Swim Jig vs. Vibrating Jig

The swim jig and vibrating jig are two of the most versatile lures with a reputation of catching big fish. They are two of my best baits for covering water, and each has their time and place, and I never launch my Bass Cat without a variety of both of them aboard. They both work great and for me, deciding which one to use comes down to where I am fishing.

Where to Fish Them

Generally, I am going to be using a vibrating jig anytime I am fishing around emergent grass and also when fishing docks. The swim jig is my go-to when I am fishing around wood, shallow grass, lily pads and reeds. Basically anywhere that a vibrating jig would get hung up too much.

The great thing about both of these lures is that they are a great way to imitate both bluegill and shad by simply adjusting my color of jig and trailer. Like any other moving bait, a little wind is always going to help, but when the water is muddy, I find that some sun seems to help the bite.

Emergent Grass

This situation is one of the best places to use a vibrating jig, and it could be hydrilla, milfoil, or coontail. These are all great types of vegetation, especially early in the year.  What I like about the vibrating jig is how cleanly it comes through this grass. If you run into a clump, the blade and vibration tend to clear itself of the grass quickly.

In these situations, I like to cover as much water as possible as bass are generally in specific spots and everything appears to be the same in vast expanses of grass. I am always looking for clumps of grass and hard edges as these congregate the fish.

I’ll also vary my retrieve and even adjust the size of my vibrating jig to reach different depths. The smaller ¼oz size is something I use roughly a quarter of the time and will pick this one if I am fishing just below the surface. The size I use the most is the 3/8oz, which covers many different scenarios. I’ll go to ½oz about 25-percent of the time when I am fishing deeper.

Another thing I like to mix up is the trailer as that helps change the action of the bait. I use the Yamamoto Zako often, but will also use a small paddle tail swimbait. If I want to slow down the bait; something with aggressive flapping craws helps.


One great thing about a vibrating jig is how well you can skip it. It is a great way to catch bass around docks, and when the shad are spawning around this location, it can be one of the best ways to catch them.


When I am around wood, I’ll pick up a swimming jig, and I prefer a standard jig instead of one designed as a swim jig. I’ll fish it with a steady retrieve and use my rod to impart the action as I am bringing it back to the boat.

Shallow Grass

When I am fishing vegetation around the shoreline, whether it is bank grass, pads, or reeds, I like to use a standard swim jig with a pointed nose that comes through cover better. Usually, I have a pretty simple retrieve and fish it similarly to how I fish a vibrating jig.

For trailers, I like paddle tail swimbaits as they give the jig a great action and with so many colors available it is easy to match the forage the bass are feeding on.

Rod, Reel, and Line

I’ve experimented with many different rods over the years and found a vibrating jig rod that is perfect. It is a 7’3” medium heavy Abu Garcia Veracity, and I like it because it has good power and also has a nice parabolic bend to it. I match it with either a 6.6:1 or 7.3:1 Revo STX depending on how high in the water column I am fishing. I like the faster reel when I want to keep the bait up a little higher.

For swim jigs, I like the 7’6” heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista rod with a high-speed 8.0:1 STX.  When it comes to line, I use 20-pound Yo-Zuri TopKnot fluorocarbon for my vibrating jigs and for when I am swimming a standard jig. For the traditional swim jig style, I prefer 50-pound Yo-Zuri Superbraid.

Both the vibrating jig and swim jig have accounted for many great days for me, and I count them as two of my favorite styles of lures. They catch numbers of fish and big ones, and certain times of the year, like during the spring, they are baits you need to have tied on.

Top image: Virginia State Parks [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]


  1. Sheron K. Brown

    April 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Great article!

  2. Ainsley

    May 5, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Very informative and helpful article!

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About FishSens

A wholly owned subsidiary of Fondriest Environmental, FishSens Technology designs and manufactures products in a state-of-the-art marine instrumentation and fabrication shop near Dayton, Ohio