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ONE PADDLETAIL TO RULE THEM ALL...

The Scottsboro STC 6" Soft swimbait is a bait to have tied on 24/7.



Utilizing big softbaits to target big fish is a proven tactic. With so many offerings on the market, it's difficult to know which baits yield serious results. I break these baits down into two categories: paddletail (or boot tail) style baits and wedge tail style baits. I'm going to focus on paddletails for this blog and target one in particular that has produced (and will continue to produce) giant fish time and time again for me: the Scottsboro STC 6" soft swimbait. With considerable girth and ample body roll and tail kick, the Scottsboro 6" offers a meaty profile with an incredibly lifelike swim that draws bites when other soft baits fall short. Out of all of the soft paddletails I've fished, I believe the Scottsboro to have the best body roll. If I didn't know better, I would think I was live-lining a living, breathing baitfish. The tail is always kicking. If you stop reeling and let the bait fall the tail will continue to kick. This is certainly not the case with all paddletails and can be imperative in generating a bite in certain situations. I've also experimented with the STC 7" and 8" sizes but the 6" is the crown jewel of the lineup. It has the best balance and most consistent swim in my opinion, and most importantly, it still targets giants.


I employ several different retrieves to draw bites depending on the time of year, body of water that I'm fishing and overall conditions I'm faced with. A slow and steady retrieve with an occasional reel bump to impart a directional change works well in the colder months. This retrieve was fruitful for me early on in that finicky pre-pre-spawn to pre-spawn with water temperatures in the high 40s. I landed a 5lb, 12oz bass while skip casting under the treeline and slowly retrieving the bait with an occasional reel bump or rod twitch. Check out the cast to catch below:



Here is a link to the full video:



I employ a more aggressive retrieve keeping the bait right under the surface and intermittently adding fast reel bumps to make the bait break the plane of the surface of the water and cause commotion. This worked for me during late pre-spawn with water temperatures in the low 50s. I targeted lily-pad beds as they were just starting to sprout up for the season. Scroll to 9:20 in this video for a nice chunky mid-3lb class bass cast to catch.




I utilize this retrieve throughout the entire spring and early summer. WARNING: When fishing the Scottsboro aggressively like this, a bite from a giant pickerel or other toothy fish is almost guaranteed. These two monster pickerel, weighing in at 4lb and 3lb, 13oz respectively, demolished the Scottsboro 6" over grass flats in two completely different bodies of water:


This 4lb pike-sized pickerel wrecked the STC 6"!!!
The STC 6" was too much for this girthy 3lb, 13oz pickerel to resist!

Check out the 4lb Pickerel Cast to Catch here:



Of course these are only two retrieve ideas. Play with a variety of cadences and adjust accordingly. You really can't go wrong. This is one of those baits that fishes itself.


I fish the Scottsboro 6" on an 8/0 owner beast or 8/0 flashy swimmer (for added bling in muddy or tannic waters), and utilize a Decoy Ex-Snap size 3 or size 4. I would say the vast majority of swimbait fisherman frown upon utilizing a snap with a soft swimbait. However, I believe the snap allows the bait to kick out and move more freely when twitching the rod or aggressively bumping the reel. I don't repeatedly open and close snaps which weakens them over time. I usually designate one per hook/bait and that' the end of the story. This helps alleviate would-be heartache from equipment malfunction during a fight with a giant.


In terms of color, I've yet to find a colorway that STC offers that doesn't produce results. I prefer a darker top and a lighter bottom configuration a la the Vipershad offe