Glide Baits Coming On Fast

Another West Coast lure trend moving East among pros

Glide Baits Coming On Fast
Glide baits more than a foot long can help find big fish. (Steve Wright photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. — From a distance, Chris Zaldain appeared to be casting a chunk of plywood. He retrieved it in slow motion near a boat dock on Texas' Toledo Bend Reservoir during the first week of May. His rod tip barely moved from the 10 o'clock position.

"It's a glide bait," Zaldain said later. "Please don't write anything about it. These are the new thing in California."

The secret is definitely out. Glide baits are now part of the long list entitled: Last Secret Bait of the Pros. A casual stroll through the ICAST showroom would convince you. Gan Craft, for instance, featured a wall of glide baits in its booth. And plenty more lure manufacturers have added glide bait models to their catalogue.

Some people call them glide swimbaits or jointed swimbaits. They come in both natural wood and hard plastic. The key feature of these lipless lures is the joint that holds the fore and aft sections together. That's what allows a glide bait to glide. It makes a wide, walking-the-dog action upon retrieve that seems to hypnotize big fish of all species.


Another key: Glide baits have the unique characteristic of being both a fish catcher and a fish locator.


Zaldain's experience in May at Toledo Bend is the perfect example. Bass were in all three stages of the spawn. Zaldain watched as game-changer-size bass followed behind his glide bait, but didn't bite. Knowing where the fish was allowed Zaldain to follow up with a soft plastic lure on 6-pound-test line. Much to his amazement, he was able to land the bass from a maze of aquatic vegetation. It weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

"If a fish sees it from 20 feet away, it's going to come up to it because they've never seen anything like that before," Zaldain sasid. "It's got anywhere from a 12- to 14-inch stride under the water. It's almost like walking-the-dog, but it's real slow and subtle. You don't jerk your rod tip."

Gan Craft was among the companies displaying a huge selection of glide baits. (Steve Wright photo)
Gan Craft was among the companies displaying a huge selection of glide baits. (Steve Wright photo)

Glide baits come in all sizes – from giant 12- and 14-inch models to the more subtle 6- and 8-inch lures, and they feature different rates of fall in the water column.


Zaldain is keeping it secret about who he thinks makes the best glide baits, but he doesn't mind offering some clues on to how to pick out a good one.

"I think the custom wooden ones out of California have the most drawing power," said Zaldain, who lives in San Jose, Calif. "But what's most important is the balance. That's difficult to get right. When you kill it (stop the retrieve), if it falls over to the side, they won't hit it. But if it falls vertically, that's what makes it most appealing."

The reel, not the rod, is the crucial part of fishing a glide bait effectively. You want something in the mid-range of speed, like 6.4:1. Not too fast; not too slow. Zaldain calls the action he puts on a glide bait "the stuck reel retrieve."


It's as if you have to break through a reel that has seized. A half-crank, stop. The glide bait swims to the left. Another half-crank, stop. The glide bait moves to the right. The lure makes a wide-path, slow-motion, walking-the-dog pattern familiar to anyone who has thrown a Zara Spook, only it does it at various depths beneath the surface.

"You want to retrieve it nice and slow," Zaldain said. "There's no rod action at all. Because it has one joint, as the line pulls the nose forward, it goes to one side, then it breaks and goes to the other side. It just keeps doing that, back and forth."

Zaldain thinks a glide bait will be effective anytime fish are hitting a jerkbait, especially spring and fall. But this lure is so new, he's not ready to put any limitations on it yet. There's lots of experimentation left to do with glide baits.

For pro bass fishermen like Zaldain, a glide bait's ability to call up fish has an obvious appeal: Bend the barbs on this two-treble hooked lure and you can determine the size of the bass holding in a particular area during pre-tournament practice. Little bass don't win big money on the B.A.S.S. circuit. If a glide bait can put bass in a show-and-tell mode, you're going to fish more efficiently during the tournament, even if they aren't chomping a glide bait.

And if you're still not convinced about the effectiveness of glide baits, just ask Zaldain about the 8-12 he caught at Toledo Bend last May.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

Berkley

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More News

8 state fishing records have been broken this year in the Old Line State. Records

Maryland Record Gray Triggerfish Caught

G&F Online Staff - November 04, 2019

8 state fishing records have been broken this year in the Old Line State.

Also, poaching cases being investigated in Arizona, Montana. Records

Angler Drowns, Elk Freed From Hammock, Another Missouri Record

G&F Online Staff - November 08, 2019

Also, poaching cases being investigated in Arizona, Montana.

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere. Records

State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

2019 edition, now available, commemorates ethical sport and productive science. News

IGFA ‘World Record Game Fishes' Celebrates 80 Years

Jack Vitek - July 15, 2019

2019 edition, now available, commemorates ethical sport and productive science.

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.