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Fishing lure designers are an odd breed. Typically, they’re a cocktail of pseudo-engineer, mad scientist, visionary and genius. Early lure pioneers included C. R. Woolums (spinnerbait), W.T. Ferguson (internal rattles), W. D. Chapman (detachable hooks) and lure-visionary James Heddon, who patented the first real “fishing lure” in 1902.

Modern designer Patrick Sebile, in my opinion, stands as one of the best–if not the most innovative of all lure designers. His design efforts are revolutionizing how we fish. A perfect example is his Magic Swimmer Soft bait. I know, soft jerkbaits have been around for decades. However, these early baits lacked a life-like swimming action. The original Slug-O is a prime example.
In contrast, Sebile’s designs excel, offering a tantalizing swim-action when twitched. The double-jointed body articulates as it is fished, bringing the bait to life. This action is especially deadly water that is highly-pressured.

The Magic Swimmer’s action can also be micro-tuned by garnishing it with Sebile’s soft-weighted hook system. These “soft weights” (billed as a “soft tungsten” material) slide onto the hook’s shank. The action can be tweaked by varying the number of soft weights and their position.

For instance, no weights are needed when fish are feeding high in the water column. Just twitch the bait and it will put on a topwater show–spitting, flickering and walking. If fish are lower in the column, add a couple of weights and fish it a bit slower. The weights are also perfect for customizing the soft bait’s fall. Sliding them up or down the shank determines the bait’s attitude as it falls. Add more weight for a faster fall to trigger reaction strikes on aggressive fish. But when the bite turns cold, decrease weight and kill the retrieve in the strike zone–let the bait fall slowly. Sluggish fish are often motivated to take a swipe using this method.

Being a soft bait junkie, I have had great success using this new Sebile offering. It has worked well on cold-front largemouth when I pitched it tight to cover, twitched it aggressively out about a foot and then dead-sticked it. The quick-twitches get their attention and the slow fall brings them out for an easy snack.

In saltwater, this bait excels on stubborn redfish. As reds move onto grass flats, I’ve made long casts and aggressively popped the rod tip in short jerks on a fast retrieve (like “walking the dog”). If a red is there, it will make a reactionary strike at the bait. (Magic Swimmer $9.99 to $14.99; Soft Weight System 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0, 6/0 – $7.99 to $10.99)