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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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June 01, 2015

Just Plugging Along

by Bob Banfelder

Sébile's Action First Swingtail Minnow

Has Sébile built a better mousetrap?

Sébile's Action First series Swingtail Minnow is a shallow floating freshwater killer for a wide variety of species that inhabit our ponds, rivers, and lakes—especially for small and largemouth bass. Work a shoreline near structure and connect. Work the banks of a shoal and watch the water suddenly explode. Ply an inlet and allow this 4-inch plastic imposter with its extended 45-degree angled lip and jointed, rattling body to dive, wobble, and dart to depths of 4 to 6 feet before the bite is on and the battle begins. I suggest 10 pound test line. Cast, retrieve, alternate speeds between slow and moderately fast, stop and allow the floating lure to slowly return to the surface, pause for a moment, pick up a pace and develop a definite overall pattern rather than an erratic helter-skelter recovery. It seems to me that bass like to see an orderliness that they can anticipate and ambush on the next go-around. Of course, I could be all wet, but I don't think so. Only after you have thrown out half a dozen or so times, without success, experiment by changing your pattern, perhaps simply keeping to a slow retrieve and eliminating the moderately fast recovery. Continue this new pattern for another half a dozen casts. This approach is simply not limited to Sébile's Action First Swingtail Minnow lure, but for virtually all crankbaits I toss.

Patrick Sébile designed this minnow with the shallow freshwater angler in mind. However, the lure's versatility will eventually lead you to troll it at slow speeds through the upper part of a brackish or salty water column. Ideally, the 4-inch model is trolled at 6½–9 foot depths with 20 pound test line.

The lures are also available in 3¼- and 2¼- inch lengths and comes in nine colors: Silver Shad, Barred Golden Shiner, Ghost Ayu (sweetfish), Rainbow Trout, Breeding Bluegill, Cracked Firetiger, Greenback Ghost, Smokin' Black Shad, and Black Shad. The lure you see pictured is a 5/8-ounce Breeding Bluegill with two 3/0 VMC treble hooks.

Unlike casting a torpedo-like shaped plug toward a target, a jointed lure, because of its configuration, wobbles through the air and therefore thwarts pinpoint accuracy. This is not the case with Sébile's Action First Swingtail Minnow bait. With its Xternal Weight System placed strategically beneath the front section of its belly, it is perfectly balanced for optimum, dead-on accuracy. This design is unique to a jointed crankbait. Therefore, you can flip it or pitch it with true precision. This is easily accomplished by the lure's lower center of gravity, resulting in higher buoyancy and greater tracking ability. Before Donna and I take a lure out on a trial run to our fishing grounds, I first cast it from the high vantage point of our pier so that I have a bird's-eye view of the lure's performance in the water column. Sébile's 4-inch Action First Swingtail Minnow is aptly named, for its tail action is fantastic. Its extended bill and conjoined body work together to preform anything from a deliberate slow-paced motion to an "I'm outta here" attitude and action.

Without getting too technical referencing matter and motion, the lure's weighted front section coupled to what is termed mass transfer (the net movement of mass from one location to another), in this case, the lure's tail section, makes for effortless distance casting. With an internal rattling bead in the tail section, the lure's decibel level is "off the charts," says the company. Simply toying with it in hand tells you that this is one noisy minnow. In the water column, it is certainly going to grab a predator's attention.

This minnow is a whale of a deal at $7.95 each in all three sizes. Although designated for fresh water, give it a try for stripers—that is, if you can keep it away from a blast of chopper blues.

Sébile's Action First Flat Belly Walker

Sébile's Action First series Flat Belly Walker slayer is also fashioned with an Xternal Weight System, placed strategically beneath the belly and is perfectly balanced for optimum performance. The 4¼-inch, ¾-ounce topwater ‘walk-the- dog' lure is killer in the suds for virtually all species. The lure's flat-angled nose allows you to use it as a popper, too. In a stationary position, the front section of the lure rises two fifths above the surface; the rear section rests three fifths below the waterline, simulating a stunned or wounded baitfish.

Available in two lengths and weights, the smaller 3½-inch lure weighs in at ½ ounce. Both lures come in ten colors: Silver Shad, Barred Golden Shiner, Cracked Gold Chrome, Cracked Blue Chrome, Cracked Firetiger, Greenback Ghost, Smokin' Black Shad, Smokin' Shad, Spotted Bone, and Yellow Shad.

The 4¼-inch, ¾-ounce lure you see pictured here is the deadly Greenback Ghost with two 3/0 VMC treble hooks. Patrick Sébile's lure design of the Flat Belly Walker was inspired by the hydrodynamic construction of a surfboard. A twitch of the rod tip while retrieving will easily create a realistic, wide, side-to-side sliding motion that fish find hard to resist. Also, free-floating beads give stability to the lure while producing a loud knocking sound to help attract your favorites for a fight. When the clarity of the water is poor, the element of sound can be your savior. Two painstaking years went into the planning for the development of Patrick's series of Action First lure designs. Both the man and his products are in a class unto themselves.

When casting the 4¼-inch, ¾-ounce Flat Belly Walker, I work a medium- action rod and a spool loaded with 15-pound test line. Of all the lures I own and have tested, when exercising the ‘walk-the-dog' type technique, Sébile's Flat Belly Walker is, by far, the easiest to handle. To prove this point to a stubborn elderly neighbor who rarely uses this method, I handed him a rod with a wooden ¾-ounce favorite of mine. He had to work hard to keep the action's rhythm moving smoothly and at a steady pace. Next, I took the rod back, removed the wooden lure, fixed the Flat Belly Walker in its stead then handed him back the rod.

"Give this pup a try," I said with a smile.

The man casted the lure a good distance then effortlessly ‘walked-the-dog' back in wide, steady, smooth, side-to-side sweeps.

"Wow," was his response. "How much?" he added, casting the lure anew.

"Two sizes: 3½-inch, ½-ounce; 4¼-inch, ¾-ounce. $6.99 each, MSRP."

"Can I just rent this from you?" he questioned with a great big grin.

"Nope. Gotta get your own."



"Good stuff they make."

"I know."

"Can I just borrow this?"


"All the things I taught you over the years, I can't just borrow this?"

"Well, look at what I just taught you."

"What! How to walk-the-dog?"

"Of course not."

"Well, then what?" he demanded with a sour expression written across his deeply wrinkled face.

I smiled mightily. "Simply that one can teach a really old dog new tricks."


"Meaning I know that you're going to have half a dozen in your tackle bag before the week is out."

"That's right. So why can't I just to borrow this until then?"

"Because it's the only one I have."

"Tell you what."


"You let me borrow this, and when my order comes in, I'll return it and give you one for teaching an old dog how really shifty you are. How's that?"

"Deal. Silver Shad."


"The color I'd like in a 3½-inch, ½-ounce Flat Belly Walker."

"And how do I home in on exactly that color, length, and weight?"

"Come on inside; I'm going to show you how to use the computer, old-timer."

Inside the home, I had my good friend and neighbor simply Google and type in Sébile flat belly walker, click on, then scroll down the pages for true color representations of each lure.

"Pretty dang cool, Bob, I have to admit."

"Just wait till you see the accuracy and action of my new Swingtail Minnow."

"You know, I think I've been hooked."

I believe that Sébile has, indeed, built two better mousetraps.

Robert Banfelder
Award-Winning Thriller/Mystery Author & Outdoors Writer
Senior Editor, Broadwater Books
Co-host, Cablevision TV, Special Interests with Bob & Donna

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