Color – Shad patterns are most popular and they certainly work, especially where bass are feeding on shad. Semi-translucent swimbaits work great in clear water. Some glitter or a little shiny paint adds the effect of scales. In the shallows, try green pumpkin or combinations of green, brown, purple and orange – the colors of bream. Also, pure white and pure black can show up in the depths or in murky water.
Speed and action – Pay attention to how a swimbait looks when reeled at various speeds. Some baits don’t swim well at extremely slow speeds. Others roll or blow out at high speeds. Weight and rigging also affects a swimbait’s action, so if it looks a little funky at first, you might simply need to reduce or increase the weight or try a hook of a different size.
Tail and body movement – Some of the big trout imitators have very subtle action. Their tails swim side to side, but their bodies have little movement. The intent is to produce an extremely natural bait imposter in clear water. Other swimbaits have more aggressive tail movements, while some baits’ bodies roll and sway. It’s tough to say which action style is best, but if you think fish are more aggressive, try one with more action. If conditions are tough or the water is very clear, a more subtle swimbait might be better.
Hookset – Mastering a swimbait hookset can take some practice. The key is to wait to set the hook until the line has gone taut. When a fish hits, keep reeling until you feel pressure, then sweep-set.
There are several rigging options, see below picture.