Regardless of where your next fishing trip is, more than likely that body of water has a hot bass bite going on. It might be the deep crankbait or magnum spoon bite on Kentucky Lake, or perhaps smallmouths hitting a drop-shot on Lake Erie. Once summer hits, I will always have these three lures rigged up and ready to go, as they allow me to just go fishing and target any form of cover I come across.
The swim jig was developed by anglers who were catching bass by swimming a flipping jig back to the boat. It’s very effective because you can fish it shallow or deep.
When I’m fishing shallow, I’ll use a 1/4-ounce jig around inside weedlines, boat docks or through lily pad fields. When my graph gets beyond the 5- or 6-foot mark, I’ll switch over to the 3/8-ounce size and fish this along outside weedlines, crawl it over sand flats or work it up the backside of an underwater point.
By changing up your retrieve, color and trailer, the swim jig can easily mimic whatever bass are feeding on. If they’re feeding on shad, then a white jig, retrieved with a rod twitch every so often with a small swimbait as a trailer, is a good choice. If bass are feeding along the bottom on crawdads, try a brown-colored jig. Reel it slowly and bounce it along the bottom with a craw or double-tail grub trailer.
With a Texas-rigged plastic, I’m able to change up the bait, weight size and line type based on the type of cover I’m fishing, thus making it extremely versatile. The cover you’re flipping around will dictate what type of plastic bait to select. If you’re flipping your bait into heavy vegetation, you’ll want to use a bait that’s compact and has fewer appendages to get hung up on its descent to the bottom. In these situations, I’ll use a Zoom Z-Hog creature bait, whereas if I’m flipping the edge or more around sparse lilypads, I’ll usually rig up a craw.
I like to keep it simple when it comes to color selection for my plastic baits—green pumpkin and black/blue are my top two choices. However, I do keep a select few random-colored baits in the boat at all times for situations where bass need a little something extra to be coaxed into biting. Having some green pumpkin baits with varying color flakes in it will help match the bait to what bass are eating … or just give them something different to look at.
Having the correct gear makes fishing a Texas rig that much easier. I use 20-pound-test Seaguar TATSU fluorocarbon; it resists abrasion and it’s super sensitive, meaning I’ll be able to feel light bites. I’ve become acclimated to a longer rod, so I use the 7-foot, 6-inch Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon Jig/Big Worm Rod. This rod has micro guides, which allow me to get a better feel for my lure and make longer flips than with standard rod guides.
As the summer sun beats down on the water, you and the bass will seek cover from direct sunlight. You’ll find bass under matted vegetation such as lily pads, duck wart or matted up grass.
One of the best ways to efficiently cover water and coax bass into biting is to use a topwater frog. The days of having only one or two options of topwater frogs is long gone. There are now numerous brands, sizes and styles of topwater frogs to choose from.
My go-to frog that I’ll rig at the beginning of each day is a Snag Proof Bobby’s Perfect Frog; this frog has the needed weight for me to make long casts, while still having a compact profile, allowing bass to engulf the bait with ease. I’ll use a white frog if it’s sunny or a black one if it’s cloudy. From there, I’ll switch to a natural-colored frog if the water is clear.
An angler’s tackle selection is crucial when fishing frogs. You’ll often throw your frog into thick, nasty cover. Your rod, reel and line all need to work together to aid you in getting bass from the bush to the boat.
Spooling your reel with braided line is a must because it has no stretch. When you set the hook with braided line, it drives into the bass’ mouth immediately and gives you the necessary control to keep it from getting buried in vegetation. I spool my high-speed Wright & McGill Victory Pro Carbon reel with 65-pound-test Seaguar Smackdown braid, and I put it on a Tessera Series Frog rod. This rod, like other good frog rods, has a soft tip that helps you impart action on the bait, while still maintaining a solid backbone to keep control of bass when they try to take charge of the situation.