How To: Casting Swimming Plugs


There are dozens of types and brands of swimmers that are popular and effective on Cape Cod. Some are designed to swim a couple feet below the surface, some swim much deeper. They can be cast or trolled. Their effectiveness comes from their design, which usually includes some sort of swim plate or lip that gives these lures their seductive wobble. Smaller lips make the lure swim closer to the surface; big lips make the lure dive into much deeper water. Some swimmers have metal lips that can be bent to “tune” the swimming action and depth at which the lure will swim.

The most effective retrieve is usually a moderate, steady one. Trying to impart action with movement of the rod tip can be counter productive because it can make the plug roll on its side, which is certainly not natural looking. However, varying the retrieve speed can help you dial in just how the stripers want their prey to move. A slower retrieve will usually result in less wobble while a fast one will often make the lure wobble very fast, like a baitfish swimming as fast as possible to avoid capture. Be sure to vary your retrieve speed to figure out just what the stripers want on any given day.

Some swimmers come with three sets of treble hooks and many fishermen on the Cape will clip off one of the three hooks in each treble to make release of small fish easier and to help avoid tangling during the cast. However, all swimmers are tuned to swim with a certain amount of weight from the hooks so totally removing a treble can adversely effect the action. A somewhat larger single hook on the rear of the lure is another good tweak.

Swimmers can be used in practically all conditions except in very shallow water. They are an excellent choice for an angler just beginning to use lures as their action is built in – all that’s needed is a simple cast. and retrieve with no special action imparted by the angler.

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