While I have many lures that I like to call “favorites”, a swim jig has become a handy stand-by for me over the past year. It has produced numbers as well as quality and has proven to be diverse enough to cover a wide array of situations. Here’s a basic rundown of what I look for and how I approach swim jig fishing!
I’ve learned that size may just be the most critical factor in swim jig success. I tend to start with a lighter approach than most anglers in the southern most part of the country. Reason being, I’m typically fishing skinnier water with a swim jig and a light ¼ oz bait allows me a more subtle presentation and the ability to feather it through cover a little better. If I’m bringing my bait through sparse grass or probing laydowns, I seem to get more bites and less snags with a lighter jig. In addition, in heavily pressured waters it offers a more “finesse” approach when held against how others are fishing a swim jig. That said, as I’ve become more comfortable with a swim jig in my hand, I have found more situations that I prefer a heavier ½ oz. bait. The first is for fishing a little deeper water on the outside edge of cover or around docks. The heavier bait will ride lower in the water column and stay in the strike zone better when you’re targeting fish in 3’-6’ of water. I also go heavier in clearer water. While this may seem counter intuitive, it simply allows me to fish the bait faster allowing the fish less time to get a good look at my bait.
As I’ve stated many times, I am as simple as it gets when it comes to color. Green Pumpkin to imitate bluegill; and, white to imitate shad. If I need to fine tune the hues, I will do that with my trailer color. In most of the areas that I’m fishing a swim jig, it is going to be areas rich with bluegill. For this reason, my Plano Edge jig box is rich with green pumpkin colored swim jigs. The only times I will start with a white jig is when I am targeting the shad spawn or if I visually see shad hanging around the docks and cover I am fishing.
Trailers are nearly as important as the size of the jig, because trailers are what gives the jig it’s action, profile, as well as determines where that jig is going to sit in the water column. The market is saturated with options here and you can make anything look good on the back of a jig, but I’ll simply go over what I use and why. My first option is always a Pro’s Choice KS Swimbait. It provides a nice bulky profile, allows a good amount of swimming action, and is pretty diverse as far as how shallow or deep you can retrieve it depending on the speed of your retrieve. My second option is a Netbait Paca Chunk. I like the Paca Chunk in the spring when everything is coming to life, and I need A LOT of action. I tend to be fishing super shallow during this time and this chunk will keep the bait sitting high in the column. In the fall, I’ll use a whole Strike King Swimm’n Caffeine Shad. That time of year, the forage is bigger, and the bass are chasing. This bait gives incredible action when burned across the top and makes for some exciting strikes. My last option is a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ. This is my choice when I’m probing slightly deeper water and want a much more subtle action. This option is great for those mid-depth brushpiles and dock posts.
These are just some tips that I’ve picked up over the past year or so as I’ve fallen more and more in love with swim jigs. As with anything, experimenting and gaining confidence is key to you becoming more comfortable with a bait. The next time you’re on the water, pick up a swim jig and see what happens. Before you know it, you’ll be in love too!