I finally got to get on a small swimbait bite. This is the same bite I found this time last year and was anxiously awaiting it to materialize so I could go test these swimbait heads I’ve had my eyes on a for a bit. I’m talking about the Jewel Gem Shad Swimbait heads. I picked some up earlier this spring, but the water was so turbulent for us all spring with mud and debris being the norm so I never got to do anything with it until now.
A simple but effective design
This has been a crazy year much like last year with everything seeming to be behind and bass wanting to stay roaming in the shallows for a lot longer than usual. Normally by this time, our bass are all offshore, but right now the bait seems to be congregated in the bays and bass are running the bait around over open water in the bays. It’s an early and late bite, but I love it.
Last year I was running into an issue throwing 1/4 and 3/8-ounce heads to give me a lot of distance as you chase the fish and bait around a lot. But the 3/8-ounce was sinking too much and too fast with little swimbaits. The small 1/4 ounce heads would pull out of the plastic swimbait really easy and I was having to swap tails constantly.
So I was hoping I could find a 1/4-ounce that held the plastic on well but didn’t want to sink so fast. That’s where the Gem Shad Swimbait Head looked perfect to me.
Works with a variety of small swimbaits
As you can see, I was able to rig several of my favorite small swimbaits perfectly on the Gem Shad Swimbait Head. Pictured here are the Tackle HD Swimmer, Jenko 4-inch Booty Shaker and Scottsboro Tackle 4-inch Swimbait.
When they are chasing bait balls around in the bays this time of year and into the summer and fall, they get real keyed on the shad and small size. I catch really good fish doing it and for some reason they don’t like the bigger swimbaits. It’s like they have it in their head they just want those small baitfish. So a 3 to 4-inch swimbait is perfect.
Colors match swimbaits well
I like that the Gem Shad Swimbait Heads are two tone so they look really natural on the swimbait with a big eye. The lead head is encased in plastic and gives it that bigger profile that fits perfectly on the nose of most small swimbaits. I will usually just lay the head next to the swimbait and figure out where on the head it’s seamless and then bite the nose off to be a perfect profile top to bottom.
Keeper and guard are what makes it special
That plastic encasing enables Jewel to make a swimbait head that is not only super easy to rig, like literally the best rigging head I’ve seen, but also has the best snugging keeper I’ve seen on a small swimbait head. Something about that plastic make its really perfect to rig and holds the tail on the head even better. It’s a design that’s so good, I’m hoping I can sweet talk Jewel into make some in 1 ounce for big swimbaits on ledges.
Found some good bait chasers with it this weekend
I love the bait roaming chasers. You can basically just hunt big balls of shad with your eyes or your electronics and just fish in and around them to catch these bass. Some of the fish I caught were just under the surface and some were around some sort of cover like a dock, a brush pile or just a point of land extending out into the bay.
The wire weed guard is nice because you can bend it out to help block more cover or bend it down to make it stick fish easier in open water. And several of the bass I hooked wallowed out a pretty good hole as I was fighting them. The wire guard, however, acted like a safety pin, making it where the head couldn’t get thrown. It seemd like it locked the swimbait head into place where you could have a hole open up and not lose the fish. That was an added bonus I didn’t expect.
It hooks fish extremely well
I caught several fish that you wouldn’t feel the bite but the swimbait just felt a little mushy, I would just speed up my retrieve and just lean a little and if I felt pressure I just kept leaning into them. Sometimes swimbaits with a stout hook won’t stick well with a pressure set. But these are strong hooks that hooked really well on a hookset and pressure set both. They are small enough that they don’t bend out and also small enough that they penetrate easily. Best of both worlds to me.