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Bassdozer's Surface Swimmers

What looks like a jerkbait, has the long, slim minnow shape like a jerkbait, a plastic lip like a jerkbait, wiggles like a jerkbait, but isn't a jerkbait?

It's Bassdozer's Surface Swimmer. It is a heavy duty minnow bait that can handle big bass. They are solidly constructed to withstand the likes of pike, stripers and inshore saltwater species. Yet they are delicately balanced for perfect topwater surface swimming action with freshwater largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass too.

Weight: 1/2 oz.
Body Length: 5".
Type: Floating, wakes surface, dives 0 to 2 feet when reeled slowly.

This is a big lure with big hooks to wrestle big fish. It comes with two premium VMC #2 black nickel treble hooks. These are the same type trebles as used on Lucky Craft crankbaits.

For freshwater bass, the most effective tactic is to use them as topwater surface swimmers. Simply twitch, rip or wake then to swim on the surface, not letting them linger too long below the surface. When paused, they quickly flutter back up to the top. This is an "old school" presentation bass rarely ever see nowadays.

They are made in America, and this exact minnow is sold under several different freshwater and saltwater name brands. They are one of the most popular lures in Northeast saltwater surf and bay fishing for stripers, bluefish and weakfish. So if it looks familiar, it may well be identical to your favorite name brand lure.

The diving lip is an integrated part of the body. The lip cannot loosen or break off.

The internal hollow chamber of the lure has ball bearings inside that produce a heavy rolling, knocking sound that resonates in the internal chamber. It's loud like a baby's rattle. It has resonance. There are few other topwaters I've heard that sound like it. This internal weight system shifts to the rear of the bait during the cast to make for smooth, long and accurate casts.

It casts best with a strong spinning rod and ten pound test mono. It behaves a bit awkward and flighty when thrown on baitcasting gear. It will cast okay on baitcasting, but it casts exceptionally well with medium heavy spinning gear. Whatever slight waffling occurs on baitcasting, it acts like a missile launched on a medium heavy spinning rod.

About twenty-five years ago, floating topwater minnows of this type were standard for freshwater bass. In fact they were really the only types of minnows available for bass fishing back then. Suspending and deep-diving plastic-lipped jerkbaits or ripbaits are all the rage today. Yet jerkbaits and ripbaits were not available "back in the day". There were only floating topwater surface swimming minnows back then.

Nowadays, topwater minnows are largely forgotten by anglers. Hardly no one uses them. This can be especially important to a tournament angler. It is unlikely your competitors will use surface swimming minnows. If you think I sound enthusiastic about this lure, you are right. I am. No matter how hard a spot had been hammered in prefish, no matter how big a community hole an area may be, the fish just don't see many topwater surface swimming minnows these days. Showing them something the bass have never seen before improves your odds of catching fish. No matter where you fish, this will hold true. You can pull into the biggest community fishing hole in the state, and the resident fish will be compelled to come up top and swirl on or touch this surface swimmer simply because it's something the likes of which they've never seen before.

They are deadly to use around heavy grass beds, shallow wood piles or brush since these minnows do not get too deep. When paused, they quickly float up away from weeds and wood thereby avoiding snags.

There are several topwater presentations which work best with these forgotten floating minnows. Overall, the presentation with this surface swimmer is much slower, subtler and much more of a finesse situation in glass calm water when other topwater lure types are ineffective under such calm conditions. So it fills a niche other topwaters can't fill.

The following "old school" tactics, when done properly, are guaranteed to generate explosive topwater strikes:

  1. Waking. Cast out and let the ripples die away. You may often get hit just doing that! Wait a moment, and if no hit, simply start reeling slowly and steadily. The floating minnow will leave an enticing wake while it wriggles seductively bulging the surface. The floating minnow casts the illusion of a disoriented baitfish waking the surface. Do not reel so quickly that it dives below the surface. Let it leave a rippling surface trail like a buzzbait - but more serpentine and seductive. This is a great retrieve almost any time even at night.

  2. Twitching. Cast the buoyant floating minnow just past your target area. Allow it to rest motionless until the ripples die away, which is often when you get hit. Then start your retrieve with a slight twitching action to make the lure wiggle and quiver on the surface - but never dive under. Make long and frequent pauses, and expect a bass to explode on your floating minnow during one of the pauses. This is best over vegetation that barely reaches the surface. Since the twitched minnow never dives below the surface when you use this tactic, you can twitch it right over dense weed beds that would smother most other lures.
    Twitching is also ideal when you have only a few feet of open water to cast into - small open pools in the middle of thick matted grass, or an indented open pocket in a reed line, or to cast past a point in a reed line, and twitch it past the point. In such situations, you cannot twitch the minnow too far before it runs into emergent grass - but you probably won't get too far anyway before you get belted! This is a great tactic for when bass have nests nestled on open patches amidst weed beds - or nests tucked in pockets and along the sides of reed berm points.

  3. Ripping. The floating minnow can be ripped across the top! It is deadly jerked on the surface over grass beds or other barely-submerged cover on overcast days and even at night. In cooler water in late spring, you can develop a quick, rhythmic cadence that calls active fish to you. You can rip it, dive it under, let it pop up ... but they almost always bite on the pause even if it's paused only for a second. When early summer water is warming, rip more erratically and pause longer. Find out what the bass want sometimes not so noisy and slow, sometimes loud and fast triggers them... diving, struggling, popping back to the top, and creating quite a disturbance. Fast or slow, always make time to pause which is when they bite.

Why not try one? You'll rediscover why the floating minnow is not to be forgotten. Day or night, it is a great heavy duty lure that can handle the biggest largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass in your lake.

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