GET ON THE GLIDE FOR BIG BASS
Matt Cook learned to fish in New Jersey but fine-tuned his skills on legendary Florida bass waters around Orlando and Kissimmee. When you ask Matt, who will start a full-time guide business this winter, what he uses to catch trophy largemouth, the subject of glide baits will likely come up. Matt often throws one of these typically large, jointed shad, bluegill, bream or other large baitfish imitators.
Often expensive, glide baits range from commercial models available in most tackle shops- like those from Bull Shad Swimbaits- to very pricey custom models from "artists" like Keith Thomas of Black Talon Custom Lures. Within this range, glide baits are available in all shapes, sizes, and patterns. What they all have in common is their action. When retrieved slowly- the preferred method- they gently glide from side to side in a wide, sweeping pattern, which mimics an injured baitfish.
Some areas of the sport, such as muskie fishing, have used gliders for many years, the most common being big chubb imitating jointed wooden baits. More recently, lure designers experimented with different materials and a variety of different weight schemes to get the bait to suspend or glide slowly. This gave rise to customs like Thomas’s Donk, one of the most coveted on the market, If you're lucky enough to score one, you've probably parted with at least $200. Thomas says that it is the lure’s ability to suspend in the water column that makes it lethal,
Despite experts' admonishments to work it slowly, the biggest mistakes come from people who want to see it dart from side to side. Thomas says his biggest bass hit when the bait was doing
absolutely nothing. Reel very slowly and occasionally make a gentle downward stroke of the rod tip to initiate a gentle but distinct side to side glide. A great glide bait will sink so slowly that the fall is almost not noticeable. Fortunately you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get on the glide. There are affordable baits like FishLab Tackle's BBZ line that can get you a personal-best. As a rule, glide baits are most productive during seasons that coincide with large movements of forage at times when bass are aggressively feeding- pre-spawn and the fall.