Best Swimbaits for Surf Fishing

One of the toughest parts about learning how to fish with lures is figuring out if you’re wasting your time in terms of your lure choice. The endless selection of options doesn’t help much either. There are a million things to consider when choosing the best type of lure for surf fishing.

If you’re planning on using swimbaits for surf fishing (or any other type of fishing), we’ll cover your best options as we talk about the best swimbaits for surf fishing. Here are 5 swimbaits I use on a regular basis.

Keitech Fat Swing Impact

Keitech swimbait for surf fishing
Keitech Fat Swing Impact

The lure that started it all. Consider this the “OG”. This is the lure that I first put my trust in when I started fishing with swimbaits. When you’re learning how to fish with swimbaits, there’s an uncertainty that inevitably comes along with the journey.

“Am I fishing the right spot?… How’s my retrieve?… Am I simply wasting my time with a lure that just doesn’t work?”

It’s all natural, and then comes your first fish… and your second, third… etc. At which point you come to realize the following-

If it looks like a small fish that big fish would normally eat, big fish will eat it. When you reach this point, you realize the brand isn’t as important as the actual action of the swimbait. This is where I started trying different swimbaits, more durable swimbaits and other swimbaits that just looked good to my eyes. Trust your eyes!

Best Swimbait Hook for the Keitech Fat Swing Impact

The best swimbait hook for this lure is the Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Forged Hook (1/8 oz 5/0). It’s strong, compact, and it’s a weighted swimbait hook. When I use this hook, I use a Texas Rig with a 1/2-ounce bullet weight.

What are the benefits to it being weighted? Well, aside from further casts, it keeps the lure and hook balanced and upright. If you were to instead use a normal unweighted swimbait hook, your lure would roll. Now, I know a few anglers who don’t mind the roll and who do very well for themselves, but I like the weighted swimbaits and I like a balanced, upright lure.

My second option is the Warbaits 1/2-oz Weedless Swimbait Head. It’s the simplest method for weedless rigging. This jighead has a weed guard that blocks weeds from accumulating on your hook. It works very well and I’d say it’s the easiest one to use for beginners as the rigging is easy and the swimbait tends to stay on the hook better and longer than almost any other swimbait hook.

Catch Co BioSpawn ExoSwim Paddle Tail Swimbait

Catch Co BioSpawn ExoSwim Paddle Tail Swimbait
Catch Co BioSpawn ExoSwim Paddle Tail Swimbait

Catch Co’s Biospawn Paddle Tail Swimbait. This was the first lure I put 100% confidence in simply because I trusted my eyes. I tried it out in the shallows, it looked great, and what do ya know? That first time using it, I caught my personal best white seabass!

If it weren’t for the limited color selection, I’d rate this my number one swimbait for surf fishing. In terms of durability combined with swim action, it doesn’t get much better that the Biospawn Exoskeleton.

Best Swimbait Hook for the Catch Co BioSpawn ExoSwim Paddle Tail Swimbait

Again, my number one rated swimbait hook for this lure is the Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Forged Hook (1/8 oz 5/0). Rig up with a Texas Rig and a 1/2-ounce bullet weight.

My second option is the Warbaits 1/2-oz Weedless Swimbait Head.

Z Man DieZel MinnowZ

Z Man DieZel MinnowZ Swimbait for Surf Fishing
Z Man DieZel MinnowZ

When it comes to durability, nothing beats the Z Man DieZel MinnowZ. Whatever they make it with is some of the most elastic, most durable material out there in terms of swimbaits.

One benefit to the Z Man DieZel MinnowZ is the built-in hook slot. This allows your lure to be as weedless as possible. Even when the hook pops up a little too much, the weedless hook slot keeps most weeds from grabbing the lure.

One problem though. Don’t use them with an Owner Sledhead or any other hook that uses a spring lock design.

Best Swimbait Hook for the Z Man DieZel MinnowZ

Since the Z Man swimbait is so elastic and so durable, the spring doesn’t properly puncture the lure to create the necessary “lock”. Meanwhile, Keitechs, Biospawns and practically any other swimbaits work well with spring locks.

Z Man on the other hand work well with the Warbaits Weedless Swimbait Head and other hooks that use a similar lock mechanism as well as plain and simple, old fashioned swimbait hooks and the other two weighted swimbaits mentioned in this article.

Keitech Easy Shiner

keitech swimbait
Keitech Easy Shiner 4-inch Swimbait

The Easy Shiner is a simple, to the point type of lure. It’s more durable than the Keitech Fat Swing Impact, but less durable than the Z Man DieZel MinnowZ. It holds just fine with an Owner Sledhead and all other swimbait hooks. It’s just all around solid. If you’re looking for “old reliable”, this is it.

Best Swimbait Hook for the Keitech Easy Shiner Swimbait]

The Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Forged Hook (5/0 | 1/8 ounce) is my number one option, followed by the Z-Man TT Lures ChinlockZ SWS Swimbait Hook (6/0 | 1/6 ounce) and then by the Warbaits Weedless Swimbait Hook (1/2 ounce).

The only reason I have the Warbaits hook at number 3 is because of the gap design on the bottom of the Keitech Easy Shiner mixed with the locking mechanism design of the Warbaits Weedless Swimbait hook.

Basically, the Warbaits Weedless Swimbait head requires there be a substantial amount of swimbait material because when you thread it onto the hook, it makes a decently big hole in the front body section. It just doesn’t mix perfectly with the Easy Shiner, but it’s not that bad, really.

I have used it with plenty success, but when I started throwing it with Texas rig, I realized the Mustad KVD was a better option for this specific lure.

Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer

powerbait power swimmer swimbait
Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer Swimbait

Berkley’s version of the Keitech Swing Impact is a bit skinnier than the “Fat Swing Impact”, and more comparable to the traditional Keitech Swing Impact swimbait. Nonetheless, it works just the same. It’s a bit more durable, but not as durable as the Biospawn Exoswim. Additionally, it comes in different sizes than the Keitech so if you prefer something a bit more durable and between 4.8″ and 3.8″ in size, the Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer Swimbait will be perfect.

Best Swimbait Hook for the Berkley PowerBait Power Swimmer

Option number one is the Warbaits 1/2-oz Weedless Swimbait Head. My second option is the Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Forged Hook (1/8 oz 5/0) and third is the TT Lures Swimbait Hook reference under the Keitech Easy Shiner section.

Surf Fishing Using Swimbaits

Sight Casting for Halibut

I wrote a detailed article on how to surf fishing with swimbaits earlier this year, but the bottom line here is to find a good spot, and work your lure through your spot with a slow retrieve. Too fast and you likely won’t catch many fish. I like to vary my retrieve from slow and steady to slow with some fast twitches worked in.

My best advice for retrieve is to take a moment and swim your lure around in the shallows while putting different twitches and speeds on it. Observe what you think looks the best action and try to replicate that out in the deeper waters. As you throw your lure out there, envision your swimbait and try to connect with it as you put those exact speeds and twitches on your lure.

My Lure Throwing Set Up:

What Size Swimbait is Best for Surf Fishing?

Size depends on your target species, but here on the west coast I like to use a swimbait between 4 and 5 inches in length. My target is typically halibut, white seabass, calico bass, sand bass, rockfish and a few other locally common species.

What Hook to Use for Swimbaits?

I answered this question in the subsection of each swimbait topic so if you missed it, refer to each swimbait to figure out which swimbait hooks to buy and in what sizes.

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