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Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down – Rigging Tips For Swimbaits

I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with fishing big swimbaits for saltwater bass. I love that they’ll often draw that big bite I’m looking for on tournament day but I hate when that bite comes behind the hook and the fish manages to pull the bait’s pants down enough to realize it’s not something worth coming back for a second attack on. That missed opportunity is bad enough, but adding insult to injury is the fact that your $4 swimbait tail is now compromised enough that it’s likely to keep on slipping down your hook until you get frustrated enough to change it.

When fishing sand bass, my go-to bait is an 8-inch MC Swimbait Slug on a 1-ounce VMC Boxer head and this combo is the undisputed champion of getting its pants pulled down when the sand bass are biting. On a normal tournament day I’ll easily go through a half dozen slugs and if the fish are aggressively tail biting that number can reach a dozen. Sometimes I’ll have to change the bait without landing a single one of those bites.

Well, I’m happy to say that I had a brainstorm while packing my gear for a tournament over the weekend and that dusty light bulb that dimly sparked to life above my head resulted in a ten cent fix that probably saved me 25 bucks worth of Slugs on Saturday.

The top bait in this picture was the only Slug I ended up using all day and after an easy twenty fish at least twice that many missed bites, it didn’t get its pants pulled down a single time. Here’s how I did it.

Get more How To tips from Erik on BD.

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Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal Scene, Erik keeps all of the BD readers up to date on what's biting in Southern California. Erik divides his fishing time on local boats, long-range trips and Mexico excursions. For the past eight years, Erik has been competing in the SWBA (Saltwater Bass Anglers) tournament series and has multiple tournament victories to his credit. His sponsors include Batson Enterprises / Rainshadow Rods, Robalo Boats, Tilly's Marine, Abu/Garcia, Penn Reels, Navionics, Raymarine, MC Swimbaits, Uni-Butter Fishing Scent and Bladerunner Tackle.