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Jerkbaits

By Roger Lee Brown

 
Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits, without question would definitely fall into the "Top-10" category of all artificial baits used by Tournament Anglers in today's bass fishing. These baits have been proven over and over to not only catch bass in numbers, but catch quality bass as well. One of the primary reasons that these baits are used by so many anglers is because Jerkbaits are considered to be one of the more versatile types of baits on today's market and can literally be fished just about anywhere at any time. There are many different techniques and presentations you can use when fishing with a Jerkbait. I'll explain a few of the more popular presentations in hopes to help you increase your success rate when it comes to catching bass.
   There are two basic types or styles of Jerkbaits that are sold on the bassin' market today: "Hard-Jerkbaits" and "Soft-Jerkbaits." The "Soft-Jerkbaits" type or style would cover the soft-plastic baits such as Bass Assassins, Squids, Slug-O's, Dartin' Shads, Skuirmin' Jerks, Flukes, Flappin' Shads, and so on. The "Hard-Jerkbaits" type or style would cover the hard plastic or even wood types such as Rapala's Husky Jerk, Jointed-Minnows, Floating Minnows, Smithwick's Rogues, Bomber's Long-A's, Rebel's Minnows, and Bagley's Ratlin' Twitcher. There many, many, more of these same type of baits made from different manufacturers that would fall under this category, and many techniques for using them.
   First I'll cover some of the more popular techniques for "Top Water Fishing" while using these Jerkbaits. Let's say that you pull up into an area where you would find thick floating vegetation in about 1- to 6-feet of water, and it is covering the surface with very little exposed open water pockets. A "Soft-Jerkbait" would be best to use in a situation like this simply because of the weedless rigging it allows you to use to keep from getting caught on the vegetation. In an area such as this, Texas rig the bait using a wide gap hook without any added weight at all. Now you're ready for business! Cast the bait into the midst of the vegetation and make short twitches periodically letting the bait lay still. Keep repeating this technique all the way back to the boat. If you don't have any vegetation on your body of water, then cast the bait over submerged structure areas.
   Now, let's say that you are into an area that has scattered vegetation with pockets of open water at the same depth. You can use either a Soft or a Hard Jerkbait, but keep in mind that a "Hard-Jerkbait" has exposed hooks already fastened to the bait (which means it is easy for the bait to get caught-up on this vegetation). With either bait, cast it into these open pockets of water, make a couple of small sharp twitches, then let it lay still for a moment. After the bait lays still, the first twitch is usually when a bass will strike so be ready! Or in this same area (using a Soft-Jerkbait), add a little weight to the bait so it will slowly drop to the bottom. Again, let it lay there for a moment, then make a couple of small sharp twitches lifting the bait back up to the surface and let it drop again. You will find that this technique can be very rewarding if you give it a try. This technique will work around structure, riprap, docks, falldowns, bank edges, trees, stump areas, and just about any areas fishable.
   Now, let's move out into deeper water areas to where you may have 6- to 10-foot depths. These same techniques already mentioned for surface and sub-surface patterns will work just as well in this deeper water (especially around and on top of submerged structure and vegetation), but now let's fish a little deeper with these baits. In the case of the "Hard-Jerkbait", select one that suspends and/or has a diving-bill on the front of it to get it down under the waters' surface. Most of these "Hard-Jerkbaits" will be made for the depth of water you choose to fish (the bigger the front bill, the deeper it will go). Now, choose one for an 8-foot depth. Cast it out, start your retrieve to get it down to the desired depth, then start jerking or twitching it a few times and let it lay motionless for a moment. Keep repeating this technique all the way back to the boat, however when the bass are more active, you can just twitch and jerk the bait all the way back without any pause. One factor to always remember when bass fishing is: "Always let the bass dictate how they want the presentation!" So don't be afraid to experiment with your retrieve.
   Now, let's use a "Soft-Jerkbait" in this same area. To get the "Soft-Jerkbait" down in deeper depths you can rig it actually three different ways.

  1. A Texas-rig with a front weight.
  2. A Straight-rig with a pencil weight, or nail weight inserted into the bait itself.
  3. A Carolina-rig with the bait free-floating behind the rig.

Use the techniques I just described above for these deeper depths and hang on!
   Although I've covered some of the basic presentations with these Jerkbaits, there are many more! I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have concerning bass fishing in general. I teach many students at my 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School all phases of recreational as well as tournament fishing techniques with a focus on "Individual Personalized Instruction." If you want to be much more successful about bass fishing, contact me for information about this 3-Day "On-Water" Bass Fishing School. Until Next Time!
   Take Care & God Bless!

"The Bass Coach"
Route-1 Box-65, Pearl Street
Crown Point, NY 12928
(518) 597-4240
Website: The Bass Coach
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