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Swimming Lessons

Vinnie Versfeld

ZMan SwimmerZ are probably one of the most versatile and productive paddle tail style plastics I have come across in a while and since fishing them I have had amazing success on them. The reasons for this success is quite obvious, like all ZMan plastics they are made of Elaztech, this makes them incredibly durable and that means more fish per plastic. Any plastic that can offer multiple fish per lure is already a winner. Secondly they have a great baitfish profile, the ZMan 4" SwimmerZ and 6" sizes are perfectly matched to 95% of the baitfish that most of our predatory fish hunt down. Add to this a great colour range and a fantastic realistic swimming action and it's plain to see why tying one of these on will soon see you with bent rods, screaming reels and mega smiles.

Rigging and Techniques:

There are quite a few different ways that I like rigging my SwimmerZ and this is mainly dependant on the environment that I am fishing.

1) Standard Jigheads - In terms of jigheads I like using the TT Lures range of HeadlockZ HD jigheads. The main reason for this is with the SwimmerZ being made of Elaztech they won't slide down the jig head on the HeadlockZ HD because of their unique grub keeper. The HeadlockZ HD also offer a super-strong and sharp hook that has never failed me.

When rigging the SwimmerZ onto the jig heads it's your usual guess where the hook will come out, while keeping it straight deal. I find it works best pushing the plastic from its mid riff over the "lock" on the HeadlockZ jighead and then seating it, rather than trying to seat it from the plastic's head.

When fishing SwimmerZ on jigheads it's really as simple as cast and retrieve. As their name suggests they are designed to swim and that's what they do best. I match my jighead to water depth, current etc., so that my plastic will swim, on a medium speed retrieve at the desired depth. For example I would throw a ZMan 6" SwimmerZ on a 1/2oz head to swim it approximately a metre off the bottom.

I find casting them out, letting them sink and then swimming them back to be the most effective technique for midrange and bottom dwelling fish. If fish are surface feeding or feeding just below the surface, I will down weight my jighead. For example a 4" SwimmerZ with a 1/8oz HeadlockZ HD, retrieved from when it lands, should run about 6" under the surface with a mid-retrieve.

2) Snake Head Jigheads - In snags and weeds I like using the TT Lures Snake Heads. Again this gear is 100% suited to the SwimmerZ, with a variety of weight and hook sizes to suit the conditions you are fishing.

As before rigging them dead straight is the key to an effective action. When rigging the SwimmerZ on Snake Heads I like to penetrate the hook point, to the point of the barb, into the nose of the SwimmerZ and then bring it out at a 90 degree angle. Hooking the nose too deep can limit the movement between the Snake Head's weight and hook, which might impede action of the plastic.

With the SwimmerZ rigged on the Snake Head the same applies as with the standard jighead, with a plain cast and retrieve all that's needed, but with the weedless advantage of the Snake Head jighead. Personally when fishing SwimmerZ like this I love slow rolling them right through the structure, be it snags or weed beds. This technique is particularly effective on shut down fish. Always be poised for an explosive strike and be ready to be buried!

3) Snagless Weight System (SWS) - Another way I like rigging SwimmerZ is on the TT Lures SWS jigheads. I do this for buzzing the SwimmerZ on the surface and this paddle tail is the perfect imitation of a fleeing baitfish skipping on the surface.

This technique is really effective on surface feeding fish that are busting up baitfish or when night surface fishing for barra in the fresh, fishing them over weed beds under the moon.

As far as colour goes, I am a big believer in natural colours and matching the hatch. Don't be afraid to experiment and find what works for you. Hook ups are on the strike 90% due to the ferocity with which the fish hit these plastics. Be ready for some bone crunching hits!

Check out the new ChinlockZ SWS, designed with a 'chin lock' to lock the 10X Tough, super-soft and flexible ZMan plastics in place on the head.

Some anglers are intimidated by the size of the 6" SwimmerZ, but they are fast becoming one of my favourite big jack plastics and they definitely come into their own in the wet season when fishing run off drains for barra. The 4" models have caught me a wide mix of species, from Spanish mackerel through to bream and EVERYTHING in between!

I guarantee that your perseverance with these plastics will be handsomely rewarded!

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018
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