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Frisch: A One-Two Punch for Bass

Mike Frisch, host of the Fishing the Midwest TV series, talks about his favorite year-round fishing methods.

Shane Gesell with a largemouth bass that ate a vibrating swim jig last summer.
Contributed photo by Mike Frisch

A fishing buddy asked me the other day, “If you only could use two fishing methods the whole year, what would they be?” I’ve decided to take that question and make it the subject of this story, from a bass fishing perspective here and then from a walleye fishing viewpoint in another soon-to-be-written story.

If limited to two bass fishing methods for the entire year, I would opt for a vibrating swimming jig and what I call a “jig worm” or what most others would call a Ned Rig. Let’s start with the vibrating jig setup first.

My vibrating swim jig choice would be a ½-ounce Thunder Cricket in a green pumpkin color pattern and tipped with a similarly colored Blade Minnow soft bait trailer. Green pumpkin seems to be a color pattern that bass like most days regardless of the water clarity and in most forms of cover. I would fish this rig using a 17-pound fluorocarbon line spooled on a fast-action bait cast rod and paired with a smooth-casting bait cast reel. Lew’s has a rod made for bladed jig fishing in their Signature Series lineup designed by bass tournament pro Andy Montgomery that would be my specific rod choice.

This setup could be fished in the Midwest, where I live, from spring through late fall in various cover areas. For example, when lots of largemouth bass roam the shallows early in the year, this lure could be cast and fished quickly back to the boat along and through pencil reeds, over shallow submergent weed growth, and along manmade cover like docks and boat lifts.

When the water warms during summer lots of bass head to deeper water, particularly liking submergent weeds that grow on flats in about 6 to 12 feet of water, here I could make long casts, let the bait settle in a bit, and then use a moderate speed retrieve to tick the tops of the weeds and try to draw bass up from the weeds to hit the offering. This is a pattern that starts in early summer and can be productive into late fall.


The vibrating swim jig is a good offering, particularly when bass are aggressive or can be triggered by a fast-moving lure. At other times, however, a slow “in their face” offering is what it takes to get a bass to bite; that is where the jig worm shines.

In the summer, when bass hold on and along weedy flats, I can use a small 1/8-ounce jig head tipped with a 4” stick bait; my choice is the 8-sided Ocho (again in green pumpkin) and cast it to the edges or “weedlines,” along those flats. Often bass roaming the deep edges are suckers for the tantalizing fall and flash given off by the Ocho, and it can be an overlooked, but very successful setup when the fish are on the inside or shallow weed edges too.

The jig worm excels in the fashion just mentioned from early summer to almost freeze up. However, during early spring, I can take the exact same style jig, albeit in a lighter 1/16-ounce size, and again pair it with a 4” Ocho and “wacky” rig it, that is, hook the worm in the middle. This setup can be cast to the same shallow areas as the vibrating jig and used to tempt reluctant biters that won’t hit the jig. A 6’10” Mark Zona Signature Series spinning rod and reel combination spooled with 15-pound braided line tied to a fluorocarbon leader is my rod, reel, and line choice for the jig worm.

For the reasons just mentioned, the jig worm and the vibrating swim jig would be my 1-2 punch if limited to two bass fishing setups. Now if we can just get the ice off the lakes and get in a boat, we can put those two oft-productive combos to work!

As always, good luck on the water, and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series on the Sportsman Channel and several other networks as well.  Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

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