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As spring approaches and the jerk bait bite slows, it's time to break out two of the most effective baits for locating pre-spawn bass and bass guarding beds or fry – swim jigs and bladed swim jigs.

In the spring I like to work them around shorelines and above grass, when the water is roughly between 52 to 65 degrees, 73 degrees in the South. Temperatures are just an approximation and can differ slightly bases on conditions and the mood of the fish.

Blade or no blade? - Wind and water clarity are the major determining variables in my selection, but the fish get to make the final decision. If it is calm and flat regardless of water clarity I will first try a swim jig, possibly changing jig colors to get a bite. When there is a little "chop" on clear water or in "flat" stained water I will try placing glass rattles in the plastic trailer if the bladed jig is too much for the given situation. For windy conditions and especially if the water is stained a bladed jig will be my first choice. Additional alterations to consider, for both baits, are your plastic trailer. Grubs, Swim Senko, Swimming Fluke Jr and Little Dippers are my "go to trailers." Utilize them to tweak water displacement and bait action.

The swim jig is one of the most effective action baits to make contact with the bottom, especially through grass. It can be worked in 1 to 40 feet of water, bounced off of ledges or with a constant retrieve and ticking or ripping it through grass. Play with your presentation, the fish will give you feedback if you're doing it the way they want.

Swim jigs are something different for the fish -- more subtle -- and you can use them in places you can't use crankbaits. They can be used at times, and in areas, you can't drag other baits and excel where and when you can't use a spinnerbait or Texas rig. They are the most effective when the water is still cold but the pre-spawn is underway, during the early days of the season. However, they are also rumored to load the boat when bass are recovering from spawning and before moving into their summer pattern.

Contact me on Facebook if you have additional questions or comments. – Janet Parker

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