In case you don’t know this, you need to have yourself an assortment of colors of the Skinny Dipper from Reaction Innovations. The bait catches fish in the grass, and it catches fish in the open water. Reaction Innovations is owned and operated out of Alabama, but Andre Moore is originally a Californian. I could tell you a story or two about Andre Moore back in the late 90s, fishing the WON BASS tournament scene, Lake Havasu, and a bar called Kokomos. I was brand new 21 years old and hanging out with guys like John Murray, Byron Velvick, Dan Frazier, Steve Beasely, etc and just having the time of my life catching fish, killing it as a AAA/Co-Angler, and being a care free college guy. I’d tell you a story, but then again, like the Tiki Bar in Clewiston, what happens at Kokomos, stays at Kokomos.
Andre Moore’s Reaction Innovations makes some killer baits. The Trixie Shark is a sneaky toad style bait that has a unique sound and gurgle it produces swimming across the surface of the water. Lots of Trixie Sharks are sold in Florida, Alabama and Georgia, I’ll put it that way. Just add grass and lily pads, and the Trixie Shark is on somebody’s rod. The Sweet Beaver has so set the mark and bar as a compact flipping/punching bait, it’s hard to be a bass fisherman and not somehow come across the Beaver as a bait that is talked about and used. And then you mix in the Skinny Dipper, and you have to be like, wow, Andre has made some really good baits that catch fish, and they each seem to have a unique fit or application, or do something different.
The Skinny Dipper on an Aaron Martens Scrounger Head and a vibrating/chatter jig head, sick and wrong. No skirt. Do you see how this relates to the “Huddleston Vortex” conversation we like to think we broached in Southern Trout Eaters? The footprint and swim signature of a vibrating jig and Scrounger head when coupled with a swimbait or any softbait for that matter, is so unique and wild, that they go outside the parameters of the other 99.99% of baits and voila, the fish go nuts about them. Guys will squeak out one or two more fish on a vibrating jig with a swimbait trailer than someone throwing a traditional spinnerbait at times, and how many times does one or two fish mean the difference between a good and bad tournament? The fish have seen 10,000,000 spinnerbaits, and so when something that unique comes along with a swimbait attached to it, it gets woofed. The Huddleston Vortex predicts things like baits with unique, very real, and very odd swimming patterns/footprints/signatures tend to catch more or bigger fish, better than baits that are just ‘me too’ style baits that are just another jig, spinnerbait, crankbait,topwater bait, etc. The Alabama Rig proved five baits trump one bait, why, among other reasons, 10 vortexes from (2 vortexes per bait (( <insert Ken’s voice>“one on each side of the tail“)), 5 baits on the A-Rig, stick with me now, we will be doing calculus here in a minute!) 5 little bait fishes has always been safe to eat. Nothing had ever hooked a bass, that wasn’t trolled, that had 10 vortexes coming off it. What other baits (besides the Alabama Rig) have crazy unique vortexes/swim signatures/footprints, especially when combined with a simple and effective swimbait like the Skinny Dipper? Answer: The Scrounger Head and the vibrating jig.
They pick off fish other baits will not, in the same areas other guys are throwing baits that have been thrown for X amount of years/seasons. The Scrounger and vibrating jigs are just killer baits when combined with swimbaits like the Skinny Dipper. What other swimbaits are good? The swim senko for sure, Lake Fork Magic Shad swimbaits, and Basstrix style swimbaits are all excellent trailers on Scrounger Heads and vibrating jig, just stand alone. Learn how to fish them. You can deflect, bump, burn, slow grind, open water suspend, grass snatch, rock hop, and stroke both styles of head, and I promise you, these baits are tied on a lot of FLW Tour and Elite Series rods. What swimbait they put on, unclear, but the Skinny Dipper is one of them, and the Scrounger and vibrating jig heads are fish catchers. Big fish and tournament fish style fish catchers. The Skinny Dipper serves up a simple purpose: being an all purpose, well shaped/proportioned bait, that serves as your full bodied ‘baitfish’ imitator on a number of different rigs and hooks. It comes in really great colors and options, is relatively inexpensive, and is also weedless so it fits anything from Lake Lanier to Okeechobee in color and applications. Keep it Soft Stupid.
I like to fish my Skinny Dipper on 50# braid (would go 65 pound if I was on bigguns in thick grass) with the plastic bullet head, and I tie on a 5/0 Owner Offset Shank Wide Gap Hook with a palomar knot, make sure my braided line is nice and black, and I go to work. I fish the Skinny Dipper on the G-Loomis 964 BBR on a Curado reel and can fling that bugger quite a ways on that setup. I get great leverage for casting and hooking up with that rod and reel combo. You want a long rod to throw the Skinny Dipper. You want a shallow bend in your hook so your bait is more stream lined going thru the grass, mag gap and extra wide gap hooks aren’t my favorite, but probably are effective for someone. The PayCheck Head Case is a great piece of terminal tackle and it really helps your rigging of the Skinny Dipper. It helps hold your baits true and helps your bait bull nose thru thick stuff, without ripping the bait or pulling the hook down the shank. You’ll notice the bait spins at times in the above video. The hook generally acts as a keel, keeping the bait oriented right, but the tail and design of the bait makes it roll back and forth, and at times, it will do complete 360 degree spins while fishing it. Not my favorite, but then I realized this was a blessing and a reason it fishes so well in the grass. The ability to be sloppy with the bait, and fish it thru super thick stuff, requires the bait swim in all kinds of weird positions, even out of the water. That is were round baits beat flat sided baits.