Advanced How To – Swim Jig Primer

Power Pole
Lews Fishing
Bucks Skeeter Yamaha
Strike King
Bucks Falcon Mercury


Swim Jig Primer- Jigs on Display

Swim Jigs on Display

by Dan O’Sullivan

It’s the time of the ear when it seems everyone is on the water.   Looking around your favorite lake can remind you of  watching fans at a sporting event trying to leave a parking lot after a game.  There can be boats lined up in the mouths of creeks, and depending on the lake, they can be bombarded with everything from jerkbaits, to spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and  swimbaits or umbrella rigs.

An angler this time of the year would be smart to pick up something different.  Of course you want it to be something that you can cover some water with, so a shaky head and worm, or a finesse rig is probably not the best choice.  The fish are, or want to be shallow, but they are seeing 33,422 spinnerbait, jerkbait and lipless crankbait casts every hour.

Might be time for a swim jig.

Why a Swim Jig?
Some anglers may have never played with a swim jig before, because it seems foreign to them.  A jig is made to be flipped, or fished

Swim Jig Primer Strike King Hack Attack Swim Jig and Trailers

Strike King Hack Attack Swim Jig and Trailers

deep on the bottom, right?  True, most jigs are constructed to penetrate cover or crawl along the bottom.  But, how many times have you been Flippin’ along a likely looking set of cover and had big bass chase your jig out of the cover when you retrieve it to make the next presentation?  My guess is most of you have.

The jig is the perfect combination of “finesse reaction bait” and bulk to entice the right kind of bass to eat.  They can be retrieved in super shallow to mid depth water, effectively, and they

can present the perfect alternative in tough times

We tend to think of jigs as crawdad imitators, but with the right presentation and color scheme, a swim jig can look like a large shad or a bluegill; both prey of the largemouth bass.  When swum through grass, around boat docks or other aquatic vegetation, a jig can be hard to beat.

Swim Jig Primer Jewel Swim It Jig Grubs and Big Bite Cane Thumper

Jewel Swim It Jig Grubs and Big Bite Cane Thumper

Two Types of Swim Jigs
There are two basic types of swim jigs on the market, those built for heavy gear, and those built for more finesse applications.  Both feature a 28 to 30-degree line tie on the hook, a balanced, minnow or bullet shaped head and a soft weedguard that makes it easier to penetrate a fish with a moving jig.

The difference in the type of jig comes with the use of a light to medium wire hook, or one with a heavy hook.  Choosing which is right for you and your situation is best done by examining the water you are going to be fishing.  If you are fishing shallow cover, then a heavier wire hook is best, but if you are fishing semi-clear water with less cover, then a lighter wire hook version is for you.

Choose weights of jigs based on the conditions you are fishing.  in shallow water, a 1/4-ounce jig will do better than a heavier model, then graduate up to 1/2-ounce if you are fishing down to around 10 feet.

The exceptions to that rule are speed and size.  If you are going to be fishing the jig quickly, then select a heavier model in the 1/2 to

Swim Jig Primer Lined Up Tight

Swim Jigs Lined Up Tight

3/4-ounce size range.  These size track better at higher speeds and they support the use of larger trailers as well.

One extremely important factor is to make sure your jig swims completely upright in the water.  If the hook eye, the weedguard and the hookpoint aren’t in line with each other; or the

trailer is crooked causing the jig to swim on its side, you are more prone to getting snagged around cover.

Choosing Trailers
Several types of trailers work well on a swim jig.  Selecting the trailer is basically a function of the aggression of the fish.  If the fish are really pressured, or the water is clear and a lot of movement in a trailer can be off putting, then a double tail or single tailed grub can be excellent, as well as a boot tailed swimbait.  However, in dirtier water, a larger trailer with heavier action, say a flapping type of a craw can be the best way to go.

Gear for Swimming

Swim Jig Primer High Speed Reel

Swim Jigs work best with a High Speed Reel

Again, these choices are best made with consideration of the jig’s construction in mind.  The heavier the hook, the stouter the gear, the lighter the hook, the lighter the gear.  A jig like

Strike King’s Hack Attack Swim Jig with a heavy wire hook can be used with as heavy as 50-pound-test braided line and a Flippin Stick, while a Finesse Swim Jig on 10 to 14-pound fluorocarbon and a medium action rod might be best because of the light wire hook.

The Jewel Swim It Jig can handle up to 20-pound fluorocarbon and has a flat head design that makes it an excellent jig for sipping around docks, so heavier line is excellent with this particular jig.

Most anglers select a high speed reel – at least 7.1:1 gear ratio – for this technique because bass often swipe at the lure then run directly at you once they’ve bitten, and you need the speed to gather line for the hookset.  A little common sense in selecting a jig for the conditions, and matching the gear to the conditions will make your efforts with a jig more fruitful.

Swim Jig Primer Davis Bait Company Paca Swim and Big Bite Yo Daddy

Davis Bait Company Paca Swim and Big Bite Baits Yo Daddy

Most of the time, it is recommended to keep this lure above the level of the fish.  if a bass can look up and see the silhouette of the lure above, then he strikes aggressively from beneath or from cover.  Use a medium retrieve to start with, then speed up or slow down as the bass tell – or don’t tell – you what they want.

Complete and total ignoring of the lure is a sign of a wrong retrieve speed.  Even the wrong trailer at the right speed will attract followers, but the wrong speed will make fish ignore the lure.  A good rule of thumb is the colder the water, the slower the retrieve.

Try banging the lure into cover to make fish respond to the commotion.  A lure that deflect wildly off of a dock post, tree limb or one that bursts through a clump of grass will get bitten long before one meandering through the water column.

So, get out there and try your hand at swimming a jig.  Select the one that matches your needs and go to town, they can produce amazing results.