UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Champlain

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Swim-jigging winter grass lines

Swim-jigging winter grass lines
Grass-fishing swim-jig technique: Let the jig sink to the grass. Swim the jig along the grass. And rip the jig free when it touches the grass.

(Editor's note: This article originally appeared in the 2014 February issue of FLW Bass Fishing magazine. To read more compelling articles from FLW Bass Fishing magazine each month, become an FLW subscriber member.)


You can rip rattle baits through winter grass beds like everyone else, or you can offer bass something different: a swim jig. Former pro Ron Shuffield says a swim jig is one of his preferred cool-weather lures when bass set up camp on grass-line edges. It’s a lure that can be worked quickly, or dragged more slowly when conditions warrant a change-up.

Shuffield shares his most productive technique.


Hold boat in 22 to 24 feet of water and cast across the grass edge slightly less than parallel. In this illustration, the grass edge is between 15 and 18 feet deep.
Good grass location

Figure out where the grass “edges out” in the back of a creek. Typically it’s at about the same depth across the area. Areas where a creek channel swings up along the grass edge, or any place that the grass tops out along a drop-off into deeper water, are the sweet spots.

Grass line setup

Set up with the boat outside the edge of the grass and cast at a slight angle just less than parallel to the edge so that the jig falls onto the “grass side” of the edge.

“Let it sink down until it touches the top of the grass, then swim it slowly over the top,” Shuffield explains. “When it hits a clump, I’ll rip it through and let it fall back.”

Greener is better

Some grass will die off in the winter, depending on the temperature, grass species and depth. As a result, not all grass produces the same results.

“The grass might have died back some, and most of our lakes have winter drawdowns, but that doesn’t do anything but make a little more definitive edge,” Shuffield says. “The grass stays green most of winter, especially the deeper grass. I notice that if I’m pulling up dead grass I’m not catching many fish, but if it’s green grass I’m catching more fish.”

Winter swim jig

Shuffield’s favorite lure is a bluegill or crawfish pattern 1/2- or 5/8-ounce jig, but he’ll drop back to a 3/8-ouncer in shallower situations.


The backup plan: Position boat above grass, cast out off the edge and maintain bottom contact.
The backup plan

When it gets really cold, bass sometimes drop down to the bottom on the outside edge. In that case, switch positions to hold the boat over the grass and cast out off of the edge. Let the jig sink to bottom, and work it back until it hits the grass once again.

“I’m going to hop it if they’re out on the outside edge,” Shuffield says. “I’m trying to keep the bait in contact with the bottom for the majority of the retrieve.”

Megabass Vision 110
Jerkbaits too

On sunny, windy days, a Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait twitched over the edge of the grass can pick up any bass that have suspended up out of the cover.

“Usually here [central Arkansas] our shad die-off starts around 47 degrees (water temperature),” Shuffield says. “If you’re on the lower end of the temperature scale, or if you can see small 1- and 2-inch shad flitting around and sinking in the water column, that’s the time you need to break out your jerkbait. Add some six- to 10-second pauses, and don’t get wild. That’s an excellent backup technique for wintertime fishing.”

Tags: curtis-niedermier  magazine-features  pro-lessons 

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Peter T and Crew Win ICAST Cup

Representing Lew’s, the team of John Carman, Peter Thliveros and Matthew Mattingly won the 2019 ICAST Cup at Lake Toho this morning with a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces. It’s the first time in the ICAST kickoff event’s five-year history that a team has won two titles, and they come back-to-back – though this time it was an outright win.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Baits from Lake Champlain

June is a fantastic month to be on Lake Champlain, as the FLW Tour pros showcased at last week’s season finale, which was presented by T-H Marine. Smallmouths were spawning all over the place, but the winning pattern was catching postspawn largemouths down at Ticonderoga. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the kind of fishery that forces pros to make difficult decisions about where to go and what color of bass to target. This time around, in the FLW Tour 2019 finale, which was presented by T-H Marine, on the big Northern fishery, the decision was more interesting because there were spawning smallmouths everywhere up north, but the forecast was favorable for making the long run south to Ticonderoga to catch largemouths. READ MORE »

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Scanlon Wins it at Ti

Running south to Ticonderoga each day, Casey Scanlon weighed 19 pounds, 10 ounces on the final day of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain. With a total of 76-2, Scanlon earned the win in the final event of the season and pocketed $102,700 for his efforts. READ MORE »

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Cortiana Recovering from Wreck

Oklahoma pro Kyle Cortiana was involved in an accident near Indianapolis on his way home from the FLW Tour event at Lake Champlain on Saturday. He has since been released from of a local hospital and is now in a hotel room recovering and waiting for a ride home to the Sooner State.  READ MORE »

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

Ticonderoga Showdown Looms

After three days of the FLW Tour event presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain, all but one of the top five pros are turning south from Plattsburgh to chase largemouths at Ticonderoga. In the lead, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., bagged up another 18 pounds, 5 ounces to boost his total to 58-6. In second and just 1-14 behind, Casey Scanlon of Lake Ozark., Mo., weighed 18-13 on day three for a 56-8 total. READ MORE »

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

Melissa Browne’s First Look at Champlain

When Browne passed away last month after a difficult fight with cancer, there was one item on his list with regard to Champlain that remained unchecked. And it had nothing to do with actually competing there.  Glenn never got to take his wife, Melissa, to visit Champlain and spend time together in the Adirondack region. She’s remedying the situation this week by participating in the FLW Marshal program. READ MORE »

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Stewart Strokes 22 on Champlain

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by T-H Marine on Lake Champlain was a bonafide catchfest as expected, and XX pros weighed 19 pounds or better to start things off. Leading the way, Tyler Stewart of West Monroe, La., put 22 pounds, 3 ounces on the scale to take a 1-12 lead over Tom Redington and John Voyles, who both weighed 20-7 on day one. READ MORE »

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

Reserve Your FLW Cup VIP Pass Now

If you’re an FLW member, now is the time to start planning your trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the 2019 FLW Cup Aug. 9-11. Act now to take advantage of special members-only VIP benefits by signing up for a special VIP pass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Pros caught fish everywhere from in the middle of flooded jungles of brush to deep main-lake drops. The top finishers pretty much all power fished with soft plastics, crankbaits and frogs. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

Top 10 Patterns from Sam Rayburn

The top 10 fished a little of everything, but mostly stuck to areas within a few miles of the 147 bridge. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Kris Wilson did everything he could this morning to put away this tournament before anyone had a chance to make a run at him. The Montgomery, Texas, pro returned to the spot where he started the first two days and boxed up a pair of 5-pounders. The leader has camped on his spot basically all morning, and now we estimate he's culled up to about 18 pounds. Wilson came into today with a lead of more than 4 1/2 pounds over second-place pro Josh Bensema, and a much greater margin over everyone else, so that limit is huge and likely has him on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Co-angler Crown Goes to Freeman

Co-angler Crown Goes to Freeman

Three solid draws and three solid days of adjusting to different areas of the lake helped Arkansas co-angler Zack Freeman earn his second FLW win and his first at the Costa FLW Series level this week at the Sam Rayburn event, which is presented by Mercury. READ MORE »

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Wilson Wins Big on Rayburn

Kris Wilson pounded out another big limit – 24 pounds, 1 ounce – to win the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn Reservoir by a margin of 13 pounds, 15 ounces. His three-day total was 72-8.  READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

In terms of fish caught, tournament leader Kris Wilson had a tougher morning today than on day one. But a behemoth bass that will probably push the 8-pound mark has him in prime position to maintain his lead in the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

On the flip side, Josh Bensema, who’s 4 pounds, 10 ounces behind Wilson, thinks he might have found the kind of Sam Rayburn motherlode that could earn him a come-from-behind victory. And while most of the rest of the top 10 are well behind Wilson, several of them hinted at being on the trail of some truly mammoth bags. READ MORE »

Wilson Still in Control at Rayburn

Wilson Still in Control at Rayburn

A 9-plus-pound bass anchored Kris Wilson’s day-two limit to help him stay in the lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Wilson weighed in 21 pounds, 12 ounces today to go with 26-11 yesterday. His 48-7 two-day total has Wilson 4 pounds, 10 ounces ahead of Josh Bensema and miles ahead of the rest of the top 10.   READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

In today’s morning story, James Biggs made several predictions for the first day of the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Based on what our media team saw this morning, Biggs’ predictions are basically spot on. Two-thirds of the field is fishing up shallow, and there aren't many big bass to speak of. READ MORE »

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

Let the Rayburn Catchfest Begin

We’re five months later into the year now, and while the water level at Rayburn has fluctuated in the months since the Tour event, it’s still about 4 1/2 feet above full pool as anglers take to Big Sam for the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Montgomery, Texas, pro Kris Wilson caught a big-time stringer of more than 26 pounds to take the day-one lead at the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division event presented by Mercury at Sam Rayburn. Wilson says he fished some of the flooded cover that’s lining Rayburn’s shorelines, but the bulk of his catch came from a series of offshore areas where bass are starting to pile up. The rest of the top five fished a mix of patterns, but their results indicate that the offshore pattern could wind up being the most consistent as the tournament goes on.  READ MORE »