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Swim Jigs Rule River Bass

by: Brad Wiegmann

  Apparently, someone’s spreading the word out to other anglers about the fish catching abilities of swim jigs.  What was once a well kept secret, mostly by northern anglers, has slowly crept into southern anglers tackle boxes.  For bass anglers, the swim jig’s versatility and big bass appeal can not be overlooked in river systems and northern or southern reservoirs.

  While numerous swim jigs are available for anglers to purchase, only one has the reputation of being the best.  Brovarney Baits ( are known throughout the northern states for their individual pored and hand tied skirts.  The owner, Dan Brovarney, began making these swim jigs to meet his oldest son’s request for a swim jig that did not roll on its side when retrieved.  After experimenting, Brovarney designed his swim jig that anglers can now purchase.

  Unlike normal jig heads, the Brovarney jig head shape is designed completely different from other jig heads.  It consists of a 4/0 custom built Gamakatsu Hook, wire keeper to hold the trailer, powder painted jig head, and a thinner, limper weed guard.  The skirt normally has only 30 to 50 strands compared to a regular jig with 60 to 80 strands.  The swim jigs come with a combination of tinsel, living rubber, and silicon; numerous pre-made skirts are available and special colored skirts can be ordered.

  The majority of anglers prefer a single tail, double tail grub or 4 to 6-inch minnow shaped body lure, attached to their swim jigs for a trailer.  Brovarney explained, “I use a tail, the wide but not soft tail,” he continued, “the softer tail has a tendency to hang up on the hook when casting; also its important to rig the grub tail down to get the right action for the swim jig.”

  Southern anglers, similar to northern anglers, have scores of places to fish a swim jig. Lay downs, rip rap, retaining walls, boat docks, slop or other aquatic vegetation are  all prime locations to fish a swim jig.  To fish a swim jig, just simple, cast out or pitch past the intended target area, then reel, keeping the swim jig in the strike zone by reeling.  It’s important to not stop reeling the lure when hitting an object, its better to reel faster as the swim jig has a tendency to roll and hang up when slowed up or stopped.  The swim jig will easily bounce or roll over the obstruction; in fact, that’s when most bass strike the swim jig.

  Northern FLW anglers Ben Kurtz and Tim Domaille both experts on catching bass on a swim jig prefer using a ¼-ounce Brovarney swim jig head.  Kurtz, who won a BFL event while fishing the swim jig, usually cast a Blue Devil (black/blue) on the Mississippi River. Domaille also likes the dark colors early in the season, but will only throw Gill (bluegill color) during post spawn and when bass are guarding their fry.  These 2 pros prefer 30-pound braid line on their reels when fishing a swim jig.  They recommend casting the swim jigs in places where you would normally cast a hollow bodied frog, shallow running crankbait, buzzbait, or spinnerbait. 

  Now Oklahomans know the secret lure that northern anglers have been keeping from them for years.  Key locations such as boat docks, rip rap aquatic vegetation, or lay downs can be found on the majority of Oklahoma reservoirs, rivers, or streams. No doubt, swim jigs are one lure that southern grown bass wish had been kept a secret.

Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer.  Contact him at (479) 756-5279 or by e-mail at