The drag retrieve is one of the best ways to mimic these shad as they fall to the bottom

One of the most productive ways that Neal fishes a swimbait is like a crankbait

Summer 2018


BURN: Casting the swimbait, Neal lets it sink and moves it along the bottom. He will then give his reel six to eight quick turns, burning it along the bottom before he kills it. This will allow the bait to jump up off the bottom, then swim and settle back down again.

“I like to use this retrieve to one, find active bass and two, to trigger a bite from a neutral bass that will not chase a swimbait on a regular retrieve,” he explained.

Due to the increased action, Neal prefers the Jenko Tremor Head teamed with a Big Bite BB Kicker or Suicide Shad for this presentation.

DRAG: Once the bite dies down and Neal cannot trigger more strikes, but believes there are still bass in the area, he will hit the target locations once again with a dragging presentation.

“The reason for the drag retrieve is when the bass get active and bust into a school of shad the bigger bass will let the smaller aggressive bass bust the school and sit on the bottom waiting to target the shad that are stunted and left

to flutter to the bottom,” he explained. “The drag retrieve is one of the best ways to mimic these shad as they fall to the bottom”

LIFT AND HOP: Another way to trigger strikes from bass keying in on injured or dying shad is the lift and hop retrieve.

“I have used this, from time to time, with great success,” he said. “When the bass are in between moods, this is something that you need to keep in your arsenal”.


For his swimbait setup, Neal uses a Denali 7’6”, heavy- action Lithium rod teamed up with a 6.3:1 ratio baitcaster, spooled with Sunline Sniper 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line. He feels this is the perfect setup for how he likes to fish his deep-water swimbaits.

If you take a closer look at this deep-water swimbait option, it makes sense to be throwing big swimbaits where bass are keying on big shad. •