lake champlain weedless swimbait fishing

The Eastern Front: From New York to Florida, just add grass, and get into the Huddleston Deluxe Weedless suite of baits. This is the Weedless Shad, my first time ever fishing the baits, August 2010, Lake Champlain whackfest.

The Weedless Shad is the latest edition to the Huddleston family of weedless swimbaits, and fits in size between the Grass Minnow and the 6” Weedless Trout.  You will notice the Weedless Shad has an absolute threadfin shad profile, and a miniature vortex tail, borrowed from the proven 8” Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout.   It’s more of a ball knob or boot tail (vs the swallow tail of the Grass Minnow).

huddleston vortex tails

The Grass Minnow (foreground) tail is a swallow tail, and is a more subtle swimmer, less thump and vibration than the tail of the Weedless Shad (background) that is more a ball knobber, and provides a bit more thump and vibration. You can feel the Weedless Shad swimming toward you much better than the Grass Minnow, especially when you have calm conditions and have gotten onboard the braided line bus.

The Weedless Shad is slightly bigger and heavier than the Grass Minnow and it’s more bulbous vortex tail gives off more thump and kick than does the Grass Minnow.   Because it is heavier, it tends to fish in the wind a bit better because you can cast it better.   The overall size and profile of the Weedless Shad make it an excellent tournament swimbait, and pretty much anywhere you have grass or wood, this bait is something to explore.

I find myself throwing baits like the Weedless Shad in places and areas where other guys are throwing swimming worms like the Skinny Dipper or a swim jig.  The Weedless Shad is extremely weedless and fishable, and because of the collapsable air pocket that  surrounds the hook, it has an excellent hookup ratio.  Once again, we highly recommend you fish your Weedless Shad on braided line.   You need the zero stretch, instant connection, buoyancy of braid around grass, and ability to pull fish from heavy cover with ease.

huddleston deluxe realism

Realism in shape, color, swim signature (vortex), and profile. The Weedless Shad (left) and Grass Minnow (right) are the epitome of realism in a tournament swimbait.

The hook set on the Weedless Shad is the same as the Grass Minnow or 6” Weedless Trout.  You want to keep your rod tip somewhere between 11 and 12 o clock, and when you get bit, drop your rod to parallel to the water or 9 o clock position and wait for your line to tighten up and/or your rod get some bend in it.  Then you know the fish has the bait, and go ahead and sweep hard (but don’t jack them) and reel. The spinnerbait hookset if you will.  Just keep applying pressure and wind them in the boat.

Gear for the Weedless Shad:
Rod:  G-Loomis 964 BBR
Reel:  Shimano Curado 200 G  (6.5 or 7:1, whatever you prefer)
Line:  50# Power Pro or P-Line Spectrex Braid

Strengths:  The Weedless Shad is a super realistic bait and has an excellent swim with added vibration and thump (over the Grass Minnow).  It is slightly heavier than the Grass Minnow so fishing it in wind makes sense sometimes (vs. the Grass Minnow).    The overall size and profile make it an excellent tournament swimbait, one that gets bites and lands fish.    Anywhere you have grass fishing or wood, this is a bait to go explore with.  You can cover a lot of water, just steady grinding this thing around like you would a spinnerbait.

okeechobee weedless shad

You are going to catch a lot of fish on the Weedless Shad (and Grass Minnow). You will get a lot of fish per bait, but do carry super glue or Huddle Bond, because between the grass, the fish and the fish's teeth, a lot of tears and rips happen.

Ideal Conditions:  1-3 feet of depth, shallow grass lake fishing with sparse lilly pads, mixed grasses, reeds, etc.   The clearer the water, the better.   The bait is very real and fish that see this bait tend to eat it.

Notes:    Colors aren’t a huge concern, because whatever natural or unnatural colors you throw, the fish will eat it.  I haven’t found a color of Grass Minnow or Weedless Shad the fish won’t chew.   Like all swimbaits, the better your bait swims, the more fish you’ll catch with it.  Swim comes from the lure’s designer, but also depends on the angler.

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