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Swimming a Jig D-Nort Style
By
Dave Norton


The information overload on swim jigs over the years has left many anglers searching for the “magic technique” when using these bass catchers. As with all of bass fishing, I do not believe there is “one” technique that will turn any weekend angler into a touring pro; however, I do believe there are some swimming jig techniques that work better than others. I will discuss other techniques I have witnessed, and some techniques which work best for me.

Throughout each fishing season I get the opportunity to fish with and/ or close to many fellow swim-jiggers, of which many times will be someone in a tournament who I know is bringing out their best stuff so I pay close attention to their technique. Here are the two techniques I observe most often:

The Spinnerbait Retrieve. This is the technique which started the craze and is still employed by many. This consists of casting out and simply retrieving the jig at a constant pace and a fairly constant depth...much like a spinnerbait. In fact, most of the anglers who utilize this technique also have been taught to use a swim jig wherever a spinnerbait would be used. Although this is still an effective technique, swim jigs have advanced way more by now.

The Reel-and-Drop Retrieve. I see this most often around pockets in vegetation, laydowns, and even around docks. This is basically retrieving the jig somewhere near the surface until the angler visually sees something he/ she wants to drop the lure into. This, too, can be an awesome technique and preferred by many.

At times I use the above techniques but many times I like to mix things up. Before choosing a technique I always evaluate the situation. Let’s say I’m on some small private pond with zero fishing pressure. I can use a Spinnerbait Retrieve (see above) and can more than likely smoke the bass all day. When you can find new fish that have never seen a swim jig before the action can be phenomenal. However, now that basically everyone is using swim jigs I believe bass are conditioning themselves to the basic techniques. This is why I like to use others. These techniques really don’t have any names but I will title them just so you can have an idea of what I’m talking about.

The Fluke Retrieve. I really like this technique later in the year when bass start to school-up and ambush shad. What I will do here is cast out the jig, typically into open water, and then slap the jig back to the boat. When I say slap I am not talking about pulsating or pumping the jig back to the boat…I’m talking about nearly the same retrieve as a jerkbait without the few second pauses. Really Slap the jig back. Slap, reel, reel, reel…Slap, reel, reel, reel, Slap, etc…

The Burner. This technique is exactly what is says. After you cast the jig out, burn the jig back to the boat as fast as you can. If you are not conditioned for this technique I promise you after 30 minutes your arms will be toast! I have had times where I have done this for 8 hours straight. This is when you go straight back to the hotel and ice your shoulders to get ready for the next day. To curb your skepticism, a bass’ burst speed can be up to 15mph which is nearly twice as fast as you can retrieve a lure. So trust me, if a bass wants it he’ll get it no matter what your speed. Reel fast, faster, Faster, FASTER, FASTER!!!!

The Slow-Roll. This is often my favorite retrieve when the water is on the dirtier side and I am NOT looking for a reaction strike. I use this technique when I know the bass have their feed bag on and are wanting anything is sight. This is when you can see that 10 foot “V” shooting at your jig like some of the muskie guys describe prior to their hook-up. Reel slowly and evenly and keep your rod tip very high (nearly 12 O’clock).

Are there more techniques? Absolutely! I’m sure I can write a full article about 3 variations I put into each of the techniques which I listed above. The bottom line is that swim jigs are WAY more versatile than many may think and with some practice can easily become your go-to bait as it has for me.

Brovarney Baits Pro-Staff,
-Dave Norton