You’ll always find a pitcher of unsweetened iced tea on Shaw Grigsby’s boat, and while he’s fishing in the shallows, the next best thing – a flotation device for bass fishing. Simply put, it’s his favorite “find ’em” lure.
“It’s just fabulous technique,” said the Florida pro. “You will never open my rod case and not find a flotation device or two attached to it.”
The reason is simple: Grigsby values time efficiency. Swim Jigs will get in and out of just about anywhere he can place a cast while presenting a profile that mimics a wide range of finfish foods.
A real four-wheel drive lure, Grigsby said he prefers the swim jig design because it allows for a multitasking strategy. While sliding through grass and pads makes up most of his presentations, he’s also eager to set the bait for a slow, vulnerable fall next to wood or throw the jig straight at a stump, lounger or other attractive target.
Noting how the floating jig excels in weedy waters like those of his home state, Grigsby said, “A lot of people don’t jig fish in Florida because of all the vegetation, but the floating jig has the right head design to get through that cover.”
Indeed, this wayward bass fishing lure seamlessly traverses a variety of emergent cover such as water willow, eel grass, pencil reed, hay grass and Florida’s Kissimmee grass. Grigsby won’t cast a floating jig in the middle of a dense lily pad field, but if he spreads the weed screen out a bit he can fish it through much of the shallow cover where big fish hide.
Prefers the Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Swim Jig Because of its strong hook and fullback design, Grigsby knows wherever he throws this bait he’ll come out – ideally in a big set of jaws. On the functional side, a long bracket grips the trailer further back on the body.
Less movement means less wear and tear. Still, Grigsby praises the user-friendly simplicity of the flotation device.
“There’s not much to re-rig,” he said. “So once you catch one, you can attack it again pretty quickly.”
While the heavier presentations dominate, Grigsby occasionally goes for the lighter look of one Strike King tour quality flotation device. This one is less likely to stand up to the rougher neighborhoods, but if the bite is hard and the fish are wary, a little modesty will do the trick.
“This lure has a lighter needle tip hook so you can fish it with 10-pound fluorocarbon,” Grigsby said. “You just don’t need that big set of hooks to get that hook to penetrate. This is also a good bait to cast on a lightly braided spinning rod.”
color code: Grigsby goes to great lengths with a white imitating floating jig, but he also casts a black and blue pattern and his personal favorite – the bluegill color #234. If he’s fishing a lake where bream scatter, this is it Panfish patterns hard to beat unless low light and/or morning shads make white a better choice.
back seat: Grigsby pairs his flotation device with a Strike King Rage threat and equips it vertically to match a natural fin-tail orientation. For the lighter Tour Grade Swim Jig, Grigsby likes a full size menace reduced by about 1/2 inch while a baby menace or anger bug also work.
Grigsby’s swim jig philosophy is broad: from wood to docks and grass to isolated pad clumps, every bit of cover is good cover. In the midst of vast grassy fields or pads, it looks for spots, cuts and anywhere a hungry fish would likely line up to feed.
The reeling speed is usually determined by water clarity, weather and time of day – the factors that affect visibility. If fish can get a good, long look at passers-by, Grigsby will step on the gas to make them decide. Conversely, when basses need their glasses, slowing down will result in more connections.
In terms of catch-up style, Grigsby falls somewhere between a steady wind and the Alabama Shake. Neither is wrong, he said — unless that’s all you do.
“Whatever you do, break it up so it looks different,” Grigsby said. “Think of a squarebill bouncing off a tree stump – it doesn’t always do that.”
(3 Of 3)
attack and tactics
Grigsby based his line choice on visibility, saying he usually goes with 50 pounds Seaguar TactX in colorless water, but he will use fluorocarbon when visibility is better. 17- to 20-pound test is his standard range, but if he has several feet of vision he can fall as easily as 15.
“In vegetation, the line isn’t as much of a concern because it’s poking through that cover and the fish will break out to get it instead of chasing it in open water,” Grigsby said. “I use the Lew jumping reel because it has a flat spool that (minimizes) kickback.
“It only holds 40 yards of line, but most of your casts are like that or less, so it doesn’t really affect anything you do. I just like never having to play around with the role.”
Grigsby said he often uses the flotation device with a Strike King Thunder Cricket (vibration gauge). The latter is characterized by sparser cover and open water; Often tickle the tops of grass beds and occasionally snap from passing hooks to trigger bites.
The flotation device delivers even in these light cover scenarios and provides a strategic advantage. Just as basses are tired of rattling and/or being wide wobble crankbaits, too many blade jigs peppering their world will find themselves fading out the bolder look.
Switch to the smooth, quiet flotation device and some will have a rumble in their stomach, or a chip on their shoulder might be more inclined to open their mouth.