Mercury pro Greg Hackney is not only the reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY), he's also one of the best jig fisherman on tour. In particular, Hackney loves the swim jig. You can't walk by his boat without seeing a jig ready for a little action, no matter where he is chasing bass.
Hackney took a little time to share his swim jig wisdom before he heads off to his next Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
The simple approach is preferred by Hackney.
"I love fishing with swim jigs because they are so effective," said Hackney. "The basic approach is to simply cast it out and wind it. That is especially true in colder water. Obviously, you'll need to vary your retrieve at times, but I start out with the basic steady retrieve. From that point, you can vary what you do.
"You can pop it and rip it through shallow vegetation and cover. Slow-roll the jig like a spinnerbait down deep. Pitch it under docks. You can fish a swim jig almost anywhere bass live."
Hackney's jig choices are kept to a minimum.
"Most of the time I am using a Strike King heavy cover jig," said Hackney. "The trailer is usually a Strike King Rage Tail Craw. Sometimes I use a small swimbait if the bass are on shad. I will use the standard swim jig sometimes when I am fishing colder water with less cover.
"Colors are easy; bluegill, green pumpkin and the like are what I always have. Also, black and blue early in the morning or when it's real cloudy. These colors work anywhere. If the water is really dark, I may have one with some chartreuse in it. If I am fishing bass feeding on shad, then a shad color like white or similar color is the way to go."
Water clarity doesn't dictate the line Hackney uses for swim jigs.
"I don't believe bass are line shy," said Hackney. "You need to adjust what line you use based on how a lure performs using the line. This is true with swim jigs for sure. I almost always use braid, whether the water is gin-clear or muddy. It is a moving bait. Bass aren't fixated on the line.
"The only time I will use fluorocarbon for swim jig fishing is when the water is colder and I need to fish slower and deeper. It has to do with the action of the jig on the lighter line and not the fish reacting to the line."
According to Hackney, anybody can and should fish swim jigs.
"If you can cast and retrieve, you can fish a swim jig," said Hackney. "Seriously, if you are fishing spinnerbaits now, you have the ability to fish a swim jig. It is such a versatile lure. Every bass angler should use them. I like the simplicity of fishing it. I always have one tied on. It is a real cool bait."