Fishing a Swim Jig Can Be Deadly
Ask any angler at your local tackle shop their opinion of what’s the best bait for bass fishing and you will receive a variety of replies. The plastic worm is certainly on the list, spinnerbaits are great, topwaters are fun to fish, crankbaits catch their share, a jigging spoon can catch them when it’s tough, and I know that many will say the jig-n-pig. Well I would like to add a variation of the jig-n-pig to the answers and it is a swim jig.
The swim jig begins with a lead-head but most head designs are somewhat pointed which allows the bait to more easily come through grass beds and other types of cover. The line tie is usually at the front of the head instead of on top like a conventional jig, and this allows the bait to cut through the vegetation much easier. Swim jigs need to have a weed-guard that is soft enough for good hook penetration but with just the right stiffness to keep it from hanging up. These baits are balanced to come through the water without rolling over and most come with quality ultra sharp hooks. Sizes for the swim jigs range from ¼ – ¾-ounce.
A few of what I consider excellent swim jigs on the market today include Strike Kings “Hack” Heavy Cover Jig, Booyah’s “Swim’n Jig”, NetBait’s “Paca Swim Jig”, and Stanley’s “Swim-Max Jig”.
Colors for the swim jig are a personal issue but I would recommend the black/blue, brown and white. The black/blue is my favorite especially in off-color water because the bass don’t get as good a look at the jig when it comes by like they do with a white one. If you are getting strikes but not connecting with the fish, adjust the speed of your retrieve before changing colors.
The fun part is deciding on the trailer to place on the hook that will make the lure literally come alive when it hits the water.
Plastic “craws” such as the “Chigger Craw”, “Kickin “B” Chunk”, “Paca Chunk”, “Rage Tail Lobster”, are great and believe me—there are many more colorful and enticing products to choose from.
The larger claws on the trailer not only produce lots of vibration and a tantalizing action to the bait when it is retrieved but they also slow the fall of the bait. A good rule of thumb is that for darker water add a more bulky trailer and for clear water go with a smaller profile.
A trick I learned last year is to use a plastic frog such as Stanley’s “Ribbit” on the back of the jig. The legs of the frog give off a tremendous amount of vibration and the bulk of the frog’s body will help keep the swim jig from sinking.
Swimming a jig is a technique that has caught on across the nation and at times it can be absolutely deadly. Many tournament pro’s use a swim jig when the fishing gets tough and they need a “go-to” bait to catch that $$$ fish.
The technique is simple – cast the bait out and reel it in. Sometimes an erratic or faster retrieve can work, but day in and day out a slow, steady retrieve with perhaps a few “twitches” of the rod tip is usually the most productive. Just make sure that you are in contact with the cover you are fishing, so at times you may have to stop the retrieve and let the bait sink a bit. If you keep getting hung-up go to a lighter model jig.
The swim jig can be fished at any depth but is probably at its best and most productive within a foot or so of the waters surface and near cover. And when I say cover, this bait is designed to be cast right in the middle of the tough stuff and reeled out with a minimal amount of difficulty.
Another plus to the swim jig is that it’s entry into the water is very quiet and unlike other baits, it rarely spooks the bass. I like to have a bit of wind on the water when fishing the bait and cloudy days can be very productive because the bass tend to move into shallow water feeding areas. Swimming a jig over a partially submerged hydrilla bed is a good way to get your rod jerked out of your hands.
Boat docks are another area where the swim jig really shines. Just cast the bait out and swim it thru and around any of the cover and structure that nay be present. Skipping the swim jig way back into a shadowed boat dock area and then reeling the bait quickly is another good way to trigger a bass that may not even look at another lure. Here again the jig is very forgiving on hang-ups and will allow you to easily cast into areas where many other baits cannot be fish effectively.
Another reason I like a swim jig is because bass don’t see this type of bait nearly as much as a spinnerbait or crankbait. Big bass get wary of the constant bombarding of baits and a swim jig may well be a lure they seldom see. As we approach the late summer, those shallow water areas that have submerged brush extending way out into the lake will be prime spots for swimming a jig. And it’s also a great night-fishing bait.
The swim jig probably imitates a shad or other baitfish and I am sure that as you experiment with the bait you will develop many different techniques that will entice the bass to strike. One thing is for sure, it sure is lot’s of fun to fish and can attract BIG bass. A few years ago during a club tournament, my partner A.D. White and I put a real toad in the boat on a swim jig and the bass weighed 11-pounds.
The swim jig is one of those special baits that will easily allow a beginner to catch bass and an experienced angler to catch more and bigger bass.
Give swim jigs a try – I think it will be a technique that you will use quite often. — Good Fishing – JB