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  Sep 25, 2016

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Swimming a Jig
Swimming a Jig by Jeff Bruhl

Swimming a Jig
by Jeff Bruhl

Pro anglers have known for some time how swimming a jig catches fish. This technique turned mainstream this year and filtered its way to the local bass anglers. Swimming a jig is an easy to learn technique and requires some basic equipment and basic tips to get any angler started. The common weedless jig swam through thick grass or heavy cover puts bass over the side of the boat.
What is a swimming jig? Many anglers do not realize that swimming a jig is more a method than a lure. Any jig swims. Some have specialized heads and hooks while others are the standard fairs. A basic list of requirements for swimming jigs consists of a head that glides through heavy weeds and stays upright when reeled at a steady pace. Most assume that swimming jigs are white. White is a great color for imitating shad but black and blue jigs catch fish, too. Understanding that swimming a jig is more than color of the lure or shape of the jig is the step that will make you a better swimming jig fisherman.
A good quarter ounce jig in white or a favorite color with a grub or other style of matching trailer is a great way to begin. The swimming jig is a technique that is a great substitute for a spinnerbait or crankbait. It goes through thicker cover better than a crankbait and glides through grass easier than a spinnerbait. From treetops and standing timbers to grass beds and brush, a jig skates through thick cover in search of bass. A slow, steady retrieve through cover, similar to a spinnerbait retrieve, is the key to swimming a jig
Whether you fish trees or heavy grass, the proper technique translates into more hookups and strikes. After making the cast, hold the rod at the 10 o’clock position. Turn your shoulders perpendicular to the target. A slow continuous retrieve is a great starting point. A few wiggles and jerks add some enticing changes to the lure. Be a line watcher. Often the strike is very subtle. Once a strike occurs, use a quick upward thrust to drive the hook home. A swimming jig is very similar to a spinnerbait that runs just a foot or so below the surface. Often the fish hooks itself but a good firm hook set adds a little insurance.
Equipment is another important tip for the angler. A stout rod, like a Challenger Mag Worm 2, seven foot, heavy action rod, comes highly recommended for thick grass and heavy cover. A big rod helps turn the fish and pulls him away from the cover quickly. Spiderwire® is a must for big fish and heavy cover. The low stretch and high sensitivity greatly increases the hookups and landing of the fish. A good high-speed reel benefits the angler with quicker line pickup. The combination of a heavy action rod and low-stretch braided line helps train the first time user and increases the chances of landing that big fish buried in deep cover.
The final component is the jig. A few companies produce a true swimming jig, which has a lighter hook than standard flipping models. RC Tackle’s jig has a light wire hook and a 28-degree bend hook. The fiber guard is light and does not interfere with hookups. The balance head keeps the lure swimming upright. Coast Lures produces a jig with a Teflon coated hook. This hook penetrates easily and the head handles weeds and wood with equal efficiency. Rumba Doll Jigs are great for heavy weeds and wood cover. The bullet head design penetrates heavy cover without difficulty. A strong, black Mustad wide gap hook with 28-degree bend handles big bass in deep cover with great success. Like many bass fishing techniques, experimenting is part of the fun. Try several different heads until one performs to the satisfaction of the angler based on local cover and fishing style.
The basic 5-inch curl tail grub is a great trailer. However, plastic twin tail grubs and standard pork trailers have their place. Uncle Josh’s Craw Frog and Kicker Frog are a great substitute for plastics. Combined with their new jigs, it offers another option for the swimming jig angler. Always rig any trailer to give off as much vibration and action as possible. The debate continues on rigging the curl tail up or down as which is better. Let the fish and condition determine the best trailer.

As a substitute for a spinnerbait, the swimming jig gives any angler an alternative to adjust to many fishing situation. Instead of bouncing a crankbait off the bottom, try slow rolling a swimming jig through the roots of a big Cyprus tree or similar structure. Instead of burning a spinnerbait through the pockets of shoreline grass, through a jig into the heaviest cover and crank it just below the surface. A swimming jig will ride over matted grass, swim through the branches of a big lay down, and bump stumps on a flat with the best of bass fishing procedures. The swimming jig needs a place in the tournament angler’s tackle box.


Jeff BruhlAbout the author: Jeff Bruhl is a member of the Louisiana Outdoors Writer Association, pro angler, and a pharmacist. His website,, covers freshwater fishing across Louisiana and the gulf coast. Each Saturday morning between 5-7 am CST, a bass fishing report can be heard on the Outdoors with Don Dubuc Radio Show ( on 870 AM from the New Orleans station. Jeff has made numerous television and radio appearances on shows like Paradise Louisiana, The Big Fish, and From tips on to weekly reports on his website, his articles and reports provide tips and tactics for bass anglers in the sportsman paradise. Jeff’s sponsors include Abu Garcia, Xpoint hooks, Bud Light, Louisiana Fish Fry Products, Power Pole, Stanley Jigs and Spinnerbaits, Skeeter, Dockside Marine, Rat-L-Trap, and Berkley. For more information about fishing in Louisiana, drop Jeff an email at



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