One of the many hot new products to hit the bass scene is the soft swim bait. There is even a swim version of my beloved Senko available. The editors of In-Fisherman magazine seem to be pretty keen on swim baits. They seem particularly happy with the Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait (shown above in the Gizzard Shad pattern.) In their January 09 issue there is a five page article on using soft swim baits to catch bass. They cover the wide variety of swim baits on the market as well as weighted hook options one can use. This weekend on the In-Fisherman TV show the swimbaits were pulling in huge walleye from one of those Minnesota lakes that folks like me are lucky to fish once in a lifetime. Their sales pitch has worked on one guy; I'll have to give it a shot in the coming year. Looks like the Berkleys run quite steep in price: ~$10 per 3 pack versus the $7 I give for a dozen Senkos, so if anyone can find some bargains let me know. Otherwise I'll see what sort of knock-offs I can find.
Update: I found Shadalicious Swimbait sell 5 for $8. Thats a little more reasonable and I bought 2 packs. Can't wait to try it out.
Maybe it will help strengthen my weakness: pulling bass out of deep water. This is a skill I've read plenty about and seen TV anglers have success but I just can't seem to figure it out. It is especially important in ice out fishing before the bass come up to the shallows. I can count the number of deep (I'll say deep is below 10 feet) bass I've caught on one hand, so it is one thing I'll focus on this year.
The recent addition of a fish finder has me pretty excited about the deep water possibilities too. I'll be able to scope out the structure much faster than with my usual "drag a jig on the bottom" technique. While it's taken me a couple years to get a good feel for the bottom structure in a particular Banner Marsh lake, I hope to be able to accomplish this in just a few outings on new lakes. If your curious, my fish finder is a Hummingbird 130 Fishin' Buddy. It's mounted on one of those handy poles with the transducer included, so I can pull the whole package off my boat and use it on anyone's. I have not yet used it, so I can't give an sort of review.
Updated on 19 Jan 09: I found Shadalicious Swimbait sell 5 for $8 at my local outdoors store. Thats a little more reasonable and I bought 2 packs: blue gizzard shad and neon ghost patterns. Can't wait to try them out, this hard water can't thaw quick enough. This is not a paid ad, I would just hate to see you waste money.