Glide Baits have become extremely popular in recent years. And with good reason: They flat-out catch fish!
They got their start in the world of big bass fishing but striper anglers quickly realized that glide baits were also the ticket for targeting big linesides.
Here are some tips for catching stripers on these deadly lures:
How to Pick a Glide Bait
There are so many companies out there that make quality gliders that it can be a bit overwhelming to try to pick a few out. So, let’s take a look at a few things down here and try to narrow it down a bit.
First off, in my experience, two-piece baits work way better than the multi-segmented kind.
As far as size goes, it really depends on what your goals are. If your only goal is trophy fish, consider going with one of the big 9, 10- or 12-inch baits like the Megabass I Slide 262T Glide,
or the even larger Gan Craft Jointed Claw Super Magnum 303.
These are expensive baits and you won’t get a ton of bites on them, but when you do, chances are they will be really big fish!
If you’d rather go a little less expensive, the River2Sea S-Waver 200 is a good bait for under $50.
I generally run smaller gliders so I can catch the non-trophies as well. The good news is, big stripers will also munch these baits so you aren’t taking yourself out of the big fish game by using them.
The sky’s the limit here on what you want to spend. Generally, the more you pay the more refined the bait is but that’s not always the case. Some companies put out lesser baits and charge a premium just try to get get in on the action.
If you don’t mind spending the cash, the 5.5″ Gan Craft Jointed Claw Kai 148 (around $65) is deadly…
The River2Sea S-Waver in the 168 size is an excellent bait in the $20 range. Also in the less expensive but still effective range is the the Savage Gear Glide Swimmer in either the 5 1/4″ or 6 1/2″ sizes.
Regardless of the bait you choose, be sure that your glider rides balanced in the water. What I mean by that is it shouldn’t be nose or tail heavy and able to stand ups straight without rolling over on its side.
Some baits come with hooks that clearly weren’t designed to handle big stripers so you may have to change them out to stouter models. The trick is to make sure you don’t adversely affect the lure’s action by adding too much weight. On some lures, I’ll add a second split ring between the lure and the hook to give the treble the ability to rotate nearly 360 degrees — this helps reduce a big fish’s ability to use leverage to twist the hooks out.
If a bait seems to be riding a little to shallow, I will also sometimes add a split-ring and barrel swivel to the nose to give it a little more weight forward attitude.
Glide Bait Colors
The best color for a glide bait is pretty subjective. It depends a lot on water clarity, weather and natural forage. My top three favorites are rainbow trout, bone and white or silver with chartreuse. But again, every water is going to be slightly different. Start with finding out what they main food source is and then expand from there.
How to Fish a Glide Bait
Everyone has their own style for fishing these baits, but for me I find I do best when is all the action is imparted with the reel…not the rod. After the lure hits the water, I may let it sink a bit and then, with the rod tip pointed down, I’ll start retrieving it. Some days, the fish like a straight slow and steady retrieve. When you slow grind the lure in this way, it will slowly slide left and right. More often, however, I’ll also impart some stops and starts to the action as well.
By reeling a crank or two and then pausing, the bait will glide off to one side. Then another couple cranks and a pause will send it drifting off the other direction. Sometimes a steady grind punctuated by a couple speed cranks and a pause is the ticket.
You’ll just have to experiment with the action — the fish will tell you on a given day what the want. What you will find is if you go too dramatic with your stops and starts, the bait will sometimes do a U-turn and the hooks will wrap up in the line.
When you get bit, the key is to stay focused and reel into the fish. If you make a quick haymaker, tuna-tosser hookset, you’ll often jerk the bait away from the striper. Some bites are crushing blows, but more often you’ll feel a quick “tick” or “thump” as the fish sucks the lure in.
To ensure you impart the proper action to the lure, don’t wear yourself out on the casts and also capitalize on as many bites as possible, using the proper gear for Glide Bait fishing is really important.
Starting with rods, I like a stick that has enough oomph to cast heavy baits and fight big fish but it also needs a soft enough tip to ensure accurate casts. The top end also needs to be able to “give” when a striper sucks in the bait so she doesn’t feel much resistance.
I use to main rods for this technique: The Douglas LRS C764MF for smaller sized gliders and the Douglas LRS C784F for medium sized ones. You can also check out the Dobyns Rod Champion XP Swimbait series.
One bait rule of thumb to keep in mind is that of your lure twirls through the air like a helicopter, your rod is too still. You know your have the right action when it doesn’t spin through the air.
There are a lot of quality choices out there as far as reels go. In general, I like a big 300-size reel with power handles and a solid drag. Some good choices are the Abu Garcia REVO Toro Beast and the Shimano Calcutta D Series In the more affordable range, some big glide bait fans love the Shimano Cardiff 300A for it’s slow retrieve rate.
Line is a pretty subjective topic — everybody has their favorite. I have found that braid with a fluorocarbon leader works great on the smaller sized gliders but if you want to throw the mega-sized ones, straight fluorocarbon is the way to go. With those huge baits, you are likely to snap one off on the cast with braid and mono ends up getting too stretched out.
As far as line goes, I have been using 50- and 65-pound P-Line TCB 8 Teflon Coated 8-Carrier Braid with a 4- to 10-foot P-Line Shinsei on my smaller rigs and straight 20-pound Tactical Fluorocarbon