits are absolute bass killers under from coast to coast, and are versatile enough to be fished in darn near any conditions imaginable and in any swimbait size.

Because they’ve seen such a high adoption rate, swimbaits have also diversified so much it’s almost unfair to lump them all into a single category. Nowadays, telling someone that you caught them on a swimbait only opens up the door for more questions – “Hard or soft?”, “Paddle tailed or jointed?” – And the ever necessary “What size?”

Swim baiters tune in, because it’s that last question that can often be difficult to figure out when you’re trying to gain confidence throwing swimbaits.

Here’s a guide to choosing the right swimbait size:

Swimbait Size For Finicky Bass

The BioSpawn ExoSwim comes in multiple sizes and tasty color options.

Under post-frontal conditions, on pressured waters, or even deep clear reservoirs it can be difficult to get much of any bite going, much less a swimbait bite. For this reason when you’re confronted with those situations, it’s imperative to tie on a swimbait package that doesn’t stick out. Enter the finesse swimbait, or “Scrubbing” technique. It involves using a diminutive 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch soft plastic paddle tail swimbait like the Big Bite Baits Shad, and threading it onto a light 3/16 or ¼ ounce jig head. This package is then counted down and slowly reeled just off the bottom around deep points, timber, rock piles, or ledges.

Swimbait Size For Everyday Use

From coast to coast, the average baitfish size is anywhere between 4 and 6 inches long, and that should be your sweet spot for everyday use swimbaits. A 4 - 6 inch soft paddle tailed swimbait like The Skinny Bear SB Swimbai is easily castable on normal bass tackle, draws strikes from both numbers as well as big fish, and can be worked effectively in the weeds and out deep. Swimbaits like the Strike King Swim-N-Shiner, Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper, and Gambler EZ Swimmer are the perfect size, and should be the standbys in your swimbait arsenal. When in doubt – start with something in this range.

Swimbait Size For Trophy Hunting

The biggest and baddest bass in your local lake aren’t your typical creatures. They didn’t get big by eating tiny bait – and it takes a big bait to consistently pique their interest. For that reason, whether you’ve got a limit in the boat and are looking for a kicker, or just want to go out and chase down that PB – it’s time to break out the big guns. Trophy bass hunters routinely heave 8 to 10 inch swimbaits, so don’t be afraid to throw the biggest baits you can find. Glide baits like the River2Sea S-Waver 168, and paddle-tail swimbaits like the Reaction Strike Bass Harasser have the large profile necessary to tempt the biggest bass in the area. One word of caution: lobbing big baits isn’t a numbers game, be prepared to catch less fish, but the ones you catch will make up for it.

Lake Fork Guy's Swimbait Tips & Tricks

Updated November 12th, 2020 at 7:54 AM CT