Fishing Tips


Posted 5/24/2009

If you're a bass fisherman like Greg Vinson, all it takes to convince you to master a fishing technique is catching one big bass. Vinson's first bass caught swimming a jig weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and today, more than 10 years later, the Yamaha pro still prefers the unusual presentation whenever he's fishing shallow vegetation.

"Swimming a jig not only provides an alternative to spinnerbaits," Vinson explains, "but also seems to attract larger fish. A jig with a twin-tail trailer is a bulky lure that creates a lot of water movement and vibration but it doesn't have the flash of a spinnerbait.

"You're fishing for reflex strikes, and I think bass may hit it because they haven't seen a lot of swimming jigs yet. I really use the technique a lot during the spring, but it works year-round whenever bass are using shallow cover."

Swimming a jig is easy. Instead of letting the lure sink to the bottom, it is retrieved rapidly no deeper than 8 or 10 inches below the surface. Vinson also shakes his rod tip as he reels to give the jig more action. The technique has been around for many years but it has never gained widespread popularity, probably because most bass fishermen have been using spinnerbaits.

"I was getting beaten in bass tournaments on the Coosa River in Alabama where I live," Vinson laughs, "so I learned how to do it out of self defense. The old-timers there had been swimming jigs for 20 years before that, and they were trying to keep it a secret."

The Yamaha pro prefers ¼ and 3/8-oz. jigs with triangular heads and flat sides that come through cover easily; they're made by one of those old timers who used to out-fish him on the Coosa, too.

"One of the special tricks I like to use is stopping my retrieve as I swim the jig over the top of a clump of vegetation, shaking it hard for a few seconds, then letting the lure fall along the edge of that vegetation," Vinson continues. "Strikes come either as my jig is falling, or the moment I begin to raise it again, and they're vicious, hard strikes. It's almost as if bass think the lure is invading their territory."

Vinson does not limit himself to swimming his jig over grass and lily pads. He also fishes it around shallow laydowns, through stumps and standing timber, and even over rocks. White/pearl was once everyone's preferred color for swimming jigs because it imitated shad but Vinson often uses black/blue, brown/green, and even brown/orange so his lures look more like bluegill and crawfish.

"Plastic trailers like twin-tail grubs are also an important part of making this presentation successful because they provide a lot of the action," emphasizes the Yamaha angler. "When the water is really clear or if it's cooler, I use a smaller one, but normally, my trailer is pretty bulky. A lot of different designs can be used, but the most important feature is that the trailer have some type of legs that swim or vibrate."

He also likes a medium/heavy action rod with a soft tip that allows him to shake the jig easily, and 40 or 50-lb. braided line that improves hook-setting in vegetation. The Yamaha angler prefers to swim a jig in water less than five feet deep and with a slight ripple on the surface, but he has used the technique successfully in both calm and rough water.