(Aug. 29, 2012)...
When recently asked to identify his best bass tricks, professional bass fishing star Troy Lindner didn’t hesitate. "Lately, I’ve been fishing this new swim jig combo and really dropping the hammer on some good fish. Everywhere I’ve thrown this thing, big bass have been jumping all over it?shallow water pads and ’rushes in northern lakes to tullies in the California Delta. It’s just been a really slick trick."
Lindner, who won the 2012 FLW EverStart Series event at Lake Havasu, Arizona, is one of the rising stars in bass angling, with countless other tournament wins to his credit. Before revealing Lindner’s killer swim jig combo, consider that in the weeks prior to breaking this article, several other topnotch anglers called to spill the beans on an incredible new bait they’d been using to crush fish. Not coincidentally, everyone was sharing the same secret.
"Haven’t seen anything like this for a long time," revealed Mike Pehanich, a veteran bass fishing angler and outdoor writer. "As soon as we started swimming these jigs on highly pressured Chicago area lakes, we were catching some really big bass. On one trip last week, while my partner cast and slowly retrieved a _-ounce jig over shallow vegetation, I worked the same jig in a 3/8-ounce size over 6 to 8 foot weedflats. We caught fish in both areas, but the swim jig quickly revealed that the 4, 5 and 6 pounders were living slightly deeper."
The bass catching answer?for both Lindner and Pehanich, who live 2000 miles apart?is a Terminator Swim Jig dressed with a new soft swimbait from Trigger X called the Slop Hopper. Lindner, who calls his swim jig a "finesse spinnerbait," discovered that this cool new combo especially shined in pressured water. "I like to swim the Terminator-Slop Hopper jig right through the same areas where other anglers have just pulled spinnerbaits.
"It’s just an awesome subtle approach for getting bit in super shallow water around cover," Lindner revealed. "If you fish a lot of shallow wood, brush or vegetation?especially where the water’s clear? you already know how spooky these fish can be. It’s pretty common these days for bass to be turned off by a spinnerbait retrieved through these areas. But a compact swim jig rigged with a swimbait style trailer, like the Slop Hopper, offers a subtler profile that bass respond to. I’ll trim off the Hopper’s head, so the tail just barely protrudes past the skirt. Its paddle tail gives off a fluid, but distinct underwater motion and vibration, and vibration is a major reason behind the success of the spinnerbait to begin with. It’s twice as snag resistant as a spinnerbait, too. These days, almost anywhere I used to throw a spinnerbait, I’m now tossing the swim jig?and it’s paying off big-time."
While it’s possible to swim any weedless bass jig in existence, specific critical design elements make certain swim jigs excel over others. These vital traits prompted Lindner and others choose the Terminator Swim Jig. "It’s got a perfectly balanced jighead that sports a pointed nose with no high spots or ridges to catch debris," describes Lindner. "You can slip it right through the grass and you can swim it smoothly through open water. Also, the lure’s sparse skirting provides an optimal quivering action that folds back on the retrieve, showing bass the realistic profile of the Slop Hopper trailer."
An additional characteristic shared by all top swim jigs is a sparse fiber weed guard molded into the head at a steep angle for maximum weedlessness and hookset success. The Terminator jig also sports a 30-degree VMC hook that provides an ample gap for a trailer with room left over to penetrate a bass’s jaw. A keeper barb on the hook’s shank locks the trailer tight and snug against the base of the jighead.
Retrieving the jig-swimbait combo, Lindner says, is almost identical to working a spinnerbait, except it much more versatile. Cast beyond visible cover targets, retrieving slowly and steadily past each object, bumping cover, and occasionally pausing near a tree branch or weed stalk to allow the jig to flutter vertically. Many anglers have even discovered they can work a swim jig, frog-style, over surface matted vegetation, such as lily pads or hydrilla, and then let it parachute down in pockets where big bass bask. Conversely, a heavier 3/8- to _-ounce swim jig can be worked effectively over deeper 5 to 10 foot cover laden flats, as Pehanich attested.
While some anglers swim jigs with a flippin’ stick, slightly lighter tackle excels. The perfect swim jig rod is just over 7-feet in length; it sports a nice soft tip for controlling casts and preventing overly eager hooksets. Moreover, one precision swim jig rod is St. Croix’s Legend Xtreme LXC71MHXF?a sleek 7’ 1" medium-heavy action stick rated for 12 to 20-pound test. Lindner, who swims jigs from California to Canada, selects a 7-foot Quantum Exo rod and spools with 12-pound test Sufix Castable Invisiline, which is 100-percent fluorocarbon.
"Anywhere you’ve got bass, relatively clear water and cover," affirms Lindner, "you’ve got some great swim jig water. This might be the greatest confidence bait in your box, and imagine, many anglers haven’t even tried it yet."