Monday, September 7, 2015

Swim Jig Fishing 201 Part 1 - Lay Down Timber

If you read my Swim Jigs 101 article you will know that the first thing necessary in becoming a swim jig fisherman is to learn to "Match the Hatch".  Here is a link to the first article as I recommend you give it a read also if you haven't - Swim Jig Fishing 101  There are so many different tactics and  different types of structure you can fish with a Swim Jig that I can't effective cover them all in one article. So I'm going to break Swim Jig Fishing 201 into multiple parts so I can cover each in some detail to better help you catch bass.  In this part I'm going to cover some of the basic tactics for fishing Lay Down Timber.   What exactly is Lay Down Timber some might ask, well it is trees or branches that have falling from the bank into the water.  These give the bass great ambush points and also give you a good place to catch these bass. There are a lot of effective methods to fish these but the trick is to get the bigger bass staging on these Lay Downs to hit.  I've found nothing better than the good ole swim jig to draw a strike from these bigger bass.

Now the trick to Lay Down Timber is to not just make one or two casts and then move on.  No you need to make many casts and use different speeds and types of retrieves on a single Lay Down.  Now like I said in the first article the bass are a moody bunch so what they want might change during the course of the day or even from one Lay Down to the next, so you have to be flexible and change with them.  No matter how you start working your jig you need to hit the Lay Down at many different angles.  Here are a couple pictures to show you how I start working a Lay Down.

As you can see from the picture I start casting at the Lay Down by really casting past it as far as possible and getting my jig as close to the bank as possible.  I make at least 3-4 cast in the first position at different speeds and at slightly different angles.  The first cast I like a steady slow retrieve and make sure my jigs hits as many of the branches on the Lay Down as possible.  If I don't get a strike on the first cast I speed up my retrieve some on the next cast, but I still want to hit those branches with my jig.  When you hit a branch with your jig it causes it to dart up somewhat and gives it an action bass just can't refuse.  This is especially true when fishing the Santone Lures Rayburn Swim Jigs as the flat edge in their head design really gives this jig a special action when it hits one of those branches.  The faster you retrieve the more the jig will dart when it makes contact with the branch.

If I don't get a strike after 3-4 casts at this angle I move my boat forward and change the angle some.  I then repeat the process of 3-4 casts.  Don't give up on a Lay Down too fast thinking there aren't any fish on it.  Most will hold bass but in some cases those bass might not be actively feeding.  This is when you have to get a reaction strike and there isn't a better bait than a good swim jig to draw that reaction strike.  Now even if I catch a bass I don't just move on to the next Lay Down.   A lot of these Lay Downs will hold more than one bass on them, so keep at it until you are sure you have fully covered all parts of the Lay Down and hit most of the branches with your jig.
Continue to move your boat to change your angle on the Lay Down.  If you have caught a bass you know what speed and type of retrieve they want.  Changing the angle of your casts on the Lay Down will allow your jig to past by more bass and hit more branches.  I've made as many as 20-25 casts on a single Lay Down and have caught as many as 5-6 bass off of one.   Now it is more likely you will only catch 1 or 2 bass, but don't give up too quickly.  That one big fish you need to anchor your stringer just might be on this Lay Down but you just haven't brought your jig past her at the right angle.  Sometimes it is the second cast in the same spot at the same angle that will draw the strike.   The first cast got the fish's attention or woke her up so to speak and the second cast she attacks your jig viciously. 

Now one of the most effective retrieves I've found for working Lay Downs is to let your swim jig fall to the bottom once it hits the water on the initial cast.  Then using a medium fast retrieve bring it to where it hits that first branch and jumps over, then stop and let it fall.  You don't have to let it fall all the way to the bottom, but the deeper the water the longer you let it fall.  Then give it a twitch or two before starting your medium fast retrieve to the next branch.  However remember this isn't full proof method.  You may have to change it some until you find what the bass want on any given day, or any given hour in some cases.   I've even had to change from Lay Down to Lay Down as the bass on one Lay Down liked the medium fast retrieve I just described but on the next Lay Down they wanted my jig at a very slow steady retrieve.   The key here is to be flexible and not get locked into the one size fits all scenario.

I'll start work on Part 2 of this series in the next few days or so that will cover working a swim jig in vegetation.  As there are many types of vegetation you might encounter I have to recommend that you read the article on my blog by Reece Lindgren.  Reece did an excellent job as this article is packed with great information on all types of Aquatic Vegetation and will give you a head start.  Here is a link to this article - A Guide to Aquatic Vegetation

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

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Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
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Squiddies Flip Reel

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