Swim Jig Smackdown with Curt Demerath of Dirty Jigs Tackle – Part 2

You want the real story on swim jigs?… the stuff nobody else will tell you?…  

The following is a continuation of Part 1.


On swim jig skirts…

“Different strand counts give you different amount of movement.  Certain skirt strand colors are thicker than others.  If I have a real soft skirt, it doesn’t move right in the water.  I can only do so much.  There are certain colors that call for trimming that skirt differently due to the characteristics of that strand.”

On trimming the skirts…

“How you trim your skirt right for the trailer is important.  This is where so many guys mess up.  You gotta trim to the length of the strands, not to where it ends up in relationship to the hook.”  

“Depending on the size of the jighead, it takes up more or less space on the hook, so you can end up cutting more or less than you want.  I always tell guys to trim a quarter inch off the skirt, not a quarter inch past the hook.”

“There’s no one perfect way to cut a skirt.    However, there is one way to trim it for every kind of trailer.  The formula I use is to have about 2/3 of the trailer hanging past the end of the skirt.”

On the “little things”…

“What separates the good from the best are the little things.  Things like weedguard angles, weedguard stiffness, color schemes, a balance of the head on the hook.  I put a different weedguard on a 1/4 ounce head than I do with a 1/2 ounce.  Then I have my finesse swim jig which is a wire weedguard.”

On the overall balance…

“An out of balance swim jig is like throwing 8lb test with a flipping stick.  There is a balance of components even within the swim jig itself.  You match everything as a system, from the skirt, the hook the weedguard, the head, the line, the rod…”

How many different kinds of skirt strands do you see? Look closely.

On perfecting the Dirty Jigs swim jig…

“With my 1/2-oz swim jig we did 5 versions of that before I thought it was okay… after a year, I found problems, redesigned it… it took 10 more versions after that, now it’s PERFECT.  The 3/8 ounce has been perfect from day one.”

“Those little tiny minute things that nobody ever notices, I continually look at those and evolve the product to make it right.” 

“I look at it this way, if I do my job right, you don’t even realize I’m doing my job.  Because everything I’m doing and paying attention to, you don’t even know exists potentially.”

On swim jig variations…

“There are probably a minimum of 4 different ways of fishing a swim jig throughout the country.  There are regional styles.  When it comes to a swim jig, I’ve never seen more diversity.  Alabama is all to its own.  You’re burning it up top almost like a frog.  Then you’ve got your California style… a bigger swimm jig with bigger trailers and puffier skirt.  It’s a cast out and reel in slow kind of thing… let the trailer create all the action and appeal by itself.  Then there’s the finesse style.  Then the fourth technique is the crash technique… like a square bill.”

On the one, single, perfect swim jig…

“You can’t make one perfect swim jig.  Nobody tells you this.  It’s not possible to have one perfect swim jig for the nation.  That’s why I make so many different ones.  I tried for 5 years to build one perfect swim jig.  You can’t do it.  I had people in Florida wanting different things than Alabama and people from up here (Wisconsin) wanting other things.”

There may not be a single perfect swim jig for all occasions, but this is my go-to. A 3/8-oz Dirty Jigs Swim Jig in "Dill Gill" pattern.

On modifying swim jigs for short striking bass…

“Some guys trim their trailers so they can put it farther up the shank of the hook.  Others will want a hook that’s too big.  It’s like this… KVD doesn’t put a different hook on his crankbait when fish short strike…  he puts on a different color or finds some other way to fish it. “

“Fish don’t say, ‘oh I want a smaller trailer, then I’ll eat it’.  You don’t cut a 1/2″ inch off your trailer and suddenly start catching fish better.  When you shorten up the trailer, you kill the action on some of these jigs.  When you shorten up a trailer, you have to shorten up your skirt length too.”


Now that your mind is warped from peeling back all these layers of swim jig intricacies, you may never look at a swim jig the same way again.  My conversation with Curt went on and on. We got into some other stuff and even dabbled in the “top secret” realm, but I’ll have to save some of that for another article.

Fish Strong!

About Hale White

Hale White, tournament angler and fitness enthusiast, is originally from the bass capital of Florida, holds a Masters degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and has an insatiable appetite for bass fishing.
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