Single swimbait fishing really caught fire a few years ago and now it seems like every angler has one tied on at some point throughout the year. One of the most effective baits at catching suspended fish, it’s also one of the easiest to fish. For the most part, it’s a chuck-and-wind kind of deal where you heave a little paddle tail swimbait out on a jig head and then just slow roll it back.
Single swimbaits are great at catching fish winter, spring, summer and fall. So today, we’re going to look at a jighead VMC has created specifically for this style of fishing, the VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig.
For starters, let’s look at something I’ve never really liked… the corkscrew-style keeper. I’ve used other baits before with a corkscrew keeper like this and it’s kind of a pain to spin the soft plastic bait around and around as you screw the nose of the bait up onto the corkscrew keeper. So I’ve actually never used a swimbait head like this and instead, have always used jig heads with the old lead bard-style trailer keepers.
But, I’ll admit I was wrong in not having given this deal a chance before. Though it is still a bit cumbersome running the bait up on the jig head the first time, the corkscrew-style keeper of the VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig does phenomenally well at keeping the swimbait up on the hook. I caught several fish without the bait being pulled down at all, which happens after the first or second bite on a tradition keeper.
I only finally had to re-rig when the bait was nearly torn into halfway down from all the action. I’m really impressed with the functionality of this corkscrew keeper, though I will offer one last note. You’ll want to use a swimbait with a little meat to the nose of it. A thin-nosed swimbait will tear.
I really think all swimbait jig heads should have their eye at an angle like this. VMC has this one listed as a 60-degree eye, though I’m not sure how they measured the angle to get there. I think of the degree of the eye in relation to the hook shaft. So an eye coming straight up like you see on a lot of jigs would be a 90-degree angle, one that’s perfectly perpendicular to the hook shaft. But this one is a good bit wider, so I would classify it as maybe a 120-degree angle or so if you were measuring from the hook shaft.
But either way, it’s a good thing. Having the eye at this angle creates a better hookset by pulling the bait forward and up. It’s also a more natural angle for the retrieve. If you picture the bait in the water coming back to the boat, an angled eye like this creates a straighter shot back up your line towards your rod tip. This helps the bait swim through the water more horizontally and less like it’s being pulled with its tail up in the air.
Sharp, wide-gap hook
The hook is strong, super sharp and has a nice wide gap and a unique bend to it. The bend is where VMC derives the ‘Hybrid’ from in naming the jig head; they describe it as a hybrid bend. I would say the closest thing I’ve seen to this hook is an O’Shaughnessy style bend, which if you’ve read many of my reviews you’ll know is a hook bend of which I’m particularly fond.
No matter if this style hook bend is used with a jig, spinnerbait or whatever the case may be, I really like it. It does a great job of pinning fish well and it’s a strong bend that doesn’t lose its shape when you stick a big one. Using this style bend, VMC created a swimbait jig head that has a slightly wider gap for its length compared to several other brands. This gives the hook a good bit of bite without having to run the shaft of the hook farther back towards the tail, which would restrict the action of some swimbaits.
Big, durable eyes
Personally, I’m not that into the big shiny eyes you see on a lot of baits; not that I’m against them either, mind you. It has just never been a big selling point for me, especially on swimbaits like this since I believe 90 percent of the bites come from the rear of the bait as a bass comes up behind it and overtakes it.
But that being said, if you are into eyes like this on a swimbait head, these are durable and don’t flake off in the first 15 casts like some other brands I’ve tried in the past. I was pleased to see that. And I don’t mean to completely discredit the effect holographic eyes like these can have. I’m sure in low-visibility situations when there’s a little stain to the water or a little cloud cover, there are times where the flash of these eyes will catch a fish’s attention. And getting those one or two extra bites can make all the difference in a day on the water. So I certainly don’t think they hurt anything.
Overall, this is a stout little jig head. It’s super sharp, has a good angle to the eye, a nice bend to the hook and a very effective corkscrew-style keeper. Available in five sizes ranging from 3/16-ounce to 1/2-ounce, there’s a head here for the majority of single swimmers on the market today. Coming in at $4.49 for a 3-pack, they’re not too expensive and this is certainly a jig head that will last for several trips. A good buy in my opinion, for sure.
The VMC Hybrid Jig is available at the following retailers: