Shane Smith, Mossy Oak Prostaff
Now that old man winter is slowly losing his grip on us here in the south and we are seeing some slight green buds on the trees, that can only mean one thing- the spawn is near!
Everyone has their favorite baits to fool bass as they approach the shallows looking to lay eggs and spawn. You will hear a lot about chatterbaits, soft stick baits, jigs and soft plastics. One bait you seldom hear mentioned is the glide bait.
What is a Glide Bait?
A glide bait is usually a 2 segmented section hard plastic bait that slowly glides and swims in a hunting motion. Most baits will “glide” when they are retrieved slowly and have a slow rate of fall. Glide baits are best when fished softly and methodic. They are not like Jigs or other power fishing baits. You will need to learn to kill them softly with a glide bait.
A selection of the author's favorite glide baits.
The glide baits I throw at this time of year are more of what I call a “cover glide”. They have a tighter and more narrow “S” swimming action. Later in the year I will go over more of my open water glides.
Which Glide Baits are Best
These are my personal favorite glide baits and the tackle I throw them on. I will also give you some tips to catch more fish on them so you will have the confidence to throw them more.
- 6th Sense Flo Glider 130. It is a 6” bait that weighs 2 ounces and is a slow sinking bait and costs around $25. My favorite color is shad scales, and I also have one painted like a bar fish (yellow bass) as this is what I feel most of the big bass here in Texas feed on. This is the bait I throw 90% of the time. I feel its size appeals to smaller bass and can draw larger bass as well.
- Sneaky Pete. This is a slightly larger glide bait that comes in at 2.6 ozs and costs around $36. It has more of a slender build and I like it in the baby bass color.
- Spro BBZ Rat. Yes, this is actually a wake bait. But it is a single jointed bait that can be fished just like a glider. I like the larger BBZ 50 size that weighs around 2.8 ozs and costs $36.
- Gan Craft Song 115. This is the smallest glider that I own. It weighs in at only 1.1 ozs, but cost over $64.
Ok, now let’s talk tackle for these gliding swimbaits.
The author with a giant bass caught off a glide bait.
Best Tackle for Glide Baits
RODS- I personally like a fairly heavy action rod with a long handle. For most of the above mentioned glide baits I throw an IROD Genesis III 7’8” Jr. Swimbait Rod. It will accommodate baits up to 4 ounces and has enough backbone to make the long casts you need to throw these baits. When I am throwing the rat a country mile I will step this up to an IROD Bailey Swimbait rod that is 8’ and is rated for 3-8 oz lures.
LINE- Now, when it comes to line there are many schools of thought. You can throw braid with a leader, straight braid, straight floro or even straight mono. I feel as though you should throw what YOU have the most confidence in. I personally throw 20lb floro 90% of the time. I feel as though it gives my bait plenty of action and the line is still virtually invisible. However, a good friend of mine Matt Newman who owns IROD, throws straight braid in California’s crystal clear waters and catches some absolute water donkeys on braid. So, you need fish what you feel the most comfortable with and stick with it. I use straight 50 lb power pro max cuatro braid on the rat or if I am fishing over heavy vegetation such as hydrilla or coontail.
Read More: Rigging Plastic Baits for Springtime Fishing
REELS- I prefer 200 or 300 size reels when I am fishing glide baits any time I go. They allow me to hold a greater amount of line and not lose my gear ratio as I would with a smaller spool like a typical 150 sized reel. The SHIMANO Curado K in the 200HG and 300HG are what get the nod for me. The 300 costs around $219 and the 200 costs around $199.
Pro Tips for Glide Baits
The author with a giant bass caught off a glide bait.
Here are a few tips in general for first time glide bait fisherman.
- Don’t start with HUGE baits. Too many people watch Youtube with guys throwing 10-12” swimbaits and feel as though they should too. Start off with any of the 4 that I have listed that are from 5”-7 ½” and will put yourself in position to catch absolute monsters as well as 3 lbers.
- Keep your eyes peeled. Glide baits will draw up curious fish that will follow your bait. Keep your eyes peeled to see if you have a 10lber stalking your bait. Even if the bass doesn’t bite, you know it is there, and it will also let you know to try and change up your retrieve or cadence.
- Your retrieve, keep it simple. The absolute best retrieve is to reel these baits as slow as possible and they still retain the side to side hunting action. If you reel them too slow, they just come straight back to you with no action at all. If you have a follower, try a sharp twitch or two then a fleeing style fast retrieve.
- Be patient. This is not typically a bait to throw if you are targeting fish under 3lbs. This is a bait when you are looking for a kicker fish or if you are trophy hunting. You will gain confidence when you are throwing the 5”-7” baits and as you do, then buy you an 8”-10” bait and throw it some. You just need to know, your bites will be fewer on the larger baits, but you may also catch your PB largemouth as well.
Well, there you have it. The next time you are out this spring tie on a glider and see what you have been missing. This is not usually a 20 bites a day bait, however they are usually the bites that win tournaments and put those monster bug eyed bass on the deck.