Fishing a swimbait is one of the more productive methods of landing trout, redfish and bass because of their realistic appearance and swimming action.  However, because form sometimes comes before function, a few tweaks are needed to increase your hookup ratio. 

I was recently throwing a LiveTarget Sardine and Mullet swimbait for trout and the baits were getting hammered. On each cast I’d get multiple hits, but I was only getting a hook in about half of the fish. The lures were obviously attracting the trout, but I needed to stick more of them. Examining the bait told me that I needed to make the hook more exposed so that the chances of sticking one would be better, so I cut off the dorsal fin. It’s a great weedguard around grass and submerged vegetation, but because this was open water it could safely be removed, thereby exposing the hook point more.

After that, I added a treble hook on the bottom of the baits that snagged short-striking fish, and I was landing more fish that struck. Not all baits have a nice provision like the Live Target Swimbait series, but don’t fret. If you’re throwing a cocahoe on a jighead, you can add a treble with a short length of braid tied to the bend in the hook that will trail nicely behind the lure and not impede its action. Or, you can buy a spinnerbait trailer and add it to the jighead’s hook.