The New Wave of Saltwater Swimbaits for Big Stripers

Experience the power of the FishLab Tackle Paddle Tail

FishLab Mack Attack Soft Swimbait

Versatile, capable of catching quantity and quality, and simple to use, paddle tail lures have been some of the hottest baits for stripers over the past several years.
The paddle tail isn’t anything new. It first caught fire among striper fishermen in the early 2000s, when “swim shad” swimbaits were first introduced. Considered classics today, swim shads continue to catch many stripers each season, but the latest evolution in the paddle-tail, the long, slender “sand-eel style” has been all the rage in recent years. This new wave of saltwater paddle tails, like the FishLab Mad Eel and Mack Attack Soft Swimbait, are fitted to jigheads with big eyes, gills, and other realistic flairs.

Mack Attack Soft Swimbait
Mack Attack Soft Swimbait in Silver/Black Mackerel

The magic of these lures lies, as you’d expect, in the tail. The big paddle sends vibrations through the water column. Catching fish on a paddle tail can be as simple as casting out and reeling just fast enough to get the paddle tail thumping. Of course, fishermen can use any number of more nuanced retrieves from lifting and dropping, to bottom-bouncing, and even burning them just below the surface and making a wake. Paddle tails have the versatility of a bucktail jig, without the delicate touch required to bring them alive. The best retrieve, in boats and from shore, seems to be casting out, letting the lure hit bottom, and beginning a slow, steady retrieve. Mix in some hops, drops, and pauses to help entice any following stripers to bite.
FishLab Giveaway

While swim shads have a molded internal weight that keeps the lures horizontal on the fall, baits like the FishLab Mad Eel fall nose down, forcing the tail to kick furiously as it drops. The jighead and the slender profile also makes it easier to keep the baits near the bottom, especially in fast current. This has made the sand-eel-style paddle tails a fast favorite of striper fishermen in the Cape Cod Canal and in boats.

The fish-catching action, ability to stay deep, and large profile means that paddle tails are big bass catchers, which is why a sharp, sturdy hook, like the specially designed hook on the FishLab Mad Eel, is essential to keeping bass pinned without bending out.

FishLab Mad Eel
FishLab Mad Eel in Sandeel

Introduced in 2019, the FishLab Mad Eel was designed by Mike Bennett, FishLab’s Product Development Manager to have an impressive swimming action and cover a great amount of water. In addition to the lively tail action, the baits have a heavy side-to-side rolling action for increased water displacement, attracting fish in low light, strong current, and stained water conditions. The ribbed belly design sends out even more vibration.

Each package of Mad Eels contains one head and two bodies and are available in three sizes and 7 colors:

  • 7 inch, 2.25 ounce
  • 7.5 inch, 3.5 ounce
  • 8 inch, 5.25 ounce
  • Black Ice
  • Blue Ice
  • Sandeel
  • Pearl White
  • Green Glow
  • Blue Mackerel
  • Green Mackerel

FishLab Tackle has taken this style of paddle tail further, taking the features that have made the sand-eel-style swimbaits a success and bulking up the profile to match larger baitfish, namely mackerel. The Mack Attack Soft paddle-tail swimbait features a realistic jighead and body, with small details like fins and finlets to help fool larger finicky fish.

Mack Attack Soft Swimbait
Mack Attack Soft Swimbait in Green Mackerel

The Mack Attack Soft Swimbait is designed to be fished in heavy current or deep-water with presentations like jigging or slow-trolling (like a mojo rig).

Available in three lengths and four colors, the Mack Attack features a heavy-duty jig hook that will hold up to the largest and hardest fighting fish out there.

  • 6 1/2 inch / 5.5 oz
  • 8 inch / 9 1/2 oz
  • 10 inch / 16 oz
  • Blue Mackerel
  • Green Mackerel
  • Purple Mackerel
  • Silver/Black Mackerel

• For more information on FishLab tackle and products checkout


41 on “The New Wave of Saltwater Swimbaits for Big Stripers

  1. Paul Kruzona

    Looks like certain death to canal stripers!!!! (In the slot limit , you know what I mean!!)

  2. Chris

    These lures look great! My brother picked up a 23 ft walk around and his commercial license.
    I’d like to see what these do hitting a school off Chatham!

  3. Brian Biedinger

    Love to try them off some of the bridges in New Jersey. ;))

  4. Bryan Andrew

    Worked for me twice when nothing else worked, Mack swimbait

  5. bill lawlor

    Will be in Maine in two weeks love to use some of these baits!

  6. Grady Cormier

    Just started fishing recently and have a very limited lure collection. Very well may get these my 12 year old got me into the his and we love it!

  7. marc foley

    The science ,the multiple variable patterns and colors plus great looks make these lures very attractive.I think larger pedators would agree!

  8. James Frazier

    Can’t wait to try these out for stripers in the Ocean!

  9. John Cebula

    I’ve used something similar for stripers, but these look much better.

  10. William AlKane

    Stripers and strippers are two entirely different quarry!
    Just sayin’!

  11. Carmen V Dolise

    Sweet looking lures can’t wait to use them hope I win

  12. Carl Moberg

    look good send them my way i will field test them been hitting bass off the beach consistently on some other fine products!!!! Great year from the beach/river.

  13. Grady Cormier

    I am a kid that loves fishing at the canal and would love to try the lures there. I never catch anything hope I win these and my luck changes.

    1. Fred Lilienkamp

      Bill, a good lure for a stripper would be a big roll of cash. Sorry – couldn’t resist. hee hee. Stripers are much cheaper – the 7 inch lure cost $10.95. Couldn’t catch a stripper at that price.

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