Fishing Glide Baits: Tips, Techniques, Products

Glide Baits have only recently started to enter the mainstream fishing world and anglers across the country are quickly taking notice. Once you learn just how effective they are at bringing in big bass they’re hard to ignore.

Glide bait fishing seemingly came out of nowhere starting around 2010. There was a lot of chatter along the west coast with guys bringing in monster bass.

To me they just looked like a big swimbait, so what was all the fuss about? After giving them a quick try I quickly started to see what everyone was talking about. I started landing some of the biggest bass of my life.

With countless different versions currently on the market where do we start? How should we go about fishing them?

Short History of Glide Baits

Without a doubt glide baits originated out on the west coast, most likely California. These guys were making monster 8,9,10 and even 11 inch swimbaits. All of a sudden you started seeing guys hauling in these monster record breaking fish.

They’re balance is what really made them so effective. Using only one joint right in the center you can get perfect balance. Letting it glide through the water left to right, left to right, over and over perfectly in balance.

What Are Glide Baits?

Glide Baits are basically just big single jointed, hard swimbiats. Like every other swimbait they look very natural moving through the water. Almost takes on the appearance of a wide meandering S-Like curve through the water.

That’s not what really makes glide baits stand out. With a quick pop of your rod tip you can make the bait quickly “glide” off to the side. It’s this quick panicked movement that normally triggers a strike.

One of the first things you should notice about glide baits is there’s no fin on the tail section. Most swimbaits have a center/rearward fin that works like a rudder stabilizing the bait. This is going to give it more movement while going through the water.

There will also be a treble hook near the back of the bait to hook fish that quickly slap at the bait. Everything about the glide bait was built to get the perfect balance in the water. From the head to tail, everything serves a purpose.

It really is amazing what you can do with a glide bait once you learn how to really work them.

A Few of The Best Glide Baits

Gan Craft Single Jointed Glide Bait
  • Gan Craft Claw 178: Gan Craft makes some of the best glide baits on the market, but they sure are expensive. This bad boy really is a confidence builder, because it’s constantly getting bit. Personally, I really like the kokanee color where I fish, but they’re all extremely realistic(they should be at this price).
  • Savage Gear Shine Glide: Savage gear’s shine glide is by far the best glide bait for the price. You can buy three Shine Glides for the price of one Claw. It’s the best sub $50 glide bait on the market outperforming lures that cost twice as much. Perfect for both beginners and expert glide bait fisherman.
  • River2Sea S-Waver: The River2Sea S-Waver is another great option that doesn’t break the bank. Go with either the 168 or 200 size. Their terminator color is my favorite.
  • Deps SlideSwimmer: This is one of those lures that I’ll probably never get to try. It’s the only lure legendary glide bait fisherman Butch Brown uses, but it’s so ridiculously expensive. Unlike other baits it has a hard body with a soft lifelike skin over top. Just pull the skin back to change the sink rate.

How to Fish a Glide Bait

Don’t just fish your glide bait using the standard “S-Shaped” swimming movement. That’s going to be boring, looking somewhat unnatural.

Work it more like a jerkbait really popping your rod tip. That quick jerk is what makes your lure really stand out in the water. Fish the floating versions early in the year on heavy fluorocarbon which will make it slowly sink. Work them in calm shallow water, think about those tucked away pockets.

Throughout the rest of the season you’ll want to use standard sinking glide baits. Just try to mix up your retrieve quickly burning it through the water. Sinking Glides work best around bridges, dams and deeper cover.

Think about Jerk-Jerk-Retrieve pattern which mimics the way shad act. It’s all about that quick erratic retrieve.

Watch Out For The Roll

When first starting out with glide baits it can be hard to figure out the correct retrieve speed. You’ll start to notice on fast retrieves your bait starts to roll, which obviously doesn’t look natural.

To really kill it the glide bait can’t fold over and fall down on its side.Thatsjust not natural.  When it’s completely balanced it should fall belly down, back up, in a beautiful balanced sway.

I’ve noticed that when baits roll over like that fish will quickly start to lose interest. Just slow down your retrieve until you find the perfect speed that seems to attract a few followers.

Presentation and Technique

It’s just a beautiful nice slow balanced fall, but the presentation is really simple. Just look for points that you know fish are living.It’s just a beautiful nice slow balanced fall, but the presentation is really simple. Just look for points that you know fish are living.

In the spring and fall work around reeds near shallow water that you know likely house a few big bass. A lot of guys talk about twitching and jerking hard so that it turns around on itself and looks at the predator chasing it. While that might work for some it’s the wrong way to look at things.

I’ve been throwing glide baits for a while now and I’ll tell you the best cadence I’ve found is just a nice glide from left to right, left to right. That’s what’s really going to drive those big fish nuts.  

Occasionally throwing in a twitch might bring you a reaction strike, but how many shad have you seen turning around while they’re being chased.  It just looks ridiculous, like they’re just turning around and sitting there.

That never happens in the wild so why do so many guys think that’s a good idea. Those big shad and trout just have a nice long stride like they’re just trying to get away.

What triggers most of my bites is that real long stride without using my rod tip. Just reel in half a turn at a time bringing it left to right.

Choosing Gear

Start out with long rods that have a lot of power behind them. Remember you’re dealing with a lure that weighs close to half a pound. Most guys prefer an extra-heavy rod close to 8 feet long, with a moderate action. It needs to be able to handle those big lures.

When choosing your line you can go anywhere from 12-20lb Fluorocarbon depending on your lure. Larger lures will obviously require heavier 20lb line, whereas a smaller 125 Glide Fluke may be fine on 12lb Fluorocarbon.

Regardless of your lure selection you should never use anything heavier than 20lb fluoro. The 20lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon line is what I’ll typically use. It has minimal stretch and really dissappears in the water.

It’s going to let the bait sink without giving up much sensitivity. With such heavy lures you’re going to have to change your line after you’ve hit the water 10-20 times.

Where to Fish a Glide Bait

Just like every other lure where you fish is going to depend on the season and fishing conditions. From one day to the next you’ll have to change up your presentations to get a bite. That being said it shouldn’t take long to find out if bass are going after these big lures.

Since they’re such a slow moving bait you can use it in a wide variety of situations. Some days I’ll start off in 10-20 feet of water and move towards shallow 3-5 feet of water. It’s really that versatile.

In clear shallow water the fish might get a good look at your bait so that’s why we choose high detail lures. That lifelike appearance is what really entices as many fish as possible to come and follow.

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