Bladed swim jigs for bass fishing are an often forgotten weapon among anglers. When the bass aren’t responding to traditional bladed lures such as spinnerbaits, these lures tend to shine and produce giant limits of bass.
Since my college fishing years, I’ve developed quite an affinity for bladed swim jigs. Regardless of the weather conditions, fishing pressure or time of year, they seem to consistently catch some of my biggest bass of the yearâI even won the biggest tournament of my career using this lure.
I usually like to keep my equipment and presentations as simple as possible, but I make an exception with this technique. After a lot of experimentation with different trailers, I’ve developed a lot of confidence in 5 specific styles. I’m sure you can catch a few bass on other kinds, but I think you’ll enjoy even more success if you try these this year.
Zoom Salty Super Fluke
On almost any fishery you visit, you’ll be able to find big bass if you can locate a substantial population of shad. In order to determine whether or not the bass are actively feeding on shad, I look for two specific thingsâsurface activity and puke. Sure, the latter is a bit gross, but hear me out.
It doesn’t matter what time of year it isâI’m always on the lookout for surface activity. Whenever I see random surface flickers, sporadic bass boils or big bait balls next to my boat, I assume the bass are feeding on shad. In addition, I pay very close attention to the bass I catch. I look in their throats, feel their bellies and watch them as I reel them to the boat. If they’re gorging on shad, you’ll often find regurgitated shad on the water’s surface and their bellies will feel “mushy”.
If you notice any of this while you’re fishing, it’s always a great idea to use a Zoom Salty Super Fluke as a bladed swim jig trailer.
- WhenâThis is a great year-round trailer selection, but I’ve had my best days using this combination in the fall, summer and winter months.
- WhyâWhen rigged on the back of a bladed swim jig, the Salty Super Fluke doesn’t have much action. If you’ve ever seen schools of shad in their natural environment, they don’t kick side-to-side very much. They tend to glide and this bait is a perfect emulation of that behavior.
- WhereâYou don’t even really need electronics. Simply look schools of shad on the surface and after locating a few groups of them, you’ll be able to pattern their location. If you’re seeing them in the mouth of a creek, focus on docks and laydowns near primary points. If you’re seeing them in the backs of a creek, cast around shallow cover such as grass lines, stump flats and rocky banks.
Mann’s HardNose Swim Toad
It took a lot of consideration for me to include the Mann’s HardNose Swim Toad on this list. Not because it’s not effective, but because I’ve won a lot of dang money on this combination. Threading a topwater toad on the back of a bladed swim jig sounds weirdâand it isâbut if you’re looking to catch a bass over 5 pounds, this is one of the best ways to do it.
In my opinion, the size and vibration of this arrangement make it very special. Bladed swim jigs aren’t necessarily bulky, but adding the HardNose Swim Toad almost double its profile in the water. As you retrieve the swim jig through the water column, the legs kick and move wildly, creating a tempting “thump” that bass have a hard time passing on. You probably won’t catch quantity on this concoction, but if you can keep it in your hand long enough, you’ll likely catch a kicker fish.
- WhenâAs long as the water temperature is over 50 degrees, you stand a fair chance of catching some quality bass with this trailer. Its bulky profile tends to overpower coldwater bass, but I’ve fooled countless prespawn, post-spawn and fall bass with it.
- WhyâWhen I notice a lot of bream in shallow water, I like to use a green pumpkin HardNose Swim Toad on the back of a green bladed swim jig because it matches the larger profile of a bream very well. If the bass are feeding on shad, I’ll use a while Hard Nose Swim Toad on a white bladed swim jig and concentrate on hard, shallow cover. It doesn’t really look like a shad, but I’m telling youâit works.
- WhereâWhen targeting bream, I like to target floating docks and shallow pier docks with long walkways. If shad are the grocery of choice, I have a lot of success targeting shallow grass lines and riprap banks.
Yum F2 Mighty Craw
Although it’s most commonly used for flipping and pitching, the Yum F2 Mighty Craw is an excellent bladed swim jig trailer for all occasions. It’s super soft, resulting in outstanding action and it’s fairly durable, which saves both money and frustration.
If I’m fishing in water clarity that’s less than 2 1/2 feet, I’m probably going to start with this trailer. It displaces a lot of water, but it’s still subtle enough to fool finicky bass into biting.
- WhenâIf you’re dealing with dingy water, it’s hard to go wrong with this trailer. I’ve caught a lot of very early prespawn bass using it on secondary points and I’ve also done very well dragging it on primary points throughout the warmer months.
- WhyâThe Mighty Craw works excellently at slow speeds which probably explains its effectiveness in extreme water temperaturesâboth cold and hot. When the bass are lethargic, they’re not always looking to chase down a meal, so dead-sticking and slow-rolling a bladed swim jig is a powerful tool. No matter how slow you retrieve it, the Mighty Craw will move a lot of water and draw a bunch of attention to itself.
- WhereâThis a very versatile trailer, so don’t be surprised to catch fish with it in less than two feet of water and more than 10 feet of water. If you’re having trouble deciding which trailer to use on your bladed swim jig, try this one first. It will catch both quantity and quality.
Yamamoto Swim Senko
Two things can wreak absolute havoc on a hot bass biteâpost-frontal weather and fishing pressure. Whenever the fishing gets tough in a tournament or on a guide trip, I’ve started to instinctively reach for the Yamamoto Swim Senko. When you pair it with a similarly colored bladed swim jig, it’s deadly on bass throughout most of the year.
Whether I’m fishing grass lines, docks or shallow rock, I’ve developed a lot of confidence in this trailer.
- WhenâI use the Swim Senko as a bladed swim jig trailer in two specific conditionsâwithin three days of a major weather front or after I’ve already thoroughly dissected an area. Smaller, more subtle presentations catch a lot of bass in both of these situations and this trailer fits the bill perfectly.
- WhyâHave you ever been on a great flipping jig bite, only to see it disappear after a weather front rolls in? The same thing can happen with bladed swim jigs. Bulkier trailers are excellent when the bass are really chewing, but you should never overlook the power of downsizing when the bite gets tough. You’ll also catch more fish with this combination if you slow your retrieve speed. The tail will still put off a very enticing action.
- WhereâIn my area of the country, grass lines and docks are excellent places to find bass in tough fishing conditions. Although they’re likely tucked deep into the cover, the subtle “thump” of the Swim Senko tends to draw them out of their hideaways and trick them into striking.
Strike King Rage Tail Shellcracker
One of the easiest waysâif there is such a thingâto find larger than average bass is by locating shallow populations of bream. I’m no biologist, but I have to think a bass would rather eat a big, meaty, slow-moving bream instead of a tiny, fast-moving shad. Think of it like thisâwould you rather walk to your kitchen to eat a delicious steak or drive down the road to grab a pack of crackers from the corner store?
The Strike King Rage Tail Shellcracker was originally developed to flip and pitch on its side, but I’ve really enjoyed using it as a swim jig trailer for the past year. It doesn’t have many extremities, but its tail displaces a lot of water, imitating a wounded bream perfectly.
- WhenâI do a lot of damage with a green pumpkin-colored Shellcracker on a green pumpkin bladed swim jig throughout the late spring and summer months. This is when the panfish are often most active, resulting in a five-star buffet for fat bass.
- WhyâThis combination looks very much like a bream. You can retrieve it quickly to emulate a fleeing or threatened bream or slow it down and pump your rod tip to more closely resemble a distressed breamâotherwise known as easy pickings.
- WhereâBecause it doesn’t have a bunch of appendages, I’ve found the Shellcracker to be very effective in areas with heavy cover. You can wake it through shallow grass, worm it through thick laydowns or even drag it underneath docks. It also skips like a pebble, which has allowed me to capitalize on summer mayfly hatches underneath overhanging bushes.
Sure, a bladed swim jig is a bona fide fish catcher, but don’t assume any ol’ soft plastic trailer will do the job. Pay close attention to the available forage, cover and water clarity and try one of these trailersâI catch a bunch of bass on ’em and I think you will, too.