Weary of the financial sting of torn-up soft swimbaits detracting from the joy of a good bass bite? Assemble a swimbait first-aid kit to get the most bass-for-the-buck.
Most soft swimbaits rely on a belly-weighed hook for the stability necessary to swim correctly. Damage occurs when the hook breaks free during the strike or ensuing battle, often resulting in a split nose — one that won't securely hold the screw lock common to such hooks. A dab of superglue will often mend the nose back together, which will hold things tight for another fish or two. Next step is to glue the screw lock itself to the nose, which often will extract a bonus fish, maybe two.
First-aid measures are fine for mending baits in the boat. At home, though, you can take them to the operating table. Bend one tine of a paper clip free, heat it lightly over the kitchen stove's burner, and use it to soften both inside edges of the tear. Squeeze it together for a few moments and the bait will be again be fit for action.
When finicky bass aren't locking down solidly on paddle-tail soft swimbaits, a judicious nip here and there often ups the hook-up ratio.
Trimming away a bit of a Yum Money Minnow's belly fat reduces the amount of material a bass must compress to properly clamp the bait. Simply cut about an eighth-inch strip off the bottom. Another tactic is to use scissors to scoop out a slight depression along the top of the bait to expose more of the hook, a ploy that most often results in a bent rod instead of a blue haze over the water.
Still missing fish? Nip off about an eighth-inch or so off the nose of the bait to create a square surface, one that nests nicely against the flat shoulder of a mushroom head jig like Northland's Lipstick. For open water scenarios where an exposed hook is okay, this setup is lethal.
Just remember, when trimming, less is more. Swimbaits won't swim if you go wild with the cutters.
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