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By Tim Vincent

If you were asked what the most versatile lure you use is, what would you answer? Something that can be used in saltwater, freshwater, fished top to bottom, and that imitates a wide variety of species. Answers might vary, from worms to grubs, stickbaits to prawn imitations, but mine would be a dead easy answer... the ZMan 2.5" Slim SwimZ. I honestly don't know of a lure that can be fished using so many techniques, appeal to so many fish species, has a colour for any situation and still has the legendary 10X Tough material that holds up to fish after fish.

When these lures first came out, a couple of years ago, I immediately bought a pack in Watermelon Red, a colour that has served me well in the ZMan 2.5" GrubZ. I took a small jighead and rigged it up but the problem was I couldn't get it straight and I put the pack in the bottom of the tackle bag and forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and I was looking for a different lure to try and found the Slim SwimZ. I grabbed a 1/20oz TT HeadlockZ head and rigged it up perfectly first go, then free spooled the plastic down to the bottom of a pontoon and a few twitches later I had a little bream around 28cm hooked up.

The session continued, with several bream and estuary perch falling victim to the little Slim SwimZ. Since this session I always make sure there's several packs of these deadly little plastics in my bag wherever I go. I still don't know why the initial attempts at rigging didn't work... most likely because it wasn't a TT Lures HeadlockZ HD or HeadlockZ Finesse head being used (these heads are definitely an advantage when fishing any plastics). I'd say these are one the easiest plastics out there to rig and I've actually discovered that you don't even need to rig the plastics dead straight to have them swimming properly, unlike many other soft plastics. Sure, it's best to have them as straight as possible, but having the hook slightly out of place doesn't make a huge difference. These lures have a deadly body roll and tail kick, yet another factor that makes these lures so useful.

The 2.5" Slim SwimZ can be rigged in several different ways, all useful in different situations. Standard jigheads, worm hooks, Jig Spinner rigged plastics, Hidden Weight System (HWS), and spinnerbait and ChatterBait trailers are all common ways to fish this lure. They can even be used as a surface lure, using a worm hook, as the material is buoyant.

My two favourite ways to retrieve this lure are the standard twitch/pause and the slow roll. The first technique, twitch/pause - cast out the lure, let it sink and give the lure a few seconds to sit motionless on the bottom. Then give the lure a couple of quick flicks, or slow draws of the rod, depending on the mood of the fish and let the lure sink back down, then repeat. Often when I get a bite and the fish misses the lure, I simply get the line tight and shake my arm slightly. This allows the lure itself to stay motionless, in the strike zone, but gives the tail an enticing movement that often delivers bites from fish that may become uninterested in the lure if it moves away from the strike zone.

The slow roll method I use involves a very simple cast and slow retrieve along the bottom. I often pause the lure too, depending on the species targeted. Don't be afraid to experiment with other retrieves as well. Another example being when pelagic species such as salmon, small tuna, tailor or rat kingfish are busting up small baitfish such as hardy heads, small pilchards, mackerel or jelly prawns. A faster retrieve is used, with pauses when a fish misses, to imitate a killed baitfish dying after being attacked. A natural colour such as Blue Steel or Blue Glimmer is very useful in this situation.

With such a wide range of colours, you'd be hard pressed to find a bait species that this lure doesn't imitate. For fish feeding on prawns, such as bream, flathead, whiting, barramundi, mangrove jack, trevally and estuary perch, a colour such as Pink Glow or Greasy Prawn, fits the bill perfectly.

Possibly the bait species the Slim SwimZ imitates best is the humble baitfish. Most of the natural (blue, grey, clear, silver, white) colours work well for impersonating a small fish. But don't be afraid to try different, or seemingly crazy colours. My personal favourite is Calico Candy, a deep red colour that comes up well in UV light.

Others I've had good success on include Watermelon Red (imitating a gudgeon), pearl and blue glimmer (imitating whitebait), and some unnatural but effective colours such as Suicidal Rooster, Electric Chicken and Space Guppy. Pink Glow has been very handy when fishing deep snags for big estuary perch in the middle of the day in the freshwater rivers. Here, in the southwest of Victoria, Motor Oil is by far the most popular colour for bream, estuary perch and mulloway. So don't think for a moment this lure only imitates a naturally coloured fish!

I find light spin gear is best to fish the Slim SwimZ, including a 1000-3000 spin reel with a 1-3, 2-4, 2-5 or 3-5kg rod. For bass and natives bait casting gear can be used when the jighead is over 1/8oz or you have good control over the reel.

So next time you've got a finesse bite, or just want to try something different, grab a few packs of Slim SwimZ in any colours that appeal to you and your target species and give them a go. You won't be left disappointed!

Tim Vincent

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