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Their Hot! Red Hot!

By: Robbie Biccum

The fishing is some of the best, Right Now ( 08/01/99)! Limits of albies are the rule rather than the exception. Fish reports confirming this appear in all of our local fishing magazines and newspapers. A personal friend just returned from a two day trip a half day early because they literally could not get another fish on the boat. What a great time to try out something NEW!


"No Way, not me. I'm not taking a chance on getting skunked." "I'll try one but I never catch anything on plastics." "No thanks, been there done that."

If this sounds familiar believe me I understand. For years I would only fish with live bait. Who wouldn't, especially with a wide open bite and fish being landed as fast as you could get your bait in the water. Oh yeah, I've been there. In fact, it wasn't until I went out fishing with Bruce Porter the owner of BASSTRIX Lures that I actually began fishing with plastics. Basstrix plastics of course. I'll never forget motoring out of the harbor in the pre-dawn passing the bait barge. Of course Bruce already let me know that we would not be using any kind of live bait and that at the end of the day I would not even be interested in fishing with live bait. I can tell you that I was skeptical. However, Bruce has a way of inspiring confidence in even the most skeptical fisherman. In fact as I listened and watched him I couldn't believe how much I learned and how quickly I learned it.


So, If you are a skeptic or an absolute pessimist about the plastics BUT are willing to read on I will promise you two things: You will have a better understanding of why to fish the swim bait. And, an absolute understanding of how to fish the swim bait. Of course you will get my biased views of the swim bait to select. The final choice of course is entirely up to you. Let get started!


Fishing swim baits is not difficult. It's not mysterious as some "experts" will tell you. There are some techniques I can share with you, however, that will make any day on the water infinitely more successful. Knowing these techniques can put fish in the boat even when live bait won't.

Example: My first time out on an Albacore trip I took my dad out of Seaforth on an overnight limited load. Before we left the captain gave us the talk that none of us like to get. "The bite has been great up until yesterday we were lucky to get the five fish we did get. The onshore winds are making it rough out there blah blah blah." Who wants to pay over a hundred bucks to hear that. But, unless the weather gets better or you stumble into a big school of Albies that stay up the Skipper is usually right on.

On top of the wonderful news about the weather and the bite being off we didn't have any decent sized anchovies. INTERESTING. We're going fishing with the second best Albie bait 'sardines', a few small anchovies, the wind is blowing a gail and the bite is anything but wide open. BUMMER! Or it would have been if I did not have an absolutely incredible anchovy imitation SWIM BAIT. The BASSTRIX #110 in a 4" size. Swim Baits give you the ability to fish any kind of bait pattern regardless of whether or not the real thing is available at the bait barge. This is the WHY of SWIM BAITS. If you have the right pattern of Swim Baits you will out fish the others every time.

Fishing the swim baits on a limited load boat is a little different than fishing on a Party Boat or a private boat. Let's do all three, RIGHT NOW!

The Limited Load. Getting your bait in the water as soon as the trolled jigs get hit is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. Where you get your bait in the water at is also VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. You want to be on the slide or port side of the boat about 10 feet up from the stern. Bring your swim bait to the butt of the rod then strip out two or three strips of line. NOW, flip your bait underhand until the line runs out and let the bait head to the rear of the boat with the current as you control the free spool with your thumb. This will put your bait right in the path of the cruising school of Albies. BE ALERT, you will get bit a lot from this position especially if you are the first one out. When you feel the take engage the reel and let the fish set the hook. DO NOT SET THE HOOK or you will pull it out of the fish's mouth every time. Once he has hooked himself he's not coming off it's just a matter of controlling him with pressure from the rod and keeping constant tension on the line. Bye the way don't set your drag TOO TIGHT because for the first and second run the Albacore leads and you follow. Fish "on the slide" whenever possible. If someone beats you to it then the next best choice would be the opposite of the boat at or near the corner and cast as far back as possible to get your bait right in the school of fish. Let the bait sink and be ready to engage the reel. A lot of bites are on the fall. If you don't get bit on the fall start a SLOW RETRIEVE. When you get bit point the rod in the direction of the fish and level with the water then wind, wind, wind. Don't be surprised if someone tells you to wait for the trolled fish to get landed before casting out. Politely tell them to KICK ROCKS. After all you paid good money to CATCH FISH and it's the fisherman who are alert and in the water and on the fish that are going to actually catch fish. Don't be rude but don't be bullied either.

Party Boat Fishing. BE CAREFUL. When you fish these baits you WILL be casting. So make sure it is absolutely clear around you before you cast. That is the beauty of these baits. It gets you out away from the boat and the snags. Practice, practice, practice is the key to casting any standard reel like an Abu Garcia, Penn, Newell, etc. Get good at casting by practicing on the water in your boat, on the jetty, in a lake or even in an empty parking lot (This really tears up the bait and is the last resort). The cast is simple. Bring the bait down about half the rods length, keep the bait close to the rod and away from you and others. Now give the rod a whip in the direction of the cast holding the rod level as the line shoots out and at the same time sense the tension on the reel to prevent bird nests. Sounds complicated but it is really simple once you have practiced. In fact with a good reel you will be casting quite a distance. The key is TENSION between the Swim Bait and the rod tip. Always be sure that there is NO SLACK in the line between the Swim Bait and the rod tip. As you practice more, you will understand. If there is any slack in your line you will get a birds nest on your reel every time. You will also lose control of your bait which could hurt you or someone else. THE NEXT STEP: Once your bait hits the water let it sink until it gets down to the depth of the fish. If your not sure about the depth ask the deck hands or captain. Chances are excellent you will get a bite on the fall. If not, engage your reel and start a SLOW RETRIEVE. Let me repeat that, a slow retrieve. Slow and steady is the best retrieve in the ocean for a swim bait. Once you feel the take DO NOT SET THE HOOK but start winding your reel like mad. This will set the hook. Make sure your drag is properly set before you start fishing. When you are on a Party Boat fishing for bass or other smaller fish you will get more than one fish per swim bait and the beauty of it is that you can get right back in the water after you land your fish.


Here is my recommendation to you for the BASSTRIX line of Swim Baits.

Colors Size Quantity  
109 4" 15 -20 Minimum In Season/Red Crab
110 4" 15 -20 Minimum Anchovy
116 4" 15 -20 Minimum Smelt
132 4" 15 -20 Minimum Herring
220 4" 15 -20 Minimum Sardine
315 4" 15 -20 Minimum Squid
413 4" 15 -20 Minimum Sardine
515 4" 15 -20 Minimum Reef Fish

Several Lead Heads from ½ to 1½ oz.. from your local tackle store.

One last thing before we go for the month. BASSTRIX has ENGINEERED their baits to perform as real baitfish perform. I can't tell you how since that would give away too much to others so all I can do is offer the NO RISK GUARANTEE. Book an


Take along some Swim Baits (The #110 is all you'll need for Albies) and have the fishing trip of a lifetime.

Robbie Biccum

Look for other articles written by Robbie in our Article Archives

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