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3:16 Lure Company - Mission Fish Swimbait

Author: Rob Belloni

History/Overview: The Mission Fish swimbait was the first, and is still the only truly weedless swimbait. This is the kind of weedless bait where you can fire it 50 feet back in sparse tullies and pull it all the way through without snagging. The bait was developed by Mickey Ellis on Lake Mission Viejo in March 2001 to overcome the heavy weed growth in the lake. The original Mission Fish comes in 5,6,7,8 and 9" versions all of which are weighed heavily to sink nose down through cover and along the bottom. There is also a 5" Curl Tail for a slower presentation, and a 7" straight tail for a more darting/ripping action. All the baits are rigged with 5/0 to 8/0 gammie hooks.

Pros: The biggest strength of the Mission Fish is it's weedlessness. Before this bait, it was very hard to fish any kind of swimbait in trees, tullies, grass etc. One thing to understand about the Mission Fish is that not only is it very weedless, but it is designed to be fished in cover and not to be fished like a normal swimbait. Casting the Mission Fish out and winding it back in in open water is not a good bet with this bait. This bait should be fished much more like a jig than a swimbait. Pitch it into wood and pull it up and over. Toss it to an outer weed edge and work it down through the grass. Find a sparse tully point and slowly slowly work it back through the base of the tullies. Think of it like the biggest plastic worm you ever fished, and make sure that the rod you have it tied to can set the biggest plastic worm hook you ever saw.

If you can get bit on Mission Fish when your line is slightly slack, your odds of hooking the fish go way up. If the fish slurps it in off the bottom, you can lower the tip and stick hard. If you are straight winding this bait and you get bit, you better close your eyes and swing because it's much more difficult to hook them like this. Use the Mission Fish as a tactical bait, a bait to put in places where other baits can't go, and you'll do well.

The Mission Fish is also great for fishing slowly at night in heavy cover, and for bedding fish. There's at least three fish over 17 on Mission Fish from beds and at least 3 over 16 at night. Guys who are getting these fish know when to use the Mission Fish as a tool to fish specific situations. The Mission Fish hooks are all super premium gammie hooks so there is no need to replace them, and the overall longevity of the bait is great. The plastic is tough and you can get quite a few fish per bait.

Cons: Well, we talked about it a little already, and the main disadvantage you encounter on Mission Fish is missed fish. Smaller fish are going to have a hard time getting the 7" and up baits, especially if they hit it while you're cranking the bait. There are a few mods you can make to increase your hookup. One mod is to take pliers and bend the hook out to either side so that it's pointing out away from the head of the bait instead of right at the head of the bait. See this pic for an example of the mod.

The other mod is to take a piece of worm and thread it on the hook to act as a buffer between the back of the swimbait and the tip of the hook. You're basically trying to get a gap between the bait and the hook so that it catches easier. If I was using the Mission Fish as a tournament lure, I would be fishing the smaller 5 to 7" versions and making the hook mods to try to increase my odds of hooking up. For trophy fish, I'm throwing 7 or 8" on a big rod and hoping to get bit on the fall or on the slack line so the fish can eat the whole bait.

Average Rating out of 2 voters
Taylor Posey Jun 14, 2005
3:16 Lures Mission Fish
I have used mission fish from 5-7" and curly tails aswell as boot tails. I have found that the curlytail ends up getting ripped off very easy, I would suggest getting the boot tail insted. My main gripe about this bait is that you may end up getting only one or two fish on this bait since it is basicly rigged like a plastic worm and a hookset can kill this bait at anytime, since it is rather expensive this can be expensive. But if your looking for a bait that can get into any type of structure this is the swimbait for you.
PS be sure and throw this on the heaviest rod you can find!
Nico Jun 14, 2005
Fish Catcher
For some reason fish just really like the Mission Fish. I'm always surprised that it gets bit by bigger fish when it looks so boring. It's worked especially well for me fishing deep, like 10-20 foot, weedbeds.

The hookup percentage is a huge problem. I like using the large, 8 or 9 inch, sizes. To get a better hookup I use the largest hook I can find and let it stick out of the back of the lure 1/2 to 1 inch. You loose some of the weedless quality, but it still comes through most deep weeds just fine.

I like the okuma extra heavy rod for the larger 7-9 inch baits. You want lots of backbone for setting the hook through all that plastic.
Copyright © Robert Belloni 1997-2012. All Rights Reserved.
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