Hackney: Swim jigs vs. bladed jigs

Sometimes a guy gets exactly what he asks for. I did just that last week when I asked for fishing questions. We have enough to last for months. I’ll do my best to answer most, if not all, of them.

Here goes…James Barron asked me about what conditions made me choose a bladed jig over a swim jig.

They’re two very different lures, James. I use a bladed jig when I want to make sure my fish can see and feel my bait. If the water’s dirty or if there’s a lot of cloud cover and wind, I’ll toss the bladed model first.

On the other hand, if the water’s clear or the bites a little tough under a bright sun, I’ll often try something a little more subtle — a standard swim jig. Under those conditions the blade and thump can be just a little too much.

But, like most things with bass fishing, there’s more to it than that. I’ll often go with a blade if there’s submerged grass that I think is holding bass. I’ll swim it along so that it just ticks the tops of the stems. If that doesn’t work I’ll let it fall right down into the grass and then pull or jerk it out.

I pull when the water’s cold. Slow and steady is how that’s done. If the water’s hot, I’ll rip it out as fast as I possibly can. They seem to like it best that way.

Another scenario I see from time to time is when a bass will run out of heavy wood or cover, see the bladed model, and then turn back and swim into the cover. I frequently follow up with an ordinary swim jig. That puts them in my livewell more often than not.

One thing I think that hasn’t been explored as thoroughly as it could be is deep water blade jig fishing. Most of what I see with bladed jigs is in water 5 feet deep or less. I think we should all do more fishing with them in water up to 20 feet deep.

One thing I don’t do with bladed jigs is hop them along the bottom or pull them up and down. I swim mine.

I know the up and down retrieve is popular with some anglers — including Mike Iaconelli — so take my thoughts on that with a grain of salt. Mike’s a super good bass angler so maybe he’s onto something I’m not familiar with. I can say I don’t do it, but I won’t say you shouldn’t do it.

There is one thing about bladed jigs that I want to warn you about, however. They aren’t very weedless, especially around wood. They will hang. This seems to be pretty much true of every make and model. It’s in the basic design of the lure.

The most weedless one I know about is the Strike King Tour Grade Rage Blade. It’s as good as you can get. The only thing about it, though, is that it doesn’t run very deep. It’s great down to about 5 feet but it’s hard to get it down below that.

Next time we’ll tackle another question.