A combination of a technique and lure that has grown in popularity got its start in the Midwest on the Mississippi River. Tournament bass anglers began crafting their own swimming jigs after they realized that the jig, a proven bass-catching lure, worked well when it was swam back to the boat.
The anglers that were on the forefront of this new technique racked up countless tournament wins and heavy limits of bass. Tackle companies wanted to create the perfect swim jig and offer it to all anglers across the United States. A swim jig is not just a lure, it is a technique—and like all techniques there are key situations in which it shines. For an angler to become successful with this technique, they will need to garner the knowledge of how versatile swimming a jig is and all the components that help make a successful day on the water.
What makes a jig a swim jig? The key parts of a swim jig include a bend in the hook eye that is around 30 degrees. This allows for the jig to be swum easily, and helps prevent the eye of jig from getting hung up on vegetation. A perfectly-balanced head is crucial because you do not want your swim jig to roll when it is being retrieved—a rolling swim jig destroys its natural-looking appeal.
Numerous manufacturers are now producing their own version of a swim jig and I suggest you try them all to find your favorite. I rely on an RC Tackle Swim Jig. RC Tackle was one of the first companies to take the homemade swim jig and put it into production. Above I talked about the importance of a well-balanced head and this jig has that; the eyes of this jig are drilled out to help remove the weight that can cause the jig to wobble and roll.
The weedguard is another important component of the swim jig. You do need nor want the heavy weedguards that come on a standard flipping jig, so it is important to look at the weedguard and trim it down to your desired thickness. It is important to not flare out the weedguard because it acts as a keel and if it is flared too much on one side or the other, it will make the jig roll.
The retrieve and technique of swimming a jig comes down a lot to how the bass are feeding. I frequently a steady retrieve and a reel and twitch.
When starting the day out, a simple steady retrieve is a good choice, because it allows the bass to react to the bait and in turn reveal more details on how they want the bait presented. If the bass are following the swim jig on the slow and steady retrieve but not biting, I will switch over to the reel and twitch.
The reel and twitch requires the angler to do as the name implies: retrieve the swim jig and every so often twitch the rod tip. This puts a natural-looking action to your swim jig and entices a following bass to strike your bait. This technique works extremely well in the late summer and fall when the bass are feeding heavily on baitfish, because when you twitch your swim jig it mimics the baitfish perfectly.
Give swimming a jig a try this year on your favorite body of water and I know you’ll have a blast!
To see how a swim jig up close, see how I rig various plastic trailers on it, and how I fish it, check out this video:
Image courtesy Glenn Walker