How to Fish a Floating Jig for Perch: Setup, Zones, Retrieve (2023)

What is a swimming model?

The main difference between a mold and a swimming jig is the head design. The swimming jigs feature a pointed nose with a vertical line loop so the lure swims through the water column and slides easily through cover.

Most of the weight in the jig's head is placed on the bottom of the jig, so it will swim vertically. It is basically a lead head shaped like a half bullet head, on a 2 or 3/0 and sometimes even 4/0 hook, accompanied by a skirt that is attached like a spinnerbait.

What makes it weed free is the weed protector, which unlike other insoles is softer and more malleable. Trailers of various shapes and sizes can be used to mimic the different foraging fish in the ecosystem and is a much more subtle approach to shallow or deep water fishing than a spinnerbait or chatterbait.

Why is this so good?

The swimming jig is a very good bait fish imitation and looks like a forager fish running away in the water. There are times when anglers are faced with very clear water or even dirty water, and the bass don't want the shiny, noisy look and sound of a spinnerbait or chatterbait.

The swimming jig resembles a baitfish in shallow water and is a very natural looking presentation. By simply changing your trailer and weight you can fish it from 2ft to 20.

The swimming jig's head design is more streamlined and bullet-shaped, making it more hydrodynamic than its slower fishing cousins ​​and allowing you to cut through vegetation and thick cover with relative ease. This is also a heavier line technique, sobraidofluorocarbono, the fisherman does not have to worry about it breaking too often.

The bite on the swimming insole isn't a subtle touch, but more of a violent tug. It's as brutal as aspinnerbaitbite, so bite detection when fishing for this bait is also not complicated. The key to a good hook-and-landing relationship is not hitting as soon as you see the bite, but feeling the tension in the line first as you sweep the rod and reel toward the fish.

(Video) How To Set Up a Lure for Perch Fishing

How to Fish a Floating Jig for Perch: Setup, Zones, Retrieve (1)

The best swimming model setup

Under most circumstances, swimming jigs are fished in very cover oriented locations in their body of water. This requires heavier equipment. The swim jig setup should match this type of close combat fishing, and for that reason light rods should be at home.

fishing rod for swimming

A 7-7'2 foot light heavyweightfishing rodit is perfect for this application. The medium-heavy action rod tip will keep you from pulling the lure out of the fish's mouth when they predictably run towards you before turning.

swimming reel

I use a high speedbait reelfor this type of fishing. Firstly, to keep the bait in the water column without any effort, and secondly, to get the fish out of the heavy cover and prevent it from getting tangled up.

The best line for swimming jig fishing

This depends on three factors:

  • The thickness of the swimming jig hook gauge.
  • The type of cover on the lake and;
  • The size of the swimming jig you are fishing for.

If the foraging fish in the ecosystem you're fishing are small and unimposing, I think the smaller swimming jig (5/8-1/4 oz) will get the most bites. For this I will use 12 or 15 pounds of fluorocarbon. The straight nature of braiding will inevitably put a lot of pressure on the hook shank, causing it to bend and open. I will also use fluorocarbon in heavier swim jigs (1/4-½ oz) when fishing for sparse cover which won't need a heavy braid to sail.

On the larger ¼ to ½ oz swim jigs, I will use a 30 to 40 lb J braid. Its thinner diameter and no-stretch value will cut through the thickest grass mats and give you the direct hit-on-hit you need to get fish out of cover quickly. The braid will also make it easier to fit the heavy gauge hook that always comes with the larger swim jigs. Other good braids to use areSeaguar Strikee Berkley Black Velvet.

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Heavier line will want to catch the lure in the water column due to its water resistance. Choosing a fluorocarbon or thicker diameter braid will help keep the bait lifted and prevent it from getting stuck in bottom mud or dense vegetation. This also helps with abrasion resistance: thicker, stronger threads will not fray as easily as thinner diameter threads, making braiding an ideal choice.

Swimming model selection

A good day on the water can come down to matching the hatch. This can directly be applied to swimming jig fishing. I always try to match the size, shape and color of the swimming jig to the forage in the lake.

Bait fish seek refuge from marauding sea bass and hide in the middle of vegetation and wooded areas. These foraging fish rarely get very large, so a smaller presentation can work where a larger swimming jig would be imposing and often scare away cautious fish. In this situation, I use a 5/8 oz and 1/4 oz Booyah Mini Jig, or a ¼ oz Jewel Swim Jig paired with a Zoom Mini Z-Craw Trailer.

Smaller swim jigs also work great in clear water and have a more natural profile. If the lake I am fishing in has larger forage fish such as tarpon or crappie, I will generally fish a ¾ to ½ oz swimming jig because the bass will be used for larger forage.

When fishing in clearer water I typically stick with more natural colors like bluegill colors, pumpkin green, and sometimes I fish a pumpkin green jig with mixed chartreuse yarns on the skirt to add to the shock appeal.

For dirty water I mainly fish black and blue and variations of black/blue or black/purple with trailers matched accordingly.

Below are some brilliant swimming models:

  • Hack King Strike Heavy Attack Deck Swimming Model
  • Z-Man CrosseyeZ Snakehead Swim Jig

How to Fish a Floating Jig for Perch: Setup, Zones, Retrieve (2)

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Best swimming jigs trailers

These can be very technical or they can seem very basic, depending on the type of angler. Aside from obviously matching the hatch, the other two deciding factors when choosing a trailer would be the depth and temperature of the water I'm fishing in.

If I am fishing in slightly deeper water and I don't want my lure to go up in the water column due to a very heavy drag type trailer I would use some type of paddle tail.

On the smaller profile swim jigs I will use a 3-4 inch paddle tail, and on the larger swim jigs I will go up to a 6 inch paddle tail depending on the forage. Paddletail trailers are also preferred in colder water temperatures when bass are not as active and will not chase a trailer flapping and flailing violently.

In colder water, you want less trailer movement.

Track-type trailers are very good at dampening vibrations in shallow, dirty water. Often when bass won't eat a spinnerbait in shallow water, a 3/8 oz black and blue swimming jig equipped with a Mini Z-Craw in the June Bug color was just what the handicapped bass wanted. Visual: less vibration and a specific profile.

Trailers of common swimming jigs:

  • Zoom Z-Craw Mini
  • Xzone Adrenaline Craw 4"
  • Bug da Ira do Rei Strike
  • Strike King Mini Rage Craw
  • Berkley The Deal 3.2”
  • Threat of Strike King's Wrath

Best swimming stencil colors

The most competent swim jig angler will tell you to keep it simple and also present your bait as naturally as possible.

For clearer waters, I stick with the more natural colors like pumpkin green stencils and their versions. Pumpkin green with chartreuse or a slightly purple skirt are also good choices. Don't be afraid to choose model trailers that don't match your model; sometimes the mismatch can be the reason for the reaction that day.

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For cloudy or dirty water, I'll use black/blue and white variations. The reason for this is that these solid colors in murky water can be seen and provide a good outline of a bait fish.

Where to fish a swimming jig

As stated earlier, this is an incredibly versatile bait. Ideally I would fish in 0-4' of water with sparse or even matted vegetation or soggy grass. It excels in shallow water and can be made to resemble a runaway baitfish that resides in shallow water for protection against marauding bass.

Flooded tree forests and hardwood tree floors are also great areas to patrol and feed bass with a swimming jig. Not only is it good for covering water, but it can stop and jump as a jig if conditions slow the bite down.

Another much overlooked area is the deeper grass beds. Many deeper summer fish see chatterbaits and crankbaits caught on or through them, and a lot of times these fish get really pressured. A swimming jig in this situation has less vibration and less noise than other hard lures and gives a different presentation to deep water fish.

fish a swimming jig

Swimming jigs can be fished from boiling summer temperatures to freezing mid-winter temperatures. Recovery or 'action' along with profiling are some of the most important aspects of this attraction.


  • Continue to retrieve steadily and quickly, allowing the bait to break through the cap and dissect the stems. Baitfish are incredibly active and correspondingly hatching would mean faster recovery, getting more bites more often.
  • If the bass is stressed or affected in any way by conditions and is not as active as it should be, apply the Alabama Shake. The erratic nature of this retrieval often attracts fish that would not normally commit to eating it under other conditions.
  • Keep recovery consistent


  • Maintain recovery speed while the bass is feeding
  • Bass are especially focused on bait fish inthis period- making the swim jig an excellent option
  • When near wood or rock, make sure the lure is hitting the hard structure.


  • Fish deeper and slower, stopping often and releasing again.
  • no erratic movements
  • Towing without action. (Jig n Pig, Big Bite Baits Yo Momma)


  • Slow down to catch up a bit and lower the trailer legs to take advantage of its full potential.
  • Stop-start recovery can attract bigger fish
  • Take your time now - fish well

alabama hustle

This is when you cast your bait and instead of just retrieving the normal consistent bait that keeps the bait in the water column, you hold the rod at 10 o'clock and pull it very erratically and abruptly at 11 o'clock, causing a leaping action just below the surface of the water while backing up at the specified cadence.

This technique can be very good for causing pressured or insensitive fish to bite. I've found that in the spring it tends to scare off a lot of the bigger fish, whereas direct retrieval seems to work a little better.


The swim jig is a very exciting bait to fish. The bites are hard and unmistakable. For a while I doubted the potential of this lure until I started fishing for it in the right areas. Next time you're surrounded by soggy grass, slip on a swim pad and strap in - the bass can't leave you alone.

(Video) Buoyant lures RULE for BIG PERCH - #perch #perchfishing #perchlures #lures


What is the best line setup for perch? ›

Line. Six-pound monofilament line is ideal for most perch fishing situations, but 4- or 8-pound can be options if that's what already is spooled on your reel.

What are floating jigs used for? ›

Floating jig heads present bait above structure and over snags. Use with minnows, cut crawler, red worm, plastic baits, wax worm to catch more walleye, crappie, trout, perch, catfish and huge bluegill.

What depth should you float fish? ›

Set the float first

At the moment you should have a float on the line, fixed at about 18 inches (45 cm) up the line from the hook.

Do perch like shallow or deep water? ›

Perch will generally congregate in shallow water early in the season, and move deeper as the ice thickens. The movement of perch could be best summarized by: “shallow at first, then deep and then shallow again.” Meaning that at first ice, when shallow weeds are still alive, perch will be hovering just outside of them.

What colors are perch attracted to? ›

Artificial Bait

Lures in the color yellow or light-yellow are found to attract a perch more.

What depth is best for perch fishing? ›

In late spring and early summer they are often found in 10 to 20 feet deep water, still near the bottom. Drift or troll until you find a school, then anchor and still fish or cast.

How long does it take for a perch to grow to 12 inches? ›

The yellow perch can continue to grow; by the time they reach 10 years old they can be as big as 3 pounds and 10-12 inches long.

What smells do perch like? ›

Scents That Attract Fish and Repel Them
  • Human Saliva. Human saliva seems to be a fish attractant. ...
  • Anything Fish. Fish definitely will be attracted to the fish scent, which makes a lot of sense. ...
  • Cheese. ...
  • Coffee. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Alcohol. ...
  • Human Natural Oils. ...
  • Sunscreen And Bug Spray.
Oct 24, 2022

What size lure is best for perch? ›

Use lures in the 6cm-9cm range, as these are ideal for perch, and pay attention to the diving depth of the lure. The bigger the vane on the front of the lure, the deeper it will dive. By far the best shape of crankbait for perch is a short, stumpy body that produces a really fast wiggle action.

What light is invisible to fish? ›

Green. Green is a good color for blending into the water. The majority of water we anglers fish have some sort of green tint to it. Like camouflage, the green line blends into its surroundings and makes a good choice for anglers looking to keep their line invisible to fish.

How do floating jig heads work? ›

A floating jig head is simply a jig that looks simaler to a leadhead, but it actually floats. I use floating jig heads on lindy rigs a lot. Simply run a slip sinker up your line, tie on a barrel swivel, make a 2-8 foot leader and tie on your floating jig head.

What action is best for jigging? ›

Most anglers would agree that having a fast-action rod (which bends more in the tip than the middle or butt of the rod, as opposed to a slow action rod which bends more or less in a parabola from tip to butt) is advantageous for making the quick hook-sets jigging demands.

Is it better to float in the morning or evening? ›

And optimal float times differ from person to person. Some people do much better floating in the early morning, while others have the most profound floats late at night. At certain times of day, you might feel more alert and energized, while other times you leave your float ready to relax and unwind even more.

What are the top tips for float fishing? ›

Always feed upstream from where your bait is, adjusting where you feed upstream so that your freebies (maggots etc.) float past and along with your hook bait. Alternatively, throw your feed in where you intend to fish, then cast upstream and allow your rig to drift through or just off the baited area.

What is the best bait for float fishing? ›

1. Wasp grubs, these are a deadly bait for chub, fished singly or bunched up for bigger fish and fished float style. 2. Wasp cake, this is used as a leger bait and is very buoyant, it can be frozen down and used in winter.

What is the best bait for big perch? ›

Best Baits

Larger perch prefer worms, other small fish and fish fry. Effective baits include lob worms, earthworms, maggots and casters. When fishing for impressive specimens between 2-3 lbs (0.9-1.4 kg), dead baits of small fish such as minnow are a great choice, as is spinning with artificial lures or spoons.

How do you target a big perch? ›

Float or leger will catch plenty of perch but the float does offer more sensitivity, as well as letting you cover more of the swim. A standard waggler works well but because you are often fishing at short range, a pole float may well serve you better.

How old is a 6 inch perch? ›

Males and females mature when they are 1-2 years old or at a length of 15 centimeters (6 inches) long.

What kind of bottom do perch like? ›

Perch are typically a schooling fish, which move from place to place seeking food sources. When found, they like to thrive in the bottom portion of the water column, especially at or near the bottom of the lake or river. Their natural diet consists of small fish, fish eggs, insects, crayfish, snails, leeches and worms.

What is the best time of day to fish for perch? ›

During late spring and early summer, early morning and early evening hours are best. During late summer, late afternoon and evening is best. In autumn, the best times are morning, and late afternoon evening.

Do you leave the skin on yellow perch? ›

For most recipes, prepare skin-on. Avoid overcooking to keep the flesh moist. Because of its mild but distinctive flavor, yellow perch can be prepared with minimal seasoning.

How do you catch finicky perch? ›

For more finicky fish, you may have to subtly jig. Start by shaking the jig head closer to the bottom and working your jig back up slowly. Regardless of the bite, jig upwards in 1-2 ft increments once you get Perch to follow. Separation drives Perch to commit to the bait.

What rod should you use for perch? ›

Short soft specialist lure rods are ideal. A good dropshot rod around 6ft 6ins-8ft in length is an ideal all-around choice for soft plastic lures. Jig rods tend to be slightly stiffer and are good for bigger fish and boat fishing.

Do you leave the skin on perch? ›

You don't need to take off the skin of the ocean perch fish – the skin is edible and is really tasty, it is so soft that you won't even know that you are eating the skin.

What depth do perch feed at? ›

Repeat until you find the fish. In shallow lakes, perch might spend the summer in 15-20ft / 4.5-6m of water, while in deeper ones, they'll gather around submerged islands, rocky shoals and points in water 20-30ft / 6-9m deep, sometimes more.

How do you target perch? ›

Another method for finding perch is to troll a small worm tipped spinner rig with a bottom bouncer until you catch some. After you locate them, it's time to anchor up and do a little vertical fishing. Small jigs and jigging spoons tipped with leeches, chunks of night crawlers or minnows seem to work best.

How do you fish a jig for beginners? ›

How to Jig in Simple Steps
  1. Cast out and let your jig hook sink to the bottom and count a few seconds or wait until you feel the spoon hit the bottom.
  2. Snap or pop your wrist and rod tip up quickly a short distance and let the lure drop back to the bottom.
  3. You can jig up and down, side to side or up and down and sideways.

Do you put worms on jig heads? ›

What is a jig head worm? It is a way of rigging a worm on a jig head that has become very popular in bass fishing the past few years. It is a simple way to fish and has a subtle action that bass like. In a recent Field and Stream poll of some pro bass fishermen, they rated it the top way to catch numbers of bass.

Can you fish with just a jig head? ›

Jig heads can be fished shallow; they can be fished deep and anywhere in between. Jigs can be tipped with live bait or it can be teamed with plastics to pretty much catch any fish that swims. Looking at the jig head you can make the statement that it is one of the most versatile delivery systems known to fishermen.

What are the best tips for float fishing? ›

Always feed upstream from where your bait is, adjusting where you feed upstream so that your freebies (maggots etc.) float past and along with your hook bait. Alternatively, throw your feed in where you intend to fish, then cast upstream and allow your rig to drift through or just off the baited area.

Can you teach yourself to float? ›

One of the most basic swimming techniques everyone from beginners to pros needs to master is how to float in water. It doesn't matter your body type, weight, or shape is; everyone can float.


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