Do you know what I like about swim jigs? They catch bass because they can be fished ultra-fast, ultra-slow, and they are very efficient in vegetation. They can skirt the edges of weed beds or be cast directly into the thickest clumps. In other words, they are very versatile. Not only that but they are easy to use!
I would define shallow grass as the swim jig’s wheelhouse domain, but because it is basically a swimbait, think of using one anytime or anywhere a swimbait can be fished. My favorite was developed in the shallow grasses of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers and is made by All-Terrain Tackle, a lure company specializing in bass jig design.
The swim jig’s vegetative efficiency is rooted in the design of the head. Because the jig’s eyelet is positioned straight off the nose of the jighead, the eyelet and line won’t catch any weeds. Therefore, I can cast it through weeds of any variety whether they are matted on the surface or are down below. Compare this to jigs with the eyelet positioned more on top of the head. These jigs will snag and collect weeds right at the junction where the line is tied to the eyelet. Try a little experiment and test a swim jig against these other jig styles. It is quickly obvious which will be more efficient!
Another feature of swim jigs is the weed guard. Because of the heavy vegetation often seen when swimming a jig, a weed guard is a must to prevent the hook from snagging weeds.
The head’s shape is another important design feature. With All-Terrain Tackle’s flattened, wedge design, it is shaped to better glide over weeds and weed mats. They have also distributed the weight in the head to best prevent the jig from rolling over or running sideways.
A swim jig is a very easy lure to learn and start catching bass on right away. Recently I was swim jig fishing with my dad who is 80-years-old. While I was using a swim jig, he was fishing with his favorite, the spinnerbait. I was having success on the swim jig, while his spinnerbait could hardly produce anything. Eventually he asked for one despite never having fished a swim jig. Once he tied it on he inquired, “how do I fish this?” For the conditions we had I responded, “retrieve it the exact same way as that spinnerbait you were just using.” So he did and started catching bass shortly thereafter. One reason was because the swim jig could be cast into much thicker weeds than his spinnerbait.
Like many bass lures, a swim jig can be easily retrieved a variety of ways. Swim it fast so that it wakes across the surface, swim it subsurface ticking weedtops, or swim it and kill it, letting it sink to the bottom before winding the crank-handle again. Use trial and error to find out the best retrieve-style for a given situation.
Soft-plastic trailers are a necessary add-on to give swim jigs action. Boot-tail swimbaits, twister-tails, and swimming craws are the typical choices commonly used. If I suspect the bass are feeding on fish (shad, bluegill, perch, or whatever), I choose a boot-tail or twister-tail trailer because the lure then appears to be “fish-like”. If crawdads are being eaten, then I may opt for a swimming craw attempting to offer a more crawdad appearance.
Regarding color, take the same “what are they eating” approach and match the dominant forage. I’ve learned that if I experience timid strikes, I should change colors until the strikes become of the smashing variety. That’s a good rule no matter what type of lure is in play.
Swim jigs provide versatility, efficiency, and are easy to use. If the lakes and rivers you commonly fish have aquatic vegetation, especially in the shallows, then an All-Terrain Tackle Swim Jig would be a valuable tool for success!
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