BullShad Swimbaits


Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer Swim Jigging for Shoal Bass

  Every summer I find myself in a period of fishing when the big bait, bite, is only on for a few hours during those dog days.  So when those big shoal bass hunker down under the shelves of rocks, I find myself going to one lure consistently.  The swim jig with a zoom speed craw on the back end to add bulk and action.  The water I fish is usually gin clear, so I go with more natural colors and the bream imitating colors tend to be my favorite ones.  A 3/8oz swim jig is the perfect size when the water is low and slow, and those big shoal bass are hunkered down.  This tactic will catch big fish, but it will also catch numbers of decent fish as well.  My jig of choice is a homemade swim jig made by my friend Michael Smith.  This little bass wasn't a monster but it chocked the homemade swim jig like it was eating it's last meal.

   I found the best presentation is the obvious one, the natural one.  To throw the jig upriver and work it back down the shoals or pools towards myself.  This allows for the jig to swim up and over the rocks like a bream or crayfish washing downriver towards the waiting fish's mouth, like any natural prey would.  Shoal bass stay fairly active throughout the summertime so you don't have to crawl the jig back, you can work it back fairly fast.  I don't burn it back like a spinner bait but I also don't crawl it like a normal jig or texas rig.  If you match the weight of the jig correctly with the speed of the current, then it will just glide it's way back to you.  I do let it fall into the cracks and crevices in the shoals, because that is where the big bass will be waiting for it's next meal, but I only let it hit the bottom for a few seconds, at most.  This is usually when the fish will take ahold of the jig, just as it begins to fall between rocks or as you go to lift it over that rock.  A lot of your bites will just feel mushy or all of the sudden get heavy.  This is because of the slack in your line while working a jig this way.
  You have to make sure to use the proper gear for this type of fishing.  You need a strong, abrasive resistant line, that also has low visibility since the summer river water is usually very clear.  So I go with 20lb P Line Flouroclear.  I like this because it's strong, sensitive and has very little stretch so hook sets are easier, especially since the lure is working downriver towards me and moving with the current.  A bass can grab it and take it right back under one of the rocks it was hiding under.  So you need something strong when you set the hook, to get the bass out from under the rocks and keep it from snapping the line on the sharp edges.  You will also need a stout rod, I use a Dobyns 766 Flip for this paired with a Shimano Curado.  This gives me plenty of backbone to slam the hook in a big bass' lip and the reel has the ability to throw the jig a long distance.  Distance is important since your working upriver, which means you'll be throwing your lure uphill.  The micro guides on this rod also help add extra distance on your casts.  Any extra distance is a good thing.  Give this technique a try next time you find yourself out fishing some moving water on the dog days of summer.  It can produce some excellent catches.

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