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Jerkbait Help/ Advice

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I was playing around with a Pointer 95 in a bucket of water earlier today when I realized that I could make it suspending, slowly floating or slowly sinking depending on the hooks I installed..

So I was wondering, when would you use a sinking jerkbait vs a suspending bait vs a slowly floating one? Also, when to use rattles and when not to? Not looking for specific brand info, just some general knowledge/ opinions; although the former would be appreciated, of course.

I'm fishing for northern strain largemouths in mostly clear water reservoirs (visibility 10 ft plus).

My apologies if this has been discussed before; in which case a link to the relevant thread would be great.

Thanks for any pointers!

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Deep, I just searched for about 10 minuets and can not for the life of me find the "article" Dwight posted a while back about his jerkbait fishing. If you keep up with him, you should know he is jerkbait king around here. Maybe someone else saved it. It must have been in someone else's post. I am pretty sure it was in a fishing report as well.

Also, there are several jerkbait articles to be had here.... http://www.bassresource.com/fishing-lures-articles/

Jeff

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Mike McClelland (SPRO Mc Stick) says that you never want a suspending jerkbait to rise, he went on to say that he tunes his baits with either bigger hooks or additonal splitrings to get the presentation he prefers. He also said that he prefers the bait to have a slightly nose down attitude while suspending.

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There are many theories on it, in terms of rise, sink, true suspension. I fish the Vision110 Silent Riser an awful lot, and I catch an awful lot of fish on it- the theory of not wanting a jerkbait to rise. I believe Mike was misquoted on that- he doesn't want a jerkbait that rises in very cold water. At least that's what I've gathered from conversations and from writing he's done on the subject.

I'm very particular about jerkbaits, because there are specific things that I want them to do. A huge portion of my annual catch is attributed to jerkbaits; I'd go so far as to say that it's a full 1/3 of what I do every year.

When it comes to what I'm doing in terms of which style, and the floatation of a bait, I'm almost always looking for a true suspending bait. That said, it's only at specific water temperatures that it is going to do that. I would prefer a bait to rise slowly in a nose down attitude than I would prefer to fish a sinking bait in cold water. I select my baits a lot by what I'm fishing them over, or around what sort of structure I'm fishing them. I like some baits more in rock than in wood, the same can be said for open water or over weeds. In the Highland Reservoirs that I so often fish in Spring and Fall, the LC Pointer 100 and Pointer 78 are king as my all around baits- the size is based on depth and forage. When fish are on smaller profiles, obviously I fish the 78; and vice-versa. I prefer the Vision 110 for shallow weeds and wood, and in open water where there's very good visibility. I'll fish LCP100 in open water and wood as well, but typically where there's a little less visibility. Only very, very rarely do I go to a silent, or wood, bait. I do love my wood pointers, as they're simply superb for those situations in which an absolutely stealth bait is the way to go. The other style of bait that I have a lot of confidence in is the Flash Minnow 110- This bait, or style of bait, if you will, is a far more active bait. It's a bait that I generally do well with in spring and in certain situations in fall. When fish are on the tops of shallow rock or shallow primary points in fall, it can be absolutely dynamite. I'm not 100% certain of why it's so much more effective in those specific situations than other baits I fish; I'm sure of it is just my confidence in the bait. Sure it's the right depth and profile, but there are other guys that would rather fish a Vision 110. The depth of the Flash Minnow, I'm sure, is what does it for me in those situations- or at least that's the heart of it. A bait that will without fail stay at the 2' depth is pretty key.

Lastly, when I desire a deep bait, such as when fish are stacked on deep edges or on the backside of primaries in the 12-16' range- the only bait of choice is the Staysee90. It's extremely tight moving and it's very erratic.

Overall, in jerkbaits, it's getting an idea of what works for you. For instance- less is more. I really prefer to move a bait far less initially, until the fish tell me what they want. I'll move the bait very, very slowly at first.

Dwight's post is absolutely stellar with information, too. Hopefully he chimes in on this. I'm very proficient with a jerkbait but I took several things out of his post and have since applied them to my fishing style.

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Great informative post Hooligan. The only thing I'll add is I occasionally use a very slow sinker in very cold water. I think sometimes the bait sinking slowly into a fishes face as it rises towards the bait will sometimes cause them to strike.

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The behavior of a hard jerkbait can make the difference between a bunch of bass and a dry net.

Specifically, I'm thinking back to the '90s when I used to throw a Bomber Suspending Pro Long A (which is still a great value for $4.99).

This bait at that time came with #6 trebles which worked but looked small to me in relation to the body. The bait rose slowly with them as well.

I decided to experiment and put #4s on one of these. The bait sank slowly and the smallies slammed it. Out of curiosity, I tried a stock Suspending A and watched, grinning, as bass after bass followed right up to the boat but wouldn't take.

One other thing to keep in mind: flotation varies with water temperature.

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Great informative post Hooligan. The only thing I'll add is I occasionally use a very slow sinker in very cold water. I think sometimes the bait sinking slowly into a fishes face as it rises towards the bait will sometimes cause them to strike.

Yep I agree on the slow sinker, I have had days were they tore it up. Got a couple of modified (heavy split rings) Luck-E-Strike RC STX jerkbaits, that will do the slow death sink.

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Deep, I just searched for about 10 minuets and can not for the life of me find the "article" Dwight posted a while back about his jerkbait fishing. If you keep up with him, you should know he is jerkbait king around here. Maybe someone else saved it. It must have been in someone else's post. I am pretty sure it was in a fishing report as well.

Jeff

Here it is ~

A-Jay

Alright Shimmy I'll share a little bit about jerkbaits. First of all my jerkbait fishing evolved around pike fishing. Big predators. My favorite jerkbaits were made out of wood or plastic & weighed about an ounce to 2.5 oz. . I would practice jerk bait strokes along side the boat to see what kind of action I could delvelop with each bait. Some baits would dart 90 degrees to either side like a walk the dog motion but under water. Other baits would glide forward or sideways & some rare baits would almost turn around like in your face mr pike. Hard violent jerks or strokes would elevate the motions. Then you have to incorporate a pause period or let the bait rest. Usually the baits will get eaten while your pausing or just as you start your next movement. Remember jerk baits work on all species.

Now to jerkbaits for smallies. Typically when you first start fishing you use a search bait until you find fish unless you know exactly where they are. Then once you find fish you switch to your favorite presentation. I fish big water with lots of suspended fish spread over lots of rock structure. I seldom find lots of big fish in a small area. So my approach is to cover water with a jerkbait as my search bait until I find some big girls. Once we find them we work over the area. We put in waypoints when we get bit so we can revist each spot. When drifting on lake erie the waves cause the boat to surge & pause just like a jerked bait does when you are working it. Boat motion adds motion to your baits. I always prefer to drift downwind with the wind hitting my stern. I work one rod while i dead stick a second rod in a rod holder. When my forward progress is between .3 to 1.0 mile an hour drifting with the wind at my back it all works. Most of the time my worked rod out fishes the dead stick 3 to 1. But sometimes the dead stick rod is extremely effective all by its self because the boat is working the bait. This tells me to slow down the worked rod. This approach also allows you to run a deep diver suspending jerkbait while you are running a shallow suspending bait. Then you can decide to use all deep or all shallow baits depending upon the conditions. My prespawn smallie fishing is between upper 30 degrees to 65 degrrees surface temps. The colder the water the more subtle the action. As the water warms I use more erratic movements. I also select baits with more subtle action for cold water & more erratic action for warming water. You have to learn the action of each style bait you use and develop an understanding of what works best for the conditions you are facing. Colder water with poor visibility finds me using loud colors with subtle action & loud rattles. Warmer water with good visibility finds me using subtle natural colors with more erratic action and softer rattles. Smallmouth bass are extremely curious about noise & erratic action. Remember that statement. Your jerkbait represents a dying bait fish to a smallie if properly worked. Smallies will come up thru the water column to hit a jerkbait. How far they will travel depends upon water visibility & sound. When I can see the bottom in 15 feet of water I will not hesitate to work jerkbaits out to 30 feet. I try to use a bait that will get down to the depth I want to fish based on overall water depth & visibility. If your marking fish or marking bait you can key into that depth. My jerkbait inventory covers baits that run from 2 feet down to baits that run 20-22 feet down. Now I can fish jerkbaits effectively in forty feet of water with good visibility. Since i'm fishing relatively open waters I use ten pound braid with a leader on spinning tackle. And I use ten or twenty pound braid with a leader on casting tackle. The thin braid adds up to five feet of extra depth on the baits. Now when casting jerkbaits your depth is based on the bait, line diameter & the length of your cast. Maximum depth on most baits is increased by letting out more line up to around 200 some feet with diving bills. So I run my baits back from the boat about two to three cast lengths to achieve more depth when needed. This also allows you a more stealthy approach. I find that smallies move during the day between deeper water to shallower water based upon changing conditions. So I try to target different depths until I can observe a pattern of where they will be.

I do not limit myself to just one manufacture of jerkbaits. I find that on some days a particular bait from one manufcture will out preform all others. Especially on a tough bite day. So I carry about four different manufactures jerkbaits. Now within just one manufactures line of jerkbaits there can be five or six completely different baits by action, size, depth, sound, suspending, floating or slow sink & tilt. They can all shine based on changing conditions. Generally I prefer suspending jerkbaits with rattles. Then I look for level suspenders, nose down or tail down attitudes. Lucky craft probably covers the most diverse offerings of all jerkbaits manufactures in my experience.

Just remember when fishing a jerkbait that you are trying to excite a neutral fish into striking it because it mimics a dying baitfish. The more action you can impart to the bait the more fired up that big smallie gets. It is very similar to teasing a cat with a mouse on a string. :laugh5: Some times they want it barely moving and other times they want it fast and erratic.

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Thanks A-Jay!

Jeff

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Wow!

Now it won't be hard to find.

-Kent

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There are many theories on it, in terms of rise, sink, true suspension. I fish the Vision110 Silent Riser an awful lot, and I catch an awful lot of fish on it- the theory of not wanting a jerkbait to rise. I believe Mike was misquoted on that- he doesn't want a jerkbait that rises in very cold water. At least that's what I've gathered from conversations and from writing he's done on the subject.

I'm very particular about jerkbaits, because there are specific things that I want them to do. A huge portion of my annual catch is attributed to jerkbaits; I'd go so far as to say that it's a full 1/3 of what I do every year.

When it comes to what I'm doing in terms of which style, and the floatation of a bait, I'm almost always looking for a true suspending bait. That said, it's only at specific water temperatures that it is going to do that. I would prefer a bait to rise slowly in a nose down attitude than I would prefer to fish a sinking bait in cold water. I select my baits a lot by what I'm fishing them over, or around what sort of structure I'm fishing them. I like some baits more in rock than in wood, the same can be said for open water or over weeds. In the Highland Reservoirs that I so often fish in Spring and Fall, the LC Pointer 100 and Pointer 78 are king as my all around baits- the size is based on depth and forage. When fish are on smaller profiles, obviously I fish the 78; and vice-versa. I prefer the Vision 110 for shallow weeds and wood, and in open water where there's very good visibility. I'll fish LCP100 in open water and wood as well, but typically where there's a little less visibility. Only very, very rarely do I go to a silent, or wood, bait. I do love my wood pointers, as they're simply superb for those situations in which an absolutely stealth bait is the way to go. The other style of bait that I have a lot of confidence in is the Flash Minnow 110- This bait, or style of bait, if you will, is a far more active bait. It's a bait that I generally do well with in spring and in certain situations in fall. When fish are on the tops of shallow rock or shallow primary points in fall, it can be absolutely dynamite. I'm not 100% certain of why it's so much more effective in those specific situations than other baits I fish; I'm sure of it is just my confidence in the bait. Sure it's the right depth and profile, but there are other guys that would rather fish a Vision 110. The depth of the Flash Minnow, I'm sure, is what does it for me in those situations- or at least that's the heart of it. A bait that will without fail stay at the 2' depth is pretty key.

Lastly, when I desire a deep bait, such as when fish are stacked on deep edges or on the backside of primaries in the 12-16' range- the only bait of choice is the Staysee90. It's extremely tight moving and it's very erratic.

Overall, in jerkbaits, it's getting an idea of what works for you. For instance- less is more. I really prefer to move a bait far less initially, until the fish tell me what they want. I'll move the bait very, very slowly at first.

Dwight's post is absolutely stellar with information, too. Hopefully he chimes in on this. I'm very proficient with a jerkbait but I took several things out of his post and have since applied them to my fishing style.

Great post, very informative, my previous post was in reference to suspending jerkbaits, that is what in my opinion makes a great suspending jerkbait is the fact that they do not rise or sink but rather suspend. I also fish the MB 110's and if fishing a Silent Riser or a High Floater that is exacly what I would expect them to do, especailly at their price.

Again very good post

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Thanks a ton guys. Hooligan, thanks for your input; A-Jay, thanks for posting Dwight's masterpiece. Stuff has been Ctrl C-ed and Ctrl V-ed without asking for permission!

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deep, there has been lots of information on here. i did see some that say to never let your bait rise. HMMM??. i have fished "jerk baits" since back in the 60's. i have caught tons of bass with a bait that would slowly rise. also, i have done the same with one that sat perfectly still, and with them that slowly sank. the fact is you have to let the bass tell you what they want on the specific day you are fishing. you can kill them one way one day, and go the next, and have to go with the bait doing something else. same thing goes with how you are moving the bait too. i have jerkbaits that slowly rise, sit still, and sink, and i have them marked accordingly. another factor in the science in jerkbaiting is water temperature. you might have one of your jerkbaits that is slowly floating, and use it two weeks down the road, and that same bait is sinking. water density changes. let the bass tell you what they want. there is not any rule set in stone as to what will trigger a strike from a bass on any given day.

bo

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I have a couple more questions. What jerk bait (dive depth & color) would you try on a sunny day in 10' of water and it's clear enough water to see 5' down. I'm fishing for smallies.

I'm just curious to see how everyone would attack this situation.

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I have a couple more questions. What jerk bait (dive depth & color) would you try on a sunny day in 10' of water and it's clear enough water to see 5' down. I'm fishing for smallies.

I'm just curious to see how everyone would attack this situation.

The options and personal preferences here are just about endless . . . .

Just in the LC brand alone there are several models / colors to go with .

Pointer 95 silent, a pointer 100, a flash pointer, the 127 and 128 are proven fish takers.

As for colors, the prevalent bait could play a role.

A-Jay

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I have a couple more questions. What jerk bait (dive depth & color) would you try on a sunny day in 10' of water and it's clear enough water to see 5' down. I'm fishing for smallies.

I'm just curious to see how everyone would attack this situation.

you did not mention time of year and water temp. those variables would make a difference.

bo

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Here's a breakdown of Lucky Craft slash baits, by my friend Burnie.

http://www.burniehaney.com/files/Cold_Water_Jerkbaits_LOO_Spring_09_.pdf

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Good stuff everyone. Thanks Bo, and J.

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Clear water = natural colors. But if it is sunny I would be tempted to at least try chrome.

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It also depends on the line weight you use. I primarily fish Smithwick Suspending Rouge all winter. My favorite is a old school clown color.... on 8 lb line. I tune mine to sit exactly horizontal in the water and stay stationary. This makes the bait lay there for an extended amount of time. Altho I cannot see the fish. I feel they will come up to within a foot or two of the bait and sit next too it. When the bait suddenly moves they will reaction strike it. In real cold water like 43-45 degrees. I start at a 15 count, the first few fish will tell you what they want. If they are hitting it at 6-7 then thats what you go with.

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It also depends on the line weight you use. I primarily fish Smithwick Suspending Rouge all winter. My favorite is a old school clown color.... on 8 lb line. I tune mine to sit exactly horizontal in the water and stay stationary. This makes the bait lay there for an extended amount of time. Altho I cannot see the fish. I feel they will come up to within a foot or two of the bait and sit next too it. When the bait suddenly moves they will reaction strike it. In real cold water like 43-45 degrees. I start at a 15 count, the first few fish will tell you what they want. If they are hitting it at 6-7 then thats what you go with.

Just bought a few sus rogues. The hooks don't look so great. I'm going to put some gammy round bends on. Do you upgrade hook size or replace / or add split rings to make it suspend the way you want it?

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Years ago they used to have good hooks on htem and they didn't need tuned. But now adays each on of them is diffrent. I believe its not because of the bait itself but more so the chinese steel hook they put on them. Sometime I need to just change the split rings sometimes I need to change a hook. I use all Mustad hooks on my baits. Ya just gotta play with them. I spend hours on the water tinkering with crap. After you get a few baits tuned you really start too take care of them.

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Rogue Limited come with Gamakatsu hooks.

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Yeah, saw that. No need to switch with those - I got a few from cabelas -- they are the "pro" models. No gamakatsu on those.

Stacey king does a jerkbait clinic that was videotaped on you tube - its pretty good. Just type in Stacey king and jerbaits and you should find it.

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I have took time to watch dying shad. Some float up some drop. In either case the action is a lot more like the old plastic slugo lure than something you get from a Rogue. I think the thing that makes the rogue effective is the treble hook. Bass will come up in cold water and very slowly nip. That is when they get hung on a very sharp treble hook. With the plastics like slugo there is a single hook and they will nip the tail and drop it.

In the old days we did all kinds of stuff to make our baits suspend.the stick on lead strips were are a real blessing for suspending baits. I know a national champion that even today prefers jerk baits that he balances himself.

Water temperature and the line your using can effect these things also.

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