Weidler's swim jig sensibility

This is, no doubt, the age of the bladed jig, but while Alabama’s Bill Weidler respects its value, he’s a big fan of the swim jig’s skill sets. Think football: It’s all about handing the ball to the right guy.

If a bladed jig is the flashy, fleet-footed tailback, the swim jig is your fullback. Both are capable of running through the line of scrimmage, but the latter does much better at banging through crowded spaces.

“First and foremost, a swim jig is actually much better when you’re dealing with thick vegetation,” Weidler said. “You can run a bladed jig through hydrilla, as long as you’re not in the thick of it. But in terms of shallow, matted bank-type grass, the swim jig — with a weed guard and no blade to get caught on anything — you can take it across the tops of mats, and you can swim it on the very edge in the very thickest of the grass.”

Weidler said he finds this four-wheel-drive bait especially relevant during the postspawn period. For one thing, fry guarders often tuck the babies into grassy habitat, where a swim jig presents a threatening profile. Elsewhere, a properly presented swim jig makes a convincing panfish mimicry for spawned-out female bass that remain shallow to snack on bedding bluegill.

Weidler’s crystal clear about his swim jig preference: “The year I qualified for the Elites, I won 90 grand on it. I rely of this bait pretty heavily.

“If I can find where the fish are holding, I have enough confidence in that bait that it will catch ‘em. Every event that I go to, I have several swim jig rods on my deck. I can swim that jig down riprap or through timber.”