by Stephen Hegarty –
Soft plastic swimbaits have become fairly popular in the last few years. On top of simply swimming them, they can be dragged on a football head, used as a trailer on a spinner bait or a swim jig and are a key component in the controversial Alabama rig. Adding a small willow leaf to the bend of your swim bait hook will give your swim bait a little flash, and add another technique to your swimbait arsenal.
You will need your preferred swim bait hook, a barrel swivel, heat shrink tubing, a split ring and a small willow leaf. Start by cutting a small piece of heat shrink tubing, around a ¼”, then put a small slit half way through the middle of the tube. Insert one end of the barrel swivel into the small slit and slide both pieces over the point of the hook. Your barrel swivel should be just large enough to slide onto the hook. If the swivel gets stuck on the barb try spinning the swivel to face the gap of the hook.
Once you have both pieces on the shank of the hook add the split ring and the willow leaf to the free end of the barrel swivel. Before you heat the tubing, locking it in place, put one of your plastic swimbaits onto the hook. Slide the heat shrink and swivel onto the most vertical position of the hook bend without the blade being fowled by the swimbait. Now that the blade is in your desired position, remove the swimbait and the blade and heat the tubing locking it into place.
Reassemble your rig and you are ready to fish.
This is a pretty simple modification but hopefully it helps some of you put a few more fish in your boat. I know of some Kawartha pike who are waiting to be fooled by this presentation, good luck fishing your new flashy switimbait.
About Stephen Hegarty
Stephen grew up five minutes from Canada’s Lake Simcoe, and was naturally drawn toward fishing. “I don’t remember catching my first fish, but I have a picture of a two year old holding a perch who couldn’t be happier. A lot has changed since that first perch, from watching bobbers on shore, to fishing out of the family boat, to buying my first bass boat and now to tournament fishing out of my Z520.” Stephen is sponsored by X-ZONE Lures, and Dobyns Rods
This story originally was published at NPS.com