John Carroll is a big fan of both a swim jig and a buzzbait in the summer. Both baits are steady workhorses for Carroll throughout much of the year, but in the summer in particular Carroll will use the duo in tandem to cover water and breakdown different types of cover.
“I will always have both of those tied on,” Carroll said. “There’s going to be other stuffed tied on too, but those two will always be tied on this time of year.”
There’s a lot going on out on the water in the early summer that make both of these techniques particularly suitable. A swim jig and a buzzbait can be used to target bass relating to both shad and bream, and those are the two main forage focuses for Carroll.
"The shad spawn is pretty much over with where I am right now, but as soon as it ends, the bluegill start showing up.”
If the shad spawn is still lingering in your area, Carroll recommends swapping up colors for both the swim jig and the buzzbait based on the type of forage the bass are relating to.
“If I think they're still eating shad, I’ll go with white. If I think they’re on bluegill I’ll go with black and blue or green pumpkin.”
As it pertains to which lure gets the most action for Carroll this time of year, that is very situational. Depending on the time of day, the weather, the type of cover (or lack thereof) and the type of forage, Carroll will swap between these two baits and swap up the soft plastics he uses to trail each bait as well.
"If it’s overcast, I’ll throw it all day,” Carroll remarked in reference to a buzzbait. “If it’s raining, I’ll throw it all day. Other than that, I’ll throw it til I can’t get bit on it anymore. If I go half an hour or an hour without a bite, then I’ll switch over to the swim jig.”
When covering water, Carroll opts for the buzzbait, since he can fish it down a bank faster than he can a swim jig. But if there are isolated pieces of cover along that bank, which are considered high percentage places to get a bite, Carroll will slow down and pick those apart with the swim jig.
“If I’m having a bunch of fish that are blowing up (on a buzzbait) and not eating it, then I might switch colors to see if they’ll eat a different color a little better. Or I’ll just switch up to the swim jig. But if that doesn’t get bit, I’m going right back to the buzzbait in a different color.”
If Carroll is fishing around or through vegetation like water willow, pads or reeds, he’ll usually go with the swim jig. Docks see a little of both baits, as Carroll likes to skip the swim jig under docks at times and reel a buzzbait down the sides of them sometimes too.
“I rarely throw a skirt (on a buzzbait), I almost always go with a soft plastic.”
Carroll will swap up between a few different soft plastics based on what time of year it is and how aggressive the fish are. The type of bait Carroll is fishing around also dictates the profile of trailer he’ll use.
“If I’m not using the Motivated Revelation Craw, then I’m using a Castaic Jerky J Swim or a buzz toad.”
Carroll likes the Jerky J Swim later in the year when bass are more shad focused. When they’re relating to bluegill more, he’ll go with the craw style trailer or the buzz toad on the back of his buzzbait. Carroll uses the same approach when picking a trailer for his swim jig, with the exception of the buzz toad.
For Carroll, it’s all about getting bites this time of year. And getting the maximum number of bites is an outcome of covering water both effectively and efficiently. Choosing to go with the faster moving buzzbait to cover long stretches with limited targets, and the swim jig more when targets and denser cover are present.
If the weather will allow for it, Carroll loves to throw the buzzbait all day. But as the fish become less aggressive, he’ll slow down and stick with the jig, being sure to match the hatch as best as possible as well. Hopefully these tips from Carroll will help you become a better swim jig and buzzbait angler, knowing now when to do which.
John Carroll's Top 3 Baits
Want more John Carroll in your life? Check out his latest video: Mongo's Top 5 Baits For Post Spawn Bass