Shallow Water Swimbait Tactics

By Kyle Johnson:

Want a better shot at catching those summer trout in shallow water? Once summer is in full swing, I always find myself chasing trout that are ambushing prey from grass beds in shallow water. One problem I struggle with is finding the right bait for when that topwater bite turns off.

Even though I am comfortable throwing topwater all day, knowing I will only get a few blow-ups from big trout, it’s nice to find something they will hit a little more consistently after that oh-so-rewarding morning topwater bite.

There’s nothing like working your tail off in that wonderful 100-degree summer weather. Yeah right, and the trout feel the same way. This time of year, your best shot at getting some bigger trout on topwater is an hour before and after sunrise/sunset. During that magical hour nature rings the dinner bell, and if you are in the right spot, chances are you experience the best that inshore fishing has to offer. Unfortunately, like most good things in life, it’s usually over as soon as it starts. The trout will become less aggressive, and that topwater lure isn’t as appealing to them as it was five seconds ago. It’s frustrating, I know, but there are options.

Every angler has their confidence lures they just know are going to catch fish no matter what. I grew up fishing MirrOlures, and they hold a special place in my heart. A chartreuse back chrome body 95mr He Dog pretty much stays on a Temple Fork Outfitters rod year round for me, but that He Dog puts in the most work during the summer. After the topwater bite turns off like a light switch, I usually switch to a 7m, MirrOdine, or Catch 5. They are suspending MirrOlures perfect for shallow-water grass beds. But it’s always nice to add something to the arsenal.


Even though I’ve found some great lures for when the topwater bite slows down, I’m always experimenting, trying to better myself as an angler, and becoming more versatile. Lucky for me, I got a hold of the 4.5-inch Slow Sink Vudu Mullet by Egret Baits. The capabilities of this bait are pretty much endless, but it’s absolutely perfect for targeting bigger trout in shallow water. What’s got me so worked up about this bait is the fact it gives you the option to present a large swimbait just above the grass beds in that 2- to 4-foot depth range.

Since the lure sinks at an incredibly slow rate, you have the ability to give a dead slow presentation for those stubborn middle-of-the-day trout. A steady slow retrieve with just a few good twitches every now and then has worked best for me. Trout will hit that Vudu like it owes them money, and the colors that have produced the most for me are Bunker, Striped Mullet, and Gold Croaker. If you are in the market for a good summer lure, the 4.5” Vudu Mullet is a must have!


For more solid fishing info, check out Kyle Johnson’s website and blog at

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.