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Swimming Like A Snake

It comes as no surprise that I'm a pretty technical jig fisherman. Truth is, that's one reason Z-Man hired me to be on their pro-staff: because of my knowledge of jigs, and the small traits that make certain baits better than others. I've worked with them for several years now to build the best jigs on the market.

Most fans assume that the Flipping Jig - my bread and butter, money maker - is the most advanced jig in Cross EyeZ line-up. But, really, the Snakehead Swim Jig required the most work to get right. Every aspect of that jig - each minute detail - was thought through and refined.

Like any other jig, the whole package is built around the hook and head. The Snakehead carries a 4/0 heavy gauge VMC hook - I can't overstate how important that is. Typically, a swim jig is fished in areas where, if a fish is given any leeway after he's hooked, he's gone. Gator grass, water willow, lily pads - these are all places where the best chance to get a fish out of the cover is to muscle him out immediately, so a hook can't flex, and the Snakehead hook doesn't. Another key is the vertical line tie, and the shape of the jig's head. The Snakehead is just that - a jig with a head like a snake, that easily slithers through all types of cover. It's flat on the underside, so the jig gets up near the surface as soon as I start my retrieve, and allows me to use heavier weights, allowing for longer casts.

You see, that's a big part of swim jig fishing - making long casts and covering massive amounts of water. That's what's so powerful about this technique. Unlike any other method, a swim jig is the best way to quickly work extra-heavy cover. It's faster than a frog, and can go in places a buzzbait can't.

Early in the season, I love to fish a Snakehead Swim Jig in backwater areas when the water is first warming up. Key stretches have dark bottoms, and often vertical cover types, like Kissimmee grass, lily pad stems and bullrushes. Bottom bouncing baits don't fare well here - there's too much gunk on the bottom - and the fish are usually high up in the water column anyway, sunning themselves. A swim jig cleans house.

Later, when the shad begin to spawn, the Snakehead again shines around boat docks, seawalls and laydowns. Here, I give the bait a real jumpy retrieve - never allowing it to hit bottom.

In both cases, I put a lot of stress on my jig trailer: slapping it on the water, pumping and jumping the rod, skip-casting and the like. But, because the Snakehead Swim Jig has a unique, 360-degree keeper (again, my design), I never have to worry about my trailer sliding down.

I must say, in terms of trailers, I can't seem to get away from a Turbo CrawZ for just about all of my swim jig fishing. That ElaZtech action is incredible, and the claws swim perfectly if I pause the bait. It's the right length and buoyancy, and comes in colors to match bluegills, craws, shad and anything else I try to mimic.

The Snakehead Swim Jig has a hand-tied skirt - again, vital to keep on trucking when fishing heavy cover - and Green Pumpkin and Nuegill are my color choices for early season. Not surprisingly, my skirt choice for summer is the color aptly named "Shad Spawn".

When it comes to fishing methods, the only advice I offer is do whatever works for you. I've had great success fishing a swim jig with a simple steady retrieve. Other times, I can't catch a fish unless I practically jerk the bait out of the water every couple turns of the handle. Experiment, take note what works for you, and duplicate that retrieve as closely as possible.

In any case, this is a braided line technique, bar none. Using a long G. Loomis rod with a moderate power, I stick to 30-pound braid. I've found that lighter braid casts drastically further than the 50-pound line that's become a bass standard. And, as we said earlier, one of the big keys to this technique is long casts and covering water. Keep casting, keep winding, keep moving until you find small pockets of fish in an otherwise endless sea of cover.

The Cross EyeZ Snakehead Swim Jig will let you do that, better than anything else under those conditions. And, when a great biggen' gets it way back in the lilies, the fun is just beginning.

Z-Man Pro-Staff

David Walker

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