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Lure Review

Simplifying the art of the jig : CritterBait Tackle Company's Swim Jig (continued)


Presentation: To study the action of our Critterbait Swim Jig, we made use of our freshwater test tank, tied our jig to the end of a line and hopped it around within the tank. We were very pleased with the way in which the skirt material for our jig flared out underwater living up to the name of living rubber. For a second round of tests, we ventured to some clear water reservoirs so we could see the bait in action after an actual cast. As expected, paired with the right trailer, it is very easy to impart crawfish like action to the Critterbait Swim Jig. The bait easily sinks with the predictable head down action leaving our trailer to flail about in the water as our entire presentation sank towards the depths.


Our CritterBait Swim Jig rigged weedless with a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver trailer


Weedlessness: The CritterBait Swim Jig is as weedless as any weighted, Texas rig plastic fished with a bullet weight. In fact, the head design of this jig reminds us of a slightly flattened bullet weight only with the hook coming out at a slight angle. With its conical shape, it easily slides through weeds and over branches and we found it very effective hopped along the bottom through the dense weedcover of the California Delta.


The very durable powdercoat finish of our CritterBait Swim Jig showing battle scars from our pavement torture test but no real cracking or chipping


Durability: CritterBait Tackle Company uses an intensive powder coating finish that is actually charged and baked onto the surface of the jighead rather than the traditional method of dipping a bare jighead into a reserve of paint. This process not only gives greater control of the finish during the process (i.e. no painted eyelets), but the end result is a much more durable coating. To test this theory, we repeatedly cast our swim jig up against a stone and concrete surface dragging it back along the pavement, and while the soft lead of the jighead suffered the expected small deformities, the finish itself held up surprisingly well.


The very sharp Mustad Wide-Gap hook of our CritterBait SwimJig


Application: The CritterBait Swim Jig is built for pulling through patches of weeds and other structure where you want a more steady and consistent presentation. The conical shape of its head is not as well suited for stop and go, hoping presentations as once the bait hits the bottom, it falls over on its side making it more difficult to effect a solid hookset should a fish pick up the jig while it's resting on the bottom. For this more traditional method of fishing a jig, check out CritterBait's other jig and jig head offerings. Otherwise, fished for its intended purpose, the CritterBait Swim Jig is a very effective bait enhanced by the CritterKeeper rigging system it's almost invaluable.


This ambitious modest sized bass fell victim to our CritterBait Swim Jig


Critterbait Swim Jig Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Powder coat finish, sharp hooks, paint free eyelets all earn top marks 9
Performance The ability to fish a jig as easily as a weighted Texas rigged worm 9
Price On par with other jigs of this quality 9
Features Powder coat finish on the jighead, CritterKeeper rigging system, sharp, Mustad Hooks - solid features 9
Design Simple and effective - it's a jig! 8
Application Very good weedlessness and an effective swimming jig 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quality construction and finish L Jig falls over almost instantly after hitting bottom
J Sharp hook L No solid black as a standard skirt color?
J Innovative CritterKeeper system  
J No paint on the eyelets!  

Conclusion: Let's face it, throwing just about any bait that will catch fish for you is great fun. The one thing that makes fishing any specific bait or product more enjoyable for me, is true thoughtfulness by a manufacturer in the design of their product. I've always disliked the need to trim the weedguard on my jigs and carefully fan them out before each day of fishing. I put up with it all this time because it's hard to expect more from such an inexpensive little lure. Not anymore. CritterBait Tackle Company has changed all that with their CritterKeeper bait keeper system. No more confusion of what to do or what not to do with those funky, fibrous weedguards; no more worries of lost fish due to those way too stiff bristles. Just pull it out, tie it on, rig it up and cast! That's what we should expect from a lure and that's what CritterBait Tackle Company delivers. Something so simple and obvious shouldn't require these accolades, but we're more than happy to provide the recognition to worthy products. CritterBait Tackle Company receives our 2005 Innovation Award for its well designed and very thoughtful CritterKeeper rigging system.











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