Fishing the kelp in the saltwater, is a lot like fishing massive grass beds like you’d find in Franks Tract at low tide, or Lake Seminole or Okeechobee. Your bait often comes out of the water, and you need to be prepared to drop it into holes and gaps. Expect it. Expect a fish ‘tracking’ your bait while its out of the water. You need to choose your casts wisely. Choose good swim lanes where you get to run your bait thru juicy spots and long pools of water. The guy who can cast the furthest, is off the front of the boat, and covers the most water with the best presentation will catch the fish. Be ready, followers abound, and they tend to be big or bigger or way bigger, depending. Your fishing partner needs to be on their toes when you hook one. There’s usually more calicos around than the hooked one who are fired up and will bite.
Weedless Saltwater Swimbaits are great for the saltwater kelp or any vegetation I suppose in salt or brackish water. Also, if you’re hunting a big one a grass lake in the freshwater. I have to say, the boot tailed/paddle tailed/cut tailed swimmers, that are long and slender get bit really well. You might give the 3-5-7 pounders a different look with the following couple?
The following two baits both have a split belly. Split belly baits are synonymous with weedless swimbaits. It helps hide/hold the hook and make the bait more low profile and less likely to snag. The beauty of things like the Weighted Owner Beast Hooks, 10/0 is a good choice w 1/2 oz, because it fits a lot of swimbaits with split bellys really well.
Kevin and everyone I know that fishes the MC Swimbaits refers to Corey. Corey Sanden is the guy behind MC Swimbaits. He is credited with many innovations, baits, and developments in the world of saltwater bass fishing. The heavy floro leader attached to braid, for example, I believe Corey is credited with. The only downside of braid is that sharp teeth will cut it. Calico Bass have sharp teeth, so do the 10+ pound largemouth bass and trophy spotted/smallmouth bass. You can cut braid on a bass’s teeth, if they inhale/choke your bait deep enough. Many calico bass have been lost by the braid cutting against the fish’s teeth, hence the 12″ floro leader of 50 or 60# 100% floro. Corey is in a position to design weedless baits and make modifications from a place of authority.
Kevin fishes Corey’s MC Inshore Swimbaits exclusively. I have now fished it quite a bit too. Great running and fishing bait. Pairs up nicely with the Owner and Trokar weighted swimbait hooks out there. Kevin does a lot of damage, and is all about the tons of MC Swimbaits plastic Kevin carries around. Slender profile, yet beefy, nice little boot tail. Great colors and offerings. Very resilient and will last multiple fishes. Catches big ones. The split belly helps make it hold and rig on a screw lock style hook really well.
Chad Yates came onto the weedless swimbait scene with his Shellback Customs series of swimmers. His bait is fatter/wider than the other weedless baits. It has the largest profile, and a large paddle tail. The Shellback Customs baits have a really neat slender profile in the water. They have a really tight body movement yet, loud, obnoxious and vibrant tail doing some good thumping and displacing mad water.
Check out Chad and his baits on Instagram: http://instagram.com/shellback_custom_swimbaits