Jeff Sprague details why the Strike King Rage Swimmer is one of his favorite baits. Photo by Phoenix Moore
By Mason Prince - July 21, 2020
Jeff Sprague is coming off another Bass Pro Tour season in which he finished inside the Top 5 in points. He has this MLF format figured out and gave some insight into one of the baits he relies on heavily while fishing against the best anglers in the world.
Sprague favors a Strike King Rage Swimmer in Ghost Shad color with a ¼-ounce Strike King Squadron Head in clear water, no matter what time of the year he’s fishing. Pair that bait with 15-pound Strike King Tour Grade fluorocarbon line and a 6-foot, 10-inch Lew’s TP1 Speed Stick, it makes it one of his favorite setups.
Here are five reasons why Sprague loves the Strike King Rage Swimmer.
1. It’s Efficient
Fishing in MLF is all about efficiency. If you aren’t getting bit, then someone else is. Sprague knows that to survive the MLF gauntlet, you need to be covering water. That’s something the Texas pro says this swimbait does very well.
“I use this bait to cover a lot of water in a hurry, especially when I’m up in the northern part of the country,” Sprague said. “I’m able to fish this bait when other guys may be using a spinnerbait, vibrating jig, or crankbait. That’s really important for me in the MLF format to be able to find them.”
2. Effective at Different Depths
Sprague also mentions that this swimbait isn’t just for shallow searching. Whether you’re working shallow or out in deeper water, the Rage Swimmer performs.
“I can use it at different depths just depending of the weight of head I’m using and it’s still extremely effective,” Sprague highlighted. “I have a ¼-ounce head on it right now, and that’s for when I’m fishing pretty shallow. I’ll go with a ½-ounce or a ¾-ounce head if I go out deeper and start slow rolling it. No matter the depth, I feel like I can always get bit if I have this tied on.”
3. Subtle Presentation
Another thing that makes this bait so enticing to smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass alike is its profile and action.
“There’s such little vibration from this bait,” Sprague stated. “This has such a natural imitation of an actual bait fish swimming. When guys are throwing intrusive baits, I can usually go behind them and catch them with this and catch any that they couldn’t get to bite because the fish are looking for something they don’t see a lot. That’s huge, because in this game, bites equal points and points equal championships and championships equal money.”
4. Super Soft Bait
Sprague mentions that most swimbaits you find kind be a tad on the stiff side. That never seems to be an issue with the Rage Swimmer.
“This bait is so soft and so natural that when the fish hit it, they hold onto it longer,” Sprague said. “It’s not only soft, but it’s also durable. The coffee scent that’s infused with this bait is something that the fish just can’t resist. The tail kind of droops when you hold it upright, so you can tell just how soft it is. That only helps with its presentation and action.”
5. The Eye of the Head
The final selling point for Sprague is really the head and hook he puts the bait onto. The ¼-ounce Strike King Squadron Head is the perfect addition to a Rage Swimmer according to the 2020 Challenge Cup champion because of the minor details.
“On the end of the Squadron Head, the eye is at a really great angle to increase your hookup ratio,” Sprague said. “When the fish bite it, it doesn’t pull straight back into their mouth. That angle of the eye allows this big hook on this bait to go in at a better angle. When I get bit, I don’t lose fish with this. I like to go with a bigger hook because I’ve found that the fish aren’t intimidated by it. They’re so focused on the bait itself that the hook size isn’t an issue.”