Since swim baits have recently gained national exposure and notoriety on the pro tour level its no wonder we are seeing more of them in the arsenal of recreational and big bass trophy anglers. Although the Swimbait craze started in the West the trend is sweeping the nation. There are two types of swimbaits; Plastics and hard Swimbaits more commonly referred to as wooden baits or jointed baits. These baits are made to imitate natural forage prey such as Rainbow trout, Shad, Hitch, shiners, bluegill, perch, and even baby bass. Although there are many different variations of baits and manufactures I want to talk about the AC Plug Minnow.
The AC Plug Minnow was created to catch big bass and catch big bass it has. The inventor Alan Cole, from where the bait got it’s name; has caught over 60 double digit largemouth bass and the bait itself is responsible for catching four 17 pounders and two 18 pound bass as well including 3 world line class records for lake trout, Striped bass and largemouth bass. The original AC Plug was said to be the beginning of the "swimbait revolution”. As that debate continues so do the awesome catches that this bait has accounted for. For myself I have caught 3 double digit fish including a 12 pounder on the Mag Shad.
Gabe Sanchez -AC Plug Pro Staffer with 12 pound AC Plug Fish
AC plug makes several baits to choose from including the AC Plug® Minnow, AC Plug® Original, AC Plug® Skinny, AC Plug® StickBait, AC Plug® Mag Shad, and the newest in the lineup the AC Plug® Casitas soft plastic swimbait. Each hard bait comes in a variety of colors to choose from including Rainbow Trout, Shad, Ayu, Silver/Black, Black/Gold, and Black/Purple to name a few. My favorite bait is the AC Plug® Minnow in Silver and Black. This is more of a wake bait and is great for waking just under the surface. Each AC Plug Minnow comes equipped with Owner Hyper Wire Split Rings and Owner Cutting point treble hooks. The lifelike finishes and natural swimming motions will draw vicious strikes from a variety of game fish.
What is unique on the bait is the way it’s put together with the jointed body and embedded rattles for added sound to attract fish. The soft plastic tail swings side to side naturally giving the realistic look of a wounded bait fish swimming on the surface. Although the bait comes in 5, 7, and 9 inch versions, my favorite is the 7 inch. Why I like the 7 inch; I just feel for the bodies of water I fish which is the California Delta and Clear Lake the 7 inch does a good job representing a California Shad, Sacramento Pikeminnow (native to the delta) and a Hitch (native to Clearlake). The 7 inch version is a bit skinnier then the 9 inch, but it still has a strong kick and creates a big wake with less resistance then most other wake baits I have experienced with. The fact that these baits come with Owner Treble hooks, you are ready to fish right out of the package and your hook up ratio will definitely increase because of this!
Although I throw the bait regularly, my favorite time to enjoy the bait is during the pre-spawn, and post spawn period. I like to fish during the first 2-3 days before and after the first full moon. Although not always the norm as with Tournaments can be on any given day and Mother Nature or Mr. Murphy of Murphy’s law usually throws a wrench to this equation. When I fish the bait I go out with the mindset knowing I may throw the bait for 4 hours without a strike but I know when the strike occurs, it’s going to be a nice fish. Having self confidence in what you are trying to achieve during your fishing day will help you be successful throwing the bait. Just like any technique or learning how to fish with a new bait, practice makes perfect. So in other words the more you use the bait and stick with it, you will become accustom to throwing it and working it knowing that a big strike is just seconds away. In time you will even anticipate when a strike will occur. You just have to play the percentages in targeting big fish with big baits like the AC Plug Minnow or any other bait for that matter. However because the AC Plug Minnow is so easy to fish, you will not want to put it down.
As I mentioned the bait is easy to fish, you are probably thinking well, how so? Basically you cast the bait to your intended target and retrieve the bait ever so slowly. Sounds simple enough? Yes, but also varying the retrieve can also help increase strikes from fish. You just have to let the fish tell you how they want the bait. Many times I have picked a target area be it a point, a flat, a shallow rock pile, weedline, standing timber, dock, ect, and have made the cast and let the bait sit for about 10-20 seconds; Then started my retrieve. The reason I let it sit is because the bait may have made a loud entry into the water alerting fish that prey/dinner is overhead. As I start my retrieve they eat or swirl on the bait. So this tells me I got the fish’s attention and they think im trying to be sly and escape. Other times I will make a cast and use a fast pause and go type retrieve and then maybe rip my rod a bit making the bait turn on it’s side. This seems un-natural, yes, and that is what the fish expect to see as if you were mimicking a wounded baitfish. A slow steady retrieve also which probably is the most commonly used will create a wake and with the rattles and clacking action of the jointed body will also get you the strike. Your retrieve cadence will basically be dictated on the time of year, weather conditions, water temp, water clarity, and many other factors, so keep a lot of this in mind when throwing the bait.
As far as recommended equipment to use, I personally like to use a Medium heavy - Fast to extra fast rod with a 5:1:1 gear ratio reel. For this I use the Powell Rods 765CB/SBR and 711SBR swimbait rod paired with a Shimano Chronarch reel. If im making shorter precise cast I will use the 765CB/SBR rod verses using the 711 SBR for making longer cast. I personally don’t like to use the longer bulkier rods over 8 feet and feel a 7”6 – 7’11 inch rod will do just fine. Depending on what body of water im fishing and type of cover, I like to use either 50 pound braid or 17-20 pound monofilament. The braid I will mainly use on the delta when fishing near heavier vegetation or docks to ensure I keep them from hanging up on me. I use the Monofilament on most lakes especially when fishing in open water. You are probably thinking braid, 20 pound line? Seems heavy but I feel the fish im targeting are not line shy when eating big swimbaits like the AC Minnow. One point I would like to make is not to use Flourocarbon; Reason is this type of line tends to sink and has more stretch, which is not recommended for any topwater bait and probably not good for wake baits such as the AC Minnow. Although this is just personal preferences definitely use what equipment you feel most comfortable with.
Well I hope you enjoyed this article and learned a little bit more about the AC Plug Minnow! If you have any questions specific to the bait, technique, equipment or any other fishing related questions feel free to contact me via email or on the AC Plugs Forum.
Good Luck, Have fun fishing and tight lines!
AC Plugs Pro staffer