Mastering Winter Vibrating Jigs with Michael Neal: Essential Tips and Techniques

Winter Bass Fishing Videos
Dive into the world of winter bass fishing with Michael Neal's expert guide on using vibrating jigs, featured on In this must-watch video, Neal reveals two pivotal strategies for fishing with vibrating jigs in cold waters, emphasizing the importance of color choice and the art of fishing slow. Learn how to adjust your gear and retrieval methods for optimal results. Whether fishing offshore or steep banks, this video is packed with practical advice and insider secrets to enhance your winter fishing skills. Unlock the potential of vibrating jigs in your winter fishing arsenal!

The Baits & Gear

Z-Man Chatterbait --

Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon --

Sunline Sniper -

Denali Kovert baitcasting rod -


Hey, guys, Michael Neal here with Wanna talk to you about vibrating jigs in the wintertime. There's really two ways, two different trains of thought that you can go with this. You can either fish your remaining offshore stuff, whether it's some old grass that's still been there, or up on the bank fishing the places that you've been cranking, you know, throwing a 6-foot diving crankbait, stuff like that that's been super popular the last several years in the wintertime. And the color that I'm gonna go with that time of year is definitely red. And for whatever reason, all across the country, these red baits in the wintertime have been the go-to. And it's kind of a mystery. I don't really know what they think it is exactly. Some people say the crawfish bite in the wintertime and they turn red, that's why is because of that crawfish bite. But not sure exactly why, but the number one thing in the wintertime is you have to fish slow.

Fish are cold-blooded. So, of course, in the wintertime, they're going to slow down, they're not gonna be able to move as fast, they're not gonna wanna chase a bait that's moving near as quickly. And that's why I go to this trailer. And it's a little bit kind of counterintuitive, but it makes me slow down and it makes sure that I have the confidence that I'm not gonna stay hung up while I'm being slowed down. And it's a big bite, 3.8-inch Pro Swimmer. This color right here is flamethrower, and it matches any kind of red vibrating jig really well.

And it's one of the few times that I will throw a big paddle tail on a vibrating jig and it gives it a little bit more lift, but you can slow this down. And I throw it on a 6 to 1 gear ratio reel, and I honestly don't even feel my reel up, that way I can make sure that my inches return actually go down. So, when you have a reel and it's completely spooled up, you're taking up more line than if it's halfway down or you make a long cast and the fish bites at the very end of it. You notice that you don't really catch up to it like you do if it hits you close to the boat, and that's the same deal. So, the less line you have on, the less line you're taking up per turn of the reel handle. And to slow this thing down and absolutely crawl it wherever you're fishing it is gonna be the biggest key. It's not as big a key as where it is, but how slow it is.

So, if you're maintaining contact with the bottom, that's great. But that's why I go with this paddle tail just to give it a little bit more lift. And anything else is gonna keep it down in the water column, and this is gonna try and make it ride higher, but I have a terrible time making myself slow down. So, I know if I'm seeing this trailer, that's just another reminder, hey, you've got this on there, it's gonna make it lift a little bit and you have to slow it down.

And that's what I like on rocky banks. And, you know, your steeper banks that you would typically crank, I would just throw it with a slow steady retrieve and not really do anything special. And I like 20-pound Sunline Sniper that time of year. You're not fishing super deep up there. But then the other way of thinking in fishing is fishing your leftover grass or your leftover offshore places. That's when I'll go back with a 7'4 medium or heavy attacks. It's a multipurpose heavy, which is not heavy at all, but that's what it's labeled as, and I'll yo-yo this bait. And that's another reason for the paddle tail, you can throw it out there, let it go all the way to the bottom and just not reel hard, not like you're stroking a spoon or stroking a jig. You just want to reel it as slow as you can pull your rod up and feel this blade vibrating back and forth hitting the head, that's how fast you wanna fish this bait.

And basically just like very slowly crawling a jig along the bottom, but with this blade, it's gonna make it lift up and come up, and this tail is gonna slow it down on its fall back to the bottom. That's when you're gonna get the bites when you're yo-yoing it. They're not gonna hit it while you're pulling it up, they're gonna hit it after you've pulled it up and it's just slowly falling back down to the bottom. So that's what makes the Pro Swimmer a great choice for the wintertime.

Line size on that, if I'm fishing off the bank, I like 16-pound sniper. It's just a little bit smaller, lets the bait get down a little bit better, but still not enough to counteract it to where you're getting too deep or having a higher rate of fall for that time of year. And it's a little bit different when you first start throwing this thing in the wintertime because everybody's always thought that you have to throw really super, super slow-moving stuff, dragging stuff, jigs, or barely crawling crankbaits. And a vibrating jig is something that you can pick up any time of year and do whatever you need to do with it.

It's very simply made and a very simple bait. When you buy this bait, straight out of the package, it's gonna come with a clip. All you have to do is tie directly to it, don't put anything else on it. Your line is not gonna twist, you're not gonna have any problems. Once you get a rod picked out for it, it may be the same one. This is the same one I throw a spinner bait on, so, that's what I would recommend to start with. Something that you would do that kind of multipurpose it.

But it's a bait that you have to put in your hand and get the confidence in. And I think that's where a lot of people have really mistaken this bait for its potential and how good it really is, is they haven't given it enough time. And when I first started throwing it, my first experience was actually with Brett Hite on Lake Toho, and he won the tournament and I was a co-angler at the time, it was 2008, and that was when I saw it and I immediately started gaining confidence from that, but I didn't always pick up that you could go and just throw it and get bites. And then the more I just became in tune with it, the more I understood how the little differences of your line size, how it makes a difference of the water column depth, your trailers, how different trailers affect it as far as their depth. And that's when I started to figure out that this is a bait that you can win any tournament on any lake any time of year.

And water color in the wintertime is another reason for the red. A lot of times we're having some rains, the water's fluctuating a lot, those fish are on those steeper banks because the water comes up and down and they can just go up and down right there on that bank with it instead of having to travel a quarter of a mile or half a mile. And it's something that stands out that they can target really well in that dirty water.

As far as blade colors go, I don't think it really matters that much in the wintertime. Most of your red ones are gonna come with a black blade. But I hardly ever, when the water is below 52 degrees, is when I would start going away from red. But the wintertime, you know, when that water is in that 40 to 52 range, you can throw red and catch them pretty much anywhere in the country. And if you are on a place that offshore fishing is big, you can do that as well. Just remember, the yo-yo technique, it's the same as yo-yoing a lipless bait. And that's something that I don't think a lot of people have picked up on yet. They're more of just the casters and winders with this bait. And the yo-yoing is...I've caught some really big fish doing that. So make sure y'all keep that under your hat. Check out more videos from