UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Tour - 2019 - Grand Lake

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 

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes

The Trixie Shark: Get Explosive Strikes

Reaction Innovations got the name right when it created the Trixie Shark. The soft-plastic topwater bait has a literal shark-shaped body with side “wings” and two flapping rear legs similar to what you find on a traditional topwater toad, yet with enough differences to make the bait unique. READ MORE »

President Signs S. 47, Expands Fishing Access

President Signs S. 47, Expands Fishing Access

President Donald Trump, on Tuesday, signed into law S. 47, a package of bills that “sets forth provisions regarding various programs, projects, activities, and studies for the management and conservation of natural resources on federal lands.” READ MORE »

Calvert, Lane Catch 29 at Guntersville Slugfest

Calvert, Lane Catch 29 at Guntersville Slugfest

Houston Calvert and Justin Lane of the University of North Alabama caught 29 pounds, 3 ounces to win the YETI FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference tournament at Lake Guntersville. READ MORE »

Q&A with Costa TD Mark McWha

Q&A with Costa TD Mark McWha

The Costa FLW Series is clipping along through its 2019 schedule, with the first Western Division event set to begin in about a week at Lake Mead. New FLW Series Tournament Director Mark McWha is preparing to trek across the country to run that event, but before he’s scheduled to go we caught up with McWha for a Q&A session that gives readers and anglers a more formal introduction to the new leadership for one of FLW’s top tournament circuits. READ MORE »

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

How to Fish Power Plant Lakes in Winter

Some of the power-plant lakes throughout the Midwest are borderline legendary. If you live near one or are willing to travel to keep your open-water season alive, Colby Schrumpf’s system could work on just about any of them that have grass. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Toho

While the Lake Toho FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats fell basically right on top of a wave of spawning bass piling into the shallows, many of the top finishers targeted bass that were staging out or transitioning to or from their beds. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Toho

Top 10 Baits from Toho

The second stop of the 2019 FLW Tour landed right on the spawn on Lake Toho and the other lakes on the Kissimmee Chain. Top finishers caught bass in all phases of the spawn. Collectively, they used just about every bait you’ll ever need if you want to catch a bass this time of year in the Sunshine State. READ MORE »

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Gross Wins Second Tour Title

Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., won the 2019 FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats at Lake Toho in Kissimmee, Fla., with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 85 pounds, 12 ounces. READ MORE »

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Gross Grabs Toho Lead

Day three of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was tough on the leaders, but Buddy Gross stayed steady, rising to first from fifth with 19 pounds, 12 ounces. In total, Gross has amassed 62 pounds even through three days, which is just about a pound ahead of Darrell Davis, who caught 25-12 for a 60-15 total and rocketed up to second from 13th. Going into the final day, everyone in the top six is within 5 pounds of the lead, and the way the Kissimmee Chain is pumping out big ones, that counts as the slimmest of margins. READ MORE »

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Cox Stays Ahead on Toho

Day two of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger on Lake Toho featured not one, but TWO 10-pounders, one caught by Casey Scanlon and the other by Jamie Horton. READ MORE »

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Cox Leads Toho Slugfest

Day one of the FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats on Lake Toho was the slugfest many expected. Leading the way is sight-fishing extraordinaire John Cox, who caught 31 pounds, 9 ounces and the day one big bass – a giant that went 10-9.  In second, John Voyles wrangled up 24-15, and Scott Martin is close behind him with 24-12. READ MORE »

2019 BFL Season Kicks Off This Weekend

2019 BFL Season Kicks Off This Weekend

While much of the northern United States is locked in a deep freeze, Southern bass anglers will be kicking off their 2019 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League season with the Gator Division tournament at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Fla., and the Cowboy Division tournament at Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many, La. READ MORE »

Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Wes Logan is particular about his jigs. So particular that he pours his own heads and ties his own skirts. Logan’s tying method keeps the skirt from slipping down or spinning around – a pet peeve of his. Some folks do the same with wire, but Logan prefers using light braided line. READ MORE »

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »

Day 1 Canceled at Amistad

Day 1 Canceled at Amistad

Unsafe weather conditions forced Costa FLW Series tournament officials to cancel day one of the Lake Amistad tournament in Del Rio, Texas READ MORE »

Looking Back at 2018

Looking Back at 2018

Before everyone fully transitions into the 2019 season, we wanted to take a quick walk back through some of the highlights of 2018. It was a long, exciting and eventful year that included record-breaking performances, tragedy, career-making wins and a lot of change that will impact our industry for the foreseeable future. READ MORE »

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »

Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot

Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot

You could say Young has the right attitude to survive the ups and downs of the pro fishing circuit, and if the 2019 season turns out to be his best so far, like it’s shaping up to be, a positive state of mind might be the biggest reason why. READ MORE »