Now that we’ve gone over what a swim jig is, why swim jigs are unique, when and where to use them – along with our Top 10 Picks for Jigs, Top 5 Picks for Trailers, customized options and tips from the pros – I’d like to show you how I plan to rig up this spring using 3 killer little packages. These will definitely come into play around the spawn in the shallows (and probably through fall around heavier cover as well).
Yes… you probably noticed that technically the last one is a swimbait… how very astute of you!
A Swim Jig will be my primary power presentation around the spawn when fishing from shore – especially if we get a bit of wind and cloud cover.
I haven’t decided on finesse yet, but remember: we are always trying to cover as much water and offer a few different looks without taking 50 rods with us. 1 rod for power, 1 rod for finesse. Then we beat feet. Reducing the amount of gear you carry will help you focus on the task at hand; it will help you fish the bait, cover more water and catch more fish. I will take a few alternate power presentations with me just in case, but I don’t plan to switch before giving these swim jigs adequate time to succeed or fail.
These 3 presentations will allow me to present 3 distinct looks for picky fish.
Option #1 – All-Terrain Tackle Swim Jig w/ Powerbait Milky Salt ‘n Pepper 4″ Curly Tail Grub
The All-Terrain Tackle Swim Jig comes with an interesting, semi-planed jighead and a soft fiber weedguard. It also includes a rubber piece that you can place over your plastic to keep it in place better – they call this their Trail-R-Loc System.
I’ve paired the 1/2 ounce jig with a 4″ Powerbait Curly Tail Grub in Milky Salt n’ Pepper to perfectly compliment the “Golden Shiner” skirt – so this is white with gold glitter – which doesn’t necessarily match the local forage… why, you ask?
Because I plan to burn this swim jig along, and the white & gold will be very visible in my clear water lakes. I want them to see this coming from a mile away while the curly tail flaps wildly, kicking off vibrations that feel like a fleeing baitfish.
The tail of the grub is pointing down (it’s folded up in the pictures, but it is rigged riding down) to give the bait extra lift, which combined with the unique jighead shape will skim over the top of weeds and wood alike.
Option #2 – Strike King Tour Grade Swim Jig w/ Strike King Swim-N-Shiner Paddle Tail
When it’s time to slow down a bit, we’ll lighten things up and switch to a 1/4 ounce swim jig in a more natural color and select a trailer that will come thumping along at a deliberate, steady pace. The Strike King Tour Grade Swim Jig has been a staple for me for a while now, and last year the Strike King Swim-N-Shiner put more swim jig fish in the boat than any other trailer.
One great feature about this trailer is the tail. The tail thumps well at very low speeds. This, combined with the lighter jighead, allows me to cover shallower water more methodically than I could using the heavier All-Terrain Swim Jig mentioned above (Option #1).
The weedguard on the bait is a bit more rigid than a fiber or fluorocarbon guard, so we’ve trimmed it down a bit to prevent some missed hookups while still keeping it weedless.
The darker color (green pumpkin shirt and jighead, green pimpkin and pearl belly trailer) will also come into play in darker water where we need the swim jig to silhouette better, and the slower speed and methodical thumping of the paddle-tail trailer will make the bait easy to track.
Option #3 – Dobyns Heavy Hook Swimbait Head w/ Z-Man DieZel Minnow + Harmony Fishing Tail Spinner (small silver willow blade)
Ok you caught me… Option #3 isn’t a swim jig… but we need something that can still cover a lot of water on bright clear days, or when conditions dictate an ultra-natural presentation. This is very similar to a swim jig… but there’s no skirt and the jighead isn’t quite as wedge-shaped.
The 4″ Z-Man DieZel minnow is made out of ElaZtech material and actually closer to 3″, so the overall package is smaller and more compact than Option #2 with the 4″ Swim-N-Shiner (which is actually 4″), and the 1/4 ounce Dobyn’s jighead is a bit banged up from bouncing off cover last year.
I had just started to test this bait when everything froze over.
You’ll also notice the addition of a little willow leaf spinner:
The Harmony Fishing Tail Spinners can be found on Amazon, and they allow you to add a bit more flash and vibration to your presentation. More importantly – they can be adjusted on the fly, so if you want to add or remove a small spinner to your bait without retying, this item will make you even more versatile.
Quickly add a bit more flash and vibration – or take it away. Very cool.
A Word of Caution: ElaZtech is amazing stuff, but if it comes into contact with other plastic baits or certain finishes (like those on Daredevle spoons) it will cause a weird reaction and essentially “melt” together – check this video out if you’d like to see some examples of that.
The minnow shown is “Smelt” colored, and the Dobyn’s jighead is “Shad”. The willow leaf is silver, and they offer a gold option as well. Of our 3 options, this is the most natural and “baitfish-like” – almost like a power-finesse presentation when compared to the other two swim jigs.
The only thing left to do is fish. I’ve mentioned already it is very cold as I write this – there is still snow on the ground and smaller ponds remain frozen. But the sun is out. The icicles are dripping at a steady pace. The rhythmic tap-tap-tap of the droplets quickens the pitter-patter of my own heart as I imagine setting the hook on bass after bass in just a few short months… maybe even weeks.
I don’t know that I will start with a swim jig, but around the spawn and when the time is right – these 3 little beauties will be put into heavy rotation. I’ll be able to move fast and look for reaction strikes skimming logs and cover (Option #1), slow down and give the fish a better look in shallow water and a steady pulse to zero in on (Option #2), or go finesse with just a tiny bit of flash to coax cold bass with lockjaw on bright clear days (Option #3).
Either way – I’m excited. If these presentations helped you, or if you have a few lures you plan to start with – let me know.
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